When I arrived on our first day of class this semester, I had no idea what to expect as far as the content of the course. The title, “Science and Technology in America,” was intriguing enough, but I was unsure how the material would be structured. Early on in the class, we covered many of the basic “technology” topics that face society today: social media, cell phones, and the Internet. However, as the course continued I was impressed by the topics we planned to cover on the syllabus. “Science and Technology” encompasses so much more than just the obvious takeover of the Internet on modern society.
Now, in retrospect, it is simply fascinating to review how each student took their own interpretation of the science and technology theme of the course. I never would have initially thought that the science of happiness, collapse of civilization and nature, and the future of food would be incorporated. Nonetheless, I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to expose myself to these topics, and also to evaluate other students’ responses.
As we near our final project, I have noticed a broad range of subjects over which students are writing their papers. Some of them follow the more traditional and well known aspects of modern technology, such as social media and cell phones. However, even these students have broadened their perspectives and chosen to research a particular facet of the topic that proves to be more intellectually stimulating and exploratory than what we have covered in our classroom discussions.
A large majority of the students in our class have selected a topic for their final papers that epitomizes the diversity of material we have experienced in lecture. As I was reading through our class Web site, I encountered everything from hip hop music and microscopes, to mummification and technology in athletics. The best thing about this course is the freedom we are given to explore topics we enjoy, rather than being forced to research a less interesting subject. I couldn’t help but be impressed with this range of themes for the final paper.
One topic that especially resonated with me was the future of food production and its correlation with the takeover of the food industry by massive corporations. We did have one class discussion about the current state of our food production and how it is affecting society. However, this student is expanding on the lecture and analyzing the detrimental separation between farm and table. The outline went on to explain how this separation, coupled with misleading food sources and promotion, are playing an integral part in the obesity epidemic and overall poor eating habits among Americans. This subject matter is particularly important to me, so I look forward to reading the student’s paper at the end of the semester.
I was also intrigued by one specific post that outlined a sports topic, which focused on ways in which technology is shaping the athletic industry. This is another case that the common person would not initially think of as being affected by technology, but the points presented in the outline were all valid reasons, such as the use of video review during games and using advanced technology to reach the “human limit.” As our course comes to a close, I firmly believe that every student has allowed the class material to impact their own lives in one way or another. As the diversity of final paper topics can easily show, each student now has their own idea of science and technology in America.