Me as Learner: One step closer


So another step in the right direction with my NGL learning journey. I decided in the end that I would set up a new twitter account to pursue my learning journey about cheesemaking. My twitter handle is @CheesyStudent (I know…its my attempt at humour). I have also started searching for key “cheesy” people on twitter. Will keep  you posted on my adventures into the world of cheese.


Week 3 Diigo activity reflection: an experiment in self, peer and teacher assessment of your work

So I have just (mostly) completed this activity following Davids instructions in the Week 3 notes.

I have shared and tagged my chosen blog post via the Diigo NGL group page but you can also view the annotated page here:

Here are my thoughts:

  • It took me a while to get Diigo to work for me and do what I wanted to do. This is good. As someone that supports university staff, the more I understand and experience this, the better I will be “as teacher”. So experiencing this activity “as student” has great learning opportunities that will improve my practice, philosophy and approach “as teacher”.
  • I wonder about how much personality type plays in self assessment tasks and whether it has an impact on generous vs less generous assessment of oneself…I think having peers and the teacher involved in the process should balance this out.
  • I do like what Diigo can achieve as a tool in terms of sharing, annotation and sticky notes.
  • On the flip side I worry about how much has already been shared via our NGL tools and how I will possibly keep across it all and still get all my reading and tasks completed. I just keep telling myself that I simply cant read everything that everyone has shared. Diigo actually claims to help people overcome information overload – so its ironic that I am viewing it as a source of information overload!
  • I was unable to conduct a peer assessment as the only other items tagged spta were David’s – and I wasnt sure if they counted.
  • Looking forward to a peer assessing my contribution.


Where are you with Assignment 1?

Where are you with Assignment 1?

Activity: Take a look at the criteria for assignment 1. What’s clear? What’s not? What could be better? How are you progressing? What more do you need to do?

Below is an aggregation of comments I have made on the Google Doc for Assignment 1. If you look at the document they are in context, but I thought I would summarise them here as they also provide an answer to the questions above.

  • I really hope that the criteria can be finalised as soon as possible? Success for me requires planning and I can’t plan without certainty.
  • Is there too much emphasis on the textual? Will this limit expression of learning to text based methods?
  • Whilst I understand the need for us to demonstrate presence and engagement, I worry about “number of” being given emphasis here – shouldn’t it be about the quality of posts rather than the number of posts?
  • I cant speak for others – but I have a reasonably demanding full time job and I can only set aside time for this course in blocks. This means I tend to output large amounts of work over the course of a couple of days. Shouldn’t the philosophy of self paced learning, and ubiquity inform the criteria a little here?


Where have you come from?


Reading: Read the “Threshold concept framework” section of Kligyte (2009). In particular the table and its discussion of networked learning as troublesome, discursive, irreversible, liminality and integrative. What in this resonates with you and the last few weeks? Are you still in a “liminal” space? Is the “distributed world of information” appearing any more coherent and sensible? etc, eventually leading to questions of where you are headed?

Troublesome: I think I am stuck on how I will make this work for me in practice. I don’t find it counter-intuitive or alien – but definitely incoherent in terms of how I can make it work with the time and resources I have available.

Irreversible: No problems here. I love that it is transformative and will be with me in some form – forever!

Integrative: I am struggling with this one – only in the sense that I have always tried to keep personal and professional reasonably separate. I think that despite NGL – there are still good reasons for this and this is one where I am not comfortable with the blurring.

Discursive: I am personally quite interested in the area of “new literacies”, “media literacies” and “digital literacies” – there are many names for this. I look forward to developing my network literacy even further and making new discoveries. It can only lead to greater “digital literacies” overall.

Liminality: Yes, yes and yes again. Sounds very very familiar. I like to think of myself as efficient – which is not helpful in this context at all. So go with it Goksu!



Where has NGL come from?

How could this course be improved?
A clearly articulated big picture of this course in terms of expectations and requirements provided at the very beginning would have been greatly beneficial. A roadmap would be a good description of what I mean here.

Greater scaffolding to allow people to get familiar with the setup process and tools being used – simpler and fewer tasks in the first couple of weeks. I think this would have helped and allowed time for participants to allocate greater time to connecting with each other. I feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks and readings and tool setup – that I haven’t really been able to concentrate on making meaningful connections. Goodyear talks about access barriers on page 34 in relation to better user interfaces – for me the barrier isn’t about the interfaces but about getting used to “how things work” in this course.   I think what I am saying also ties in a little with Anne’s post for this activity – but I think that the lack of connection might be because there is too much to be done and not enough time to get to know our environment.

Assessment tasks are in development and still unclear. I would love one source of truth for the assessment tasks and a final version that gives some certainty – all in one place.

How could your approach to this course as student be changed?

At this stage, I don’t really have an answer for this one and I am not sure that I will…..

What contradictions appear in the history of NGL?

Something that stood out for me is the Homophily phenomenon. I can actually see how this happens – we are actually doing something similar for the “me as learner” activity – we are looking for people with similar interests. I can also see how this could potentially also contradict the “openness” of NGL through reduced access and creating barriers for some people.

How has NGL changed over the years?

The appearance of mobile devices on the scene – NGL can happen whilst you are “on the move”.

The emergence of Web 2.0 has created a shift from consumption of information and knowledge to production, sharing, curation and repurposing/reusing.

What insights/research appear directly related to you as teacher?

I think the homophily phenomenon mentioned above certainly resonates with me as teacher. I think many academics tend to stick to people in their own disciplinary areas when networking. I am wondering whether opportunities are limited or lost by taking such an approach to NGL?

What connections do you see with what’s in this reading and what you’ve seen before?

The connection that comes to mind is that networking isn’t new,  but NGL is allowing new ways to network. It also confirms that to get the most out of them you need to develop “literacies” to navigate them effectively.

Let’s curate together? A suggestion…

In Week 2 – David asks

How can the participants in this course curate a shared podcast of interesting audio/video presentations and talks?

I don’t know of any Web 2.0 tool that allows collaborative, editable audio and video mashups – maybe someone else can help?

My suggestion would be padlet – which is a visual board where you can add media from a url, a file or an image from a webcam. They are very easy to set up and depending on how public it is – you don’t need accounts to create boards or contribute or curate. It is also very easy to use.

What does everyone think?

Week 2: PKM Routine and TEST framework

I am a visual person so I am started with a rough infographic that maps out a journey or process. There is actually quite a bit of overlap or revisiting that goes on – as you can see below.

Personal Knowledge Management (1)

Seeking, Sensing and Sharing: My personal reflections

Feedly for aggregating content into one place. I have been using an aggregator for many years and I find it invaluable. I used to use Google Reader. This brings up an issue that its important to acknowledge. Sometimes tools disappear – and when they do you have to find an alternative that works for you – inconvenient and usually quite frustrating – it can make a mess of your hard work. I still mourn for Google Reader…..

Google generally is a big part of my knowledge seeking. This is especially so for search and Scholar.!  is a curation tool that allows me to subscribe to other curators with similar interests and “scoop” what I like into my own account. I find it invaluable for “keeping up” – especially in the ed tech and NGL areas.

Pinterest is great for curating visual content.

A bibliographic management tool is also a crucial part of my life. I use Endnote, have played with Zotero and am happy to explore Mendeley for this course

Twitter is great for making connections with people that have the same interests as you and for learning about topics of interest by following hashtags and people. Although I am not a daily user I couldn’t be without it now…I particularly like that it enforces concise expression.

Tumblr is my blog tool of choice and I mainly use it for sharing information with colleagues – especially post conference information that I might synthesize. I am happy to explore WordPress but I can see that it is quite sophisticated and I recognise the learning curve to come… is a mindmapping tool. Again, as a visual person I find it very useful for making sense of things and mapping out my thoughts or planning my work. It has sharing functionality which I utilise when working with a group of people.

I have missed Diigo in the table below – this is my first time using it and I can see that it could be very useful. I used to be a delicious user but it was decommissioned and I havent returned since its revival – so looking forward to using Diigo as part of the course. I particularly like that sharable annotations are possible.

So overall I have a fairly embedded Personal Knowledge Management routine in my daily life. Despite this I will be adapting this routine to a new context and environment and I think this has significant implications. This will mean it takes some time for me to get my head around how this will work in this course. When I feel inertia hitting me, I keep myself moving by saying “Just do it” aloud!

Below is a table that covers the tools I have discussed above and considers my familiarity and skill levels. I think the wildcards here are environment and task.

test framework


Week 1: Your identity online (Minute paper)

What is the most significant thing your learnt from the above?

This exercise reinforces my belief that your online identity requires careful thought and tending to. Like a garden – if you don’t look after it and care for it – you may end up with something that is out of your control or doesn’t quite appear as you would like…..


Narcissus (Carravaggio)

What question/problem remains uppermost in your mind?

  • Is there an element of narcissism in “believing your press” in relation to your online identity or how many followers or friends you have? I like the philosophy of openness and sharing around NGL but this aspect around narcissism bothers me I have to say.
  • I am struggling with bearing myself to the world – and I am feeling a little exposed. I don’t flatter myself by thinking that many people are interested – or is that my way of protecting myself from rejection?
  • In light of this I am trying to keep my posts to the point and avoiding “manifesto’s” – no one has time for this. I say what needs to be said but QUICKLY!
  • I also have issues around my online identity being hijacked for purposes that I never intended to be involved with….



Week 1: Me as teacher

My role as a teacher is about supporting and advancing learning and teaching in a university setting. My “students” are academic and professional staff at the university. In a nutshell, I am there to support staff to:

  1. explore new ideas
  2. solve problems
  3. plan, implement and review learning and teaching practices.

Within this broader context, NGL is something we are actively introducing to our client groups and we do this in various ways. One way is hosting guest speakers that specialise in this area (such as George Siemens – see an earlier post) and another is modelling practices that showcase NGL. We have both department level and individual network tools (such as twitter and facebook) we use to achieve this and work together to coordinate their use. Another example is a sOOC (small open online course) titled Blended Learning Demystified, developed by our department. One of the six modules is titled “The Networked Learner”. Although written for our audience at the University of the Sunshine Coast – the sOOC is open to all if anyone is interested in taking a look. This is the first iteration of the sOOC and we are already planning to make improvements and offer it as a facilitated sOOC in the future.

NGL might help in my role as a teacher for the reasons that I refer to in an earlier post around flexibility and being able to learn when it suits me. One of the biggest issues for university staff is that they are pressed for time and setting aside time to try new approaches and tools can be challenging for them. This is also exacerbated by the “learning curve” associated with new approaches and tools. So a difficulty is usually around getting past the “how to” of a new approach. In many cases the investment of time required before they see any result means that many staff are unable or unwilling to consider new approaches. To counteract these difficulties, my approach will be to focus on the ability they have to flexibly utilise and learn from NGL and scaffolding the process by encouraging development of  a scaffolded plan.

Below is a mindmap that sets out a general overview of my personal teaching philosophy – which informs much of the work that I do.

Week 1: Me as learner

Well first of all, there are so many things I would like to learn! Lifelong learner – that’s me! I love it. So to have the opportunity to give myself the time to learn something new from my bucket list? Great! To do it with an NGL approach? Not sure…but I will give it a go. I have “dipped my toe in” to learning with an NGL approach – I just hadn’t dived in completely. So here goes.

I am sharing a TED talk by Sugata Mitra where he talks about Building a School in the Cloud (sometimes referred to as the Granny Cloud). If you haven’t seen this it is well worth your time and is a fine example of networked and global learning. The Granny Cloud Website is also worth a look.

What would I like to learn? I have deliberately decided to make it something that isn’t about education or ed tech – something for which I don’t have any established networks. I plan to learn about making cheese in warm climates. I am interested in taking an artisan approach to life and understanding the hows and whys of making things we all use daily: bread, soap, cheese, growing vegetables etc. Living in SE QLD – I would love to know if there is a way to do this… I recently watched a program on cheese makers in Brazil who make cheese in a humid subtropical climate without refrigeration or even any obvious climate control interventions. I have to say that I was fascinated. Also I don’t know much about what networks are out there for cheese makers so it will be interesting to see how developed they are. The benefits will be that I will (hopefully) find and become part of a wider global network of cheese makers and learn from their knowledge and expertise. The end result might be that I am able to make cheese successfully without climate control. I don’t really see any barriers.

What is learning? I touch on this in an earlier post, I like to think of learning as a journey that begins with Knowing, extends to Doing and ends with Being. Wherever possible learning is best when it is transformative – and for me that means Being what you learn.

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