Despite the best intentions of the weather this week, a number of people from around the UK managed to make it to London on Wednesday for workshop as of the HEA Digital Literacies in the Disciplines programme. As I blogged about before, the main focus of our case study will be within nursing programmes in our school of Health and Life Sciences.
The workshop was primarily an opportunity to bring the projects together and for us all to get a more in depth overview of the background to the mapping process. For me the clarification of the ends of the V and R scale in terms of social traces was really useful. Visitor behaviour is where you don’t leave a social trace online and residency is where you interact with others and leave a social trace. The bit in the middle is where you are online to be with people, but within a known group e.g. Facebook.
I liked David White’s use of the term “elegant lurking” e.g. a student who follows experts in a certain field on twitter but doesn’t interact with them, but does get a lot of useful information through the wider interaction of that group of people. As someone who isn’t keen at all on the term lurking this contextualization really appealed.
As with most mapping exercises it is a not an exact science and the dialogue generated by undertaking the exercise is the most interesting part of the process. We were shown a range of different maps (again really useful to see) and as with most maps they all sparked a range of questions for me.
One of the reasons we are keen on this methodology for nursing students is so we can provide a way for them to articulate and understand where and how they interact online in context of their professional, personal and student identities. Hopefully this will allow us to improve how we support them in developing relevant professional and personal practice. We are also interested in wider issues of where and how they use different social spaces for learning. Will they even think to add our VLE to their maps?
This links to the use and support of learning spaces at an institutional level. Do we really need to be investing in developing social sharing spaces within our institutions (e.g. Yammer) when most students use services such as Facebook anyway? And if we try to use these more personal spaces in a formal educational context, will that just make the students move somewhere else where they want to be? We may always be playing catch up. In turn, if these institutional social spaces are relatively closed will they be of any future value to students? Should we be focusing attention on helping our students use recognised professional spaces such as Linked-In and leave them to use other online spaces in an informal way?
I found the mapping exercise fascinating, and it’s really made me think about where and how I exist and leave social traces online. I thought I had a good overview of my online interactions – particularly in a professional context. But seeing other maps, and talking with people on Wednesday I remembered a whole lot of spaces where I do have a large social trace but I had actually forgotten about. Like many people I have “played” around with online bio services such as about.me, but I kind of forget about them as they are automagically updated from RSS feeds from my more active and engaged spaces such as my blog and twitter. However I’ve had over 3,500 visits to my about.me page in the past year which astonished me. I also have a vizify page which again is populated from other services. It has what I always thought was a good overview of ‘where I am” online
But after doing the mapping exercise I think picture is more like this
I confess I’ve had to re-do my paper map from Wednesday as I had forgotten quite a few things, and also I wanted to use circles not rectangles. Don’t think it makes any difference but there are a few Venn like overlaps. I was also impressed by fellow delegate who used powerpoint on Wednesday to create his map.
We are running our workshop next month and I’m really looking forward to the maps and discussions it generates.