My contribution to the learning community this semester
Here we are in the wrap-up post, which I think is a great opportunity for examining what we have learned and achieved during the semester; however, we also need to be honest with each word we write, otherwise we would seem that we did our job perfectly when in fact we did not.
In week 2’s reflection, I decided to generate an information provider profile, so I will now try to be a content producer and share my thoughts in order to learn collaboratively with my peers. To be honest, I have achieved only a part of what I thought I would achieve, as I have written 10 comments on my peers’ posts. I think it is a small number compared to what I had planned. There were lots of factors that influenced the volume of my contributions, including:
- Having four stressful units with lots of assessments and commitments every week.
- Facing difficulty sometimes when reading native students’ posts, as they use very difficult language that I, as an international student, do not understand.
- Being afraid to participate in some threads that referred to specific information about Australian experiences and systems that I know nothing about. I felt like I simply could not participate in those discussions. Since we need to analyse critically when reading these posts, I tried to read without commenting.
- Having difficult health-related issues throughout the whole semester.
Most of the topics were interesting to me, but information and digital literacy was the topic that I most enjoyed talking about, because it I found it to be a new trend in libraries. I am interested in exploring, reading about and participating in this area. However, as I said before, some obstacles (listed above) hindered my continuous participation.
In terms of my instinctive behaviour, I tried hard to change it, because I believed that I needed to engage with others and learn collaboratively, but it was not easy to behave in a way that did not feel natural to me, especially in light of harsh conditions that disturbed my concentration while studying. Thus, I think my posts have not embodied the characteristics that I should have displayed in the community this semester.
Before this unit, I had feelings of discomfort when browsing and using Twitter. I used to follow my lecturers and many LIP students and libraries’ accounts, but I found it hard to keep track of what was being posted. Using Twitter this semester has changed my feelings, particularly my concerns toward attending Twitter chats, which I thought would be too fast for me. I feared that I would not be able to contribute effectively. In the end, I enjoyed the Twitter chats because of others’ valuable thoughts and experiences. They were very useful to my learning process, but there was one problem. During every Twitter chat, when I sent my answers or responded to others’ tweets, I could not see my own comments within the chat. I am not sure why this happened; it might be because of my Internet settings or the Twitter chat-monitoring tool that I used.
As for using Twitter outside of the Twitter chats, I remained as I was before this semester. I tend to browse my Twitter account, read what others have written and benefit from their posts, thoughts or the links they provide, but it seems that I have not changed my habit of only browsing professional profiles. I do not use it for personal purposes.
My learning in the unit
As a learner, the key take-away for me in this unit has been the need for balancing my time with studying. This unit has rich weekly topics, thus, if we do not balance our time with the learning process, we will miss a lot of learning objectives related to these topics. Time management techniques and skills are needed to solve this problem, or perhaps more patience is needed if we want to succeed while studying. This is what was most important to me.
I believe that the ‘learning journal’ assessment approach was very beneficial for me as a learner. It was great for keeping me on track and helping me to explore a topic every week. Not only this, but also reading weekly materials and using them critically to write reflective posts helped me to gain broad knowledge about the subject. I also found grant applications to be a new element I had not yet experienced, so that was a valuable chance for me to learn about and apply knowledge in the future. In addition, the aspect that clearly did not work so well for me was sharing my thoughts with others through Twitter and my comments on peers’ posts, which, unfortunately, will be assessed.
Reflection on the quality of my work
It is not easy for me to evaluate the quality of my own work. This requires a lot of honesty here. In the first place, I admit that I have not paid much attention and effort to my comments on peers’ posts, and I feel that my comments need to be improved. This is an area where I clearly have not achieved the learning objectives very well. In my limited comments, I tried to analyse critically, but I know that my work was not perfect. Improving this would involve me being more confident and open to sharing my opinions, even If I do not understand the topic clearly.
My strengths were related to writing my own posts. I was jumping from one reading to another to support my arguments and tried my best to relate them to my experiences. I always wanted to focus and write about one or two ideas, to avoid the failure of regulating my ideas.
I also worked hard when searching for a program or a service to be granted in assignments 2 and 3. Exploring the wide range of these aspects and hearing of others’ experiences and opinions were very beneficial. I have improved my understanding in this area of the unit, and I can see that I have accomplished the goals of this part of the course.