Learning Community Contribution
The role that I was hoping for at the start of the semester was one where I participated throughout through my own blog, commenting on others as well as through twitter. The start of the semester was a bit slow due to the fact that only week 3 provided a good discussion and subsequently there was a 3 week break till more blogging could occur. This meant that I found there was little interaction occuring outside of the twitter chats.
In terms of comments on my peers posts I am really happy to say I commented at least once on every other blog in the unit that was listed on the spreadsheet. My goal was to interact with all students to ensure I was able to absorb different points of views. The other goal was to promote my own blog by interacting with every student in the class however I did not see the reciprocation in comments flow back to my posts.
The makerspace week was very interesting and I found myself interacting on many blogs due to the topic of 3D printers and students take on the issue. The comments I left provided good responses from students as I attempted to discuss more in depth issues on 3D printing and how they relate to makerspaces.
I found when reading blogs if the content was too general or following a standard view point that it did not provide the engagement or stimulation in thought. As a result I found the quality of my blog posts contributed to each weeks discussions as I tried to find a distinct line of discussion rather than providing a generalised blog post. In some cases my views were one sided party to engage a response from other students.
At the start of the semester I did not use twitter on a personal level and continued this throughout the semester. My interactions apart from twitter chats were based on promoting my own blogs and providing additional links and commentary on weekly topics. I also attempted to reply to peoples blog post links with small comments so as to promote and encourage their use of twitter. Unfortunately, I did not see much interaction from the student user base on twitter apart from chats. Even though I replied to blog link tweets with comments and follow ups I did not get many if any replies to any of my tweets about my blog posts and additional weekly links and comments.
In terms of twitter chats they were beneficial in enabling students to provide their views on topics. The biggest issue is during the inevitable tweet storm some topics are picked up and replied constantly but in the process some are ignored/missed and therefore that individual may not be enabled to continue to post. During my twitter champion week review I realised I had missed 3 direct replies to my posts even though I was constantly replying. This was disappointing as I could have been seen as ignoring the questions from other students even though I legitimately did not see them. I ended up replying to the questions at the end of my twitter champion blog post. The reason for this reply rather than on twitter was that from experience I did not see twitter interactions occurring outside of chats.
The exploration of the different programs and services that libraries offer I found the most interesting. Even though these services are known it provides a better understanding how they operate within the library environment. The twitter chats provided a great opportunity to absorb different views on topics. Some of these views I didn’t agree with which enabled the writing of blog posts for certain topics more easily.
The other take-away for myself is that the twitter chats were too time concentrated which I found created roadblocks for rest of the week. Firstly, by concentrating them into an hour, students for the most part did not interact on twitter before or after chats. Secondly, the tweet storm means many tweets are missed or not replied to which can be a negative on individuals attempting to participate. If the chats were not focussed for an hour but rather made more dynamic throughout the week I believe they would provide a more proactive discussion. The week twitter hashtag is still current for that week so would be great to interact on it as one discovers new knowledge. I attempted to do this mostly for second half of semester but found that there was little interest in continuing the discussion past the chat.
The quality of my work improved as the quality of other students blog posts improved. There was a positive in reading other blogs as you understood the expertise and knowledge of other students and need for quality blog posts.
My initial community interactions weren’t as I had planned. This was due to some of my comments not being approved by student blogs which disheartened my activity. When I put in a lot of thought into a comment and that is not approved, it creates the feeling that perhaps commenting should not be too reflective on that blog. Nevertheless, I moved past this and simply continued to comment on every other blog.
My biggest strength is spreading my participation across the whole student blog list and not just sticking to a couple of blog posts each week which would have been easy to do. For the final couple of weeks I ensured I went back and had commented on every student blog. This I thought was a strong point as rather than continually visiting the same blogs that you like and commenting on them I preferred to understand others view point. I also read student blogs extensively even when no comments were made. I found this to be beneficial as some posts did not enable a response so rather than forcing a comment it was more beneficial to read many blogs and find interest.
My biggest weaknesses were even though I was active on twitter replying to people links and posting additional content and follow up content, I received little interaction. I commented on 24 different student blogs but only 7 students commented on my blog posts. I found this meant that my interactions were not sufficient in generating responses and replies. I considered more twitter interactions for blog posts that I liked but had no comment on but decided to not action this. In hindsight this was a weakness in being swayed by lack of interaction on twitter.
In conclusion I enjoyed the unit in developing my understanding of the types of programs and services that libraries run. It was also important to understand that working in a community environment needs to always be proactive even when that is not reciprocated. It is just a matter of trying new ways of interacting to eventually get community members to respond.