Hindsight is a Wonderful Thing

Hindsight is a wonderful thing because it allows us to analyse past experiences with more knowledge than you had at the time. This means if we utilise critical reflection properly we can grow to make better decisions and improve ourselves. In this post I want to reflect upon the last semester and the IAB260 unit.

When I think back to before the first lecture I remember being so excited. I had never had a course that so heavily focused on the use of social media and left the complicated QUT systems (blackboard) behind. I was so excited in fact that I made a tweet on the first day.

I was excited about mixing the usual classroom with the online one and also learning a lot more about Twitter. I was not disappointed. I found the online tools worked so effectively, with the unit info on the blog site and the community on Google+ I was able to find what I was looking for and communicate easily with teachers and classmates. I even caught a nasty chest infection one week and I was able to keep up, by attending the class online through Adobe Connect. My final thoughts leaving this unit are “I wish all my units were run this way” and

Sadly there aren’t any more undergrad courses. ; n ;

But next I want to think about my performance this semester. I think I started off a little rocky. I was not used to blogging and I found a steep learning curve was involved in putting together good blog posts. My early blog posts were probably not referenced or connected to as much theory as they could have been and this showed in my “Are We A Community” post. I consider this to be one of my weakest posts and one of the topics I had the most trouble with. Having revisited this topic since, I have a better understanding of the differences between Online Networks and Online Communities but I feel that I could still benefit from researching this more.

Additionally, at the beginning of semester I had a lot of difficulty getting the hang of commenting on my peers blogs. I had trouble coming up with meaningful comments which resulted in a minimal amount of commenting at the start of semester. All I wanted to write was “This was an interesting post” which was not going to help my peers improve and was probably something they already knew. As semester progressed I feel I made an improvement in my commenting game. I would read my peers posts and understand their perspective and what they took away from their research. Then I would either ask questions to fill in blanks that had been skipped or that I didn’t understand; or I would ask them why they had a certain opinion. I feel that this kind of commenting helped me to better analyse my posts for information that could be laking and helped me to gain further knowledge and learning experiences from my peers.

That being said there were still a few blogs that I struggled to comment on, and communication with the class was not always easy. I called out to the community on Google+ for suggestions for something I could draw so that I could make an image to wrap up semester. I was hoping that people would comment things like “Robert Downey Jr Meme“, “Paper Cranes“, “twitter” or something a bit more creative but I only got a handful of responses. I really wanted this to be a community collaboration but I had trouble using the community to reach out to all of the class.

In terms of the unit content, the most interesting topic for me was probably “Artist & Internet” because I got to talk about some issues that are really important to me. I got to research and learn a lot more about copyright and creative commons. For example, prior to that week, I did not know that only the expression of the work not the idea itself is covered under copyright (IP Australia). Meaning my art is protected but my original characters are not. This was a huge surprise to me. I think my interest in this  topic showed as it is one of my longest posts.

Additionally, that same week I got involved in a large debate on the Google+ community about the ‘artist’ Richard Prince using Instagram photos for profit without the permission of the original owners. I was really interested in the reasons why some classmates where defending his actions when I thought they were obviously wrong. It made me aware of the way I look at the internet, through the eyes of a creator. It made me conscious of the fact that I always try to respect other people’s copyright to the point of asking permission even for things that are not covered under copyright. While conversely there are people stealing creative work under the guise of “fair use”. It also made me aware that I had already unconsciously considered art theft and weighed the pros and cons when I made the decision to share my work online.

The other topic I found interesting was the use of  social media in emergency situations, and I covered this in my “Sending Out an S.O.S” post. I was already aware that technology was used this way but during my research I learnt a lot about the impact that technology really has made on the preservation of life. Whether that be considering how updates on #BigWet allow residents to make educated decisions about what they should be doing, or in cases like the Lindt Cafe Siege where Technology was used to gain information from the inside and save lives.

Additionally, during the Gamification challenge I stumbled across some more interesting information on this topic. Task 9 required as to share a hashtag about citizen journalism and I began looking into the Fukushima Disaster. During my research I found an interesting video about Citizen journalism.

This video made me realise the impact citizen journalism can have in emergency situations because you’re able to hear the perspective of someone who comes from a country that does not have a strong culture around this type of social technology usage.

Overall I feel my tweet sums up my feelings perfectly, I loved this unit. It was such a great learning experience for me and I feel that it has made me more conscious of the way myself and others use the internet and social media sites. It has made me aware of online communities, memes, how the technology is used in other contexts (for emergencies and learning) and most importantly, this unit has changed the way I look at social technologies. I feel like I’m able to better understand the technology that I make use of everyday and also how other people use it and why. If this subject were to run again, I would definitely recommend it to everyone I know at QUT. Thanks for a great semester.

– M.

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