Over the course of the three years of my undergraduate life at LSE, few things have characteristically stayed constant. Course have changed, career paths have swayed and well let’s not even comment about London weather. But in the great turbulence of times and tides, from the wide eyed days of first year to the more cynical chasm of the third, SADL has provided a constant backdrop to an else-wise ambivalent landscape.
Week after week, the program brings you ways to evaluate your digital interactions from a new dimension and likewise, with a note of finality, the last SADL session involved a task where we evaluated the nature and extent of our digital transactions.
Drawing a pair of axis, one ranging from Visitor to Resident and the other outlining the nature- Personal or Institutional, we populated the graph with various tools- social media, organisational, entertainment and fitness- from all realms of our being and analysing where we stand for each of them. This method of analysis offers a refreshing way of looking at digital engagement- capturing both the extent and the nature. It allows for subjective interpretation of each tool and hence is not limited by strict definitions. For example, I could put in Microsoft OneNote which I exclusively use for work related documentation.
However, it may still be too simplistic since it does not account for overlaps well and does not factor in the nature of some tools that are only meant for visitor purposes- eg Moodle. No tool could be on two extremes of a dimension without sketching it in twice- making the chart less succinct. Furthermore, there are other characteristics of engagement that could be factored in with more dimensions: regulated use, open source, within the personal space (entertainment or personal development). These are things we take as banalities and its not until we stop, think and categorise that we can alter and optimise our use of these tools and this would be the biggest takeaway for me from the task.
And that exactly is what I enjoy about SADL- it highlights tools that are indispensable to our lifestyle and helps us deploy them better. SADL has evolved and come a long way from its pilot year and it’s been an absolute pleasure to have a sense of belonging that transcends courses, departments and year of study. By Simran Masand