The past four months have flown by, yet my UoSM journey has been fantastic!
What have I learnt?
From Topic 1, I became aware of the theories behind individual capabilities to live and work on the web, and the dangers associated with reducing such theories to a simple dichotomy (Prensky, 2001; White and Le Cornu, 2011). Topic 2 introduced me to the complex world of online identities and the privacy-authenticity trade off. Based on this, Topic 3 enabled me to explore specific issues associated with creating – and maintaining – professional online profiles. An attempt was made to untangle digital ethics during Topic 4, while devoting particular attention to the technical aspect of tracking technologies. Finally as part of Topic 5, I learnt about open access from the perspective of an academic. For me, this was the most enjoyable topic because of its emergent nature.
What skills have I gained?
UoSM2008 has given me the opportunity to become a confident creator of online materials. Producing animated videos and infographics has proved the most rewarding task, and will undoubtedly prove invaluable in the future given my desire to work within social policy. Moreover, the effective management of social media profiles is a task I seriously underestimated; I believe it is a great skill to be able to create an effective ‘brand’ (BBC, 2013) and to convey the ‘ideal’ balance of information to these profiles (see Topic 2). However, I feel I have adapted well to this, and am now more than comfortable managing multiple profiles concurrently.
From efficient collation of digital information and assessment of the relative merits and flaws of sources; confident use of online tools and technologies for specific purposes; developing a creative and innovative flare with regard to the visual illustration of typically text-heavy research findings; to forming online networks and actively engaging in discussions, exchanging information and critiquing others’ work in a constructive manner; and to presenting clear, concise and accessible answers to research questions in just 400 words.
How have I changed my digital profiles?
Click here to see the steps I have taken to enhance my online profiles, both in terms of professionalism and security.
I have already seen some of the fruits of my labour as part of this module. Being restricted to short blog posts has been a particular challenge for me, given the fact I am accustomed to 2,000-3,000 word essays as part of my undergraduate degree. However, such concise work was essential for me to secure a summer internship with DEFRA as responses were capped at 300 words within the application. Going forward, I will have to maintain this skill since I will be working alongside policy-makers on succinct research papers. I also intend to apply my knowledge of infographics, by embedding them into my work wherever possible.
Not only that but, in the name of open access, I intend to continue utilising social media for research dissemination (see below) as I progress onto the postgraduate level. This module has exceeded my expectations, and has certainly given me a great deal of skills. I look forward to putting them to good use in the near future!
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BBC (2013) Job hunting: how to promote yourself online. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-25217962/job-hunting-how-to-promote-yourself-online [Accessed on 24 May 2017].
Prensky, M. (2001) Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9 (5), 1-6.
White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: a new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16 (9).
Boyd, D. (2007) Why youth ❤ social network sites: the role of networked publics in teenage social life. IN Buckingham, D. (ed.) The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning: Youth, identity and digital media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 119-142.
Costa, C. and Torres, R. (2011) To be or not to be, the importance of digital identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação e Tecnologias, (SI), 47-53.
Cover, R. (2012) Performing and undoing identity online: social networking, identity theories and the incompatibility of online profiles and friendship regimes. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 18 (2), 177-193.
Fraser, J. (2009) Personal – professional – organisational: three basic online identities. Available from: http://fraser.typepad.com/socialtech/2009/07/personal-professional-organisational-three-basic-online-identities.html [Accessed on 23 May 2017].