Written by students of FC1750.06
at Founders College, York University
Gathering information on the Internet was a struggle the first few times I went to work on the computer even when we were being assisted. There are so many ways a person can go, and so many tricks a person can do on the net that at first it seemed too much. I was completely lost, double clicking, going into this place, and getting out of that place. Thank god there was Cheryl Dickie, author of "the book" for computer users, to help me and my classmates. After a while, I began to remember the important steps that I forgot the first couple of times.
Now I'm at the state that I appreciate doing research on the Internet, gathering material for all my courses. Within a few seconds of typing a topic, relevant resources come up. This way of gathering information is much easier and quicker than looking for books in libraries. I'm still learning how to do a lot of things, but it is getting easier every time I go.
Students taking the FC1750.06 critical skills course have been writing for the electronic journal Road to East Asia, which was launched for us by our instructor in January, 1996. My first article is an imaginative response to A Higher Kind of Loyalty, by Liu Binyan, a Chinese dissident writer. Several of us chose to write what we thought Liu would say if he were to speak at York University. At first I did not think much about the idea of having a piece on the Internet, but after reading it at our web site, I felt not only honored, but proud that it was published. All I can hope is that if and when people read our journal, they can get some information out of it.
The Internet is also a tool to search for data about the job market and major fields of study. What I'm studying now is Sociology. There have been more than one hundred sources on this subject but most of them are released by departments of Sociology of particular universities and colleges. Most have a homepage describing their course offerings. The one that I like most is at Colby, where one of the first sociology courses in the country was taught, back in 1890, by Albion Woodbury Small (http://www.colby.edu/sociology).
When I graduate with a degree in Sociology, I want to go into teaching. There are many branches of teaching for one to choose, including elementary, secondary, or university levels. I would like to teach developmental handicapped children. In this area there are not as many choices as some other fields. One that is of particular interest is Nemunoke Gakuen: School for Handicapped Children in Japan. Here the main emphasis is education through art. Another school is the Blind Children's Center, which also has a homepage describing its purpose -- to turn initial fears of being blind into hope. It helps children and their families become independent by creating a climate of safety and trust, in which students learn to develop self-confidence.
I have used the Internet five times now, and each time I learn more about how it works. No longer fearfully groping in the dark, I have more faith in my ability to communicate with the computer. What appeared to be a frightening journey initially has turned out to be a trip to "enlightenment." But I can't forget all the children who have access to the Internet, which disseminates both useful and indecent material. Perhaps something can be done about that. Good or bad, this super-highway is here to stay and will be used more often in years to come.
Copyright © 1996 by the author. Information from this article should be attributed to the author.