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What would happen if the Web was turned off tonight?

Watch Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt discuss the inception of the Web, and its impact on modern society.

Welcome to the course. In just 25 years the World Wide Web has grown to become the largest human information system in history, integrated into the everyday lives of billions of people across the planet, shaping how we do business, conduct our social lives and organise politically.

In this short video, you meet leading Web scientists Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt who discuss the inception of the Web, and its impact on modern society.

As Wendy concludes, the Web

‘has become, in a very short space of time, a fundamental in our lives. And the scary thing about that is, imagine if it wasn’t there tomorrow.’ (3min:55sec)
Join the conversation by sharing your response to the following questions. You can do this by posting in the comments area. Rather than on this step, we encourage you to introduce yourself in the following step 1.2 where we’d also like you to tell us where you are in the world on our user location map, and what it is about the Web that fascinates you.
What do you think would happen if the Web was turned off tonight? How has the Web become a fundamental part of your daily life?

Posting your first comments

Share your response in the comments area. Have a look at other learners’ comments. If you can relate to a comment someone else has made, why not ‘Like’ it or leave a reply? You can filter comments by ‘Following’, ‘Most liked’ and ‘My comments’.

If you want to see recent activity on the course, click the Activity icon at the top of the step. If you’re following someone, you can filter this list to show the comments of people you’re following, or see if anyone has replied to a comment you’ve made.

Communicating online

  • Comments should be brief and to the point; no more than two or three short paragraphs. This is a conversation, not a monologue – no one wants to read essays!

  • Read your comments and replies all the way through before you post them. If you post in a hurry you may regret it later – you can’t delete but you can edit your comments

  • Criticise the idea, not the person – and be polite when you do

  • Don’t write a reply that you wouldn’t say face to face

  • Remember that learners vary in culture, age and experience

  • Not all learners have English as their first language, so always try to write clearly

  • Explain any acronyms you use and avoid jargon if you can

  • If you see a message that you think is offensive click its ‘Report’ flag icon. It will be reviewed by FutureLearn’s moderators and will be removed if they agree with you

When you are ready to move on click the pink ‘Mark as Complete’ button at the bottom of this step. This will update your progress page, and will help you to keep track of which steps you’ve done.

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Web Science: How the Web Is Changing the World

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