Participation and Engagement in Networks

Earlier in the semester we discussed the idea of treating the internet as more than a dumping ground for files, but an arena for research, collaboration, production and distribution. The participation mark for the semester then, is measured not only by your participation within the classroom, but also by your engagement in online environments. How to measure this?

Social Bookmarking At Delicious
One measure of evidence that interesting course relevant research has been done throughout the semester is through the quality of bookmarks saved. A semester of research should yield plenty of worthy webpages discovered. The quality of bookmarks can be measured a number of ways. The bookmark should have interesting or provocative course relevant content – a link to the main page of myspace.com, facebook.com or a wikipedia definition is not particularly useful, but links to pages which discuss and critique aspects of myspace or facebook, or which compare and contrast or summarise different viewpoints on a topic, are much more valuable. Aside from the content bookmarked, your perspective and summary of this is appreciated too – if you have included a few useful lines to summarise what you have bookmarked, this also adds value. And finally, if you have tagged your bookmark in a variety of ways, this helps both you and the reader contextualise the bookmark – and if you have included the tag rmitmusic, then you know that you have shared the bookmark with the 3 classes who have subscribed to the RSS feed for that tag, and so you are engaging effectively with your network of peers, and contributing useful research accessible to everybody.

Blog Posts
What might a good blog post contain?
– Personality and insight! What is your perspective on the topic you have covered?
– Evidence of research and critical analysis.
– Referencing and links. While formal referencing isn’t needed within blog posts, acknowledging and preferably linking to sources, is more than good online etiquette – it allows the reader to further explore if they are interested. In other words better blog posts contain more links – appreciated by both the reader, and your assessment marks.
– Links and commentary on other student works – within a blog post – are an excellent way of engaging within the network of our 3 classes. If you have written about another student’s blog post – and linked to the specific post mentioned – several things happen. The other student will be notified by their blog software that someone has linked to them. The other student will gain feedback about their ideas from you. And because everybody is aware of each other’s blog posts through the RSS feed, everyone becomes further exposed to a student’s blog post and ideas. Ideally over time, this would develop in quite a conversational way, and understanding how to nurture this kind of ‘conversation’ is an important part of online engagement.
– Imagery – your own, or referenced, creative commons images. ( Aside from adding colour, this shows you are exploring the technical capabilities of a blog).
– Examples of your sound or video ( or referenced, creative commons works ). These could be links to your works, or actually embedded in the post with code.

What about other online networks / environments?
If you have been engaging within networks like soundcloud, flickr or youtube etc – documenting some of these explorations and research*, with a summarising blogpost ( including links to relevant activities ) – is a good way to show your participation.

(*Nice to see Hobbobass got an email reply from the author of Mixing with your Mind. A link to the book author mentioned would’ve been ideal though. )

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