Inviting critique of my posts

Hi to my fellow EDU8117 travellers,

Following along from David’s “learning in a community” post, I have written a number of blog posts now and would like to invite critique and feedback.  Since, alla Johari’s Window, I don’t know what I don’t know.

[Johari’s Window – image courtesy of

So, please, take a 5 minute break and skim my last posts and maybe comment on…

  • Am I missing anything? (i.e. is my name easy to find so you know who is ‘talking’?)
  • Am I referencing correctly?
  • In your opinion, is there a typical place where referencing occurs (ie at the end of a post)?
  • Am I doing anything you hate?
  • Am I doing anything you love … or simply mildly like?
  • How might I improve?
  • Are my posts too long, too short, or like baby bear … just right?

Anything that comes to mind really.  All help gratefully received.

To help the process, things I have struggled with (and want to improve in my posts) are:

  • Not knowing where to look to find out the name of the blogger
  • Having too large a font on a post so that I have to scroll down and down (my preference is to have it tight so I can take in a lot of data at once)
  • Not knowing exactly where to put the links (i.e what words do I highlight?  Are there rules?)
  • Do I have to highlight every possible link? (ie. in the post about “Messing with Mendeley“, I refer to seven alternative programs and double linked them as they got mentioned twice.)




16 thoughts on “Inviting critique of my posts

  1. Hi Tracey

    I noted your question re linking every possible item (and that you have double linked some). At the risk of sounding like a mark-obsessed, conniving bitch, I think that in some ways that will be determined by your priorites. If this were “real world” then yes, I would include the links when practical to make life easier for your reader. However, as we are undertaking this as part of our studies, so marks may also be a consideration. One component of the marking rubric refers to the originality of our links; (Under the other links category, for an exemplary performance, over 50% of your links need to be found on your site first). I am not sure how the automated process works, but I am assuming that if you double link, then only one of those links will be regarded as “found here first”. (Hopefully David will correct me if I am wrong). If so, then “double-linking” will reduce your originality.

    To be honest, I don’t particuarly like that aspect of the rubric – it means that linking to papers included within the course readings could have a negative impact on your mark (unless you are very quick off the mark). One way around that would be to cite the article and provide the reference at the end of your post – but without the link. Similary, linking to common websties (diigo or Mendeley) could also have a negative effect. I actually went back and removed links to those sites when the rubric was published. I realise that is quite artificial, and “playing the game” as far as grades are concerned – but at the end of the day, I am on here as a student, and marks do matter to me. Hmm, hopefully I haven’t completely ruined my image on here by being so upfront and blunt about this, but it is something that you may want to consider.

    Also, have you double-checked that you have added your blogs to the university system correctly? I just noticed that you are not listed on the “blogroll” on the NGL blog, so it imight be possible that not everyone is aware you are part of the course??? Having said that, your blog did appear when I joined Feedly, so I do get updated when you post. I don’t know, just thought I should mention it in case.




    1. Hi Laura

      Your comments are really helpful and I think address a really important aspect of the way the unit is unfolding. For the first time in my lifelong learning (and I have done a lot of it) I am tempted towards ‘tick the box’ contributions for exactly the reasons you give above. And I am not at all happy about it. I want to embrace the learning of the unit and build connections with my colleagues and am struggling to do so.

      Are you asking David some of your questions? They seem really pertinent to me?

      I don’t want to ‘play the game’, I want to grow! Yet also don’t want to be ineligible for consideration for doing a PhD later (I already have the client organisations lining up) because of poor marks onroute.

      Thanks also for your comments re: my blog. I will take it up with David, because you are absolutely right. If others don’t know I exist then it affects my results and I can’t see people reinstalling their blogrolls at this point.


      1. Hi Tracey

        Like you, I am struggling to make connections with others in the course. I’m not sure how much of that is due to being so far behind everyone else (having taken holidays for almost a month); how much is due to my personal attitudes towards the web (including privacy concerns; and how much is due to the medium itself. It does seem like some people within made good connections early on, and are working in small groups with a reasonable amount of interactions – but that almost makes it harder to interact with them now. I feel like I am not only butting in to existing conversations – but possibly trying to join a conversation that they have already finished. Both those elements make me feel uncomfortable, and thus releuctant to try to engage with some people. But maybe I just need to get over myself, and some hang-ups!

        How do you find initiating conversations with others in this context? And how easy do you find it to get a response? Are there any mechanisms you have found work better than others – and if so, why do you think that might be?




      2. Hi Laura
        Latterly, I have found that people tend to respond. I also had a lovely email from Alex who started the unit with us and who has withdrawn to concentrate on his new job.
        I can certainly understand the hesitation about commenting on others, yet in truth, I wouldn’t have a problem in person were we all talking in a group. I would be interested in what they had to say and would then leap in. I do find some of the NGL language offputting. Such as liking, following, commenting. These terms conjure up a sense of sychophancy (liking, following) or superiority (commenting). Its a different use of language and I need to understand that it doesn’t mean anything other than connection and engagement. Someone else made a similar comment, just can’t remember who.
        As you said earlier, the learning curve is steep, however I think I am getting over my vertigo.
        Cheers Tracey


      3. G’day Again,

        Just wanted to pick up on Laura’s comments re: troubles making connections.

        To put it bluntly and in summary, Laura I do think there’s an aspect of this where you do need to get over yourself. Or at least the expectation of a near synchronous or group based learning experience.

        I’ve had a blog for getting on 10 years. I get comments on blog posts from all over my timeline, including some very old ones. In one NGL perspective, I don’t think that “connections” need to be contemporaneous or actually with the people. The connection is with the idea or the knowledge embedded in the posts. If you’re lucky that might be the start of a connection with the person, but that’s an added benefit, not the core need.

        To some extent, the delay you’ve had to endure in this course gives you a very different experience and perhaps a better experience. You can work through all of the trials and tribulations the others have suffered and the conclusions they’ve formed as a result at a much faster pace than they.

        Doing it this way is a different experience and requires different practices, but it’s also possible that it’s better in some ways.

        I wonder whether the conception of what a “conversation” is plays a part here? Does a conversation have to be something like a face-to-face conversation, or can it be an engagement with ideas that have spread over a long period of time?



      4. Hi David

        This is a new thought for me, “The connection is with the idea or the knowledge embedded in the posts”, and useful to reflect on. Is some of the disconnect that is going on for some due to a different expectation set? That
        conversations’ or ‘connections’ are with ideas/info rather than people. This could well mean that we have two groups evolving with one seeking to apply connection in the way you describe ‘with ideas’ and others in the more traditional sense of ‘with people’.

        How would things be different?/better? if we clarified (or sought to), how this different environment operates? It seems to me that engaging with ideas rather than people leads to different results. Engaging with ideas can be liberating as it is all about me and my insights, comments aren’t to be taken personally as the person is on their journey (hence the ability to accept/reject in the comments section of the dashboard). It also suggests that many of the social rules that have evolved over generations in face-to-face contact don’t apply as they are for connecting people.

        I will see how this different approach changes what I do. FOOD FOR THOUGHT

        Cheers Tracey


    2. G’day Laura and Tracey,

      A couple of comments/responses. I will probably add this as a post to the course blog to make sure that everyone sees it.

      On the blogroll

      Have just checked and Tracey’s blog is on the blogroll on the course blog. It shows up second on the list under the tag line Tracey’s adopted for her blog – “Better living through insight and application”

      Link to everything

      Echoing Laura’s point, I think it’s up to you. Some rules of thumb I use personally

      How easy is it for the audience to find the information themselves?
      This depends on the digital literacy of the audience (how well can they Google) and also the difficulty of finding the information itself (e.g. a scholarly article versus the Google home page).
      How important is it (and perhaps a particular view/definition of it) to my argument? If I’m linking to a particular perspective on an idea and its central to my argument, I link.

      Found here first

      I’ve slightly modified the script on the basis of Laura’s point about using a link more than once because it might decrease your % of “firsts”.

      Here’s what the script does (you can see the process I used to develop this here)

      Generates a list of all the links you’ve included in all of your posts.
      Each link is only included once in this list. This gives the total number of links in your posts.
      Generates another list called “earliest” that contains every link mentioned by every participant in NGL.
      This list includes information about which blog post (and which student) included this link first amongst all of the participants.
      Calculates the number of links for which your blog is the first.
      Calculates the percentage by using the numbers from Step #1 and Step #3.

      Given that each participant is encouraged to focus on their own particular interests as teacher, student and learner, I didn’t think that this particular criteria would cause significant problems. I was a little worried that perhaps the set readings might encourage a commonality of links, but I was hoping that your own interests would create a large number of unique links.

      Task corruption

      Just about any form of assessment creates the possibility of task corruption. I know a couple of the other participants have mentioned some types of task corruption that the more typical assessment in prior courses has created.

      I don’t think the criteria in NGL are any different, but I hope they may be a little better. There are some signs of this, e.g. everyone has a high percentage of first links in their posts and some of the other discussions in posts.

      But there will always be room for improvement, and there will always be contexts that folk find themselves in which lead them down the path of compliance/corruption.



      1. David
        Thanks for this.
        Part of me cringes at the notion that this conversation is public as it feels ‘disrespectful’ as I would never raise a criticism except privately with the individual concerned. That old ‘praise in public, critique in private’, however if I am to embrace your earlier comments that we are engaged in connecting with ideas/information rather than people then I can see that I need to learn to have a thicker ‘digital skin’ and be less concerned with hurting someone’s feeling and more with getting the information clarified.
        Would it be helpful if you wrote a post about what you have learnt living in the digital environment over the past 20 years (although I suspect some of your earlier ladder rungs are missing)? If you hadn’t made the comment about connecting with ideas rather than people it would never have occurred to me, yet now you have said that, I can see instances all over the place.
        Cheers Tracey


  2. Hi Tracy, sorry have only just discovered your comment as I was revisiting your conversation about blogging and connecting with ideas and not people! A vital point for us all to understand. I think you may have dropped off my blogroll when you made some changes earlier in the course, so nothing intentional in omitting you and have been seeing your posts via Feedly and the link form the course blog page. I am in the process of writing a post about my blogging reflections and observations.
    There’s probably some technical settings I could improve, but as with many other things not enough time to explore.
    Anyway glad you like the diagram, there’s just so much to try and share and yet we have to keep culling and refining to stay on task!


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