#AcDigID, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, Social Media, SocioTech

Re-Evaluating My Digital Self

Over the past year (or longer), I continue to think more about my digital self. This should be no surprise, as I am currently researching higher ed’s networked practice and I facilitate a workshop a couple times year about what it means to be an academic and professional online in postsecondary education [Note: The NEXT #AcDigID Workshop Offering for grad students, early career scholars, academics, faculty & researchers is January 8-14, 2018 if your 2018 New Year’s resolution is to sort this out for yourself, please join in!]. Typically, at the end of the calendar year, some people like to look back at 2017, “in review.” You might read/write end of year blog posts with a top ____ list of highlights/happenings. Or perhaps you’ve joined in on the Instagram “best9” of 2017 photo montage posting. This year, I am doing something different. Thanks to conversations I’ve had with JeffPaul, Katie, Chris, and others both offline and recorded [on the @BreakDrink podcast check out episodes 5, 7, 10 & 13] in 2017 — I will be setting aside some of my winter break to examine what it means to be present and connected online for ME. My personal review might be less merry or bright as I examine what I’ve shared or exposed to data/information in digital life. Festive? I know. 🙂

It has to be done. I need to really take a hard look at my digital self. This personal online audit will help to clean up and prevent potential hacks; however, this time I am including bigger questions beyond use/activity — as I plan review platforms terms of service, digital rights, data access, digital security, data extraction, and, ultimately, outlining if there is a purpose/need for “being” in any of these virtual locations. As net neutrality rules are killed and social (+ other) media continue to scale, I have a lot more questions I need to think about for my own work, learning, and life. The last few years there has been a reckoning for social media — more than anyone once thought over a decade ago. “Facebook is just a college thing” and “Twitter is just a fad,” were some of the things once said. Who thought these social networks would impact how we learn, work, vote, share, and more?

My digital self “under review” is not only a result of my distrust in sharing over media, the Russian hack of social media during the US election or even my aversion to having any “smart speaker” in our home that records and gathers data each day. Nor is it the fact that I live with a cybersecurity professional or that Black Mirror‘s sociotechnical sci-fi drama offers an eerie foreshadow to what lies ahead of us in the not-so-distant future. I embraced online and a connect being for over a decade now, so there’s no wonder why my digital footprint has me grappling with issues of digital security, personal wellness, individual safety, and the privacy paradox of living/working in a connected world.Image c/o The WIRED Guide to Digital Security

That being said, the free and open collection of knowledge on social media cannot offer regular fact-checking or verified expertise. This is critical for those who are a part of this shared, collective community online. The future of knowledge can be misleading if we are letting these platforms guide us by the information we share and the interactions within the network. As Tim Berners-Lee stated in his open letter written about the internet, he is concerned we have lost control of our personal data, misinformation is easily spread on the Web, and online transparency and understanding are needed in political advertising [as well as other spheres online].

Lately, I have been struggling with how our society is entrenched and relies on technological platforms. My true concern for self-auditing my digital life is to understand more about the impact and influence I have let technology and platforms invade my everyday way of living. As a reminder, platforms are:

“digital infrastructures that enable two or more groups to interact… [and] bring together different users… with a series of tools that enable their users to build their own products, services, and marketplaces” (Srnicek, 2017, p. 43).

The reliance on online networks and digital platforms might be more problematic than we think. There seems to be much power owned by these digital platforms. For example, the digital curation website, Storify, plans to shut down and delete data by May 2018. Like a few of my peers, I too am questioning the use of services and accounts we don’t own or control. I understand why a growing number of higher ed and ed tech colleagues are thinking the same was as they trim their digital contribution on Twitter, close down their accounts on major social media platforms, like Facebook, and take by control of the web by creating a domain of one’s own.

For me, this virtual audit exercise will include and go beyond social networks and connected sites to also examine WHERE, WHY, and HOW I live/work digitally. I think it’s a critical time to reevaluate the platforms and technologies we are using, in general. Where the data is stored? Who has access to what? Who owns the rights to my created or uploaded content? Am I utilizing appropriate _____ platform/technology for my personal/professional life? Are there other means that are not “free” I should be considering? It’s not like I have not done this activity before — but this time it might mean that I took “break up” with a platform or connected sites. For 2018, I want to be more diligent with my personal data, private information and online “being,” to limit surveillance/tracking online and to align my own values and ethics with networks and platforms I use.

Reference

Srnicek, N. (2017). Platform capitalism. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

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Research, Social Media, SocioTech

How Do Higher Ed Institutions Use Twitter?

In a very limited way. Based on two recent studies examining Canadian and US post-secondary use of Twitter, we found most colleges and universities are using social media platforms as either a communication or marketing tool. Higher ed campuses have the ability to optimize social media technologies in the service of teaching, learning, and research – rather than focussing on institutional branding and marketing.

In looking at 145,822 original tweets and 70,792 retweets of 77 Canadian public universities Twitter profiles, we learned a great deal about colleges/university use. Results from this analysis indicated these institutions mostly use this Twitter to broadcast information and construct overwhelmingly positive representations of campus life. Here is a quick video overview of the paper:

In general, higher ed institutions represent university life as gratifying, enjoyable, and beautiful, by commonly showcasing:

  • Smiling and happy students;
  • Mostly middle-aged white male faculty members;
  • Upgraded and attractive campus buildings;
  • Accolades for graduation ceremonies;
  • Announcements about groundbreaking research; and
  • Highlights of sporting victories.

Unfortunately, Canadian universities are not alone as they present their “best self” on Twitter by:

  • Highlighting positive events and happenings
  • Showcasing a positive university life for the public; and
  • Promoting the institution’s brand

In looking at American college and university primary Twitter accounts (n=2411), Kimmons, Veletsianos, and Woodward (2016) found the Twitter histories [a sample of 5.7 million tweets, representing 62 % of all tweets created by these accounts] offered little innovation and value for the campus communities they are trying to serve. Most tweets posted by an institutional account are monologic, share information instead of eliciting action, offer an insular ecosystem of web resources, and express a neutral or a positive sentiment. This whiteboard animation can provide you a brief overview of this paper:

Based on my previous research on sociotechnical stewardship and social media guidance (Pasquini & Evangelopoulos, 2017), it is not surprising to see an emphasis on branding or focus on a promotional strategy for postsecondary social media use. In examining 250 institutional social media policies/guidelines, 64% (n=161) of these documents originate from an office connected to communications, marketing, and/or public relations at each higher ed institution. The primary direction and emphasis for social media use in higher ed have been co-opted from marketing and business planning to encourage a specific institutional brand, that is, one with a consistent voice and presenting strategically tailored messages that highlight positive campus environments.

From this examination of institutional Twitter accounts in Canada and the US, it is apparent the information and images portrayed in social media streams represent an incomplete student experience and an idealized image of college/university life. This is problematic, as these crafted messages with only positive sentiments could mislead students, staff, and faculty who are active in social media spaces. This use of Twitter presents an inaccurate portrayal of campus life, limit the representation and narrative of the student story, and it does little to model expected behavior or interactions in these online environments for all campus stakeholders. From this research, I would challenge our higher ed institutions to “do better work” if they are engaging on any social media channel for their college/university. These should be more than just communication and marketing spaces in higher ed. Think about the ways you can reach and involve your students, staff, faculty, alumni, and campus partners on these channels. Why are you not researching problems out loud, sharing the struggle of your learning, showcasing your teaching challenges, or offering/asking for advice? Twitter is the new town hall at our institutions and in our society. It is up to our higher ed institutions and its constituents to be present, to be active, and model ways to show value and real experiences on these social media platforms. We can do better than just use social media spaces as a marketing, communication, or promotional tool.

References:

Kimmons, R., Veletsianos, G., & Woodward, S. (2016). Institutional Uses of Twitter in Higher Education. Innovative Higher Education, 42(2), 97-111.

Pasquini, L. A., & Evangelopoulos, N. (2017). Sociotechnical stewardship in higher education: A field study of social media policy documents. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 29(2), 218-239. doi: 10.1007/s12528-016-9130-0 Published Online November 21, 2016.

Veletsianos, G., Kimmons, R., Shaw, A. G., Pasquini, L. A., & Woodward, S. (2017). Selective openness and promotional broadcasts: Twitter use in Canada’s public universities. Educational Media International, 54(1), 1-19. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09523987.2017.1324363

OpenAccess, Social Media, Virtual Communities

Defend the Free and Open Internet NOW! #NetNeutrality

It’s time we defend the free and open Internet we know and love! The battle is still on: https://www.battleforthenet.com/

Please contact the FCC NOW! Thanks to John Oliver, there’s an easy way to do this and it will take less than 2 minutes to TAKE ACTION
1. Go to gofccyourself.com (the hard-to-find official FCC comment page)
2. Next to the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom), click on the word “Express
3. Be sure to click the “ENTER” button after you type in your name — otherwise, it won’t register! Then continue with the other info.
4. In the comment section write, “I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs.”
4. Then click the “Continue to review screen” to process your form.
5. Be sure you click the “SUBMIT” button on the last screen to COMPLETE this process.

It’s a Net Neutrality EMERGENCY!

Read on below and the Mozzila resources for how you can help.

Do you know that the future of the Internet will be like if the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) kills net neutrality? You will see a variety of online providers contribute to the BattleForTheInternet.com  by showing what a lack of neutrality online would be like uploading websites slowly, blocking domains, and requiring you to “pay to play” for access to certain areas of the web.

The fight to maintain “Title II” of the Communications Act and save net neutrality is NOT A TECHNOLOGY or WEB-ONLY protest. This is about access to information, free exchange of knowledge, and fair interactions online. Web neutrality impacts our civil rights and without this, we might see the “haves” and the “have-nots” in our online society as well. We need to protect these voices, spaces, and digital places for all.

“The Internet has thrived precisely because of net neutrality. It’s what makes it so vibrant and innovative—a place for creativity, free expression, and exchange of ideas. Without net neutrality, the Internet will become more like Cable TV, where the content you see is what your provider puts in front of you.”

If you are just coming out from under the Internet cloud and want to learn more about WHY and HOW net neutrality can impact you and others in our society, here are a few quick guides and explainers:

Net Neutrality – Part I (June 1, 2014)

Net Neutrality – Part II (May 7, 2017)

If you have not done anything about #NetNeutrality yet — you still have time to NOW! This is where you, yes YOU, can take action my fellow, networked friend. BEFORE July 17th, be sure to TELL YOUR lawmaker to reject the FCC’s plan to kill net neutrality. DOWNLOAD a PDF file of the Following Statements to BRING to your lawmaker listed below via the FreePress

  1. The first deadline for public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to kill net neutrality rules IS on July 17, 2017.  These rules protect us from internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon from throttling, censoring, blocking, and charging extra fees online.
  2. Net neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet. It protects our free speech in the digital age. Members of Congress must reject Chairman Pai’s plan to kill net neutrality because it will allow ISPs like Comcast and Verizon to control what we see and do online.
  3. Title II is the legal foundation for net neutrality protections. It prevents companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from forcing sites to pay special fees for access to a “fast” lane, while slowing down everyone who can’t or won’t pay.
  4. Cable Companies are pouring money into misleading lobbying efforts to convince the public that net neutrality is some kind of “government takeover of the Internet.” That’s an outright lie. Net neutrality protects our Internet freedom from corporations AND governments. No one wants politicians— or corporate monopolies— deciding what they can see and do on the internet.
  5. Net neutrality gives more people a voice than ever before. It’s what has made the Internet such a powerful platform for anyone who wasn’t given a voice or fair treatment by mainstream media.

Visit battleforthenet.com to submit a comment to the FCC and your member of Congress in defense of net neutrality! Your voice on this petition, email, phone call, letter, and more MATTER. DO IT NOW!

BreakDrink, Higher Education, Social Media

Have You Read the _____ Privacy (Data) Policy Lately? [@BreakDrink Episode No. 10]

In a past @BreakDrink episode [no. 5], we thank/blame Chris Gilliard (@hypervisible) for bringing awareness to how some higher education institutions are digital redlining learners with technology. For a repeat visit to the podcast, we asked Chris to join Jeff & I to dig into the issues of privacy, access, data, etc. by reviewing the “Privacy Policies” and Terms of Service for the three main hitters for social media we see used in the US: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Here are some links and notes from our conversations and review of said policies from Monday (6/19). Take a listen and be sure to REVIEW+ADJUST YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA SETTINGS NOW! Or, just delete your account. 🙂

Privacy Apps and Search Engines to install to protect your privacy & browsing/tracking online:

Go on. Search one of the above search engines and compare your results for yourself. We DARE you!

Privacy image c/o Flickr User g4ll4is

Net Neutrality & Digital Rights

TOS & Policy 101 on the Social Web

When was the last time you considered reviewing a policy OR the terms of service (TOS) from your favorite social network? With the recent changes to “privacy” on a few of our favorite platforms, we thought it was an apt time to read and review the TOS for all of you. You’re very welcome. As a number of colleagues, learners, and friends in higher ed use (and repurpose) these social spaces for teaching, learning, and research — we wanted to really understand how these technology (not media) companies are thinking about  “Privacy” (or now called “Data” for certain platforms) and the policies around this issue. Here are SOME of the notes from our chat — please visit @BreakDrink Episode no.10 for more at BreakDrink.com

Facebook

Twitter  

LinkedIn  

We might be paranoid, but perhaps we need to consider the data we are sharing and what “true” privacy is when we are online. We thought we’d leave you with a few “light” reads (enjoy):

  1. The Thin Line Between Commercial and Government Surveillance 
  2. How an obscure rule lets law enforcement search any compute
  3. Intel agencies want to make the most controversial foreign surveillance rule permanent

@BreakDrink Podcast ShoutOuts

  • The Show About Race now archived, but a relevant conversation we need to have about race. Always.
  • Missing Richards Simmons – what happens when the fitness guru from the 80’s disappears from teaching his Slimmon’s class
  • Mystery Show (archive): “A podcast where Starlee Kine solves mysteries.”
  • Twice Removed (archive): “A new family history podcast hosted by A.J. Jacobs. They say we’re one big family: this is the show that proves it. You will be filled with delight… or abject horror. You never know. It’s family.”

@BreakDrink Reads & Watches

If you have comments, questions, or feedback about this podcast episode, please feel free to post a comment below, or follow us on the following the “BreakDrink” podcast channels:

We welcome feedback, comments, suggestions, and snark in any of the above digital spaces. If the podcast via iTunes (we still prefer this to the rebranded “Apple Podcasts“), please consider leaving us a rating and review. Thanks!

Higher Education, Social Media, SocioTech

Sociotechnical Stewardship: Guiding Social Media Policy and Practice in Higher Ed

In a previous blog post, I shared how I am visualizing scholarship via the Research Shorts YouTube Channel (Please SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/researchshorts). If you have not viewed any of these papers, here’s a list of journal articles, that are now videos on this channel, compiled by George. As an open, digital scholar, I thought that producing videos of my own work might be a solid idea to share scholarship. So here I go…

Remember that “really big paper” known as a dissertation? It was on the topic of social media guidance and such? If not — check out the website on the topic here: https://socialmediaguidance.wordpress.com/ Well, I learned one is never really Ph-inishe-D with this research until the research is published in a peer-reviewed journal [More on this #AcWri process and experience in a future blog post… I promise!].

I am proud to say this research has been officially published! This blog post shares a quick video overview of the paperlink to the journal article/pre-print paper, and the database of over 250 social media policies from 10 countries analyzed within this study. Thanks to all who contributed to this research and to others who will continue to use this open data set and research to further work in this area. This sociotechnical stewardship framework is organized from the key themes found from text-mining the 24, 243 policy passages reviewed within this corpus. Here are a few things we need to consider when organizing and guiding sociotechnical systems in our organizations:

I am continuing to understand how we best guide and support sociotechnical systems for higher education professionals as I interview participants for a current research project [Hint, hint: CONTRIBUTE to our current study that is “in progress” now: https://bit.ly/networkedself].

I hope other scholars and practitioners further this research and apply these practices to effectively support campus stakeholders. Want to learn more about this study, here is a quick video summary (4:59 minutes):

Social media technologies transform how we share, communicate, and interact with one another. On our college and university campuses, new media applications and platforms are transforming how students, staff, faculty, and alumni engage with one another. As these social, emerging technologies impact teaching, learning, research, and work functions on campus, we need to understand how social media use and behaviors are being supported. To help higher education administrators and organizational leaders effectively guide social, emerging technologies, we prove a summary of 250 institutional policy documents and we offer a sociotechnical framework to help support strategic, long-term technology planning for organizations and their stakeholders.

Download this research paper:

The article is published in the Journal of Computing in Higher Education here or find the pre-print version of the original paper on my ResearhGate profile.

Download a csv file of the higher education social media policy database:

Pasquini, L. A. (2016). Social media policy document database. Figshare. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.4003401. Retrieved from https://figshare.com/articles/Social_media_policy_document_database/4003401

Reference:

Pasquini, L. A., & Evangelopoulos, N. (2017). Sociotechnical stewardship in higher education: A field study of social media policy documents. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 29(2), 218-239. doi: 10.1007/s12528-016-9130-0 Published Online November 21, 2016.

 

networkedscholar, Open Education, Research, Social Media

#CFP Due April 15th: Digital Learning and Social Media Research Funding 2017

Are you an early career scholar or an advanced doctoral student researching networked scholarship, social media in education, open learning, emerging technologies, etc.? Then this might just be the grant funding for you!

Dr. George Veletsianos (Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University) and Dr. Royce Kimmons (Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University) invites applications from advanced doctoral students (i.e. those who completed their graduate coursework) and post-doctoral associates to conduct research with The Digital Learning and Social Media Research Group. This research funding opportunity aims to scaffold and mentor advanced doctoral researchers and early career scholars to co-plan, execute, and submit for publication a research study.

There are five (5) $2000 CAD grants available for research that focuses on one or more of the following areas: networked scholarship, social media use in education, digital/online learning, open learning, emerging technologies, learning analytics, social network analysis, or educational data mining.

Requirements

  • Advanced doctoral student status (usually in the 3rd or 4th year of their studies) OR postdoctoral status having completed a graduate degree (Ph.D./EdD) within the last 3 years.
  • Enrolment in or having attained a graduate degree (Ph.D./EdD) in education, educational technology, learning technologies, learning sciences, curriculum and instruction, cognitive science, or other related fields.
  • Individuals must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada or must hold a valid employment visa or work permit issued by the Government of Canada.
  • To be well-suited for this opportunity, individuals must have excellent organizational abilities, analytic skills, and be familiar with methodologies involving the analysis of quantitative or qualitative data.
  • MORE information about this grant application process can be found on George’s blog.

Questions?

Please feel free to reach out to me, or for further inquiries regarding this opportunity please send an email to: CRCILT.Research@RoyalRoads.ca

AcAdv, Higher Education, Learning, Professional Development, Social Media

Bringing Our Personality and Self(ie) to the Online

You can’t help but bring yourself to anything you are passionate about. I truly believe this.

Self-Love

This past week has brought conversation and debate prompted from a single blog post about The role of personality in education. Thank you, Martin. This post shared thoughts on how individual courses emerged with a “cult of personality” to drive it towards success, collaboration, interaction and then some. For these type of MOOCs, the learning design was intentionally focussed on the characters (Yes. Dave and Jim are characters… who I adore) to encourage participation and community in the vast Interwebs:

To be successful they often require someone with a well established online network to gather enough momentum, and because creating successful cMOOCs is hard work, that person usually needs to really be central in driving the course forward. And when this works well, it really does create a very engaging learning community.” ~ @mweller

I really think the “chalk and talk” can and should be changed for effective teaching and learning. This will take time, and much more than a popular face and/or a shiny technological platform to alter the culture of teaching and learning in higher education (online, blended OR F2F).:

…an understanding that public service is only a part of identity, and thus the educators who are engaging emergent technologies in the name of pedagogy and content need to be able and willing to build connections and relationships between the formal requirements of the educational system with the personal transformation of each individual.” ~ @RMoeJo

Of course, these ideas about personality and lead personalities are not always representative of the spectrum of learning we see leading these initiatives in higher ed. Social media has created opportunities for unique and powerful collaborations; however they have limited a voice from other populations. There are a number of flaws in elevating pedestals in online learning. Thanks for the reminder Kate, I appreciate her post to consider how we  reward and recognize privilege in our domain:

And on campus, we struggle with personality across student surveys and intellectual property policies: we haggle over the idea of the individual as creator of educational content whose expertise is the guarantee of student experience, while setting up procedures to assure the depersonalisation of content production so that students are protected from the vagaries of charm. Personality: can’t live with it, can’t live without it.” ~ @KateMfD

I am not naive in thinking a number of these social mediums and emerging technologies often influence the network, create affinity groups, and allow lead personalities to dominate. However; I am reminded these same social networks permit educators to customize student experiences, collaborate with researchers, and  build meaningful relationships to scaffold learning and inquiry.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with student development and academic advising faculty/staff the only way I know how to best engage in what I do. To be myself, specifically, how to model your persona in the online to support student success and professional development on campus. In the #AdvSelfie session, we discussed how it is important, more than ever, to be present and engaged in the digital. More than ever we need to ask questions, be involved, and participate in the backchannel conversations happening at and around out institutions.

Mentoring and modelling online is the key to success for all in higher education — this includes our academic staff/faculty, administrators, staff, educators, and students of all educational levels. In an effort to engage in this dialogue, I challenged participants at the #NACADAmelb and other professional/faculty in higher ed online to BE PRESENT. This challenge stemmed from a 30-day challenge for those who are active online (or should be). To be the example for others on campus, I encouraged the advising group (hey – we all advise one way or another) to be the example with The #AdvSelfie Challenge – so you should probably participate as well:

the-advselfie-66-638_CHALLENGE

The #AdvSelfie Challenge: Post your best selfie showing how you mentor and model your online persona for your #highered campus (students, staff & faculty) with the hashtag #AdvSelfie before July 31, 2015 at 11:59 pm CDT. Prizes WILL be awarded … so get creative!

the-advselfie-7-638

 

UPDATE 08-14-15: And the winners of the #AdvSelfie Challenge Are….

Thanks to all of you who participated in The #AdvSelfie Challenge! It’s been great to see how you share some of yourself to colleagues, students, faculty and friends on campus. Kudos for being the digital mentors and models we need in higher ed!

Congratulations to the following “winners” of The #AdvSelfie Challenge:

Sara Ackerson, Washington State University Vancouver, WA: For reminding her colleagues and students to laugh and find the best things in others for success.

SaraA

Amanda Mather, Texas A & M University at Qatar: For sharing who inspires and mentors her own advising career in high education.

AmandaM

John Sauter, Niagara University, NY: For connecting his university and professional advising community in WNY to be active participants and engage online.

JohnS

 

All winners will receive in the mail their own copy of the What Happens on Campus Goes on YouTube book shortly.

WHOCSY_book

Thanks for showing your #advselfie! Keep on supporting & being present online for your campus communities. Happy reading, y’all.