Hello again, dear readers!
In my last entry, I talked a little bit about some of the similarities between my school life and my work life, and I thought I’d stick with the same theme for this week. I’ve already talked about how I’ve written a lot of essays in my time as a student and how my essay writing experience has helped me in my work here at Brock. A significant part of essay writing is the research process – finding sources that support your argument, and keeping track of your citations so that when the time comes you can make connections between your thoughts on your topic, and the thoughts of others. I’ve been researching certain topics all throughout my placement here at Brock, but the last few weeks in particular have been very research heavy.
I was recently asked to join a subgroup to support an ongoing library initiative at Brock. We call ourselves “search wizards” (finally – my dreams of being Hermione Granger have come true!), and our job is to scour the web and the library for sources relating to a certain topic. My role in this group was to do some research on the internet and find blog posts, opinion pieces, and social media posts related to our topic. I read blogs from time to time and I’m certainly no stranger to social media, but I had never used either of these sources in an academic way. My fields of study usually require scholarly papers and studies to support essay arguments, meaning that unless you can make a really strong argument for a Twitter feed being educational, most professors won’t let you rely on it to prove a point. Getting to take points from wherever I wanted was a nice change of pace for me. The experience was a nice mix of not feeling any pressure to get a high grade, while also feeling like I was contributing to something important.
I’ve also been doing some research into data visualization for the DSL – living up to my Mizz Vizz nickname! When the DSL space is finished, there are plans for a big visualization wall to display data visualizations from across the web and other public visualization platforms. In my time as the DSL’s resident visualization expert, I’ve found that there’s a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to data visualization. People often think of visualization as just creating graphs, and don’t understand what the need would be for advanced visualization programs when you can easily create graphs in Excel. My hope for the visualization wall in the DSL space is that people will see that visualization is so much more than graphs – it can involve maps, webs, charts, and so much more! It’s been pretty cool for me to see what kind of advanced visualizations are out there, and I’m excited to be able to share my findings with the larger Brock community.
In the midst of all this research, I also had to focus on teaching my first workshops as a DSL intern! It felt good to take my knowledge and experience with giving presentations (as well as my tendency to talk fast when I’m nervous) and apply it in a real-world situation. I’m happy with my progress so far, and look forward to teaching two more workshops before I head back to Western at the end of April.
Finally – I leave you with the above photos. My colleagues in the DSL managed to keep my new mug a secret from me for quite some time, and it was such a nice surprise! I think they’ve captured my essence pretty well, I’m content to do just about anything as long as I have a book with me!
My blog series is posted bi-weekly, so be sure to check back on March 22nd for more on my internship journey!