I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends…

And say goodbye with a little help from Michael Scott.

As of the writing of this post, I will be walking across a stage in front of Bapst Library, accepting my diploma, in approximately 20 days, 22 hours and 41 minutes, give or take a few seconds. Over the past two years, I’ve completed about a dozen problem sets, taken another dozen final exams, and worked on approximately 200 group projects.   At least half of those have been for this class, or that’s at least what it feels like. It can be difficult to look back at a class, and identify any key takeaways, in part because it seems like everything is interconnected (and also it all kind of seems like a blur, but that may just be me). But I’ll give it a shot.

In all seriousness, here to help me express my thoughts on this class are the loveable, and Internet adored, manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office.  He is a fitting co-author of my final post as many of us are speeding towards graduate and the “real” world.

I’ve grouped our many hours of discussion, Twitter threads, and blog posts into a few overarching topics, although these are by no means the only things that have left an impression on me this semester.

On the Internet:

As we’ve discussed time and time again, the Internet often represents the very worst of humanity.  From Jim’s presentation pinpointing some of the ills of Twitter, to class readings talking about Facebook’s issues effectively enforcing their rules and regulations, it is clear that there are serious problems with how the Internet is used today.  And that doesn’t even touch on the difficulties with governing the internet when, as Professor Chang showed, many of our laws around communication are older than I am.  It also doesn’t take into consideration Aiden’s blog posts about problems that can occur when people don’t have access to the internet.   But…

That doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.  Mason’s blog post about apps aiding the homeless and Deb’s presentation about how social media can be used to find and help victims of human trafficking are just two examples of this.  We’ve also talked about the advantages of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, including the use of blockchain in areas like establishing the creator and owner of art, as well as who holds deeds to land, etc.

On the Future of Work:

It’s clear that society is increasingly more reliant on technology and technological advances.  Our smartphones are essentially superglued to our hands, and as Miriam showed in one of her blog posts, we spend an alarming amount of time on various apps.  This means that technology will become omnipresent in the workplace as well, eventually becoming solely responsible for low skill jobs in many industries.

But that doesn’t mean that we will all find ourselves without jobs.  As Jacqui Canney told us last week, Walmart is utilizing technology in a way that allows workers to spend more time serving customers, and less time on monotonous tasks like reshelving stock.  In his blog post last week, Adam talked about what workers will do with more time on their hands – while we don’t know the answer yet, I think it’s a worthwhile problem to have, and will hopefully allow people to pursue more meaningful and fulfilling careers.

On Us:

To be fully transparent, I was little put off by the idea of being in class with undergrads.  Most of you are younger than my younger brother, and there are days that I’m pretty sure he is a still a toddler.

I have learned so much from everyone in the class.  Undergrads, I didn’t realize how behind the times I was on technology until I saw your presentations and read your blogs.  I knew nothing about Vine until Luiza presented on it, and it’s safe to say that even after Conor’s presentation on Fortnite, I still have no idea what my brothers are talking about.  MBAs, you’ve opened my eyes to new utilizations of technology in business, including Melissa’ presentation on Magic Bands at Disney, and Miriam’s presentation about using technology to help lower injury rates in sports.

Professor Kane, thank you for teaching a class that encourages us to think critically about technology and the way that it is used, while leveraging that very same technology to communicate with one another.  I’ve never tweeted so much when a season of The Bachelor was not airing.

While I didn’t always appreciate the workload of this class, I can walk away knowing that I’ve gained more than I expected, and I’m looking forward to leveraging this knowledge at my next job.

4 comments

  1. I could immediately tell this was an MBA blog because of all the Office gif’s. Undergrads, you missed a great thing….in a few short days you will have all the time in the world to watch it and as your professional careers develop, it will become even funnier.

    I think we are at the same place as social media-wise. Far more aware of its dangers and reluctant to get involved. I appreciate how you see the upside whereas I only really identify with the negative. Social media is a dangerous thing but thank you for the reminder that it can be a good thing as well!

  2. We first offered this class as a hybrid grad/undergrad out of necessity. We didn’t think enough people would want to take it in 2009. The MBAs really pitched a fit about it too. But, they came to the conclusion (as have I) that the discussions across generations are invaluable. I did experiment one time offering separate classes, and it was nowhere as near as good.

  3. merrimju · ·

    Truly amusing post. Though I definitely think we need to graduate if your thinking we did any problem sets in this class! Also good job discussing the issues with the internet and the way people can use technology to improve the lives of those in need as well as make us more productive. I’ll miss reading your more humors tweets!

  4. adurney1 · ·

    Great post! I appreciate all the content. I agree with your last statement. Although the workload was heavy and consistent, it was great to push me to learn. I enjoyed the work and it was helpful to engage in class with all the readings.

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