Each topic of this module seemed like critical individual incidents of learning, and as such I am employing Strategy 1 to surgically reflect on my progress throughout the module. I will preface my reflection with a completion of my Digital Literacies Self-Test.
I want to dive deeper into exactly what changed to cause this universal growth in digital literacy, however, and will do so through four strands of reflection.
The module gave me a three-dimensional look at the sprawling notions of digital literacy, identities and employability, as evidenced by this graphic:
As the module elapsed, an engagement with the blog community became more vital to my growth in the learning environment. As the process went on, evidencing individual progress to your contemporaries became imperative – whether that meant using a wider range of academic sources or including better and more detailed visual elements.
Each topic was a small turning point in the progress of the module, but significant turning points and events came at two times. Firstly, the negative results of my work on the Introductory Topic. The pieces just weren’t good enough, and emboldened the high standards of the module, kicked me into gear, and clarified the ‘Write-Comment-Reflect-Assess’ process. The second turning point came in the form of clarity in thinking during writing Topic 1, especially about the Digital Divides engendered in my cousins as a result of their social background. It made me more engaged, more focussed and made me connect the academic theory of the topics to matters close to my heart.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and although I would change a lot of my actions throughout this module, it’s important to note that my missteps have been as important as anything in my learning. However I should have included more audio-visual elements in my work. I created graphics by trying to figure out what suited the tone of content best, instead of providing the most information as succinctly as possible in a video. Additionally, creating specific and engaging titles and leading images for my blogs may have increased my colleagues’ interaction with my posts and bolstered my learning potential. Nic does this very well with his blogs, as have Tom Paterson and Doug Morgan.
The module has given academic language with which to express to others the dangers and benefits of digital life. However, my biggest learning curve was an acute exposure to how others use the web. This has refreshed an appreciation for both the internet itself, and also the digital achievements of those who don’t regularly use the web. In essence, this module has made me a more concerned and engaged web-user, and prouder of my Nan for persevering in using Facebook. I expand on this below:
I want to use this sub-stratum strand to discuss my interaction with the learning methodology of UOSM2008. University swings violently back-and-forth between self-learning and group learning. A significant way that this module has extended my learning is through the eradication of those various environments. The module is continually happening, as opposed to something you work towards, then do, then work towards, then do. I explore my continual methodological approach below:
I began this module as a sceptic of the network approach to learning that we were using. My mind has been changed. This module has been a lesson in ensuring to work hard, to read widely and to think creatively when approaching any assessment. The online platform isn’t a method of hiding away behind little work. The interaction with peers, and the non-anonymous nature of the module, has driven everyone to get better and better. Blogs and MOOCs can act as sites of collective learning, depositories not only of the convenor’s knowledge, but everyone’s. The module has made me realise that digital learning can be as personal as a seminar and as visual as a lecture, has developed my online curiosity, and has made me more rigorous with online references and sourcing – something that’s been vital in writing my dissertation.
Certainly this module has laid the foundations of an approach to the internet that I will carry on beyond university. It has made me tighten my online security; subscribe to e-learning platforms; has made me widen my filter bubble and explore a range of verifiable opinions; has made me conscious of the difficulties facing others in using the internet – whether that’s social, mental or physical. It’s clear from this module that the web is a rapidly changing concept and platform, and beyond this semester and module I must continue to stay vigilant and attentive to the changing discourses of digital literacy.
This module – total network learning – is evidence of an increasing institutional digital shift. Workplaces will soon be dependent on digital skills. This module not only proves a digital literacy, but evidences a theoretical engagement with the notion of digital literacy itself, a distinguishing feature for employers. The video below is a fantastic summation of the step-up digital literacy can give you in employment. (David Timis, 2017).
UOSM2008 has forced me to engage with the platforms, the terminology and even the dangers of the world that I am likely to work in and make a living through in the years to come. It has been an invaluable process to learn from my peers, and our collective insights are something I am bound to revisit in the future.
De Cossart, D., & Fish, D, Cultivating a thinking surgeon: New perspectives on clinical teaching, learning and assessment, (Shrewsbury: TFM Publishing Limited, 2005).
Fair Nic, UOSM2008 Page, <http://blog.soton.ac.uk/uosm2008/author/nsrf1g12/>.
Futurelearn, ‘Digital Differences – inequalities and online practices’, Futurelearn, 2018, <https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-network-age/4/steps/303344>.
Morgan, Doug, Doug Morgan’s UOSM2008 Blog, <https://dm3g14.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/this-burrito-is-real/>.
Paterson, Tom, Tom Paterson’s UOSM2008 Blog, <http://tompaterson.info/>.
Timis, David, ‘Why Digital Skills Matter’, TEDx Targu Mures, <https://youtu.be/iIB5-AcazN4>, (2017).
Waring M., & Evans, C, Understanding pedagogy: Developing a critical approach to teaching and learning, (New York: Routledge, 2015).