Week 7: Student-staff Twitter chat


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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 2: Search | Digital identity | Social media

Today in class we explored research and search skills, considered the concept of digital identity, and had a lively discussion about social media — including why and how we use various social networks. The following short presentation was used to start off our class discussion.


i) Research Skills: Search

During the course of this term, you will research an IT topic, share some of your sources in a crowd-sourced Annotated Bibliography, and write a report. So how do you begin researching your topic? Most people in class said they’d begin with Google.  However, we discussed a variety of additional search and research skills in class which will help you to focus your research:

  • Google
    • Search tools (under Settings icon) to refine your search
    • Advance Search (under Settings icon) to hone your search terms and deepen your search
    • Google Scholar (under More and Even More, or directly from scholar.google.com) to search scholarly articles only
    • Library Links — add NUI Galway library (within Google Scholar, under Settings icon) so you can access many articles & databases directly
  • Beyond Google
    • Use other search engines (e.g. Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc.)
    • Use the NUI Galway Library to search a huge range of journals & databases. Check out the huge range of Support available at the Library for students.


ii) Digital Identity

This week we also began exploring the idea of digital identity — basically, everything by and about us online. Have you Googled yourself lately? What about searching for your name on other search engines, besides Google? I asked everyone to do this before we meet again next week. See what you can find about yourself online, think about what you find, and think about what you’d like to be there in just over 2.5 years when you graduate with your BSc degree. Part of your work in the course will be to take a proactive approach to your digital identity.

We watched this Social Media Revolution video in class. This is about brands… are you a brand online?


iii) Social Media

Thanks to everyone for completing the Social Media Survey re: your use of social media. I’ll share the results next week.

We began our discussion in class by identifying the top social networks used by everyone and then selected 4 of these to explore in more depth. In small groups, we discussed how and why we use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linked In. These responses are shown below (click photos to enlarge):


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We’ll be using Twitter for class so it’s up to you whether you’d like to use your existing Twitter account (if you have one!) or whether you’d like to create a new account. Be sure to think about your profile name, bio and photo or avatar before you add them. We’ll be sharing tweets amongst ourselves, but also with a wider community — including some of the authors we’ll be studying. If you’re new to Twitter, or if you’re using it already and would like to get more out of it, Mashable has a great collection of resources:

Mashable >>  The Twitter Guide Book

Finally, check out Assignment #1 which will be posted shortly here in the blog

Please let me know if you have any questions. You can tweet to @CT231, send a Direct Message on Twitter to @CT231, or send me an email.

Exploring Digital Identities

…and Twitter chat with Bonnie Stewart @bonstewart

Brilliant class today — thanks, everyone! We delved deeper into our exploration of digital identities, beginning by clarifying the terms social media, social networks and networked publics. We drew 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 discussed our perceptions of a few social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, sharing ideas on how and why we use (or don’t use) them: We then discussed how to get more out of Twitter, particularly in the context of research (and CT231 research projects) — for example, how the Search feature can be used to find up-to-date resources, how to connect with authors on Twitter, and the strategic use of hashtags. We analysed a few recent @CT231 and #ct231 tweets, examining the “anatomy of a tweet”. During the second half of our session, we discussed and analysed Bonnie Stewart‘s Digital Identities: Six Key Selves of Networked Publics. We divided into small groups, each analysing and reflecting on one of the six key selves. Before the class session I tweeted our plans to explore this article. Wonderfully, Bonnie responded and we enjoyed — and tweeted from — lively discussions about identities, both embodied (atoms) and digital (bits). Following are just a few sample tweets; see more at hashtag #ct231.

Thanks again to all for your enthusiasm and participation today — lots of engaging discussion, both inside our sunny room and in networked public space… Please continue to share your thoughts, questions and resources of interest on Twitter, using #ct231. See you there!