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1.1 Sharing ideas and resources

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Figure 3 Social-networking sites make it easy to connect to and communicate with others in your field.

Educators and those supporting or leading learning can use social networks to share ideas, tips and tricks, or resources with others in a similar position. They can join an online network and simply observe without contributing, or they might comment on other people’s ideas, and use them for their own inspiration. They can also share their ideas with others and obtain valuable feedback that improves their work.

When considering partnerships, networks and communities, it is wise to be aware of potential ‘boundaries’. These may include perspectives and power relations between different types of people, different roles, even different pay grades (MacGillivray, 2017). These distinctions will not necessarily limit the types of contribution that any individual makes, however, it is often worth observing a network to understand how it works before participating actively.

When you have established a ‘presence’ in a network, you are likely to find your relationships with certain individuals are of particular value. You may start to ask specific people for advice or find you are commenting more freely on their materials. These interactions can be channelled into the formation of a community of practice (this will be explored further in Section 2 of this week).

You can also use social networks to make connections with peers who are more experienced. Do not be afraid to reach out to those who may have more experience to ask for advice on how best to approach an element of online education. If someone reaches out to you for guidance, return the favour.