In this blog post, I will reflect on what I have learned as part of the module WL4102 (Languages and Information Technologies) and how I feel that it has benefitted me going forward.
Over the course of this semester, I have learned a great deal about information technologies in general, which is important in today’s world. As so much of my life is spent on a computer for both educational and social purposes, I find it important that I am now more empowered in terms of understanding the technologies that play such a big role in my life. Topics such as character encoding, standards and encoding data using markup languages became much clearer and I acquired more knowledge of the web in general. I also learned about the connectedness of languages and information technologies. Information on WordNet and wordnets, Charis SIL, Unicode and corpora helped me to understand where the two fields meet, and I now know that there are many areas of study that bring them together.
I also gained academic skills more generally, such as presentation skills through my presentation on standards, and writing skills, through the writing of regular blog posts. Although I find presentations nerve-wracking, I know that every presentation I do is a step towards having more confidence with them in the future. Many of the blog posts required me to describe how a certain aspect of information technologies actually functions in detail. I found some of these aspects complex and this required an especially clear writing style to ensure that the material was accessible to readers. To write clearly, I also needed to fully understand each topic, as I could only describe functions in my own words by fully understanding some of the more technical descriptions available online. This led to an improvement in my research skills.
I found writing my main blog essay and my shorter blog essay particularly helpful. With these posts, we were given plenty of flexibility in terms of content. This meant that I was able to tailor these posts to what I am interested in. By using what I had learned about information technologies such as corpora and machine translation, I was able to connect these topics with themes that I have repeatedly focused on as part of my degree, such as semiotics and gender studies. This helped me to further reflect on the connection between my current studies and information technologies. Going forward, I am hoping to complete further study in anthropology and I think that the two posts were certainly relevant to this field, as both allowed me to explore the connection between society and information technologies.
Although this is my last compulsory blog post on this website, I hope to continue using blogs, whether that be through this domain or through another one. Having to write blog posts on the topics covered was useful in engaging with the material as it gave me a space to record my own observations and thoughts as the semester progressed. It allowed me to track my own learning progress very clearly as I can revisit all of my posts. The regularity of the blog posts also helped me to keep up with the material. In the future, it would be a good idea for me to start a learning blog for my studies overall. I could set my own deadlines (e.g. write a post every two weeks) and I could choose a topic that had been covered in my studies. This would help me to engage with the material regularly in a focused way and would also motivate me. Having made this domain, I can now look back and say “look at all I have learned this semester!”, and it is great to have that feeling of accomplishment.
Altogether, I thoroughly enjoyed this module and I hope that this post gave some sense of how much I have gained from taking part in it.