Can you imagine a world where you wake up in the morning, and you go to your doctor’s office without ever leaving your house? Instead, you plug your blood pressure cuff into your computer and you insert your saliva sample into an analytical drive. The analysis is sent to a virtual physician who lives a thousand miles away. He diagnoses an illness that requires surgery. Lucky for you, the surgeon drone is not terribly busy that morning, and you are able to have your gallbladder removed early in the afternoon. The drone arrives, gives you anesthesia, and by employing ultrasound technology, your doctor can operate by remote control. Without interacting with a human at any point in the process, you have an organ removed in your own home.
For many people, the idea that a university could appear in your living room was equally hard to imagine. Yet, Walden can provide you with a world class education without physically sharing a space with fellow students and teachers. Today online learning is a more common experience, and you are bravely doing what was only a dream 20 years ago.
What wonderful uses of technology! Yet there can be a dark side to technology and the virtual world. Texting while driving isn’t the only thing that can cause an injury. Many people get news of an end to a relationship via text message, cry about an ex’s post on Facebook, or find out about an affair by cyber sleuthing. We must learn to navigate the positive aspects of technology (1 in 3 marriage licenses in New York City were to couples who met online) while dealing with the perversion rampant online.
In this week’s Discussion you will use the Week 1 Notes and Readings to explore what it means to be human in a virtual world. Reference the resources in your post and response. You do not have to formally cite a source, but if you are relating an idea or building upon the readings, poems, or videos, please identify the source.
To prepare for the Discussion:
The “To prepare” component of the Discussion identifies the Learning Resources you will need to read or view to inform your post for the Discussion. Additionally, it may ask you to think about a specific topic, consider an alternate perspective, or recall life experiences which may inform your Discussion post.
By Day 3,post a paragraph response (about 200–300 words in length) to the following questions:
Do you behave and communicate differently online than you do face-to-face? How so? Give specific examples.
What does it mean to be “fully human”? In light of your definition, do you think we can be “fully human” while interacting with others in a virtual space? Why or why not?
Read two or more of your classmate’s postings.
Respond by Day 5 to two or more of your classmate’s postings by sharing how you would change what you wrote based upon what you read in other posts.
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your classmates made.
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