The Do’s and Don’ts of Dystopias, Real and Imagined

So far in this course, we have covered a number of different texts, films, and other creative works that have began to help us formulate the definition of a dystopia. One specific way that we have attempted to formulate a definition is through the annotated reading assignments that accelerate our understanding through a variety of lenses. However, we hardly discuss these pieces in class for more than a few minutes. While we spent a large amount of time discussing the dystopian elements we found in 1984, we have failed to truly dig into the articles we have read. I think it would be beneficial for us to spend more class time breaking down the articles, as each article provides a unique perspective surrounding the central dystopian topic. Another thing that I think should be integrated into class time is watching and finding short videos on the topic of dystopias. For example, when we watched the eery short video on youtube, I found it to bring about great discussion topics involving dystopian elements.

There also one major practice that could be eliminated from class time that I think would benefit us. I personally think that we go slightly overboard on the amount of time we spend in groups. While the groups are highly productive and beneficial in the first few minutes, we usually finish much earlier than expected and run out of things to discuss. I think we should judge group time by the natural flow of the discussions instead of having set amount of time so that we spend class time more productively, and also so that we can come together and conclude the discussion as a class.

While these slight changes may benefit our learning, there are also some amazing features of the class that have helped us so far and should continue on. One of these is the use of the website itself. I find it very beneficial for everything to be as accessible as it has been through Room 101 and bright space. There has not been a single time that I have had to question where or what I should be doing is because it has all been right in front of us since the first day of class. Another thing I find beneficial is using hypothesis, as we can see each others perspectives while simultaneously sharing our own. It is a great way for people who do not enjoy opening up in class to be able to express their opinions. Overall, our communication as a class has been very effective this semester. I cannot say that there is a time that I have ever felt like open discussion and debate are not welcomed, and that has allowed us as a class to expand our opinions beyond our own perspectives. I learn something new from my peers every class because of the open environment that has been fostered.

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