So that’s a wrap: Information Programs has come to an end.
Well actually just one last thing before I curl up and read a book under the jacaranda tree… My end of semester reflection on what I learnt & how. Following the reflection prompt structure I will start looking at my contribution to the IFN614 learning community.
Part 1: Your contribution to the learning community this semester
In my Week 2 reflection I noted my preference for intimate interactions, true to form I got a lot out of the face to face meetings with Leela for assessment 2 & 3; of which I talk more in part 4. For now I will focus on the data collected through the Connected Learning Analytics Toolkit (CLA toolkit). The CLA toolkit has helped to quantify my engagement to the learning community in IFN614. The following data provides an overview of my actual contribution:
- Platform total activity: Twitter 40%|Blog 60%
- My total activity: Shared 5%|Comment 35%|Created 60%
- Sentiment: Neutral 13.3%|Negative 8.3%|Positive 79.3%
- Community of Inquiry: Cognitive Presence: Triggering 72%|Other 24%| Resolution 4%
The 72% triggering is more then I had anticipated at the commencement of semester and possibly the most important data collection for reframing my contribution to the learning community. In this context triggering is the initiation of conversation or dialogue around a particular topic. The type of profile originally intended was an information provider & resolver of problems. As the actual resolution data is very low at 4% I did not achieve this goal. Rather, learnt I am a questioner rather then solution finder. The total activity could have been higher for the comments section. It took some time for me to immerse myself in the community engagement with only 29 comments on my blog in total, of which 10 are my responses didn’t leave a great deal of room to flesh out my own content with peers. Whilst my posts where significantly more triggering then expected I am pleased that the majority of the posts where positive at almost 80%. With this understanding of my contribution to a community of learners I would like to turn my attention now to Twitter & IFN614.
Part 2: Twitter:
Ah Twitter, I was hesitant at the start of semester (see week two reflection on twitter). Come to the end of semester & I have shifted my resolve – not because I trust in the platform but because I have learnt that library & information professionals are generous, engaged & open on this platform. This was particularly reinforced with industry professionals joining in on our Twitter chats. I will happily continue using Twitter to connect professionally. On reflection trolling was my main concern. Thanks to the LIP community this concern has been alleviated over my participation in the 7 twitter chats spread across the semester. Realistically the subject matter is professional & therefore unlikely to cause flaming or trolling on my account. As for the matter of using Twitter outside of the chats: I tried. I have limited my Twitter usage to professional content and if something occurred that was of professional interest, I tweeted it. I also took the time to follow peers and those in the broader LIP community. I predict my Twitter usage will increase as I become immersed in the profession.
Twitter provided me an informal platform to follow & interact with my peers right through to established professionals. I wouldn’t say I enjoy the platform but I clearly see the advantages of it as an high speed information exchange. I particularly enjoyed the Twitter chats as a real time way to engage with my peers, it was an equaliser for me as an online student. It made participating simpler then trying to communicate in the chat box of collaborate. I do think I will miss this as post-grad life moves into lecture and research exclusive modes. The Twitter chats aided my capacity to engage in discussion with peers and expand my understanding of the profession.
Part 3: Your learning in the unit
Despite my reservations, as an online student, the Twitter chats were beneficial for me: it offered me an opportunity to connect with peers in a way I had been unable to do until now. Improving my sense of connection and community within the profession. I feel this was more important then the information learnt: That is I learnt that this profession is highly connected and encourages engagement in & sharing of ideas.
The connectivity of Twitter chats has informed my understanding of the LIP community. While, assignment 1 has allowed for the exploration of topics based on interest. Over the course of the semester I got to peek inside a plethora of topics, following my nose on areas of interest. That is pretty luxurious in and of itself. That is not to say fun and frivolous but actually really important to understand the scope of the profession and ones own position in it. Also a stroke of brilliance as the 2nd part of this course is research: Find the right topic to wet the appetite and there maybe the making of a sizeable research project.
While I learnt a great deal researching and publishing the blog posts I did not like that the information about the course was in this format. The blog format is dynamic, which is fine for the community of enquiry explored in blog posts & Twitter chats. In the initial weeks of semester it took a lot of time becoming aquatinted with the site and how to find information. I understand that BlackBoard is a beast but I feel like a static site with the course requirements and assessment material clearly laid out would have made the first weeks of semester (and my earlier posts) more engaged with the learning community.
Assessment one was a useful learning tool, looking back over my posts I learnt a great deal in a shortened period of time by researching each topic independently. Furthermore, not once did I have to produce content on a subject that didn’t spark at least some interest in me: this is key for me as a learner to care about the content and see its relevance in a broader context.
Part 4: Reflect on the quality of your work
The focus so far has been on Assessment 1, partly due to frequency & partly because I am new to the public nature of professional learning communities. Assessment 2 & 3 is where I did some of my best work. In the collaborative environment the quality of learning & understanding group dynamics became intrinsic to the projects unfolding. The assessment outcomes may not result in the highest marks, rather I am commenting on the quality of my work within the collaborative learning environment. I am interested in the process of watching an idea unfold between two people and the stress reduction of chipping away at an assessment and knowing there is another person available to talk over the more complex components of the assessment. Assessment 2 & 3 provided me with a new framework, where group dynamics and the enjoyment of producing content collaboratively count. I look forward to engaging in the process of group work again & again & again, because it would seem LIP are fond of this style of work.
Now onto something more concrete: Clair commented on it & I know it: my written communication skills are lacking. Particularly punctuation & gramma despite reading widely. I recently reading Stephen King: On Writing as a highly recommended & fun book on writing and rather then cure me of my gramma issues it helped me focus on reducing my perfectionistic tendencies. I now embrace the principle of good enough. While, I am slowly improving my punctuation and gramma but am consciously trying not to get hung up on the details. The outcome maybe lower grades but an improved quality of life & ability to spend more time producing content as a pathway to learning. I am happy to take the pay off. Overall it is a higher priority to get my ideas are out then to be crippled by the fear of syntax… Saying that I am also open to suggestions for improving it.
And on that note I’d like to end with a happy end of semester & start of summer:
Well done we made it !