3.4 Manage and communicate
Once you’ve found useful information, the way you manage it will make a big difference to whether you can find it again easily. Sites like Diigo, Delicious and Pinterest allow you to save links to useful resources in one place. You are able to tag them with words and phrases that you can use to search for resources on particular topics in the future. You can also group resources and share your lists with others. Figure 6 illustrates the words you might use to describe activities in this skills area.
If you are studying, it’s especially important to keep a record of useful sites and online articles. If you mention them in an assignment, you will be expected to provide details of the source, and a reference list. There are tools that allow you to keep details of your resources, so that you can reference them later. Two examples are Zotero and Mendeley. Learning how to reference will help you to avoid making it seem as though you are passing off someone else’s work as your own.
Being able to communicate in a digital environment is an extremely important skill to have. Whether you are blogging, posting on Facebook or Twitter, or even just commenting on something someone else has written, you need to think carefully about what you write. Written material you have posted online is open to interpretation and can easily offend. What you write will reflect on your digital identity and reputation, and this could have an impact on your everyday life, work, and professional credibility. So it’s important to get this right.
Activity 6 Managing and communicating online
This activity provides you with some practical examples of what managing and communicating online involves.
In each of the areas covered, read the description and use the text box to write a sentence or two on how confident you feel in that area.
Then read the feedback, which lists resources you can use to develop skills in that area. Copy any useful links into your Digital plan, and make a note of how they might help you. This will be a good reminder when you return to your plan at a later date.
Organising and sharing information
Once you’ve found information that might be useful to you, how confident are you that you can keep an accurate record of it, so that you can use it again or share it with others at a later date? Do you understand how social bookmarking or specialist software can help you to do this?
When you find information online it is useful to keep a record of the details, as you might need to provide evidence of where it came from. You may also find that piece of information useful in the future.
There are a number of online tools and software packages that make it easier to keep these records. You may have heard of Delicious or Diigo, two of the more popular tools. These, and sites like them, allow you to save the web addresses and attach keywords to them, so that you can find them easily at a later date. The sites are accessible from any computer, phone or tablet, and you are able to share the information with anyone with similar interests.
Resources to help you develop your skills
Staying within the law
How confident do you feel about staying within the law when you’re online, and avoiding plagiarism? Are you aware of the rights that exist to protect creative content and how that affects what you share with others? Do you know how to acknowledge someone else’s work and provide references relating to it?
The law protects online content and so you are required to gain permission if you want to use someone else’s work, for example, someone else’s photograph for a poster you’re making. You may be required to acknowledge their work. If you fail to do this, you are at risk of plagiarising. This means using someone else’s work and passing it off as your own.
If you are sharing files online, you must take care to respect the copyright associated with that file. It’s fine if you are sharing files containing work that you have created yourself. There are rights in place to protect your own work. And those same rights come into force if you share or distribute material that belongs to someone else.
Learning the basics of copyright, ownership and licensing will help you to remain within the law when you share files with others. This will be covered in more detail in Week 4.