Thing 13: Reflective Practice


Welcome to Thing 13, the final Thing in the Online Networker section of the course!

Congratulations on reaching this point in the course, and once again, we hope that you have enjoyed it. Thing 13 is a reflective piece, similar to Thing 6 and Thing 9. Just to remind you, the purpose of these reflective practices is to enhance your learning and application of skills through critical thinking and self-reflection.

Now that we are at the end of the Online Networker section we are delighted to announce that the Online Networker Badge is now open for Applications.

If you're not sure about what you need to do in order to earn an Open Badge look at our FAQ.

Having now completed Things 10-12, you can see that this section has given you a three-pronged strategy for promoting your personal brand and becoming a highly skilled online networker, communicator, and collaborator.

Let’s Reflect!

First, Thing 10 encourages you to develop and hone your general networking skills, particularly in the face of the new opportunities afforded by social media, and to take the first steps in this direction through using Facebook and Twitter to engage with the professional LIS community. 
There is a strong emphasis on being interactive, getting involved and “joining the conversation,” be it through sharing information in online groups, or contributing to Twitter chats. 

As noted by the SJSU School of Information

“Networking is not simply an information exchange between you and another person. It involves establishing relationships with people who will often become your friends and community of colleagues as you go through your career.” 

It is, according to Howerton-Hicks & Maleef (2015)

“the most important weapon in your career arsenal” regardless of your career stage. 

Secondly, Thing 11 guides you to focus on the professional image, or brand, that you project online.

Perhaps more than any other profession, library and information professionals have long had to contend with the stereotyping of their work and professional image.

Fixed and old-fashioned impressions can be unhelpful, and can affect engagement with library users, and distort their beliefs about what we do and the services we provide; as Bartlett (2014) points out, 

“The perception gap between how we think of ourselves and how our patrons see us can be very wide.” 

It also affects how prospective employers and collaborators view us, and may limit the opportunities that come our way. Thing 11 stresses the importance of taking a conscious, active approach to your online presence, and ensuring that you take time to carefully consider the professional image you wish to project, and the tools and channels you can use to achieve this.

By taking control of your personal branding strategy, you get to determine the attributes, skills, and achievements that you wish to highlight, rather than allowing information about you to emerge online on an ad-hoc basis.

The tools introduced in Thing 11 – LinkedIn, Twitter and ORCID - enable you to begin to curate and project a strong professional brand, and to establish logical connections between different platforms, allowing a coherent overall picture of you to be established online.

Finally, Thing 12 focuses on effective online collaboration and project management, and introduces several highly useful tools to organise and schedule work tasks, as well as communicate and engage in collaborative authoring with remote partners.

As information professionals, one of the most positive things we can do to raise our profile, enhance our service, and communicate our value to external parties is to both initiate and participate in large-scale funded team projects in areas directly related, and cognate to, our core skill set. The availability of free digital collaborative tools has opened up multiple possibilities in terms of national and international collaborations; time and distance are no longer a barrier to working effectively in teams.

The value of collaboration is without question; as Grassian & Kaplowitz (2005, p.49) point out,

“Collaborative interactions enable people with diverse expertise to generate creative solutions to mutually defined problems.” 

When used together, the tools introduced in Thing 12 – Google Drive, Trello, Slack and Skype – constitute a kind of “mission control” for remote collaborations, allowing communication, scheduling, and co-authoring to proceed smoothly and efficiently. Your task in the module has hopefully prompted you to consider how teamwork has a function for you in the past, and how it could be improved in the future.

Reflective Writing 

In writing about the use of learning journals in education, Jennifer Moon (2006) notes that “Writing is a form of representation of learning, a means of demonstrating what we have learnt and importantly, a tool for the enhancement of more learning.”

It is a form of cognitive housekeeping, which enables you to assimilate new knowledge, relate it to your previous experiences and understandings, and relate theoretical concepts to professional practice.

In Things 6 & 9, the Gibbs template for reflective writing was introduced, providing you with a structure for marshaling your thoughts and developing your post, should you choose to use it.  Here is a reminder of the steps in the cycle:

Gibbs Reflective Cycle

Your task for Thing 13 is:

Write a reflective practice post about your experience of completing Things 10, 11 and 12.

As before, you may choose to use Gibbs’ model, but if you do not have time, you can present selected examples of the tasks that you completed, and choose one or two of those tasks to engage in a more indepth and detailed reflection.

In writing your reflection, you could find that while you might already feel you are an experienced online collaborator with a strong personal brand, the lessons have inspired you to experiment with different tools, to build and promote your brand more extensively and to seek out virtual projects, to which you can apply or contribute.

Alternatively, your experience of this section might be the incentive you needed to begin to explore these aspects of professional practice in earnest. Some of the questions you can ask yourself to stimulate reflection are:

  • What is my personal digital footprint? Am I presenting the online image that I wish others, especially professional colleagues, to see? 
  • Do I currently have a personal branding strategy? What way have I - or could I - use the tools covered in the lesson to create or improve my brand?
  • How do I feel about networking – is it something I find challenging, or do I find that it doesn’t take much effort for me? Am I exploiting all of the possible channels, to reach out to colleagues and potential collaborators? 
  • Do I currently use any of the recommended tools to manage workflows and collaborate with others on remote projects? What tools do I feel would be most useful to me in my work? 

Applications for the Online Networker Badge are now open.

There is no deadline to get your application in, it will remain open for the extent of the course.

Best of luck and if you have any questions at all; use the comment feature below, email us at, contact your moderator or shout out to us on Twitter @rudai23 #Rudai23.


Bartlett, J.A. (2014). Coming to terms with librarian stereotypes and self-image. Library Leadership & Management, 29(1), pp. 1-5.

Grassian, E.S. & Kaplowitz, J.R. (2005). Learning to lead and manage information literacy instruction. New York: Neal-Schuman. 

Howerton-Hicks, L. & Maleeff, T.Z. (2015). Network Like Nobody’s Watching: Demystifying Networking as a Skill for the Librarian and Information Professional Community. Paper presented at SLA 2015, Boston, June 14 -16, 2015. Available at:

Moon, J.A. (2006). Learning journals: A handbook for reflective practice and professional development. London: Routledge. 

SJSU School of Information (2017). What is Networking? Available at: 

Thing 13 was written by Claire McGuinness 
Claire McGuinness

Dr. Claire McGuinness is an assistant professor in the UCD School of Information and Communication Studies (ICS). She has authored many publications on information & digital literacy and academic librarianship, and is currently the coordinator of the Thesis and Capstone modules for MLIS and MSc students in ICS. Claire has a strong interest in professional identity and career development for LIS professionals. She can be contacted at


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