Figure 1: Reflecting on being part of a construction
I completed the UOSM2008: Living and Working on the Web module. This module was very different from other modules I have completed, offering a greater level of freedom in my work, and less face-to-face contact time than other modules. Whilst some of the content overlapped with other modules, particularly those I completed in which were core to Web Science. This module is therefore important to reflect on and to reflect on my learning within it.
To do so, I have selected Gibbs’ reflective cycle (Gibbs, 1988). Outlined fully in Figure 2, this mode of reflection is cyclic, showing that reflection and learning is an ongoing process, something I wholeheartedly agree with. Gibbs’ process separates an experience into phases, which I am hoping will aid my critical evaluation of the module as a whole (Reid, 1993).
Fig 2: Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle
Stage 1 – Description
The first stage, as determined by this model, is a descriptive one. This has largely been dealt with in the introduction to this piece, but it is worth noting that I completed the module as part of a three year BSc Web Science programme at the University of Southampton. I was therefore physically in the location the module was run from, but this was not essential given the method of learning. Over the course of the module, I produced a number of blog posts, which can be seen as screenshots in Figure 4. The module was a useful learning experience, and whilst I do not know the numerical result of my participation, I am able to recognise the skills development as beneficial to me.
Figure 3: Can you guess why each of the images help symbolise my reflection?
Stage 2 – Feelings
The next section to talk about is “feelings”. This focuses on my emotions and how participating in the module made me feel. When the module began, I was a little apprehensive about the method of learning, but I was also excited to be able to blog and develop my professional online profile further – something I learnt a lot about via the topics of the blog posts! One of the most important feelings for me was of enthusiasm for the discussion developed by commenting on the blog posts, and from comments on my own. This is often something that is not done in other assignments yet I enjoyed, particularly in Topic 1, commenting on other posts as I was able to see many different perspectives and learn about them further through discussion. The end of the module made me feel slightly frustrated as I wanted to explore further topics in the method of blog posts, but overall I was happy with my experience and learning. I would have liked maybe a wildcard week, where people could choose a topic for a more detailed exploration.
Figure 4: My Blog Posts
Stage 3 – Evaluation
Evaluating the positives and negatives of my experience in the module is hard since it was a long and fluid process, however, a major positive for me was the freedom to create my own online presence, through well-research pieces, with room to express my own point of view. This was a positive as it aided my written communication, and acted as a base to continue blogging and commenting on issues that affect my interests or my work. I also enjoyed the connected method of learning, and how many different tools (Google, Twitter, WordPress) were used in module administration. Whilst the freedom to use resources to produce different elements on the blog was good, the opportunity to use more established services for module management rather than BlackBoard, gave me a new sense of enthusiasm for it. Perhaps a Slack channel for communication could be used in future, as this is becoming more important in the workplace (Darbyshire, 2018). At the start, I would have said the subjectivity of the mark scheme was a negative of the module, but by the end, I felt I became more in tune with exactly what was required, aided by Twitter and the marker’s comments, so this negative element was removed.
Stage 4 – Analysis
Similarly hard to do, is to analyse my own performance on the module as a whole. I came into the module thinking my level of digital literacy was high, which gave me the confidence to explore new tools, without having to worry about more basic aspects of WordPress administration, for example. I felt that my use of additional elements (H5P, Video, Powtoon), many of which were new to me, was good from a technical point of view, but I could have been better at tying my use of them more tightly to the thrust of my argument. In traditional “writing”, I feel I tend to use a good structure, however, in this module, it is something that I struggled with. This is because blogging requires a slightly different style of writing to say, an essay. This is something I could have realised earlier to improve the layout of my posts (for example adding subtitles) but this is a learning point I will take away, considering the medium on which my work will be consumed.
Stage 5 – Conclusion
In conclusion, I found the module a rewarding experience, for a number of clear reasons. I feel that throughout this module I have been adding to, and learning about my digital profile, and I leave equipped with the skills to do this further. I have developed additional digital literacies in this area, most notably for me in the creation of materials, and in particular written materials. Finally, I enjoyed the more constructionist style of learning this module embraced, as opposed to other which may have been more instructionist. I reflect a little more on what I could have done differently, and finish off my reflection, below (apologies for the crackling, my microphone let me down!) :
To summarise this article, I have prepared a short video: