Through the Google lens : development of lecturing practice in photography
Du Plessis, Liza Kim
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This dissertation is a self-study that involves inquiring into my mentoring practice to change and improve my situation and find a sense of belonging. The centre of the inquiry into 'self' lies in the search and claiming of an identity that consolidates the development of my artistic, mentoring and research practices during my 'first time' employment experience, as a junior lecturer in a Photography program, 2009-2011. I reflect on three years of lecturing experience in a tertiary education setting at the Durban University of Technology, in which doing a Masters was obligatory. I entered this position, with little experience in research and lecturing or photographic expertise. During this study, I made myself known as osmosisliza, the name of the ‘cyborg’ who journeys in cyberspace. I claim to be a ‘photographer horticulturalist’, a mentor concerned with cultivating collective online spaces, to create movement to connect in cyberspace for social learning purposes. I ask “Who is osmosisliza?”. My class motto is “what you think, know and believe helps us all to be more”, a personal belief for building knowledge through exchange and collaboration with others. I employed a variety of free Web 2.0 applications, like Gmail, Blogger, Buzz, Picasa Web Albums, Google Bookmarks and YouTube to create online spaces in which I could position my living educational theory. I called this place the Google Lens (GL). The Google Lens formed the mechanism to cultivate communities of practice for social learning, to develop confidence, motivation and engagement. The Google Lens was also the repository for qualitative and quantitative data. Mostly I analyse verbal and visual text, writings, photographs and video exchanges between learners and myself archived in the Google Lens to address my research question and sub-question. Through the lens of Google I did action research to improve my practice, and analyse my development as a newcomer to academia. I investigate how successful I was in using the Google Lens to achieve my mentoring goals. I also made photographs during the process of this inquiry to visually address abstract identity dilemmas, concerns and thoughts in my place of work, to engage my ‘I’ in my ‘eye’ as photographer. I exhibit these in cyberspace. I call these electronic postcards. Electronic postcards are blog posts in a weblog called osmosisLIZA. I made 98 blog posts and sent 98 electronic postcards in this dissertation. An electronic postcard consists of a photograph, an illustration, labels and a text heading. In this document the electronic postcards run alongside the writings for this self-study, functioning as text and message of the experiences of a developing academic as well as evidence of the developmental questions I was continuously asking to improve my practice.