EVALUATIVE REPORT ON THE LEARNING UNDERTAKEN IN INF206

The aim of this report is to evaluate my learning experience during INF206 against two key areas. The first section of this report will evaluate my learning against the learning objectives.

Part A – Evaluation against learning objectives

The requirement for this section is to show how I have met the learning objectives utilising three experiences that I documented in my online learning journal (OLJ) which I was required to keep as a part of this course.

Objective One – Demonstrate an understanding of social networking technologies

Prior to starting the subject I would try to implement each new social networking technology or application as it was introduced so that I stayed up to date with new technology. I did not give much thought as to how the tool could best be used. In my post of September 18 entitled ‘Update to Mod 4 remaining posts’ I reflected on how my use of social networking tools has changed over the duration of the subject. I looked at a number of the applications that I use and the way in which I use them, as each of the applications has a different purpose. As shown in my post, this understanding has influenced the way I now use social networking  tools. I feel that I also have a much better understanding of how social networking tools relate to Web 2.0 and discuss this in the post in the context of building trust in a participatory environment.

Objective Two – demonstrate an understanding of concepts, theory and practice of Library 2.0 and participatory library service

As I am not a librarian I contextualised this objective within my work setting. As such this objective is reflective of my understanding of Web 2.0 rather than Library 2.0. In ‘Update to Mod 4 remaining posts’ I discuss how I could draw on the experience of others who use our social communications network in evaluating new social networking tools. This is an example drawing on the collective intelligence of users that O’Reilly (2012) discusses which is a strength of Web 2.0.

On the topic of participation, I discuss this further in my post of August 16 entitled ‘Mod 4 – why we post’. In this post I discuss the merits of allowing or not allowing comments to be posted on a blog and how this would impact on engagement with the library audience.  Whilst this is only a small section of the post I believe it that it highlights one of the primary features of Web 2.0 being user participation (Hay & Wallis, 2012).

 Objective Three – be able to critically examine the features and functionality of various social networking tools to meet the information needs of users

I posted an update to ‘Mod 4 – why we post’ in which I discuss the need to evaluate specific social communication tools against the intended outcome of using the tool. Having an understanding of what the main purpose of a social networking tool is, will allow a decision to be made as to whether or not the tool is fit for the purpose that it is intended to be used for. The other point I made in relation to this in my post was that you need to have an understanding of how what you are trying to communicate using these tools fits into the larger communication plan for the organisation.

Objective Four – be able to evaluate social networking technologies to support informational and collaborative needs of workgroups, communities and organisations

In ‘Mod 4 – why we post’ I review the differing ways in which a blog can be used for internal and external communication. During this post I gained an appreciation of the variety of ways that one tool can be used to meet the informational requirements of different audiences.

Further to this, in ‘Update to Mod 4 remaining posts’ I discuss the ways in my use of the different social networking technologies is dependent on the group I am interacting with. This also extends to the type of content that I post using the different technologies.

Objective Five – demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical, and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world, and how information policy is developed and implemented to support such issues.

In one of my last posts entitled ’Plagiarism in the online world‘ I discuss my thoughts on the issue of plagiarism and credibility of information online. This post considers these matters in the context of their impact socially, culturally and educationally. I also ponder on how credibility can impact on the reputations of organisations that deal in information as a product, and how this may be dealt with through an organisations social networking policy.

Part A summary

Overall I feel that I have successfully met the learning objectives for this course even though I have not had the focus on Library 2.0 that other students have. Studying a Bachelor of Vocational Education and Training, I tried to situate my learning in this context. Going back over my original posts I did feel that a lot of my posts were more summaries of content rather than an analysis of the information. The main cause for this was a lack of time. What I learnt from this was that the benefit of using a blog as an OLJ was that I was able to go back and reflect on what I had posted and then edit the original post with my reflection. In this way I was able to undertake the analysis that I felt was missing in the initial instance.  This aside, I feel that my understanding of social networking and media is far more developed than when I had begun this unit.  The key changes in the way I operate as a social networker are discussed in the next section.

Part B – reflective statement on my development as a social networker

Undertaking this course has resulted in my development in a number of areas related to social networking, as follows.

Before undertaking this course my view was that my workplace should be implementing new technologies as they are released to maintain a presence wherever our audience might move to. This view was influenced by a number of blogs I follow which are written by people who use social communications for sales and marketing.  I still follow these blogs to remain current with new technologies being released but I now look at what purpose these new tools have and how this fits in with our communication requirements.  In line with this my increased understanding of the principles of Web 2.0 has changed the way I use social communication tools.  I was using social networking tools primarily to push information out over a variety of mediums. My view on how we can use social networking has changed to include implementing tools that facilitate the sharing of knowledge. I am also trying to facilitate a more participative environment encouraging those people who use our tools to become co-creators of content.

Over the duration of the subject I have developed a greater awareness of the need for critical analysis of information related to social networking. Through conversations with fellow students, I have come to appreciate how much information is shared without critical analysis of the message or supporting data. I have not seen too many posts that question the statistics reported in infographics or question the basis of generally accepted advice that many of the apparent subject matter experts offer on the myriad of topics on the internet.

Related to this, I had not used referencing in blog posts prior to the subject. In the little blogging I had done before I did make reference to other posts where I had used them but this was through hyperlinking to that post which seems to be the common convention. I will definitely be more thorough with my use of referencing in posts after this subject. The use of referencing in posts may assist others in seeing that some degree of critical analysis has been attempted within my posts.

I have been able to draw directly on what I have learnt throughout this subject and apply it in  my workplace. With respect to social networking/media policy, my understanding of what should be contained in such policy has grown greatly. I had viewed this type of policy in terms of what should not be done by employees in the social communication sphere and how an organisation should react if it does happen. I now appreciate that social communication policy has a much broader application. It should reflect the requirements of the key stakeholders of an organisation’s social communications. It should articulate how social communication will dovetail into a wider communication strategy and support the business objectives of the organisation. It should also provide guidance on how a social communication strategy should adapt to advances in new technology. In this regard, one of the benefits of taking this subject was that I had come across a number of sites where templates for social communications policy can be downloaded. Being able to view work others have already done will certainly make the task of putting together a comprehensive social communication policy much easier.

In the context of my degree (Bachelor of Vocational Education and Training) I have definitely cemented my belief that social networking can be an invaluable tool in distance learning. The ability to receive comments from other students on my blog posts and share information through our Facebook page has added a dimension to my learning that had been missing in the other subjects I have undertaken. To be able to interact with other students has made me feel more connected and has increased my engagement. One of the key principles of adult learning is that as adults we bring a range of experiences to the learning environment that others can also learn from (Knowles, Holton III, & Swanson, 1998). I have definitely benefited from other students sharing their experiences in this subject. In addition I now have a better understanding of how tools like Second Life, Twitter and Pinterest can be used in an educational setting. Through undertaking this course not only do I feel that I have developed as a social networker but also as an adult educator.

References

Hay, L., & Wallis, J. (2012). INF 206 Module 1: Web 2.0, Social networking and the social life of information, 2012, from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF206_201260_W_D/page/990ffb02-dcd4-49ee-805e-44fe5e6ca342

Knowles, M., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (1998). The Adult Learner (6 ed.). New York: Elsevier.

O’Reilly, T. (2012). What is Web 2.0, from http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=2

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~ by dassocmed on October 7, 2012.

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