To be honest, I have heard so much about this unit from my group work peers who enrolled in this unit from the previous semesters, everyone suggested me to do this unit because of the fun and innovative contents it provided. When I read the unit outline that students would gain skills and application knowledge through ‘playing’ with technologies, I immediately enrolled in this unit.
At the beginning, I have had a very high expectation about the unit learning content. Whilst I think that this should be an easy subject, I was really looking forward to learning as much emerging technologies as they currently exist that are important for information professionals to develop a generic theoretical, practical capability and awareness to apply in their professional context and settings. I was hoping that I could learn how to create wiki and professional blog pages using appropriate technology and techniques. I was also looking to learn how to leverage the use of social media and be aware of its privacy and security settings. It turned out that after the last class in week 12, I do not feel disappointed at all. In general, the unit offered the type of learning experience and the environment that even exceed my expectation. The most important part of it is that I have been absolutely enjoying every fortnight class. It is undeniable that the teaching team were very kind and helpful throughout the semester and the assessments are well guided by the lecturers (the best of all units I have enrolled in this semester). The use of the blog instead of Blackboard has taken the learning experience and interaction with the teaching team to another positive level. The use of WordPress is very fulfilling and definitely more fun for students to keep coming to the unit site (although it is unavoidable to stop spam messages coming to our blog inbox).
When thinking back since the first week of the class, there were so many emerging technology topics which I even heard them for the first time from this unit. Some of these technologies include: Web 2.0 (I know what it is, but I never knew that it is designed to emphasise user-generated content, usability, and interoperability), MOOCs, digital inequality (digital divide), openness, informational capitalism, the significance of Minecraft game and Makerspaces. The fact that knowing those new concepts is already very useful for me to apply in my professional life, having the chance to explore through the play and reflect activities with those topics have reinforced my perspective on the role and impacts of these technologies on my digital behaviour. Again, for me the learning environment (the online class and the WordPress blog pages) which was used to facilitate the class content delivery and the assessment is unquestionably very effective, engaging and super enjoyable.
I can see that anything which involves collaboration and social media can be annoying for some students (including me in some occasions) as I have noticed that a large number of students were not engaging actively with others’ blogs and providing constructive comments (again including me). However, I think there is really nothing for the teaching team to further do in order to encourage more learning and connecting among students. This is even true for me, because I am more like a passive content viewer than pushing myself to comment on someone’s post unless their ideas are incredibly irresistible and relevant to me. I found that being obliged to make constant connections and taking initiatives to share content through commenting other students’ blogs are a bit frustrating for me. I feel that it is sometimes very challenging to keep up with the requirements in this ‘Connect’ part when you already spend significant amount of time doing the play and reflect activities, and you also have to ‘spend’ time reading other’ peers’ blogs which mostly are very long (not that I don’t have the willingness to learn from others but sometimes you just want to finish your reflection and move on to do other pending assignments or reward yourself by watching Demi IM in Eurovision instead of spending time reading other students’ blog). I was also slightly uncomfortable having to sign up on Twitter so I can participate in the broader class discussion and engage more in the ‘Connect’ part of the learning blog assessment.
I found the concepts of a declaration of independent of cyberspace and some aspects of ethical issues (accuracy and property) quite novel, it even makes more sense after hearing the great example of the Ashley Maddison data hack. This is very interesting perspective for information management professionals to be aware of and apply accurate analysis instead of simply judging from the data. The activity of quantify myself was one of few activities which I found the least appealing, I mean I know that keeping track on your fitness or activity data can be useful sometimes, but to continuously tracking and quantifying yourself, it is just a great way to waste our precious time.
While I was not involved in the gamification activities which were launched in the last play activity, I personally believe that those aspects of assessment coupled with other creativity-provoking through play activities such as Google yourself, Create an app, Open Data Mashup, Data Visualisation, MOOC enrolment or becoming part of the Makerspace community significantly allowed me to gain further knowledge and discovered of a wide range of emerging technology concepts that I would not have explored on my own. I think that most technologies covered in the lecture were all relevant and interesting to learn, however, I still think that I would be keen to know more about the disruptive technology trends and those online service delivery models such as Uber, Airbnb, Foodora, Spotify etc…, mobile payment and big data; and its implications on the global business. I would also like to explore and learn more about the potential of enterprise drone management platforms which can change the game for logistics for B2B not just a small personal parcel delivery by drones.
So to sum up, the semester is not even finished yet but I am already missing this unit. I am not saying because I want to make the teaching team feel good about my reflection or anything, I am saying it because I have learned so much technological theories and concepts associated with what are considered the trends for information professionals. The activity that I most found challenging from the weekly activities was the reflection on my online identity. The most interesting technologies covered from the lecture are the potential of VR and Internet Piracy. I would say that the fitness data tracking, the digital footprint, and Big Brother were among the few topics which were not really new or interesting for me. I point them out not because the content delivered by the lecturer was not good, but I have seen and read so many articles about these types of monitoring and how actively people share their personal lives to the public in a number of ways so it has become quite old information for me. If I have to choose one key learning from this unit I would pick the methodology of performing user research in order to capture the users’ needs through the creation of a poster persona using the user experience plan (research, design, measure, adapt). This I think is the valuable lesson and takeaway from this unit which I can immediately apply when I am tasked to investigate the customers’ requirement in my future employment.