So, how’s it going?

Hi Folks,

My hiatus has officially ended! I had a good fall semester, but missed being a student. Accordingly, I am now enrolled in “INTE 5100 – Instructional Design”. Based on the syllabus and content, I think this will be a very interesting course with a much more “practical” application (as opposed to the heavy theory content of previous ones). I will post more assignments, musings, and other content soon.

Huzzah!

A Final Course Reflection & Portfolio for INTE4530/ILT5340

My Portfolio

At the end of this course, I have many final thoughts. I am amazed at how much I learned and grew in an engaging course with a very interesting format. The weekly reflective summaries I composed each week illustrate my progress as a student and storyteller. By choosing my own path and collaborating with my peers, I experienced the most effective learning I’ve ever encountered.

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Me as a learner in this course: Of all the skills and knowledge I acquired through this course, an awareness of my abilities as a learner stands out. I jumped right in and learned by doing assignments of my choice (with some guidelines), reading and reflecting on the weekly readings, and (above all else) communicating with others. The readings from Lankshear & Knobel provided an invaluable source of theory behind the learning and creative processes. These text taught me (among many things) the necessary components to effective learning: initiative (DIY), individual choice, flexibility, and (above all else) collaboration. Based on these readings, it is more apparent than ever that the traditional “brick and mortar” format of education is not meeting the needs of a changing society. Technology allows us greater capabilities for expression, communication, learning, and empowerment. In short, we need an educational system that recognizes these traits and embodies the communicative and collaborative nature of effective learning. The concept of “remixing” and the idea of “authorship/ownership” also proved very enlightening. It further demonstrates that almost everything, in a sense, is collaborative.  In future courses I take as a graduate student, I will consistently seek out opportunities to collaborate and exchange information with my class (even when it isn’t required).

My co-design of this course: This course was unlike any other I’ve ever had. Prior to this term, I had never heard of DS106. I had experience with online classes, but they were never in the open and accessible to all users. Also, I had never been expected to use so much social media. I do, however, feel extremely grateful for being required to use outlets like Hypothes.is and Twitter. These tools improved my understanding by interacting with other students (and sometimes people who weren’t even in my class). Like everyone else, I contributed work and insight that inevitably contained my own unique perspective. Even though there might have been other librarians with similar skill sets, mine and everyone else’s input improved the experience across the board. By annotating weekly readings, I entered extremely helpful dialogues that expanded my understanding. I am certain that my comments helped others too. By creating and reviewing the creations of others, I am confident that I made valuable contributions to my peers. In all honesty, the only thing I would have changed about this course is to make it completely in the open. This, of course, isn’t possible due to the requirements of higher education institutions. Otherwise, no changes (dare to dream).

My understanding of pedagogy: Taking this course over summer term was painful but rewarding. My instructors were forced to cram a semester’s worth of content into 8 short weeks. As the result, I spent nearly every free moment I had on coursework. To be fair, I was warned about the workload at the outset, but I also recently started a new job and have been getting acclimated. I learned a valuable lesson about not “biting off more than I can chew”.

My understanding of pedagogy transformed in many ways. Above all else, I learned the importance of collaboration and communication (as previously mentioned) and that our education system needs to change to address the ways in which technology has transformed society. As a librarian, I strive to include a hands-on group activity in every class I teach. Prior to this course, however, I never understood how crucial this was. We are all both instructors and students with invaluable contributions to provide. In more individualized assignments, I learned the importance of allowing the learner to take charge of their education using assignment choice and other personalized options.  Effective learning is, much like human nature, collaborative and expressive to benefit everyone.

Brace Yourself: Week 7 Reflective Summary

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This post will be the last of my weekly reflective summaries. Next week I will be posting a much longer reflection, but it will focus on the entire course rather than just a 7 day increment. I am very excited at the prospect, but am slightly disappointed to be ending my current (weekly) narratives. I love to write and will continue to do so, but the format/content will change as things often do.

With that being said, let’s jump into my Week 7 summary! Over the past several days, I am pleased to say that I was able to maintain my high-level of momentum. The assignments were challenging, fun, and instrumental in my development as a digital storyteller. In some cases such as my Daily Creates, I was able to further solidify my literacies and skills. I have become quite proficient at editing photos in numerous programs and software. My DS106 Assignment was especially rewarding because I opted to use Photoshop-a tool with which my familiarity can only be described as “on the surface”. It was a seemingly easy assignment, but I went out of my way to challenge myself (pulling not pushing)!

The reading response and digital story critique proved to be challenging in that I was very aware that this is the last week before final projects. In other words, I knew I only had one more “weekly” chance and wanted to make the most of the opportunity. My previous reading responses were (admittedly) very long which caused me to feel a small degree of self-consciousness. I am happy with them, but was worried that I had been rambling and often spent time meditating on how to make them even better. This week I reminded myself that I am not obligated to include EVERY SINGLE suggested reading and that a well-written post on one assigned article is usually better than a mediocre/poor one on several texts.

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I am pleased to say that I kept my promise to explore new formats in my digital story critique. The only issue I’ve had with these exercises is that finding a piece relevant to “Libraries and Librarianship” always proves challenging . But isn’t that part of the fun? Also, I previously had the tendency to select pieces I happened to “like” as opposed to anything I could find. By selecting a piece of lower quality, I taught myself a valuable lesson in the importance of not liking everything. Honesty and not holding back are important traits.

As previously stated, I am happy with the quality of my work for the past week. However, I am always aware that room for improvement is a constant presence. The most challenging aspect of this week and previous ones has been maintaining a high level of interaction on Hypothes.is and other social media. I trained myself to check every outlet of mine at least twice a day. Although some days were more active than others, I think I did a pretty good job of communicating and collaborating. Upon seeing the habits of others, however, I realize that practice makes perfect and engaging with your peers is addictive (in the best possible way). My biggest challenge will be to keep a critical eye on my past activity as I complete my portfolio.

These assignments have also continued to introduce new dimensions to my “Libraries and Librarianship” theme (namely Privilege). While I’ve spent extensive amounts of time pondering other relevant topics such as the role of libraries and librarians in developing literacies and the best methodologies for doing so effectively, I never considered the implications of privilege as it relates to library services. Overall, I feel like offering free resources for personal improvement can be instrumental in correcting social inequalities. Just as libraries are repositories of information and help for the public, their potential for empowerment includes countless dimensions.

Self-Assessment: Exceeds expectations. Sometimes I need to give myself more credit.