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So apparently it’s now Semester 2…

I’ve just caught this tweet:

and I’m guessing that Semester 2 has just started. Which is cool; it marks two years since I started this Masters in IT. When I started, I had 12 courses ahead of me. Now I have just 3 left. Two of which are core courses, only offered in Semester One, and the third of which, an elective, I’m *doing* this semester. And by *doing*, I mean ‘applying for Advanced Standing’. So I’m pretty stoked about being able to do that!

Actually, when I think about it, I’m pretty stoked with how my studies have gone to date. Considering that, prior to July 2010, my last stint at ‘hitting the books’ was November 1995, I’m done pretty well. In this Masters, I’ve received 4 High Distinctions, 3 Distinctions and a Credit (and I must emphasise that the credit was for an elective I took – foolishly, in hindsight – from a different faculty, with rather different standards, and we just didn’t seem to get along too well.) So at present, I’m pretty happy with my GPA of 6.375, and last year I accepted an invitation to join the International Golden Key Honor Society – something that I never knew existed, but am now a part of! (To save you googling it, like I had to, it’s a group for University students who are in top 15% of achievers. They meet, do charitable works, that sort of thing.)

So I have three courses – 2 cores, 1 elective – to go (and professional practice to complete, which will make up the final 12th course). And this semester, I’ll be writing up a 3000 word application for ‘Advanced Standing’, which, if approved, means that it’ll take the place of the elective, and I’ll only have the two courses to go. It’s such a head-spin to think that, by this time next year, I may in fact be a fully qualified Librarian, and able to add ‘M.IT.’ after the ‘B.Ed.’ after my name. How COOL is that!!!

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Why I study…

I’ve decided that I really like studying for my Masters. From taxonomies to organizational structures and hierarchy in the informational architecture of websites, from database design to the uses of twitter for professional networking – it’s been a true stretch of the mind for me! And that’s what’s been really enjoyable.

So why a Masters in Information Technology? What’s IT got to do with becoming a Librarian?

Well, I’m a trained teacher. Since I started in classrooms, back in (cough) 1996, I’ve taught in State, Catholic, Independent, Lutheran, and Christian schools. I’ve taught Preppies through to Year 12. In Uni, I majored in English and Music, but I’ve also taught Drama, Dance, Film and TV, SOSE, QCS Test classes, Christian Studies, Independent Studies, and Sex Ed. I’ve been a Music Coordinator (x 2), a Head of English, and a Head of Middle School.

But I like challenges. I don’t like remaining in a position that I’ve been in before. Maybe it’s something to do with my claustrophobia, but I particularly dislike being ‘stuck in a rut’ – which, in my opinion, is remaining in a situation where there is little to challenge me. I love new experiences, and have never yet racked up enough time in any one position to earn ‘Long Service Leave’. But that’s okay for me. I’ve only got one life – I want to live it.

So 9 weeks after Mr 3 was born, I met with some web developers about my ideas for a social network for Seniors – and became a reality. Less than six months after its launch, I was thinking about my eventual return to teaching, and decided that it didn’t really interest me. But as a bookworm, the thought of returning to the classroom from within the four walls of the School Library made a great deal of sense. Step One was to look into how I could get qualified. A few phonecalls and I had a decision to make. To become a School Librarian, I could study a Masters in Education, which would qualify me for a School Library – or I could study a Masters in IT (within a Science faculty) and I would be qualified for School, Public, Academic and Special libraries. And seeing as I’d never studied a ‘Science’ degree before, I thought “why not?” And I’m very glad I did.

The Science faculty at QUT does the ‘student experience’ pretty well. Blended learning options, and podcasts made of all lectures, makes study-around-kids possible. (Believe me! I swapped to the Business faculty for an elective last semester and was NOT impressed with the resulting experience…)

So although study has its ups and downs, I’ve been ecstatic at (the majority of) my results, and the brain challenge has also been excellent. And I’m learning to code in html this semester, so that’s pretty cool (?!!) too… I think!

The plan, when I commenced, was to graduate as quickly as possible and then to be a Teacher Librarian. Graduating quickly isn’t an option for me any more, and my scope has broadened. Having friends on twitter who are Youth Librarians, Electronic Services Librarians, Medical Librarians, Academic Librarians, Information Managers, Historical Archivists and Library students, I now can see that my interests may be broader than the High School library.

So I wonder where my studies will take me! And I’m excited by the possibilities.

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Big Bang. Times two.

For the past few weeks now, I’ve looked forward to Monday nights. As a “Big Bang Theory” enthusiast, the idea of new episodes each week has been exciting. In fact, I’m so hooked on BBT that I’ve even blogged about it for work!

I started my Masters in IT in July 2010. The majority of my classes have been on a Tuesday  evening, and since I teach violin Tuesday evenings, I have been unable to (virtually) attend classes, and so instead I generally listen to the podcasts, later in the week. This semester however, my INN530 unit has been on a Monday. And it took me until after I had missed three classes, to realise that I had a clash between the two. (Whoops!!! Sorry, Kate! “Confession via blog?” That must be akin to “Death by misadventure”?!!)

So – last Monday, I was DETERMINED that I would not be distracted by the latest BBT, and that I would DEFINITELY attend class. Especially seeing as this lecture was the biggie for me. Coding. And I’ve never written any code in my life! So I teed up Hubby to feed, bathe, and put the kids to bed, bought a headset, and went. And I’m so glad (cough) I did. Kate, in her usual incredible manner, simplified the basics for dummies like me, to such an extent  that I – almost! – managed to keep up with her pace. And I was also able to keep my brain from exploding until after I had left BlackBoard Collaborate.

So. Ceridwyn the coder? I hardly think so! Rather, I think that learning to code at the ripe old age of 37 is going to do my head in. Oh well. At least I’m going to go down trying…!

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Code? What code?!

If you’re a regular reader of hmmm… you may remember I’ve written before about – a social network for Seniors – that I launched back in August 2009. I still run it, with my mum. We were fortunate enough to obtain the services of the brilliant Sean Bannister and Mindy Chaplin to create the site for us, and at their recommendation, used the Drupal content management system. All well and good – since its inception, I’ve grown familiar with how to run the administration of it all.

Fast-forward to July of 2010, and witness my entrance to the world of post-grad studies. A Masters in IT, majoring in Library and Information Science, to be precise. And one of the main pieces of assessment for one of my first units? Keep a WordPress blog. Happy to! Since GoodOldTalk. I’d kinda become familiar with blog-keeping. WordPress was unfamiliar, but the concepts were easily transferrable. And by the end of the unit, I could see enough value in the idea of a personal blog that I didn’t need too much convincing when @fionawb issued a #blog12daysxmas challenge – and that became the impetus for starting hmmm…

Fast-forward again, this time to February of 2011. Jobless, I pitch the Principal of St Paul’s Lutheran, Caboolture, to pay me to run his marketing. He agrees, and suddenly I’m a self-employed marketing consultant. With administrative rights to the St Paul’s website. Which is based on Joomla! (If I had my way, there would be no exclamation mark at the end of that sentence…!) Again, the skills are transferrable. Which was good. Adding St James Lutheran, Hervey Bay, as a client in September of that year – and Caloundra Christian College just two weeks ago – both of whom have websites based on Joomla! – is also rather helpful, as it has meant that I’m not being pushed too far out of my comfort zone.

But what I love about this Masters I’m studying is that it really challenges me. As in, REALLY challenges me. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve received 7’s and 6’s (that marketing elective I did, Sem II last year, I’m counting as a major aberration. I was seriously NOT happy with the outcome of swapping across to the Business faculty for that elective!!!) – and  I’m also pretty chuffed that because I was among QUT’s top 15% of students, I was invited to become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. I know I’ve worked my butt off, and (with the exception of one assignment to date) I’ve immensely proud of the work I’ve submitted.

But I’m nervous about this semester. On the suggestion (demand?! ultimatum?!) of Hubby, I’m only studying one unit. INN530, with @katiedatwork. Which I’m pretty excited about… but… one of the 50% assignments is a coding one. In HTML5 – with maybe a bit of CSS thrown in for good measure. And I’m scared. I’ve skimmed the Wikipedia entries on both topics, and I’ve gone ahead and checked out an online tutorial on HTML5 coding, and I’m feeling WAAAAAAAAAAAY out of my depth. Really. And truly, And very, very, very scarily!!!

So… wish me luck! This semester’s going to be a biggie!!!

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And we’re back!

Today is Monday the 27 of February. Very many years ago now, my younger brother was born. He’s now a freelance computer programmer based in London.

This time last year, I commenced my third semester in my Masters in IT, majoring in Library and Information Science. (I had started in July of 2010, and had also taken a course over the 2010-2011 Summer Semester). So I had completed three in my first semester, one over the summer, and was about to take two more. Six total, of twelve.

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Unfortunately, the way that the LIS is structured is that 5 core courses, of those 12, are Semester 1 only offerings. Which means that even if I wished to, I would never be able to complete the entire degree within the usual 3-semester time-frame. Which is a bit of a bumma.

As it stands, I’ve now done 7 total – 2 of the Semester 1 offerings, all of the Semester 2 offerings – and have 3 core (Sem 1’s) to go, 1 elective, and the practical course, left. The trouble is, I can’t take three courses in one semester any more (Hubby’s decree) so there’s no way I could finish this degree this year and keep my marriage.

So. I’m in for one (and one only!) course this semester. Might do the elective in Sem 1, and the final two cores (and the last of the practical this time next year. It seems a very long-drawn out process for what was meant to be a three-semester degree!

Never mind. I start today, “Online Information Services” under the brilliant @katiedatwork, and am super-excited to get another course under my belt…

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From the archives… my thoughts on ‘folksonomies’

Again, another interesting piece from my first-ever blog…

Is ‘the author’ a dying breed? Just one of the disadvantages of folksonomies.


Imagine you’ve just spent the last few years of your life writing a novel. You’ve researched it; poured out your thoughts, ideas, and plans; agonised over characters, settings and  plot devices. Finally, after countless hours of Herculean effort, it’s finished. YOUR work. YOUR  effort. YOUR blood, sweat, and tears.

Should you have the right to feel some sort of ownership of that novel? Or those words? Phrases? Characters? Ideas? In my opinion, I yell out a resounding ‘YES!!’ (Of course I would, I’m an aspiring novelist.) However, there are many that wouldn’t.

Put a photo on flickr, and anyone can ‘tag’ it. Okay, that’s normal practice. Maybe, if the photographer hadn’t wanted their photo tagged, they shouldn’t have put it there. But they did, so they should accept the ‘standard practice’ on these types of sites. But what then, when it comes to something other than a photo? When it comes to something like that novel you’ve worked just so darn hard to create? Is it then fair that others can ‘tag’ this? Your work? I guess it’s all well and good if the tags are suitably reflective of the main ideas espoused: ‘historical novel’; ‘character-based’ etc etc. But what if it gets tagged ‘a piece of crap’?! How would you then feel? Because this is indeed a possibility – once ‘out there’, on the net, you have relinquished all control over your work. Completely. It’s enough to make you, the author, want to quit.

And another disadvantage? Finding your novel again! Say this piece of work that you had sweated over was ‘Les Miserables’ (which makes you, of course, Victor Hugo). Say hundreds of years have passed; hard copies of your novel have fallen into disrepair or worse. The only copies that exist, dwell in whatever the future’s version of ‘online’ is. But unfortunately, they’re impossible to find, because everyone has ‘tagged’ your work with classifications that are personal to them.

This system called ‘folksonomy’? I don’t agree with it. I can’t change it; and I know that I have to live with it; but I don’t like it. I’m with Daniel Pink on this one… “On the great library shelf in the sky, Melvil Dewey cannot be amused.”

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Thoughts on my ‘online identity’

I started my first blog in July of 2010, as an assessment piece for the “Information Programs” course in the Masters in IT that I’d just started at QUT. I found it again last week.

One of the posts I wrote back then, on ‘online identity’, still rings true for me in 2012, so I thought I’d re-visit the topic. Firstly – my original blog entry…

Three questions to ensure your online identity is secure yet still effective


I bet you never thought that what you write online could get you killed. But the threat is real. And with the exponential growth in new technologies, and new apps for existing devices, the possibility of it happening to you, gets larger every day. Don’t believe me? Just ask Leo Hickman, journalist for The Guardian, in the UK, who became a Foursquare cyberstalker.

“Louise has straight, auburn hair and, judging by the only photograph I have of her, she’s in her 30s. She works in recruitment. I also know which train station she uses regularly, what supermarket she shopped at last night and where she met her friends for a meal in her home town last week. At this moment, she is somewhere inside the pub in front of me meeting with colleagues after work.

Louise is a complete stranger. Until 10 minutes ago when I discovered she was located within a mile of me, I didn’t even know of her existence. But equipped only with a smartphone and an increasingly popular social networking application called Foursquare, I have located her to within just a few square metres, accessed her Twitter account and conducted multiple cross-referenced Google searches using the personal details I have already managed to accrue about her from her online presence. In the short time it has taken me to walk to this pub in central London, I probably know more about her than if I’d spent an hour talking to her face-to-face.”


CC image courtesy pigliapost at

Scared yet? But you don’t need to be. You just need to be careful what you share online. Find that fine line between ‘enough’ and ‘too much’. I have very clear boundaries which I will not cross when it comes to sharing information online. Here are the three questions I continually ask myself, to check I’m not crossing those ‘lines in the sand’.

1. What do your images say about you?

Google me. Please. Through facebook, you’ll find that I’m a mum of three. You might even find that my children are 5, 2, and 1. But it’s not likely that you’ll find their names. And I challenge you to find a photo – or video – of them anywhere on the net. If you do – please contact me and let me know, so I can remove it! Am I paranoid about security? Maybe. But I’d prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of little ones who rely on me to be responsible. When they are older, then they may choose what information they want to reveal about themselves. Until then, I will NOT compromise their security. That’s a ‘line in the sand’ on which I refuse to compromise. But that’s me. Find your own standard, whatever you are comfortable with. Would you find those photos / that video of you at last year’s office Christmas Party funny? Or embarrassing? Remember – future employers also have internet access!

2. What are YOU saying about you?

It’s all too easy to think that when we type words into a computer in the privacy of our own home, we’re talking into a vacuum. But every post on a SNS sends that message to everyone you’re linked with. Want to share that you’re ‘inspired by finishing a brilliant novel’? Fine. Excited about ‘going to look at property?’ Also fine. Just don’t forget you’ve sent such messages, otherwise when you meet someone IRL that you messaged, and they bring it up, you’ll be surprised at how much they know! As Jenica Rogers said in her IOLUG presentation (2009) ‘be ready to accept whatever consequences you might encounter’. But my own ‘line is the sand’ comes to PII, and situations where I might accidentally compromise my own security. Sharing ecstatically that ‘I’m heading away tomorrow for a week-long cruise’, when I’ve already shared my address, is just asking for trouble, don’t you think?

3. What are you NOT saying about you?

This post, so far, has been pretty anti-‘online identities’. But that’s not actually my opinion. As site moderator for, I find it not just important, but essential, to have an effective and up-to-date online presence. But if you had stopped reading before you got to this question, you never would have known that. Hence my point – what are you NOT saying? Are you just sharing one side of the story, one opinion, which doesn’t accurately reflect who you really are? If you share only the superficial, then that will be the picture that people build up of you. So share the mundane, from time to time, but make it a priority to share the worthwhile of who you are and what you do, on a regular basis. Just make sure that you be ‘real’. Don’t massage the truth so much that you end up making stuff up. When you’re discovered, it’ll look really bad. But again – you’ll need to find your own ‘line in the sand’ for this one.

So there it is – my three questions. What are yours?

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A new ‘toy’

This coming Thursday and Friday, I will be attending a conference on iPad use in education, as the guest of Derek Bartels, Head of ICT at Lutheran Euducation, Queensland. Majorly cool stuff.
Unfortunately though, although for the past year I have been the proud owner of a MacBook Pro and an iPod Touch (last year’s “Back to Uni deal”) and for the last two months, the extremely proud owner of an iPhone 4S (the unfortunate loss of my LG Xenon meant that I needed a replacement, and what else was I meant to get – seriously??!) I had not extended my I-collection to include an iPad.

Owly Images

A difficult situation could therefore have arisen… but… I’ve managed to avoid it. I’m currently blogging from a $580 credit purchase. And loving it! LOL!!! (I’d say that maybe this is fairly appropriate for Valentine’s Day, but that may just give the wrong idea to my Hubby…!)

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So it’s been a while…

I knew I hadn’t blogged in awhile. I just hadn’t realized that it was three months worth of ‘while’! I guess it’s a bit of an indication of how busy I’ve been. Busy with kids, with hubby, with growth in my business (which has its own name now, rather than being just part of my own personal ABN,) busy with the 7th (of 12) course in my Masters, and other general stuff at home – cubby house movement and garden bed rearranging being the main focus of the September school holidays.
On the work front, I’ve created a campaign for the St Paul’s Christmas holidays, a campaign for the expanded St James Kindy, and compiled a 2011 yearbook that was twice the size of its 2010 counterpart. And I’ve also started (almost daily) blogging for Bloxham Marketing, which has been fun. Phew! Nuff said.
And that brings us to the Christmas holidays, and the memory of last year’s #blog12daysxmas – which was my real foray into the world of blogging in the first place.
So now I’m wondering if I’m up for the challenge this year. Or even if there IS a #blog12daysxmas challenge this year!

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Hanging on by my toenails

I feel like a bug. Still alive – barely – and hanging on for dear life. I’m standing on the windscreen of the vehicle that is my life, and it’s currently going full-speed, flat out, non-stop.

Hopefully that vehicle’s not a train careering along a decrepit railway line, else I’m headed for a massive train wreck!!!

(On the up-side: I’ve completed two of my three assessment pieces for AMN400 Consumer Behaviour – which I’m loving, by the way – and I’ve painted seven street signs in the last two weeks; and I’m on top of the St. Paul’s yearbook to date; and I’ve started working (successfully, too!) at St James at Hervey Bay, both in person and over email, internet, skype; and Miss Three is now completely toilet trained; and – best thing of all – Spring Fair is on today which means that sometime around 4pm I’ll be able to breathe again!!!!!!!!)

Woohoo!!! LOVING my life right now!!