UOSM2008 as a module changed my approach to academic research and writing. The framework for the module had me re-evaluate both my original positions when it came to the topic of study and to reflect on the way in which I learn. To evaluate how this process took place I will be using Smyth’s framework, (1989).
What have I and other students done during the UOSM2008 module?
During the module I was tasked with researching into three set topics, and creating a blog post for each. A MOOC and some starter resources where provided for every topic to give some initial instruction on how it could be tackled.
The learning experience focused on reflexivity as students commented on my blog posts in order to offer new perspectives or to expand upon what I had written. I did the same in turn. Once we had all made blog posts and traded comments between ourselves, we then wrote a reflection to show what we had learned and how our original perspective may have been changed.
Why did I decide to take this module?
In the second year of my studies I took a module called UOSM2012 “Online social networks”. In that module there was a discussion around the different ways in which people could learn, I took this module so that I could explore how a better reflexive learner and look for other ways to improve my digital skills.
What was my feeling at the start of the module?
Although reflexive learning was something I was interested in, I had been used to tackling problems from a traditional academic perspective where I would research a topic and write up an essay or report. Therefore I was feeling out of my comfort zone in some respects.
What went well and not so well in this module?
I had not been used to formatting my writing into a blog post or for expanding on an initial arguments through interaction with other students by commenting and later reflecting. However I feel I was able to adapt to this new approach relatively quickly and became more critical of how I would approach a subject as a result.
What I found difficult with was knowing how to incorporate a multi-media approach, to split my arguments between text, video, images, and audio in a way that felt seamless was a big challenge. Over time I was able to get better with incorporating multimedia and even ended up editing videos with full audio voice-over alongside images I had made.
What was I feeling after the module?
I was able to overcome some big challenges in the way I approached learning and how to present my arguments in a more visually engaging multi-modal fashioned. So I now feel more accomplished.
What was I trying to accomplish in this module?
As I mentioned above I wanted to expand my learning reflexivity and pick up some new digital literacy skills such as incorporate a multi-modal approach into my work.
What values, beliefs and assumptions, impacted my behaviour?
I typically under-valued the use of multi-media in comparison to text for conveying my thoughts. I saw multi-media as less legitimate than the usual academic writing style.
Where did these ideas come from?
The ideas came from the online MOOC, the set questions for the module, and the initial resources like academic journals, videos, etc.
What problems did I face during this module?
Time management was a pretty big constraint, with the reflexive learning style, there were lots of small pieces of work that had to be completed sequentially as opposed to a single deadline for a larger project. There were a few technical issues such as wordpress.org not having the ability to embed slideshows, something I didn’t realize until after I had spent time making one. Comments also didn’t show up on my blog initially.
How did I overcome these problems?
I researched into the wordpress.org platform through various tech blogs and YouTube videos to see what the technical limitations where and what practical solutions were that I could implement quickly, such as changing the blog settings for comment moderation and embedding videos instead of slideshows.
What did module teach me and what actions can I take in the future because of the experiences I have gained?
This module taught me to think more critically about how I approach a problem, the cycle of blogging, commenting and reflecting allowed me to see how to construct and de-construct my own arguments and those of other students. When it came to the issue of managing online identity, security and privacy I was able to reflect upon how I currently handle my online presence and how I can better separate the personal from the professional. I have expanded on what I learnt from each topic in the video below.
How have my values, beliefs and assumptions been impacted?
When it came to the issue of managing online identity, security and privacy I thought that I a decent understanding at the start of the module. However upon the reflective learning process I was able to adapt my original position through interacting with others and reshaping my opinions.
When it comes to improving learning skill Fried discussed the importance of the, “mutual sharing of ideas”,(1980, p.30). Through the interactive and reflexive approach this module has taken to learning I have found new ways to improve my digital literacy skills by re-assessing how to tackle a problem based on the feedback others have given me and exploring new approaches to conveying my ideas that are out of my comfort zone.
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Fried, R. (1980b). Learning in community: An empowerment approach. Concord, NH: Office of Community Education, New Hampshire State Department of Education. [online] http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/002248718904000202
Smyth, J. (1989). Developing and sustaining critical reflection in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 40(2), 2-9. [online] : http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002248718904000202
Waring M., & Evans, C. (2015). Understanding pedagogy: Developing a critical approach to teaching and learning. New York: Routledge. [online]: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781317597483