- How diverse is your existing PLN?
Honestly speaking, my existing PLN is not particularly diverse. Put in other words, I do not put lot of efforts into making my PLN more inclusive. Based what we have learned from previous readings, I would like to divide my PLN into two payers. The inner layer of my PLN is composed of the network where I actively participate and have personal connections to most of its members, which are networks that I intentionally build in order to communicate with my classmates regarding certain class assignments. These networks are not particularly long-lasting – typically the connection ends as we finish the course and move into a new semester. Sometimes we form these networks by ourselves, and other times instructors would assign us to a given group. In either case, I do not put a lot of effort into promoting the diversity of these networks. However, when working in these groups, I do try to do my best to accommodate the different needs of different members. For example, during this semester, since we live in different time zones and on different schedules, sometimes I find my team having a hard time scheduling a meeting where every one is available. In these cases, I try my best to make my schedule as flexible and accommodating as possible. What’s more, as Shelly Moore mentioned in he video, instead of simply integrating different people into the same situation, being inclusive is to form meaningful connections between people (Moore). In cases like group projects, my idea is that we need to hear from each other and incorporate each other’s ideas into the project as much as possible, and I find myself doing this part pretty well. I always find myself encouraging others to voice their opinions and ideas under group settings. However, simply doing these is far from enough. As I move further in my professional area, I hope I could do more.
The outer layer of PLN is composed of people I do not personally know, but rely heavily on for knowledge and information. This is the network that I have built along the years through online learning. The outer layer of my PLN also covers a wider range of topics – any topic that I’m interested in. This layer is primarily composed of credible sources and prominent figures within a given filed – google scholar, TED talks, Wall Street Journal, YouTube channels that I check out on a regular basis, etc. When engaging in the outer layer of my PLN, sometimes I do look for diversity depending on the circumstances. For example, When I look for articles about racial equality, I would pay extra attention to the authors to see if they are members of racial minority groups. However, since I do not contribute much to the outer layer of my PLN in the first place, I don’t think that I have put in a lot of effort into promoting its diversity.
- In your PLN, are you learning from a variety of voices or are you the loudest in the room?
At this point, I would say that I learn from a variety of voices. Like I mentioned earlier, when engaging primarily in the out layer of my PLN, I learn from any topic that I’m interested in (currently I’m interested in psychology, choreography and art history), and would learn from a variety of sources. When I engage primarily in the inner layer of my PLN, I also like to hear from others to reflect on my own learning. Take my experiences in this course for an example. One of the members in my group raised a question about the equal weighting of all participants within a conversation. Her question reminded me of a truly insightful clip of The Daily Show and inspired me to make connections between these two materials. Without her questions in the first place, I wouldn’t be able to do so. Just as Shelly Moore mentioned in the course interview, not only do we learn from others during interactions, we also learn from others about what we know and what we can contribute to the conversation as we go along (Miller).
- Do you participate in a silo of information sharing (similar themes or wide-range of interests)?
I try my best not to participate in silos of information. However, I do think that certain social media platforms make it easier to participate in silos compared with others. Twitter is one of the platforms that is more likely to make people participate in silo. In my opinion, the word limit that Twitter has on its users forces people to communicate their ideas in simple languages, which could increase the chances of misunderstanding . The algorithms also help to feed its users with information that pertains to their taste, which could create a downward spiral that filters different opinions. Sometimes I find myself being caught in such spirals, where I’m constantly being presented information that closely resonates with what I just read. And in doing so, the ideas that I already have become reinforced.
Instagram is one of the platforms that is less likely for me to participate in silos of information. One of the functions that I particularly adore on Instagram is IG TV. It acts as an affiliated video channel for IG accounts, where you could watch episodes of videos on certain topics. The length of these video and the combination of images, sounds and words give me more rooms to think and reflect on the content.
All in all, I think what Shelly Moore said in the interview captured the idea adequately. Different social media platforms are for different purposes (Miller). As Twitter acting as a platform for marketing, Instagram acts as a platform where you can really present yourself (Miller). The different nature of these platforms large affect whether people participate in silos when using them.
- How can you use a diverse PLN to broaden your views of inclusion?
I think the example of my experiences in EDCI 338 that I gave earlier adequately answers this question. People from diverse background raise unique questions and have unique perspectives regarding the same topic. In the process of reflecting on these questions and ideas, people not only learn from others, but also learn about themselves regarding what they know. By contributing these information to the PLN, people provide meaningful content and form meaningful connections between each other, which is the essence of inclusion (Moore). If people all participate in the process, it becomes a reciprocal learning experience that engages every one within the network.
- In your professional setting of choice, do you think inclusion is actively embraced?
My professional setting of choice is likely to be business. I do not believe that inclusion is actively embraced in this line of professional setting. Inclusion in business has much to do with workplace diversity. In recent years I have seen numerous companies come up with their own ways of promoting workplace diversity. Although efforts have been made, I believe that there’s large room for improvement.
- What is the learning outcome of your PLN and how are you ensuring your exposure to diversity and inclusion?
The most prominent learning outcome of my PLN is that I have learned how to learn. Through years of engaging in my PLN, I learned how to communicate with other learners, how to pose questions, how to voice my opinions, how to look for information – to name just a few. Like mentioned earlier, the methods that I use to ensure my exposure to diversity and inclusion depends on the networks that I engage in. When engaging in networks with people that I personally know and actively interact with, I try my best to accommodate the different needs of different people, as well as encourage engagement from other participants. When engaging in networks with people that I do not personally know, I try to look for diversity in the sources as well as in the people who create these sources. Here, I would like to note that while some sources are objective, there are sources that could introduce biases. For example, when looking for political commentary on media outlets in the U.S., it is particularly important to pay attention to their partisanship.
- How has your thinking about inclusion and PLN evolved after reviewing the videos and readings?
As Shelly Moore states, being in the same place with other people not mean that one is included (Miller). Similarly, being in the same network with one another does not mean that they are included in the process of learning. It is because of the meaningful interactions built within the network that we constantly learn from each other and about ourselves. Before reviewing the materials for this week, I think of PLN more as a static web made up by dots, with each dot representing a person. After reviewing the materials, I realized that PLN is constantly in action as people interact within it, and has a limitless potential to grow.
Miller, Jesse. “EDCI 338 A01 Week 5 A Conversation with Shelly Moore.” Youtube, uploaded by Jesse Miller, 8 February 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGx0ejnMLVc&feature=youtu.be.
Thomas, Shelley Moore. One Without The Other Stories Of Unity Through Diversity And Inclusion. Portage & Main Press, 2016, pp. 6-10, 11-12.