Digital Literacy: What I’ve Learned

Over the 2012/13 academic year I undertook a dissertation project titled “Biodiversity on the Web: Developing tools and data delivery for campus biodiversity knowledge”. As a part of the project I worked closely with Alastair Culham and several other students working on similar projects.

Conor Haugh - a man confident in his web 2.0 knowledge.

Conor Haugh – a man confident in his web 2.0 knowledge.

Over the course of the project I gained a good deal of knowledge about digital literacy. I created an account on the university blog and posted several entries to the site (that can be found here: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/whiteknightsbiodiversity/author/zh012054/). For this I had to focus on my communication skills, considering my audience and appropriate tone, content, and layout. I also created a Facebook page for the blog site (https://www.facebook.com/WhiteknightsBiodiversityBlog), and managed to link the two so that new posts to the blog automatically appear on the Facebook page.

My main task was integrating an interactive map of the campus into the blog. This allowed me to be creative in considering what the most suitable way to format this would be, and encouraged me to explore different avenues of achieving my goals. It eventually led me to learn to create custom GoogleMaps, and to become comfortable with Web 2.0 practices such as embedding and hyperlinking. I continue to update the map sporadically, and it can be found here: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/whiteknightsbiodiversity/student-projects/whiteknights-biodiversity-map/.

In addition to these working skills, we were also informed about online copyright practices. We were instructed on how to suitably cite copyrighted material (for example, photos), when re-posting such material. These were useful practices to become familiar with.

All the skills that I picked up and techniques that I refined during this year will be useful in any Web 2.0 related projects, personal or professional, that I undertake in the future, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue them.

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