the final weeks of the last six years of my life

i’m struggling with my final 3 weeks of this degree. i’m fairly sure i’ve said the words “there will never be a harder semester than that one” every single semester for its’ entirety; i’m always trying to be clever by mixing up the majors so i don’t have an overload of tech or info services but no matter what the combo, they always get me!

this one has been the semester of procrastination and dread, partially because i had pretty much zero control over my final subjects and ended up being backed into a corner for two of the them (which are electives, making it even more frustrating). not sure if i’ve mentioned before, but i’m the most non-i.t person to have started an i.t degree (which says heaps about the lecturers because they’ve got me speaking fluent ‘derp’ now: way to go tech geeks! 🙂 ) and i STRUGGLE with coding. i was super-keen to get into the interactive web development side of things this year after a couple of years of sql and markup languages. i’ve got a brain that works well with structured, logical codes; whilst i’m creative in one sense, i love creativity and design within order and structure, so codes such as sql are great because there’s a high degree of problem-solving hidden amongst common-sense logic. PHP on the other hand is officially DOING MY HEAD IN. i don’t know what is confounding me more: the actual code, the order in which it should be written, or the fact that 9 weeks later, i still don’t get it. the only thing that is working for me is the sense of urgency i have and the knowledge that my panic has fuelled extreme studying, to the detriment of everything else in my life, and i’ll actually hand in the final assignment not only on time, but probably early. it’s 85% finished with 2 more weeks to go. unfortunately that just means that i have exactly 8 days to get myself in order for the exam. oh, the joy and excitement of furthering education…..

the other part of the final year that gets me down is that i feel like a bit of a whiner for even being so excited about finishing. i mean, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before right? people get degrees every day; you don’t hear them treating it like finishing a marathon! (i have been told before that it’s not that much of an achievement to complete something that so many other people have already done. thanks for the perspective :-S ). for me though, it’s a huge deal. on my mum’s side, i’m the first family member to get a university degree. i’ve taken my sweet time getting there (13 years since i left school) but i’m there; so far everyone else hasn’t started or has dropped out. even as far as second cousins, there might be a handful of us who went to university and came out with a piece of expensive paper. so it’s a big deal for me, and it’s both exciting and sad. this has been one of the hardest years to juggle everything, but i will still miss my nights on blackboard and access to full scholarly databases next year. maybe i’ll be accepted into the honours program and my brain won’t be so completely burnt out, and i’ll be back. maybe.

Information Literacy & Community Development: programs for older learners

the average age of persons in Australia is increasing, with twenty-five percent of the overall population predicted to be in the over 65 age demographic by the year 2044/45 (Productivity Commission, 2005). this Information Literacy program has been designed to accommodate the interests of the older generation, and respond to the gap in information literacy amongst those over the age of 65. it was designed to engage the special needs and interests of older learners with the support and facilitation from volunteers in the community and local community groups specialising in family history and local history. this is a six week program, designed to encourage seniors to use the library catalogue, feel more confident on internet databases, and interact with peers. the program works through physical files and resources, electronic database resources (including Trove), and introduces them to social media applications such as pinterest and historypin.

Older Learners in the library_IL Program_June 2013_Katie Haden

note: this document is a beast as it was written as a report with background and justification for program development; if you’d rather not wade through 43 pages, head straight to page 10 for the program outline 🙂 

The World’s Top 10 Gov 2.0 Initiatives

great article about government 2.0 iniatives in the international community

Australia's Government 2.0 future

By Darren Sharp, 19 January 2011

Originally published by Shareable Magazine

The Gov 2.0 movement continues to gain momentum around the world with a number of inspiring people, projects & ideas rising to prominence over the last year or so. Sometimes the most important innovations emerge from the periphery where creative citizens take a “do it first, ask for permission later” approach that can generate a wealth of benefits for the entire global community. So here’s my pick of the world’s best Gov 2.0 initiatives. What are your favourites?

10) SeeClickFix

SeeClickFix is a map-based citizen reporting platform that enables the public to report and track non-emergency related issues via web and mobile. Co-founder Ben Berkowitz developed the idea after getting frustrated with city hall’s lack of response to graffiti in his local neighbourhood. Governments can access a dashboard to acknowledge outstanding issues and close the loop with constituents. The…

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no longer addicted to facecrack

saturday was a monumental day in melbourne. the hawks won, cleo didn’t wake us at 5am and most importantly, i finally gave up facebook for good. i’d planned to deactivate on the first goal of the grand final, but i was actually looking forward to sticking it to zuckerberg so much i ended up flicking the switch in the freezer aisle at the supermarket. it felt good. it still feels good.

this isn’t the first time i’ve done this. i’ve probably deactivated facecrack 3-4 times in the last 4 years, but always i’ve gone crawling back after a week or so. it’s only been three days but already it feels like this is the final time, and there’ll be no more shame stalking the photos of old school friends at 2am when most people won’t know i’ve reneged on my promise to rid myself of the evil clutches of data nerds in the usa. i feel like a smoker who’s had my last cigarette and completely turned the corner: it seems silly to compare facestalk to other addictions, but the saddest part of the whole sorry situation is that it’s probably truer than we care to admit. i’ve struggled to let go before. ‘why’ is beyond me: there’s not much to take from it, most people either share other posts or say nothing of value, it’s full of advertising, and at the end of the day the only person who stands to gain anything from it is the billionaire in california who thinks it’s perfectly fine to take your information and sell it to others for a profit. there’s not a lot of use for personal users in it anymore, and it’s really just a tool for businesses. i’ve done enough literature reviews on data and information security to know that they will just keep taking everything they can from you and unless you know exactly how to hide it, prevention is futile. i did a study on under 13 age restriction on facebook last year and surveyed random people about their views on kids using social media: not a single person was concerned about data security of children online. the less people think about it, the more they get away with. my email inbox is filling up with junkmail from companies i have never heard of, bought from or subscribed to. you have to ask how they get your details (do you though? really?). zuckerberg is the used car salesman of privacy and he’s not messing with mine anymore!

i’ll leave you with one of my favourite scenes from the i.t. crowd: they seemed to sum it up best…. FOUR YEARS AGO.