Thursday, 5 November 2015

My Moocing Jounrey

So after a break of some years I am back and being a little reflective.

I have just started my first MOOC with FutureLearn, Blended Learning Essentials which is going to teach me all about using technology to support learning. Before I start, I should probably back up a little and give a bit of background.

Last year I got a new job, a professional job. The kind of job that pushes you to do the best things you can, I now teach information literary to both undergraduates and postgraduates, and I'm now the primary contact in my department on all things VLE. It's a little bit different to my previous jobs. My boss likes to joke that she is turning me into a learning technologist, and doing this MOOC is part of that journey.

This is Week One and part of the process is to reflect on the issues that have been raised in the teaching. My workplace has been moving over to our new VLE this last year, and it is starting to get to the point when we are wanted to develop it and move away from it merely being a repository of lecture slides and example papers. We use Moodle and it is a pretty powerful teaching tool, and can do all the things you would expect a VLE to do and some that you probably hadn't thought of. Blended learning is all about using the technology available to you to support the learning of your learners (I prefer the word student personally). I am particularly interested in the flipped classroom aspect of blended learning, where you use the VLE to teach your students the basics about something so that when they turn up for the face to face class you actually spend the time with them on the more practical/more difficult concepts. So for example, you might be teaching a class in a lab, where you will be using a particular piece of equipment to perform an experiment. You might prepare a video of how to turn on and calibrate the piece of equipment. When the students arrive for the lab, they already know what the piece of equipment looks likes and how to set up. You as the teacher can offer help or they can look up the video in the class to remind themselves. This way you can spend more time on the experiment and the actual learning.

I also learnt about a new (for me) bit of free tech called Padlet which can be used for anything that needs input from lots of people. We were asked to post a comment a video or an image on what week one had made us think about.

I can see all kind of interesting uses for this, especially gathering anonymous feedback, it would be brilliant for an online version of our library speaking wall. Apparently it embeds in Moodle to, I will just have to figure out how to do that, and if it is even possible in OUR version of Moodle.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Who am I?

Well the title for this blog is a tad misleading, I know exactly who I am, but you, dear reader may not.  Online you get a idea of who I am, but I only let you see what I want you to see, but to be honest I probably do that in real life as well.  But in real life I can judge what others reaction to me are as it happens, and make adjustment to what I say and do, like stopping ranting about how rubbish the Olympic ticketing process is and stay away from the bar if I am drinking a little to fast.  

Online its different, I have to read and reread what I have written for errors and mini rants as once its out there I can't really take it back, and you never know who is gonna read it (the above picture is a little controversial, and goes against a couple of things I say in this post, but it does encapsulate how I feel about not getting any tickets).  So there is an amount of self-censure in what I say on my blog and my twitter but usually I just take out the swearing and the spelling mistakes.  So online you get a less sweary slightly more thoughtful Emma and I do try to put in bits of my personality otherwise it would be unbelievably boring.  And this is where my online name comes in; my real name is as common as the county I was born in, so Googling Emma Jones gets a million different women none of whom are me.  But that's because most of the time I am pussy_galore or pussy_galore_  I use these names on social networking sites and the odd forum that I am on, if you put the second one in Google you do actually find me on Twitter which is nice, but that's it.  
Why pussy galore?  Well obviously I am a James Bond nut (and Honor Blackman is pretty darn cool she was in Goldfinger,  the Avengers and Jason and the Argonauts!) and when it came to creating my first ever email address I had to think of something, and Emma was taken long ago.  And then when it came to signing up to other sites I just stuck with what I already used.  Its a little weird when meeting people for the first time if they only really know me from Twitter say, but it is a bit of an ice breaker because everyone knows the name and its a little funny.  But lucky pussy hasn't caught on as a nickname, that would be really weird...

My online presence is pretty linked up; on my blog you have both my twitter and librarything feeds (which show a slightly eclectic taste in books) but (if I have done it right) Facebook is completely personal.  I have it locked down to within an inch of its life and so only my actual friends can see my stuff, and I am not really using it as much as I once did.

Yesterday I spent about an hour working on the 'visual brand' of my blog and twitter (N.B. I look nothing like the woman in the above photo), I am not totally happy with the results; I can't seem to get my twitter feed on my blog page to be readable and having a purple home page on twitter is just wrong so I might not keep it, but I can see why it would be a good idea to make them similar, but choosing what to use in the first place is pretty hard.  I do use the same picture and my first name on both, so thats something.  But do I need to change that much, I am not really sure...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

To boldly comment

To be honest you would think I would be alright at this, having done a similar course before. But I am still nervous about commenting on other peoples blogs. Having helped Katie out with adding the participants to the master list and Delicious I have had a greater opportunity to at least read a vast number of first blog post (I can't help it I am nosy), this might explain why it takes me quite so long to update the list :) It has been really interesting to read from so many different types of info profs working all over the place, and realising that we aren't all that different really. I am enjoying reading a couple of blogs; Love in the Library being current favourite at the mo and I am very impressed at seeing the Library Wanderer back and blogging.

Monday, 20 June 2011


I have never blogged before with so much of a chance of being read by so many people, from all over the world. So I am a bit daunted, but it is a little exciting as well. So welcome to my CPD23 blog posts!

I'm Emma, and I currently work for Cambridge University in a dependant science library; since working here I have completed my Masters in Library Science, but have been unable to get a professional post. In the current climate I am just happy to have a job in an area I want to work, and I like it here so that's a bonus. But this does mean that I have stalled a bit in the career stakes, so I thought I little bit of cpd would be good for me, and doing this online course along with a touch of networking is no bad thing. I have had this blog since working on last years Cambridge 23 Things programme, this is how I know how to use blogger and make it look pretty with pictures and useful with embedded links. I expect I will find that I know some of the 'Things' that we shall be covering over the weeks, but hopefully there will be new and exciting 'Things' that I haven't used before. All in all it should be pretty interesting and useful. Now I am off to explore some of the other bloggers in this program and say hi.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Getting Experiance

Through out my life I have never been fond of speaking in public. I can get up and sing in a group or play in a band, but on my own I am terrible. But I realise that it is an important skill, so though I moaned about doing it at university - a lot - I always tried to make the best effort I can, and not look like that kid in the school play reading a sheet of paper aloud as quick as humanly possible.

Unlike Neil Gaiman I am not good at this. By sheiaellen

When I finished my Masters course, I thought I would be really proactive and take the universities Presentation Skills course, which I did, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it was (not the course the getting up and talking bit). It was a really good course, but one of the most important lessons, was to practice; practice makes you better at preparing and presenting and increases your confidence as it proves to you that you can do it and that you won't necessary be rubbish.

But I don't really have the kind of job that involves a lot of public speaking and it has been nearly a new since I did the course. But, I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in the Librarians in Training event at the English Faculty last week on 'Qualifications and Professional Development : LIS Qualifications.' It was a quick 5 minute talk on a nice easy subject, basically why I ended up picking the City University Library Masters and how I found it. And to be honest though it could have gone better - we were running a tad behind so I had to rush though a lot of it - it was alright, I won't win any awards but its a step closer to doing longer talks on slightly harder subjects.

Monday, 6 June 2011

CILIP New Professionals Information Day 2011

So, though I don't imagine I have that many readers, anyone reading this might be interested to know why I am back on the blogging wagon. Well last week I went to the CILIP New Professionals Information Day 2011 and it was suggested by at least two different speakers that blogging was a very good idea, for recording what you have been doing for your professional development and getting involved in the wider community.

I have never been to CILIP's offices in London before, and am not currently - though I was whilst a student - a member, but luckily for me this event was open to all new professionals and was free. So I got to do a bit of a reccy, talk to some people and get a bit of an idea about what it is all about. Apparently there was hardly any 'official' promotion for this event, everyone had found out about it via Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, and there was definitely a full house which was pretty impressive. The day was organised around a keynote in the morning and then four workshops/presentations that were ran
twice so that you got to go to all of them or if your time was short pick the most important, with plenty of time in-between to do a bit of networking.

First off was the keynote by Steve Clarke, who is not an information professional but an entrepreneur who talked about setting goals and knowing what you want to get out of your career and some of the right ways to go about getting them. Which I found quite interesting and some of what he said was quite refreshing as he did have a different take on what library and information professionals are. For the morning I chose the room on the 'right,' which meant Bethan Ruddock's 'Getting Involved' workshop, followed by Lyndsay Rees-Jones' 'Getting Experience' workshop. They really dovetailed nicely into each other, as the biggest message from both of them was saying 'yes,' and getting involved often leads into getting experience. Both talks were quite interactive and dare I say fun and it did really make me see (but not in a preachy 'telling off' sort of way) that I just need a bit more motivation, to look for opportunities and to actually follow them through.

After lunch I was off to the 'left' room with Alex Wilson-Campbell 'Getting a Job' and Maria Cotera 'Getting International.' A lot of what Alex was talking about was a lot of common sense stuff, but in the process of looking for a job - at least I have found that - you do get lazy and cut corners and you really shouldn't if you actually want a job, and he does offer a free CV checking service which I will have to take advantage of. Maria talk was definitely the right one to listen to last, because by the time you have put everything into practice that you have learnt in the rest of the day you are ready to go international. And blimey has she gone international, she is constantly involved in international projects on all manor of scales and is truly inspirational. Though I would really love to do some of the things she does (international womens projects, anyone?) I don't think I am quite there yet, I am pretty sure I need to get a bit more national before I think about leaving the country.

The day was a really fun and enjoyable, I learnt a lot from the speakers and got to talk to a lot of people, about their careers and some pretty big library and information issues, not just during the day but at the LISNPN event afterwards. I really appreciate CILIP running the course and having these interesting people coming to talk to us, if you are new to the profession you should definitely go to the next one. Chartership is increasingly looking like a good idea, so when I finally get that first professional post, I might just renew my membership:)

The Good Thing about Blogger

Is that it is owned by Google and so I had no trouble remembering my username and password. Which to be perfectly honest was something I could very well have done, due to the 10 month hiatus of this blog. So I am back, 10 months is a long time to try and fill in the blanks, so I am not going to bother.

Though I am sorry to say that there is little hope now to my doing a Kindle post, of which I did mostly write and then got carried away actually using the thing. I will just say my Kindle is awesome and a wonderful edition to my book collection.

So this is me back I hope for a while, and that I actually blog mre regularly than once every 10 months :)