Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Reflective Practitioner

Moving on to the second theme of Module 1 you should draw upon Reader 2 to provide you with context and meaning as you make your way through the various tasks. Reader 2 provides you with a brief overview of the main theorists on reflection and there is both a list of references and a bibliography at the end of the Reader which you should follow up on to enhance your learning and deepen your knowledge. All these materials are available in our library or you can through the SCONUL scheme consult these works at a University Library near you. I also include here a brief guide on the Learning Journal which I produced some years ago which you might useful as you address the tasks ahead.  It refers to Campus Session dates (please ignore these as they are irrelevant). I look forward to seeing your blogs as you proceed through these tasks. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Monday 15th October

Today is the start of Week 3 and as your module handbook states you should be moving on to tackle the second set of tasks. At this point it is useful to review how the first set of tasks were handled. Not everyone appears to have managed to complete all the tasks but what has been achieved collectively so far is quite impressive. Clearly the two most important tasks were the CV task which gets you to think about your knowledge and learning gained thus far in your professional practice through both your education and your work and Task 1B.

Compiling a CV is an exercise designed for potential employers but in doing this you should be engaging in an element of self analysis and asking internal questions such as what am I good at and where could I could develop or what direction would I like my future career to take.

Sarah Robinson has taken on board some advice about including achievement on a CV and reworked hers while Emily Hunt provides some advice found on the BBC website in her blog. 

Task 1B was handled well by Anastasia Hadjigeorgiou who drew out the notion of Collective Intelligence in Web 2.0 while Melanie Brown applied the Web 2.0 readings to professional practice as well as highlighting some downsides. Hannah Stewart succeeded in including both the readings in her 1B task as well as referring to other student blogs and there was early evidence from Jonny Howard that he had actively looked at other student blogs for pointers in his own learning and development.

In the video task, Chelsie Johnson stated that she was looking forward to learning from others and Emily Hunt was exactly spot on with her timing at exactly 45 seconds while Lee Taylor chose a graphical interface on his video offering.

The Web offers the opportunity to look outside the student blogs and the recommended readings for resources to stimulate us. Katy Thorpe has embedded a thought provoking resource on her recent blog post. It’s a slide show called “Shift Happens” and thank you, Katy for bringing this to my attention. I was struck by some of the stark statistics contained in the presentation and rather than be depressed about it I take courage from the fact that we humans are highly adaptable and that in Higher Education what we are keen to do is to develop in our future graduates the skills of critical thinking and analysis which will see them through a lifetime.  Technologies come and go and mastering these is something we will succeed in doing as we need them for our professional practice or communication. What is of deeper importance is learning more about our discipline and professional practice and to manipulate the relevant technologies to enable this to happen.

Ken Robinson's talk on TED covers some of the same ground in Shift Happens but also recognizes the different styles of learning and the importance of creativity in the curriculum and I commend it to you. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Campus Session 1: Module 1 - 9th October

We had a brilliant session today with eager and willing contributions.  We spent the first 20 mins giving space to read an article referred to in the Professional Communication Technologies Reader and located under the Module Tab (Specific Links) in Libguides then everyone fed back the importance of the article they had read to the group.

The first article discussed was by Lankshear and the themes identified were discourse and how we communicate through it. The concept of literacy also arose. Both “discourse” and “literacy” were discussed further in the group. The discourse discussion was placed in the context that language gives meaning to professional groups. The discussion on literacy moved from ability to read and write to consider the necessity to master information literacy and media and communication literacy.

A question that Gruber posed about the Web 2.0 world is how much information is trustworthy and what is the truth of knowledge. Reich’s view of Web 2.0 was that it lowered the cost of participation and considers who uses it and how it is constantly developing.  Ullrich et al illuminated understanding of constructivism in that knowledge cannot be taught but is rather learned and assessed the contribution that Web 2.0 makes towards this approach to learning. O’Reilly’s distinctive contribution is that Web 2.0 is delivered as a service rather than a product. Themes of information literacy emerged in the Lorenzo article alongside issues of security and the implied risks from the ability to change information on Web 2.0 platforms. Bruns’ ideas on “produsage” emphasizes the collaborative sharing of information in order to support the knowledge management agenda.

This was a very useful exercise in that it got participants actively involved in reading the texts, making notes and reporting back. In the time available no-one actually had time to finish reading their article but yet, at the end of 20 mins, all were surprised by how much they had achieved. It was also useful to hear about the different authors and participants could identify particular articles which they would like to delve further into in order to help them complete Task 1b.

After all that reading we played a game. Everyone was given a card with a word written on it and were asked to provide a definition of the word so that everyone could guess what it was. This exercise was fun and useful in that we could ensure a common understanding of the meaning and use of these words. Try it yourself at home to come up with a definition for…

  • Web 2.0
  • Blog
  • Wiki
  • Plagiarism
  • Learning
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Convergence
  • Knowledge

We went off to consider “Communication” at a deeper level and we formed into three groups and three different kinds of communication were considered. These were:

  • 1 to 1
  • 1 to Many
  • Many to Many

The groups identified examples of each of the above and suggested particular advantages to each. The following was fed back…

1 to 1

Examples are phone calls, letters, e-mails, face to face meeting. Advantages suggested were that it was non-filtered, personal, intimate, more to the point and relevant.

1 to Many

Examples come from the broadcast media and include newspapers, radio, TV. The advantages are that it is a reliable resource, there is control therefore less confusion and that it’s for mass consumption (therefore efficient?)  Downsides were also considered such as influence of ownership of broadcast media and whether it is propaganda or censored.

Many to Many

Examples are social media such as Facebook, Conferences, Blogs and You tube. The advantages are that more questions can be asked, there is more energy and there is the opportunity to create through performance.

What can happen to a piece of communication in each of the above? 

Consider that such a piece is taking a stand from a position of A. In 1 to 1, there is the chance that the position could shift to B or even C. In 1 to Many, the position does not move from A. It has been broadcast and there it remains at position A. Such pieces can raise discussion etc. but the actual piece remains static. In Many to Many, the position can shift the entire alphabet from A to Z and back again over a period of time which links in with the “long tail” referred to by Ullrich

We concluded the session with each group doing a short presentation on


Monday, 1 October 2012

If I could do my degree again what would I do differently?

Professor Tara Brabazon is joining our School in Middlesex in January and she has produced a short podcast which is worth taking 12 mins or so time out to listen to...
A new month … a new start

Today is the first day of teaching in the academic calendar of Middlesex University and this is a welcome from me to all our new students embarking on their BA Professional Practice programme of study. We met a group of new starters at our induction day last week and besides introducing you to the wider university systems and services we spent time looking at Module 1.

We explained the three themes involved in the module and the related readers and tasks attached to each of these themes. All those doing the module need to set up a blog where the tasks will be posted. These will be reviewed by the tutors who will give generic feedback on their own blogs.

In the course of the induction session we asked those present to think of something they were good at. Then we asked them to think about “how” they got good at it. The discussion showed that people got good at something through trial and error, continuous practice, learning from peers / mentors, and from other sources eg. Books, web sources etc. Getting good at something involves a change in the way you do something and in the context of professional practice it involves transforming your professional practice. Central to all this is the practice of REFLECTION something that you will develop as you proceed through the module and the programme.

For the moment, I encourage you to get started by setting up your blog and reading your Handbook for Module 1. Get to grips with what is required – as emerging professionals you will need to learn to manage your time in completing this programme. I hope you will enjoy it as much as our previous students have.