So the 12 weeks are up and it’s time for the summary. My lifestream contains feeds from my digital activity over the past twelve weeks, consisting primarily of feeds from Delicious, Twitter, blog posts and YouTube. It traces my learning path over this unit- feeds have arisen from the various activities involved: weekly readings, the film festival, interaction with other participants, the digital artefact and ethnography, as well as any other tangents that I took in between. As our online activity spans different tools and methods, the lifestream is a valuable way of gathering, filtering and providing a record of my learning.
So where has my learning path taken me? As usual the subject matter has been extremely stimulating- exploring and trying to pin down exactly what this ‘new universe’ is that we have created- it’s many aspects and contradictions, how it has affected us as humans and questions the notion of what ‘human’ really is and where it is headed, how society and community have been irrevocably changed, and then of course what this means for learning and education. It has really made me take a step back and look at this phenomenon from as much of a critically objective standpoint as is possible. I think this course has also developed my sense of digital identity-by having all of my submissions public my online ‘voice’ has matured.
I’ve enjoyed the various types of innovative activity- watching online videos, constructing an artefact, researching a community- all relating to the thought-provoking papers. Perhaps the greatest benefit of this Masters course so far has been being a student and having course material delivered through the online medium- you get direct experience and it helps build a broader appreciation for the subject matter.This has been great as it feeds directly into my work as an eLearning designer, giving me personal experience in what I try to promote, as well as an experience in best practice. This has been true for this unit as it has been designed from an ambitious and innovative pedagogical approach- one that realises and appreciates the distributed nature of the digital identity and incorporates this in our methods of participation.
I think I struggled to take full advantage of the types of feeds that could be pulled into the lifestream. Initially I had hoped to get into the habit of using different tools regularly, but found I had to consciously go and use ones that I wouldn’t normally use. The exception is in using Twitter- it provided a good near real-time connection with other participants and fostered kinship- for example it was comforting to hear an up-to-the minute update on how others were struggling with a paper, or knowing instantly if somebody had a new blog post.
My method of learning has been a little different this time- I see an active central discussion area as being very beneficial- as an aggregator of the thoughts and learning of a group. I like the debate and paths that this can take. Hearing other peoples’ take on things can help me understand something I missed, or make me defend my own point of view more. I did miss this kind of interaction and social learning a little and felt my ‘path’ was mostly self-directional, although we were all really ‘connected’, we didn’t engage in deep ways with each other. Having said this, the types of connections we used helped me understand and participate in an online culture and appreciate the emerging behaviours that constitute this.