Week 14 has come so fast! I feel privileged to have been surrounded by such intelligent people during the class, and I’m sorry our time together in class is over.
Part 1: Your contribution to the learning community this semester
As I revise my role in the community of inquiry, I believe I stayed an explorer, someone who explored a question rather than asked them. In communications like the Twitter chats, most of my discussions were started by noticing what someone had said and asking them to elucidate on it further. This supports my Week 2 goals to connect more with people, but I would have liked to have been able to trigger a long conversation about a subject. However, I feel my role as an explorer was also a strength for me as I went deeper into ideas from the readings and chats. Some of what I feel were my strongest blog posts were written in response to issues that had been raised in the Twitter chats, like my teens in the library post.
To participate in the community, I tried to make two to three comments per week. I really wish in hindsight I had made more of an effort to engage in more conversations and not just attempted to fulfill the participation criteria. I am genuinely embarrased by how little I did, especially as I explicitly said I wanted to engage more in my Week 2 post. When commenting, I often visited the blogs of people I had spoken to before online and in class, as I knew we would have common ground to begin a conversation on. I also tried to speak to people who I wanted to get to know a little better. I sometimes tried to be insightful by including a link or trying to focus on a particular piece of the post and asking questions about it. For some reason, I found replying to people commenting easier, perhaps because I was responding to them. I fared better in the Twitter chats, as I took part in all of them but one due to impending assessment.
The topics of my discussions were often the GLAM sector as it’s a personal interest of mine. I found I was also highly interested in issues like the digital divide, the rights of teens and children in the library, and the role/duties of librarians when helping researchers.
Part 2: Twitter
While I was familiar with the blogs due to past experience in Emerging Technologies, I was extremely interested in how Twitter was embedded within the class and how we would be using it to learn. While I had used Twitter before semi-professionally in my journalism days, I was still self-conscious about getting my voice out there. I didn’t like that everyone could read my thoughts and they were up there potentially online forever. When I voiced my doubts using Twitter in the first week, friends of mine already using it were very encouraging and I felt there was a supporting community already on there. It made taking part in the chats easier.
The Twitter chats were excellent as I felt they highly engaged the class and caused a lot of discussion that may not have happened face to face within such a large group. People posted some highly insightful articles, and I loved learning from my peers and being able to explore issues with them. I found myself checking Twitter more and tweeting outside of the chats, although I have yet to really embrace it fully.
Part 3: Your Learning In The Unit
I believe the key takeaway I will finish this unit on is that libraries are for people, not just a place for books or resources. If libraries aren’t focused around their users and their needs, whatever they may be, they are not truly fulfilling their objective. This takeaway was really cemented by the assessment, as we had to prove at every step that we were implementing our program for a particular/need of our targeted user group. On a more personal note, after taking part in the Week 11 Twitter chat and going to the Open Data Day event, I have started to think about potentially becoming a research librarian.
I am pleased to say the community approach to learning really worked for me. I loved the elements of discussion, and sharing ideas through blogs and posts. It was a great chance to hear what people had to say as it put a new light on topics I had learnt about before.
As for assessment, I have never taken part in grant writing before, so the two assessments have been very illuminating in what to do and how it needs to be done. I feel this is a very practical assessment that could be highly useful for future career work. I particularly credit my team mates Jasmine and Anitra for being so focused and helpful as we worked on the assessment. As well as the grant writing, researching instititutions such as the State Library of Queensland provided real insight into how they and the programs they run work.
Part 4: Reflect on the quality of your work
I feel the quality of my work improved steadily towards the end of the semester for two reasons. Seeing other people’s posts inspired me to put more care and thought into my writing. I also took feedback onboard about using more supporting evidence when writing my blog posts, as they were originally very opinion-based. I believe my strengths were in researching for material while writing my posts and the writing itself. However, I sometimes feel my weaknesses as a writer were sometimes on display when I overused words like ‘also’. Additionally, I feel I could have been more outgoing when commenting on the blog posts, and talked to more people.
Now I have identified these problem areas, I would like to hone my reflective writing skills and networking abilities. I believe I’ll do this by drafting more and planning my posts out before I begin writing. As for networking, I’ll begin by trying to attend more events and speaking to more people through Twitter. As there seem to be several people from the class still using it, I’ll be more confident in reaching out to people.