Assignment #3: Social Media Reflection

=> Link for Assignment #3  due on November 22nd

Assignment #3 is a social media reflection, based on work you have done over the past several weeks.

You have two options for Assignment #3 — a Social Media & Digital Identity reflection or a Creativity and Collaboration reflection. Please read the options carefully and contact me if you have any questions. Post a tweet to @CT231, send a DM, or email me directly.


iCollab Google map, geotagging & Wikitude

Over the past few weeks, members of the #iCollab community of practice have been adding points of interest (POIs) to an iCollab Google Map. Initially, we are adding our own profiles, but this will extend over the coming weeks and months to include other geolocated data, e.g. images, video, audio, etc. We are also using the mobile app Wikitude to create mobile augmented reality worlds, providing opportunities for collaboration by linking geotagged content.

icollab map

iCollab Community of Practice (CoP) – click for interactive map

CT231 students: following are the instructions for adding yourself to the iCollab CoP map and using the Wikitude app:

Step 1.  Add your profile POI to the iCollab Google map

Step 2.  Create a Wikitude World and interact with other iCollab students

That’s it!

Now, what ideas do you have for sharing geotagged content with the iCollab Community of Practice — and beyond?

Creating a professional online presence

Second-year IT students are preparing CVs in preparation for interviewing for placements in 2014. While creating a great CV (and cover letter) used to be the main focus when searching for a job, things are much different today.

Firstly, it’s worth considering your digital footprint (as we did earlier this term). Type your name into a few different search engines — what do you find? Think about creating and sharing your work online, perhaps via a blog or other social media. If you share your work online, then you can link to it from your CV and LinkedIn profile, and others may be able to find it when they search for you online.

Start building your Linked In profile and begin connecting with people. Connect with your classmates and lecturers first, then build from there. Check out the power of LinkedIn by connecting to companies, groups, alumni and others. The following presentation on creating a professional online presence was shared in class — with plenty of information on LinkedIn. Many thanks to Sue Beckingham for most of these slides: thanks, Sue, for sharing your work online with a Creative Commons license so that we can learn from you!


Finally, here are a few tips, as discussed in class, for creating your CV:

  • Make sure your CV is clear, well-structured and without any errors (you’d be surprised how many typos appear on CVs — making them easy candidates for discarding!). Use a clear, readable font.
  • Put your contact details in the top and centre of the page.
  • The top 1/3 of the page of your CV is prime real estate! Use this space wisely, e.g. by including a Profile, List of Accomplishments, or other summary of your key skills.
  • When describing your skills and past employment, use action words and focus on your accomplishments. Omit all unnecessary words; be a ruthless editor.
  • You can find evidence for your skills and competencies not only in past employment but in your academic work (projects, etc.) and in your hobbies and voluntary work. Give examples of your skills where you can; potential employers are looking for evidence.
  • Finally, it’s your task to connect YOU to your ideal job. When describing yourself, use words from the job description (if they apply to you), sequence your list of skills/accomplishments to focus on the ones most relevant to the job you are applying for, etc.

There are many other resources to help you in preparing your CV here:

I am continuing to tweet items that are relevant to what we are discussing in class, using the hashtag #ct231. You can do the same! Please check Twitter — there are often events posted which you might find interesting.

Remember: no class next Tuesday (October 29th), we’ll meet instead next Thursday (October 31st), 2-4pm, in IT106. Halloween sweets may make an appearance 🙂

Week 7: Student-staff Twitter chat


CC BY 2.0 mkhmarketing

This week we engaged in an online conversation with NUI Galway academic staff taking the #cel263 Learning Technologies module to share ideas about openness in higher education. We engaged in conversation via a Twitter chat and were joined online by several others interested in this topic, including participants in the #iCollab project.

In CT231 we have been exploring social media, digital identities and privacy, as have been the lecturers taking #cel263. We met online for a 30-minute Twitter chat during our CT231 class, to share ideas about the advantages and risks of openness in higher education, including the use of open social media tools for learning and teaching. Over the course of about half an hour, we discussed openness, collaboration, privacy, boundaries, using Facebook and Twitter, power dynamics in higher education, and more.

Here’s a summary of our Twitter chat, curated using Storify.

John Davitt has described Twitter as “a tool for anarchic learning and peer support”. While it is often challenging to follow ideas in the chaos of a lively Twitter chat, conversations often develop, threads emerge, and connections are made. In our chat, many of these become visible when the chat was reviewed and curated, as illustrated in the Storify above. Engaging in a Twitter chat while sitting in a room with others (as we did in our CT231 class), gave us an opportunity to discuss the Twitter chat before, during and after it took place. The post-chat discussion was especially valuable, with many in the room sharing honestly about their fears and reservations, as well as their expectations and learning.

Advantages and disadvantages were highlighted for both Blackboard (as representative of VLEs, or Virtual Learning Environments) and open tools like social media. Perhaps, in higher education, we are moving towards more hybrid learning environments, where the relative advantages of both VLEs and open tools can be used to create multi-faceted learning environments, where student voices play a greater role.

We will continue to explore these issues within our class. CT231 students will have opportunities to develop and reflect on these experiences and ideas throughout the module — much of this will be aggregated via the hashtags #ct231 (for our module) and #icollab (as part of the larger #iCollab project), and shared here in our course blog and later in the  CT231 Student Showcase.

Week 6: Researchers & writers

In Week 6, we reviewed where we are so far. Each student by now will have:

  • Chosen a research topic — or created your own — from the Topic List
  • Begun searching for sources & researching your topic
  • Chosen two sources and described these in entries in our crowd-sourced Annotated Bibliography (Assignment #1)

The task over the next week or so is to continue the research process and to write a report (described in Assignment #2). In class many questions were raised about sources, searching, writing and referencing. There is helpful information in the previous week’s posts here in the blog, as well as on the WRAP page. In addition here are the rough notes generated from our class discussion…


Also in class, we discussed and agreed the criteria for assessing the reports:

Marking Criteria for Assignment #2 (Report)

  • STRUCTURE: includes introduction outlining your approach; clear structure throughout the report; concluding with a summary paragraph to wrap up key points
  • CONTENT: information is explained clearly; content is correct & accurate; sources used are relevant and up-to-date
  • WRITING STYLE: written in 3rd person; clear, concise & correct use of language
  • REFERENCING: correct use of APA style for both in-text citations and the reference list

Next week in class (Week 7: 15th October), we’ll explore social media and curation tools for research, for example: Twitter, Diigo, Delicious, EndNote, Zotero,, Storify, etc. We’ll have a Twitter chat with other students and members of staff. And you’ll have an opportunity to work on your report, individually or in small groups, ask questions and get feedback.

Week 5: Writing skills

This week we dug deep into research and writing. When you conduct research for any purpose — whether you are going to produce a written article, blog post, report, presentation, video or screencast — you need to be clear about two things before you start: your purpose and your audience.

For this module, your task in Assignment #2 is to produce a short written report. The purpose is to explain your chosen topic clearly and concisely to an audience of your peers. If during the course of your research you find that your topic is too broad, or too specific, than alter it so that the scope is more appropriate for a 3-page report. The audience is 2nd year IT students at NUI Galway. This will help you to select appropriate language, comparisons, examples, etc. when writing your report.

Once you have clarified the purpose and audience, you can continue your research — i.e. searching to find relevant sources, then studying these. Once you’ve read several articles relevant to your topic, you should be able to map out the key points that you’d like to communicate about that topic. What are the 2 or 3 or 4 most important points? Structure your report around these key points, write a few paragraphs on each. Then write a short introductory paragraph (outlining the report) and a short concluding paragraph (summarising and/or concluding the report). If you want to see examples of how to structure a report, look at any of the journal articles you have used for your sources — usually these will be excellent models of clarity and structure.

How about using source material from those great articles you’ve been studying? They say it so well — how can you possibly say it better, you might wonder. Well, you don’t have to. You are required simply to summarise the research on a particular topic. Read several articles, take notes, identify key themes or topics, structure your report. In each section of the report, explain what’s important and interesting, in your own words, but feel free to summarise, paraphrase and quote from your sources. Summarising, paraphrasing and quoting are essential skills for writers, and here are some guidelines:

WHEN TO USE EXAMPLE (with in-text citation)
Quote directly The author’s words are perfect, or you want to comment on the author’s direct quote. (NOTE: direct quotes should be used sparingly.) “these words are perfect” (Author, Date, page no)
Paraphrase You can restate an idea more clearly or simply, in your own words. Or you can place the information in the flow of your own argument. I can restate this idea more simply. I can place this writer’s ideas in the flow of my own argument (Author, Date) …..OR…..Author (Date) writes that this method works very well
Summarise Short summary of a long passage or article. Use when you want to distil ideas to their essence. I can easily summarise the 3 main points of the article here (Author, Date) …..OR….. Author’s (Date) main premise is…
Use facts, data, diagrams, visual images, etc. You want to specify numbers, dates, diagrams, charts, images, etc. There are 8,000 items (Author Date) …..OR….. It was discovered in 2010 (Author, Date). .…..OR….. Photograph (Author, Date) …..OR….. Statistics (Author, Date)


For more detailed information, see Quoting, Paraphrasing & Summarising from Purdue’s Online Writing Lab.

In the second half of class today, we practiced these skills. There was a choice of 4 articles; one each by Nathan Jurgenson, Alice Marwick, Joel Lovell and the Pew Foundation (links for each are available in Readings & Resources, above).  We had some great discussions about these articles on social media, surveillance, online/offline identities and more, and practiced the forms of writing identified: Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarising. Some people tweeted their results, which you can find by searching #ct231 on Twitter.

Enjoy your continued research and do let me know if you have any questions or comments. Keep tweeting and keep an eye on the #ct231 hashtag… there are interesting tweets every day 🙂

Week 4: Digital identity | Writing skills


CC BY-NC-ND Will Foster

In Week 4, we delved a bit deeper into our exploration of digital identities. Who are we in online spaces? And how does this relate to who are offline? First we reviewed a few of the tools (in addition to the usual search engines) that you can use to find out more about your digital footprint:

Then we clarified the terms social media, social networks and networked publics, drawing on danah boyd‘s definition of networked publics from Social Network Sites as Networked Publics (one of several papers on digital identities from our growing course Reading List above).

Networked publics are publics that are restructured by networked technologies. As such, they are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined collective that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice. Networked publics serve many of the same functions as other types of publics – they allow people to gather for social, cultural, and civic purposes and they help people connect with a world beyond their close friends and family. While networked publics share much in common with other types of publics, the ways in which technology structures them introduces distinct affordances that shape how people engage with these environments. The properties of bits – as distinct from atoms – introduce new possibilities for interaction. As a result, new dynamics emerge that shape participation.

We also explored the concepts of digital dualism and context collapse, and changing ideas about privacy. These are explored in course Readings (link above right) by danah boyd, Nathan Jurgensen, Bonnie Stewart and Howard Rheingold.

Lastly, I highlighted the importance of writing as a core skill. Later in the course you will have the opportunity to create and deliver a presentation and to choose and create your own digital media project. In both cases, as in most digital creative work, writing continues to be a core skill — writing clearly and concisely, summarising, paraphrasing, quoting, tagging social bookmarking. All of these are skills that you’ll have the opportunity to develop in the Professional Skills module.

Next week (Week 5), we’ll have a writing workshop during class, so that you can discuss some of these types of writing, practice them in small groups, and get and receive feedback.

Image: CC BY-NC-ND Will Foster

Assignment #2: Report

=> Link for Assignment #2 due on October 22nd

Assignment #2 is a written report, based on the research you have begun already for your chosen topic.

You’ll find helpful writing advice and guidance on the WRAP page. We will have a hands-on writing workshop in class next week (October 1st), during which time you’ll explore examples of summarising, paraphrasing, quoting and citing references — and have a chance to practice these, share ideas and ask questions. In addition, we’ll create the rubric (or marking guidelines) for this assignment in class next week, so that everyone will have a voice in determining how this assignment will be marked.

Week 3: Research | Search | Referencing

In Week 3 we began by discussing the results of the Social Media Survey from Week 2. Using mobile devices in our class will be useful at times, particularly when switching quickly between group discussions and searching for information, or when using Twitter to engage in wider class discussions. However, it is not required to bring a mobile device — small group work will enable students to either use their own device or work in a group where at least one other student has a device.

During this first term, each student will research a particular IT topic. Based on that research, each student will make two entries to our class Annotated Bibliography (Assignment #1) and then write a report (Assignment #2 – to be dicussed in class in Week 4). There were several questions about research, search and referencing, so we spent time in class discussing these, focusing particularly on the skills required for writing the group Annotated Bibliography: search skills and referencing skills.

i) Search

For the annotated bibliography, you are asked to post two sources which you’ve found in the course of your research. At least one of these must be an academic journal article; the second source can be any other source which contains current and reliable information about your topic.

*How* you find those articles is up to you.

If you use Google or another search engine, you’ll find *everything* — journal articles, newspaper articles, blog posts, editorials, opinion pieces, anything at all. Search engines are great for casting the net wide, but whatever you find via a general search engine, you will have to assess carefully, to see if it is current, valid, biased, etc.

That’s why it’s often best to use a more focused search tool when you are doing academic research, such as searching for an academic journal article. Google Scholar uses Google’s search algorithms, but limits the results to academic publications; so that’s one good source for you for this assignment, and for any academic research. The second excellent research tool is the NUI Galway library. You can use the search functions there to limit your search by time, author, topic, etc., and you will be sure to find journal articles there.

The following short presentation, shared in class, summarises some of the key considerations with respect to searching: why/when to use various search engines; how to validate search results; and being aware of the limitations of personalised search results.


ii) Referencing

As noted in the Annotated Bibliography advice in Assignment #1, each entry in the bibliography consists of two parts: the full citation and the annotation.

  • The full citation contains the information needed by readers to find your source. This includes information like the author name(s), publication date, article title, journal title, etc. The citation information will be different depending on whether your source is a book, a website, a journal article, etc. It’s best to use an accepted referencing style so that you are sure to include all of the required information, in a consistent way. For CT231, we’ll use the APA referencing style. You can find information about APA referencing style on the WRAP page.
  • The annotation is simply a short description of the item (book, article, whatever it may be). It usually includes a short summary, a statement on the authority or background of the author, and an explanation of how this source is relevant to your research.

Once you have found two articles that are relevant to your research, and you are ready to write your citations for your annotated bibliography entries, simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to WRAP page
  2. Click APA referencing style (under Referencing)
  3. Click Reference List: Basic Rules (this will bring you to the excellent OWL page for APA referencing)
  4. Then click on the appropriate item in the list on the left to find the APA style for your source — whatever it may be

If you have any difficulties, please post a comment here — to which I will reply. Or you can send a tweet to @CT231, or email me directly.

Social media survey

To start the 2013-14 academic year, 2nd year Professional Skills students completed a Social Media Survey so that we could get a snapshot of what social media we use, how we use it, and when. Here are the results (n = 52 students).

Figure 1. Device usage

Chart - Device use








Figure 2. Smartphone operating system

Chart - Smartphone OS


An  interesting counterpoint to this: CELT data for 4,467 Blackboard users at NUI Galway (students and staff) in September 2013 shows a different breakdown of Android/iOS operating systems. Our Professional Skills class found this interesting, but not altogether surprising. (Thanks to Sharon Flynn for sharing this data.)




Figure 3. What social media/social networks do you use?

Chart - social network usage 2In

In addition to the applications listed above, several respondents listed other social media applications which they use. Those listed were: Viber, Raptr, Steam, Vine, GitHub, Torrent, StumbleUpon, Teamspeak,,, and PSN 2.


Figure 4. What time(s) of day do you use social media most?

Chart - Time of Day









Figure 5. How much time per day do you spend using social media?

Hours per day









Figure 6. How do you use social media in general?

Chart - Social media use - general








Figure 7. How do you use social media for learning?

Chart - Social media use - learning