As perhaps a bit of a recursive learning experience, I have been encouraged to review the previous musings of one of my course ancestors in the form of taking a figurative walk around their blog. In keeping with the concept of the “Native,” I have chosen the blog of a friend of mine, Sunil Garg. I am hoping that my personal experience with him will provide a better context with which to examine the Amsterdam-related segment of his blog.
As the Honors Amsterdam 2007 blog linked to Sunil’s main page and not the more relevant Amsterdam material, I was forced to dig through the navigation and search for the “amsterdam” tag. In doing so, I also caught a glance at the rest of his tags in the form of his tag cloud which, as can be seen to the left, visualizes the tags which Sunil has labeled his posts with. In this cloud, the size of the tags indicate the frequency of their use. I am not sure if it was the subconscious influence of having read Lynch’s study or an act of my own volition, but I immediately began attempting to organize the cloud in terms of my current task, mentally sorting them into the categories of “potentially Amsterdam related” and “likely irrelevant.” What then immediately struck me is that the majority of the content of his blog is amsterdam related, as the amsterdam and studyabroad tags are far and away the largest tags. Delving deeper, I ignore the technology and internet tags, knowing that these are unrelated interests of his, and confirm that wayfinding was a large part of his studies, along with research on society and culture. Having satisfied my curiosity, I finally click through to the Amsterdam tag to review the content of his posts.
Before arriving at content, however, the eye comes across the title of his posts, which are similar to mine and contrast with that of some of my classmates in their more abstract and less academic nature – “Tolerance and Submission” instead of “Amsterdam – Assignment number one” and the like. This, along with the introduction concluding with “[this] marks the first post in a series of what I hope to be many,” is indicative of a certain excitement about the subject, rather than the requirements of a course.
My next observation is that Sunil does extensive research beyond the requirements of the course and prompt before posting, as evidenced by his abundant links off to various sources to support his statements. This is an interesting take on the assignments he was asked to do, bringing in the viewpoints of people other than himself to strengthen his arguments, either through agreement or dissent. This pattern is much more familiar to the format of a blog than to the format of a classroom assignment, indicating to me his native environment.
My final major observation that is general enough to note in this brief post is the lack of photos decorating Sunil’s posts. Whereas most of his regular writing involves at least one image accompanying the text, only two of his Amsterdam posts involve images. This decided lack of images was a bit disquieting, as again the inclusion of images is a standard practice when posting on a blog.