A New Sense of Study

This course has been an interesting journey so far because it is structured in such a unique way. I think that it is really interesting that instead of another lecture-based history course with discussion elements the course went beyond that to give students the ability to create and lead the class as a collective. I think that this was a welcome distinction from other history courses because it is a great way for us as students to familiarize ourselves with each other while also making sure we are on the same page. I was a bit intimidated at first since I am not as familiar with technological tools as others; however, the time that we set aside to make an infographic was really comforting because I was able to pick up how these tools worked pretty quickly. I would also like to mention that having us build the syllabus from the ground up is really fascinating because while we tackled it as a class it put the job of professors at UMW in perspective for me.

I find the readings so far to demonstrate a whole new perspective on studying history because while any angle can be seen as a cause-and-effect situation it had never seemed so streamlined to me before and it’s something that I can appreciate. I liked the idea that all of the technologies that we are studying were inspired by their predecessors and has seemingly been this way when applied to all of the topics in the class so far. I think that the process of deciding which assignments we want to do is quite fun. The fleshing out process is probably the most difficult part for us as a class because we need to get as detailed as possible so that the assignments are uniform and straightforward. I can’t wait to see what else this class has in store for us as we continue on with the semester.

Assignments of Interest

There have been many ideas proposed for how we are to go about the coming projects in this course but there are a few in particular that really stuck out to me. I personally would like to tweet out historical events live, I think it is a medium that most of the class would be familiar with and we can educate others. Another assignment that I think allows room for alot of creativity is the infographics. I feel like it allows for the use of multiple digital tools, and it can be applied to any of the topics that we have to discuss in the course allowing it to be a very versatile assignment that does not require too many video or audio editing skills which for those who lack in such departments, like me, it a bit relieving.

Def Leppard Diskography – Google Sheets

The Historiography of the Information Age

I think that both James Gleick and Ronald R. Kline both made very different, but informative approaches to their works. I really enjoyed how Gleick introduced the information theory in his introduction by breaking down how mathematics and engineering collaborated together in order to create a whole new direction for the world. I think that his writing explained the importance of not only the fields that were created and the discoveries that were made because of the field, but also the importance of the people behind it like Claude Shannon. His detailed approach to the figures involved and the details he included allowed for a lot of engagement with the text. Kline’s approach had a much broader scope and separated his work from Gleick’s by incorporating the effect that the world made on the field of cybernetics almost as much as how cybernetics was impacting the world around it. For example, Kline alluded to the shift in focus from nuclear science to information science in the wake of the Cold War. He continued to keep the conflict in focus while discussing the social and scientific impact that cybernetics had throughout the mid to late 20th century.

After reading the beginning of these works, I think that it would be interesting to learn more about the hidden figures that helped shape the world as we know it today. I think it would also be interesting to focus on some technology that emerged in other fields like medical cybernetics or biological cybernetics. Before these works, I was not aware of these figures or the accomplishments that they made to the world we live in today. Gleick’s explanation of the information theory really struck me because the thought that technically everything from the smallest grain of sand to the biggest galaxy in the cosmos has the potential to be boiled down to an information itself is baffling to say the least. I particularly like a point that Gleick made at the end of his introduction, “Every new medium transforms the nature of human thought. In the long run, history is the story of information becoming aware of itself.” This point really resonated with me because I’ve grappled with many different definitions for history itself; however, this is a perspective that I’ve never considered before. The notion that I, as a bundle of 6 billion bits, am on a pursuit of awareness through learning about the past is a truly intriguing concept that I will ponder further in my never-ending pursuit of historical knowledge.

Gleick, James. 2011. The Information. New York: Pantheon Books, 12.

Weinersmith, Zach. 2018. “Quantum Bits,” Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Accessed January 15, 2023. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – Quantum Bits (smbc-comics.com).


My name is Kendell Jenkins, and I am a senior at UMW. I’ve taken a wide variety of history courses at the University of Mary Washington, but I haven’t taken many that focused on the United States digital/information era. I think that it would be interesting learning about the rapid growth of technology in the United States because I think that viewing the narrative of United States history through the lens of technology to be a fascinating approach to the subject.  When looking at the past assignments of the class I like to see that they all seemed unique and fun to work on. One assignment that caught my interest was conveying a message through an early form of communication. I am not very tech savvy when it came to using computers or cell phones, but the thought of demonstrating how the beeper was used as a means to notify others to contact each other is humorous to say the least. One piece of advice I plan on using is booking appointments at the DKC and HCC way early. I state this because in the past I have failed to understand that hundreds of students need these resources for their personal school careers and the window only gets smaller as the semester progresses.