This semester was my first time using a wikispace. I enjoyed reading and commenting on the various posts and found myself inspired by even the seemingly simple questions like “What are you listening to?”. I felt the gears turning when asked to give our thoughts on a movie/TV show. These informal exercises really initiated the foray into metacognitive space. It sort of trained me to take this kind of sense into the act of consuming different items of media and made myself aware of, if not made me document, the resulting thoughts from a TV episode, article, interview, etc.
I also came to appreciate the layout and feel of the wiki page in general. The thing is that CourseLink, in the ‘Content’ or ‘Discussion’ areas, etc., feels a little too buttoned-up — like you’re at a formal dinner schmoozing with fellow guests but you don’t want to say the wrong thing at risk of sounding like an asshole or troglodyte. I think the extreme of this would be a Facebook or Twitter group chat, where it’s as if you started drinking at 2 pm and suddenly everyone starts to head over to the local dumpster fire for some good times. Tommy straps a keg to his back for the trip and Jimmy gets arrested on the way for taking his sweaty hawaiian shirt off and spinning it around his head before he lets go of it and it hits a cop in the face. This is where I find the Wikispace to be a happy medium. You can mill about and provide your input if and where you want to. Everybody’s cool, man. This is probably as much a testament to the class a whole as it is to the format itself, and the environment that Mark facilitated throughout the semester.
The metacognitive aspect of the wiki is something that I keep reflecting back on (how meta is that?). It’s amazing how much you can relearn or rediscover about yourself and your thoughts just by answering some simple questions like the ones posed over the course of the semester. After listing my favourite music artists and groups, I went back and made a giant playlist of all those artists (some of their albums and some favourite singles). I found myself falling back in love with albums or songs that maybe I hadn’t heard in a while, or hadn’t listened to with a new sense of reverence, or at least attention. I feel deeply connected to music — it is nearly impossible for me to listen to a certain song and not go back in my mind to when I first listened to it, or when I first heard it. It brings up a question of why certain music — artists, albums, songs — affects you and reacts with you in the way that it does. Why did you choose this music in particular? I, and I suspect countless others, can create a timeline of events or periods in their life when they were into x artist or y album, and I think this can say a lot about the psychological and personal development of someone, almost irrespective of the artists as personas. I think observing the music itself can be telling in just about any case.
A strange thing happened when we were asked to comment on ‘The Big Short’ and the pilot of ‘Mr. Robot’. I discovered that I had a lot to say, or write, about both works. This is not entirely peculiar, since I enjoy writing in pretty much any format and/or about a myriad of topics, but it struck me as odd because I don’t think I would have written a thing on either one were I not asked to share simply what I thought. And I sort of caught myself off-guard because a substantial review revealed itself seemingly without a real concerted effort. It could have been because it was 2 am and I had nothing better to do (sleep? Nah). This seems to have revealed to me something about the way I work: when asked to provide something, an answer, analysis, etc., I am usually very keen. It’s not that I’m not ever a self-starter though, so it’s difficult to pin down where I lie on the motivation spectrum. I suppose the main thing I can glean from this realization is that if I ask myself these kinds of simple questions, I will probably be surprised and excited to hear what I have to say in response to them.
I would certainly use a wiki again. It appears to be an appropriate forum for many uses. If you want to get away from using Facebook or Twitter exclusively, wikispaces gives you a different look that again feels like a really cool party where you can walk around to different circles of conversation and just add your input. The metacognitive aspect of the questions themselves was something that affected me in a positive way, and really got me to inquire about and analyze some other ideas or concepts about myself and the world around me that I might not have arrived at without them. The course wiki name was a good reminder of this search: be meta, be dope, and always be on a quest for knowledge!