Welcome. Thank you for your participation in the course. The issues raised by the course are significant and, I trust, meaningful to each of us.

If you would indulge me, please use this page to enter a brief personal profile.

Jim Collier. I am your humble instructor. If you have questions at any time regarding the class, or this wiki, do not hesitate to ask.

Our class will explore some of the most profound questions of our time. We stand poised with the ability to change our fundamental biology. We possess the technological means to augment our abilities and extend our lives. But the "digital revolution" may well be regarded as mere opening act to the real show — our power to transcend our selves. In the near future, we may learn what it means to live through technology as technology. I believe we have an imperative to ask questions about technology from the humanist perspective — a perspective you have developed over the course of your study. Such is the task of putting knowledge to work! Now, to the personal stuff: I'm originally from Richmond, Virginia and grew up near the University of Richmond. My step father graduated from Tech in 1943 — the "Old Guard." I've been at Tech on (mostly) and off since 1979 — my freshman year. So I know a bit about about university and town lore. My wife, Monique, has returned to school and is pursuing a degree in Science and Technology Studies (that's my background as well). We met in Durham, North Carolina. I am a fan of "new grass" or "progressive bluegrass" music (And I play a little mandolin … see Mom, those ten years of piano lessons were worth it! ) and New Grass Revival in particular (ah … 1980's bluegrass).

We have a cat, Spenser …


And, of course, as we all know — The Internet is Made of Cats!

Please add your profile below. Thanks.

Brooks Tiffany: You all may have noticed that I’m a little older and that’s because I’m an Air Force veteran who served five years active duty (I’m currently a reservist out of JB Charleston, SC). So, I might bring a unique perspective to the table with regards to technology because my childhood did not involve cell phones and internet – I did not have regular access to these things until my first stint in college. I'm part of that lost generation that doesn't identify with generation X, or the millennials (but we prefer X). I’m currently married to my lovely wife, Hannah Tiffany, who works as an interior designer at Interiors Unlimited and also works as a manager/bartender at PK’s bar and grill. We have two awesome cats, Deckster and Gibbs, who keep me entertained when I’m bored. I’m slated to graduate this December, like many of you, and am hoping to get into grad school for Human Centered Design and Engineering.

Deckster and Gibbs are bros….

I was tempted to add even more cats to the internet but stopped myself and went with this video instead…one of my favorites.

Susan Nguyen: Hi everyone! I am a senior majoring in Professional Writing and Creative Writing, and I also have a minor in Psychology. I'm still grappling with the fact that I'm a senior because I've grown to love Blacksburg and don't want to leave anytime soon. Also, I still get confused for a freshman all the time. I'm excited to discuss the many moving and changing parts of technology in this class because I have mixed feelings about some of its advances. I can actually remember a time when technology didn't have such a large impact on my life: elementary school. When I was younger I was actually afraid of computers. Currently, I still own a "dumb" phone. For the longest time this was because my phone plan wasn't due for an upgrade. However over the summer my parents offered to get me a new phone, but I opted to keep my "dumb" phone because I was scared of becoming like the rest of my smartphone carrying friends who are constantly refreshing their Facebooks and Twitters or playing Candy Crush. You won't find me doing any of that in this class!

Hobs Towler: Like everyone else in this course (it seems), I am a senior majoring in the Professional Writing track and I am (supposedly) on track to graduate in December, but who knows.

Last Tuesday, I was quite pleased to learn that this course would be laser-focused on the impact that technology has had on our lives and others like us. It's a topic that I've probably been writing and talking about since sometime in high school and certainly living through since long before that. I abhor social media, but I'm drawn to other facets of the technological world such as programming and newest hardware. I personally find the idea of transhumanism extremely interesting and, if someday we find ourselves able to produce robotic prosthetics that can exceed flesh and bone, I would very much like to buy myself a cyborg arm. Hopefully as we explore the implications of integrating technology into our day-to-day I won't be the only person arguing for increased cohesion.

Alex Lamb:
I am a senior English major with minors in Psychology and Business Leadership. I will be graduating in December, along with the majority of my classmates it seems. I plan on applying to graduate schools all across the country. While Virginia is and always be home for me, I am ready for a change of scenery. I am a Fluvanna County Flying Fluco…no, none of us really know what a Fluco is, but I obviously like unique mascots or else I wouldn’t have wanted to become a Hokie. Fluvanna is about 15 minutes outside of Charlottesville, so I am from enemy territory, but my blood most definitely bleeds Chicago maroon and burnt orange. I run a lot, mostly so I can justify eating junk food daily. This summer has opened my eyes to the world of travel as well. I frequently drive long distances for not very long amounts of time, but I enjoy being on the move. My favorite color is red; my favorite candy is Twizzlers; my favorite television show is Gilmore Girls. Some of my guilty pleasures are Avril Lavigne, bacon cheese fries, and Teen Mom.

Augusta Dean:
Hey all,
I'm never very good and typing online introductions about myself because I can never think of anything really interesting to say. I'll start with that I'm graduating in December, unfortunately. I'd love to stay in college my whole life, partly because it's so much easier than the real world that lies outside, but also because I love learning. I've grown a deep appreciation for other cultures, interests, and perspectives since attending Virginia Tech. I have a dog who gets me through all of the stresses of college, work, etc. who is the cutest thing. I would love to know where internet cats came from…dogs rule.

Matt Gilbert:

Hey guys,
I'll start with the boring stuff. I'm a professional writing major graduating in May. I've come to love Virginia Tech and Blacksburg as a whole, and like many, I'm trying to prolong graduation for as long as possible. I am a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and it has given me so much in my college experience. My two passions in life are music and most importantly, golf. My hope is to somehow incorporate those two into what I do after I graduate. If everything works out, I will be working for the Golf Channel down in Orlando, FL after I graduate.

Erika Lower

I'm a senior in Humanities, Science and Environment with a minor in professional writing, an academic track that mostly boils down to being equally enthused about science and writing and wanting to talk about both with everybody. I'm in the perpetually interesting and sometimes awkward position of being a technology enthusiast and a damn hippie, and I am absolutely fascinated by how people's changing relationships with technology affect their relationships with the natural world.

As far as discussions in this class go, I'm particularly interested in transhumanism, the impact of science fiction, and what it means to inhabit a digital identity. As far as discussions out of this class go, I love wildlife biology, travel stories, and a good cup of tea. Unfortunately, as I live in a dorm, I have no cute pet pictures to post, but I am the proud owner of a spider plant called The Stig.