Welcome to Zac’s MALAT Blog Site

 

Activity 3: What makes a good research question?

Through various readings and videos I've started to shape my ideas in what makes a good research question. A good research question should be: Specific Controlling the scope of your research is critical as it can easily get overwhelming trying to incorporate all the...

LRNT 521 │ Zac’s Visual Networking Map

To see the interactive version of the map, please see the Kumi link here. I decided to break down my network by how individuals and groups interact with me through various technologies and my personal "role". At the center is Zac as a whole; this is then broken down...

LRNT 521 │ Zac’s Initial Digital Identity Digital Presence Plan (DIDP)

Overall goal My goal is to continually develop a digital presence and identity that allows me to share and expand my technical expertise while actively collaborating and learning from my MALAT colleagues.  After completing our conceptual map on David White's visitors...

LRNT 521 │ Considering Dave Cormier’s Alternative Tension Pair

After reading Dave Cormier's Digital Practices Mapping article and comparing it to my concept map, a couple observations emerged for my "professional practice" (Cormier, 2018). 1) Analogue processes are not very common for my role as a Learning Technologist because...

LRNT 521 │ Zac’s Technology Use Concept Map

    This was an great chance to reflect on some of the tech I use day to day. For simplicity I consolidated my interactions with technology at RRU as a student and staff together under institutional and anything else under personal. I do have the pleasure of doing...

Activity 3: What makes a good research question?

Through various readings and videos I’ve started to shape my ideas in what makes a good research question. A good research question should be:

  • Specific

Controlling the scope of your research is critical as it can easily get overwhelming trying to incorporate all the variables and details on a research subject. Restraining from expanding too far outside your subject area and maintaining focus will help create a clear hypothesis and conclusion.

  • Flexible, especially in the early stages

It is very likely the question you start with will shift as your begin to conduct more research. You may find there is an abundance of information that covers your idea already or in contrast that your particular question hasn’t been explored much. The more exposure to information will help steer and narrow your question to fit your research.

  • Relevant and Intriguing

Using “relevant or intriguing” I’m trying to describe the research questions addresses something that is cared about or could change future understanding in that research area. It shouldn’t be an “open-and-shut” case and needs a level of complexity to allow for discussion that may spawn further research.

 

LRNT 521 │ Zac’s Visual Networking Map

Zac's Network Map

To see the interactive version of the map, please see the Kumi link here. I decided to break down my network by how individuals and groups interact with me through various technologies and my personal “role”. At the center is Zac as a whole; this is then broken down into the 4 role categories. Each role is uniquely colored as they have distinct connections in how my network interacts with me. Crossover can be observed between my roles, but I assume this is amplified given I am a student and staff at RRU. For simplicity, I took technologies established in my Technology Concept Map post and colored them green. For this diagram I wasn’t focused on usage, preference or importance of each technology and kept their size and color the same. From each technology, the grey nodes connected represent a group or individual and how they interact with me through certain technologies. Due to sheer numbers, I found it difficult to try to capture every case or individual as these grey nodes, but made sure each one created had an example that could explain the relationship. Upon reflection of my network map, I observed separation from the top and bottom of the diagram, being RRU and non-RRU related network connections. These connections will likely develop more over time as the MALAT program progresses and I continue to work at RRU. 

LRNT 521 │ Zac’s Initial Digital Identity Digital Presence Plan (DIDP)

Overall goal

My goal is to continually develop a digital presence and identity that allows me to share and expand my technical expertise while actively collaborating and learning from my MALAT colleagues.  After completing our conceptual map on David White’s visitors and residents typology, I found that I am a resident in a few select technologies. These few residencies are highly influenced by my role requirements at work, so my hope is to find alternative ways to interact with these technologies. Campbell inspired me in saying innovation can be found by “Explore[ing] old ideas in new context”(Campbell, 2009). I hope to achieve this and additionally apply new ideas in old contexts to my work and MALAT studies 

Identification of skills and knowledge gaps

Actively using multiple technologies through work and personal interest allows me to learn digital environments quickly. Once I am using a technology, I am skilled at conveying its use and capabilities in an easily consumable format.  Currently, my struggles revolve around supporting my creations with correct design principals, pedagogies and other concepts I haven’t heard of yet. Filling these knowledge gaps will be key in developing my digital presence and ability to collaborate within my network as I will be better able to communicate the reasoning behind my ideas. 

Approach for achieving my goal

To achieve my goal, I will actively avoid getting stuck in the technical aspects of my MALAT journey and focus more on the rationale and theories behind my endeavors. Following Boyd’s description of behaviourist pedagogies to “… [build] on a richer psychological understanding of learning and how it occurs” incapsulates the attitude and objective setting I will use throughout the MALAT program and beyond (Boyd, 2011). In addition, I will purposefully push myself to share more of my experiences and thoughts through posts and comments. This will provide solution to help decentralize my technology residencies and intrinsically expose myself to a diverse array of information. 

Defining my goal success

At this moment I find setting specific objectives to achieve my goals difficult and hope that these will develop over time. For now I will measure success by ensuring to do a self check-in every week to acknowledge the achievements and challenges I encountered. An example achievement could be applying new theories to my work or MALAT studies. A challenge could be noticing myself getting too focused in technical aspects of a project instead of driving for richer understanding.

References

Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructureEducause Review44(5), 58-59.

Dron, J, & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press. (Note: free PDF available for download). Chapter 2.

LRNT 521 │ Considering Dave Cormier’s Alternative Tension Pair

After reading Dave Cormier’s Digital Practices Mapping article and comparing it to my concept map, a couple observations emerged for my “professional practice” (Cormier, 2018).

1) Analogue processes are not very common for my role as a Learning Technologist because the digital alternative almost always brings an efficient or worthy attribute that makes analogue seem impractical. Technology is quite literally in my role name so it can be uncommon for me to working without some type of digital component. Specifically issues of scalability, accessibility and consistency are key to a lot of my work and digital technologies are the prevalent solution to most of these issues. The exception to this observation was face to face facilitation and in person teamwork, but both of these have been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2) In my concept map I had observed that many of my technologies had shifted right to more residential as I have worked remotely the past year. Using Dave’s map I realized that many of my tasks have become more individual as well due to less ability for ad-hoc group work. Pre-COVID my office was a large open space and we would commonly stand up and ask the room questions. If needed we could then easily consolidate to collaborate in a separate space. This practice is still going digitally through Slack, Collaborate, etc, but lacks some of the small nuances the in person presence had. Seeing if an coworker is on the phone, away from their desk or actively working on something isn’t always represented well in software user statuses. I find myself reading through resource material and previous requests more as some questions don’t feel worth bothering the whole group with a notification.

3) Dave asks “Is email ‘really’ a digital practice? Write a letter, send it to someone, wait for a response? Not so digital. ” (Cormier, 2018) For my “professional practice” I do believe email is a digital practice. (Cormier, 2018)  Some of the functionality email brings transcends the non-digital capabilities of a letter and is key to email’s use and success. It’s not uncommon for my emails to be sent to multiple stakeholder groups simultaneously that will rely on each others responses to determine the next step in our common goal. With emails there is also the ability to share resources, allow access to other systems or introduce more participants near instantaneously. Email can be directly or indirectly connected to every technology I use and is integral to my “professional practice” (Cormier, 2018).

Cormier, D. (2018, March 31). Digital Practices Mapping – Intro activity for digital literacies course. Daves Educational Blog. http://davecormier.com/edblog/2018/03/31/digital-practices-mapping-intro-activity-for-digital-literacies-course/.

LRNT 521 │ Zac’s Technology Use Concept Map

Zac MacDonald Technology Use Map Resized

    This was an great chance to reflect on some of the tech I use day to day. For simplicity I consolidated my interactions with technology at RRU as a student and staff together under institutional and anything else under personal. I do have the pleasure of doing freelance contract work, but found adding those specific technologies cluttered the map too much.

    My presence on the resident side to appeared be lighter than many as I don’t use some of the popular services that are “more visible and leave any kind of a trace” (White, 2013). Notably lacking for me would be Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as I have found my use of them rapidly decreased to essentially zero over the past five years. This is likely a result of my active effort to reduce “screen time” which is always a challenge especially with the added dynamic from the covid-19 pandemic.  

    Web conferencing tools has shifted to be quite central within my map due to the covid-19 pandemic, as meetings, facilitation, troubleshooting and informal conversations have all ended up in one of the various web conferencing platforms. It is also quite common for these web conferencing interactions to be recorded and added to support ticket requests, knowledge base tutorials or sent to other teams to information share. Working online since March of 2020 has definitely resulted in a shift of many of my technologies more to the residents side when previously much of my interactions would have been in person/ over the phone and not as visible. 

White, D. (2013, September 13). Just the Mapping. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK1Iw1XtwQ