Why I’m Not Good At Sharing (And How I’m Trying To Get Better) – Week 4 Blog Post

I have a privileged perspective of the world. I was able to complete a Bachelor of Science at a research-based university – the University of Alberta. The worlds of academics and research have been a big part of my life for over 7 years. My experiences in these worlds, however, have left me gun-shy of sharing and being open for a number of reasons.

1) My data isn’t my own – I stand on the shoulders of giants

Standing upon the shoulders of giants by Mushon Zer-Aviv via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

Most of the data I produced as a research technician did not belong to me. It belonged to the research group, an in all technicality belonged the agencies funding the research. I needed to be extremely careful to keep any research data under lock and key (including digital locks) at all times. There was a highly competitive air to data production – especially because multiple groups were “racing” to publish on certain topics.

Now that I am working at VIU, I still struggle with “ownership” issues. The course materials I am producing are not my own – they belong to my department. At least once in the OLTD program I have walked a fine line between what is mine and what belongs to the department. It is a fuzzy, gray line but I worry about what happens if it is crossed too far.

I’m also a copyright criminal at heart – remixing and reusing materials seemingly without regard (although usually with a proper citation). I generally don’t feel any ownership over my material – so I don’t feel like I can share it.

How I’m getting better:

I’m learning to search using creative commons and open repositories first, instead of as an afterthought, and pay attention to remixing rights. If I create something totally new (however rare that is) I will try and include a CC license, so someone else can reuse it or make it better. When I remix materials, I will try and ask myself if I’ve personalized something or improved it. If I’ve just personalized it, I don’t really feel that is enough change to share it again as my own. If I feel I’ve made an improvement, I will try and share with the correct attributions.

I’m also working on my “sharing” workflow, inspired by this resource: http://www.gliffy.com/publish/4239236/?buffer_share=287e1. The tools I like to use are Twitter, G+, and Diigo. I also have a tendency to save things into a folder on my desktop (which isn’t very helpful). I try and share work-related resources on Diigo, and more general things on Twitter. G+ is just for my coursework right now, but that may change in the future.

2) I’m too young to have anything significant to say

I’ve been the youngest person in a role multiple times in my life. I was the youngest technician in my research position by 4 years, and one of the only members of the group without at least one other advanced degree (meaning I had a sever deficit in practical lab work). There was a glut of experience in our lab group, and understandably, no one had the time or inclination to listen to what I had to say.

Now, I am the youngest person in my department at VIU by nearly 6 years. Most other members of my department have years of teaching experience, or an advanced degree, or both. I think that I know what I am doing, and that I do it well, but I still find it intimidating to share anything I do with the group. It is difficult to imagine anything I do on equal footing to what other members of the group produce.

When interacting with the rest of my OLTD cohort, I see people with years of experience, people who are doing amazing things in their classrooms or at their schools, and people with a depth of thought that is truly astounding to me. I have struggled throughout this program with what my niche is and if (and how) I can contribute to the learning of the rest of the cohort.

How I’m getting better:

By Share Maroc via WikiMeida Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Share Maroc via WikiMeida Commons
(CC BY-SA 3.0)

I’m trying to take the lessons from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcmI5SSQLmE to heart. I have a pretty unique background (if I do say so myself) and I tend to be very analytic when approaching educational issues. I have a strong interest in research-based practice, even if I don’t have the experience to back it up. Sometimes, that can lead me down unrealistic paths, but other times it means I have a stronger foundation to build from then others expect.

In my current role, being open about my projects and sharing resources I create is necessary for the office to run efficiently. It is one of the biggest ways everyone supports each other – I put resources up on our wiki or add them to our shared drive weekly. I’m still working on translating that process to my personal life, but I am getting better.

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3 Responses to Why I’m Not Good At Sharing (And How I’m Trying To Get Better) – Week 4 Blog Post

  1. Andrew Still says:

    Stephanie, your post resonated with me, as it was both illuminating and candid. I think perhaps, we’re all working to find our niche in this program. I have a fairly unique academic background, but finding this to be irrelevant in the tech world.

    When it comes to filtering through massive quantities of information in such a limited time, my ability to be quick, efficient and resourceful is what matters. It’s funny. I never realized the extent to which I come across super ideas and resources, but then click the”back” button. Sharing takes effort for me because – like I said in my video blog – some of us haven’t quite figured out how to do it yet.

    http://knotamirage.wix.com/andrewstill#!OLTD-505—Blog-4-2-Minutes-of-Sharing/c1ity/80C98F7E-E008-445F-9CA8-C3F4A9043511

    I’m working on a way to funnel these to the appropriate people. Wouldn’t that be great? Thus, if I find something to do with Chemistry, or say, a wonderful piece of prose, I could click the “Charlene” or “Jay” buttons (respectively) and pay it forward. 🙂

  2. Denise Andersen says:

    Stephanie; you do have a unique perspective and it isn’t measured by age. Age is not a reliable criteria for competence or discovery. Your experiences have come to you by virtue of your own abilities and your age obviously had nothing to do with the hiring process. I have had many opportunities to mentor people in my long and storied career and those I choose to mentor often have ‘something’ that isn’t tangible, can’t be described but demands my respect and interest. I perceive these opportunities to mentor a gift from the universe because I enjoy being a part of reciprocal growth and discovery and appreciate being able to pass on my wisdom (as it were). Perhaps your mentors have felt the same about you. I am in awe of your knowledge and capabilities and consider it to be my good luck that you are a resource in my workplace as well as my friend and peer.

  3. Karen Hunter says:

    Stephanie,
    I really appreciated your perspective and your words. I really loved that after posting what you struggle with, you then also posted ‘how you’re getting better’. How many of us take the time to be reflective like that about our lives?! It’s so important and helps us grow and change. I feel you have soooo much to contribute (and you do contribute)! You are talented and knowledgable and often have a refreshing perspective and outlook.

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