Part 1: Contribution to the learning community
I feel that I was an active participant in the learning community this semester, however I don’t believe that my contribution was as strong as some community members. I actively read my peers’ blogs, and in total, I wrote 38 comments, including responses to comments on my own blogs. Sometimes these interactions were inspired by an appreciation for layout or writing style. I enjoyed engaging in discussions about Borrow Box, teens at the library, and various other programs and services.
My motivation in regard to engagement, if I’m really honest, was that I knew I had to write about two comments or tweets per week to pass. This was my goal, and often I did not go beyond this baseline. Therefore the main trend in my behaviour was that I set a specific goal and did not go beyond this unless I saw a notification and felt compelled to comment. Essentially, I did not prioritise participation, as it felt more like a distraction from the ‘real’ work of weekly readings and assignment work. I understand that it probably wasn’t meant to be seen as work anyway, but when you have a full time study load you need to prioritise.
In my week two blog I referred to characteristics I wished to embody this semester. I said I wanted to “add value via thoughtful participation” and to “garner deeper meaning [through] the distilling process provided by social media tools. In retrospect, I hope that my comments did add value, as I often enjoyed writing and responding to people’s blogs. I think that Twitter chats were a useful distilling process, however I’m not sure I took away particulary ‘deep’ meaning from anything.
Part 2: Twitter
At the beginning of the semester I said that I preferred Facebook to twitter, as I felt that Facebook allowed more lurking and less active engagement (I don’t think I put it as bluntly back then). I thought that twitter demanded a voice, and I didn’t feel I really had one. I said that I hoped I would get used to it with time—and I did. I enjoyed using twitter in some ways, but I think I benefited more from Google+ (in other subjects) throughout the semester. I find it simpler, and the interface makes things easier to keep track of. I thought the twitter chats were a novel experience, and useful for gauging opinion. The blogs were there for the more substantial break down of topics. I only used twitter outside of the chats a couple of times. I’m aware that I should probably be using twitter to expand my social circles for the purposes of professional networking. But with limited time and mental space, something had to give. It was valuable to learn about how twitter is used in the industry though. I liked that it seems to be used for networking and sharing professional knowledge, but also for the expression of individuality and a spirit of fun.
Part 3: Learning in the unit
My key take-away for the unit is how vast the range of work undertaken by librarians can be. Because library services have always been there, I’ve failed to really see them. Perhaps this is how it always is when you embark on a new profession, everything that was black and white takes on colour. Will I be doing that one day? What would that be like? I feel that the unit has been a good introduction to the programs, services, aims and ambitions of public and academic libraries. This learning came about predominantly through listening to the lectures, reading the weekly readings, and researching for blogs.
I enjoyed Kate’s approach to teaching the unit. I’ve spent a lot of time at university and I don’t think I’ve ever had such as conscientious lecturer. The aspects that I found beneficial were the weekly posts in the learning materials section, and the website in general was a nice alternative to blackboard. One aspect that I found difficult is the time it took for me to write blog posts, and their frequency. I found the assessment somewhat useful as a learning tool. It was good to have an opportunity to work on something as practical as a grant proposal and application.
Part 4: Reflect on quality of your work
I think that the quality of my work in this unit has been fairly good. By this I mean I think I put in a fair amount of effort and I think I’ll get a fairly good mark overall. I do know that I sometimes read other student’s blogs, or saw their commitment to participation, and knew I had room to improve. Their work tended to be more carefully considered and polished in delivery, and their tweets constant. I guess this was probably the aim of having us read each other’s blogs. Somehow this didn’t inspire me to work harder, or engage more. As I struggled to keep up with a full time study load this semester, I think I fell into a ‘good enough’ state of mind. The areas where I think I did well were in developing and evidencing an idea for the grant proposal. I also feel that I did well in regard to keeping up with the weekly readings. The areas that might need developing are my time management skills, and also committing fully to doing the best work possible.