#AcDigID, #EdDigID, #HEdigID, Social Media, SocioTech

Networked Practice: My Book List

For some of my own research and review, I have been accumulating a variety of books to my reading list for the networked practice study. Some deal with living online, being connected, and even understanding how communities, networks, and groups thrive (or the opposite) in the digital. For the month of January, I have been taking stock and reflecting on my own networked practice. Recently I facilitated an online workshop to support higher education faculty and staff think more about their digital presence and how to manage their own reputations online. Now my current students are thinking about how they will craft their digital identity online and engage with industry leaders, future co-workers, and engage with professionals in their occupational fields. I have enjoyed having conversations to consider what online reputation means, examining how/where our personal data exists, and understanding that “being” online means so much more in 2019.

Creating, crafting, and/or presenting our professional best self digital is quite complicated and complex — just like the individuals behind the profile. As usual, I continue to think about my digital imprint and I have begun to audit where I “live” online. [This process is taking a while, so I’ll share about this audit and review in another post when I am closer to wrapping it up.] as I start to audit my own life on social media platforms and other digital accounts. Of course, I continue to read and review what others are thinking about this process — being networked, living digital, cyber reputations, and online personas — who are connected and linked to peers and communities. Here are a few of the reads and resources I have recommended lately for higher education professionals (e.g. staff, graduate students, faculty, administrators, instructional designers, instructors, early career researchers, etc.):

Beyond this list, I am more than happy to share what I have “READ” and is accumulating on my “Networked Practice” reading list on GoodReads (some reviews included):

I suppose my attention is drawn to the ideas of self-presentation, reputation, and lived lives on social media platforms (and other digital spaces we don’t fully control). At the moment, I’m “CURRENTLY READING” the following books — thanks public and university library!:

My “WANT TO READ” book list is never short, but here are a few that I have either sitting on my home shelf to read (literally) around networked practices. I have no doubt I will add (or have added) to this list, especially as I hope to read these in February.  I welcome your recommendations for living a networked life, being a connected scholar, and being involved digital communities of practice:

What are you reading these days around networked practice? Do you have recommendations for those of us who live a networked, connected professional life? This could be about online personas, digital reputation, networked groups/communities, impacts of social media at work, and more. Share any recommendations you have, and if you’re GoodReads — be sure to connect with me, so I too can be inspired by the books you’re reading.

Book Review, edusocmedia, Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

#BookReview: The New Social Learning, 2nd Edition #NewSocialLearning

The first edition of this book, The New Social Learning, was published 5 years ago. I read and have a copy of it on my bookshelf; however, we know that emerging and connected technologies have continued to flourish and influence our organizations. The social technology landscape has changed since 2010. There are a number of new platforms, additional functionalities and communication channels, an increase of utilization and adoption by our organizations, and a much greater acceptance of social media being applied for learning and development. Marcia Conner and Tony Bingham have recently published an updated version of this book with The New Social Learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work, 2nd Ed.* The latest edition provides a number of excellent case studies for how social media is being implemented in workplace learning, development, and performance.

SocialLearning

Bingham and Conner (2015, p. 8) define social learning as the “joining with others to make sense of and create new ideas…[it] is augmented with social media tools that bridge distance and time, enabling people to easily interact across workplace, passion, curiosity, skill or need. It benefits from a diversity in types of intelligence and in the experiences of those learning.” What is really “new” about this type of social learning with emerging technologies is the impact these platforms and tools have to the experience. “Social tools leave a digital audit trail, documenting our journey – often an unfolding story – and provide a path for others to learn from” (Bingham & Conner, 2015, p. 9). Social media facilitates the empowerment of learning among your networked peers beyond the limitations of geography or time.  I appreciate how the authors identify what is NOT the new social learning (e.g. informal, e-learning, MOOCs, just for knowledge workers, in contrast to formal learning/education), and how this type of learning is meant to augment, not replace, training, knowledge management, and communication practices in our organizations. As technology has accelerated change in the workplace, Bingham and Conner (2015, p. 18-19) see the opportunity to implement a new social learning strategy based on these changes in work:

  • The accelerated pace of change requires agility. Consider agile values for the workplace.
  • Our technologies go where we go without any boundaries. Not all can be controlled, contained, or developed from within an organization.
  • Our shifting workplace demographics change expectations, with regards to generations, gender, culture.
  • People desire personal connection to communicate, collaborate, and share.

Although the authors share a number of success stories about individuals and organizations who are engaged in social media to enhance learning, they do offer potential critiques and considerations for governance of social tools. By including applied examples and practice to social learning theory, this book identifies suggested approaches and considerations for implementation of a new social learning program as outlined by its table of contents (TOC):

  1. Reach Out and Connect – Introduction to the book topic and focus (download the TOC and part of Chapter 1 here: http://www.thenewsociallearning.com/)
  2. Embark on the Journey – Setting goals and planning for the “new social learning”
  3. Transition and Engage – Strategic steps for implementation of social media for learning
  4. Never Give Up – Reminders, challenges, suggestions, and issues to consider
  5. Analyze Insights and Returns – Suggested methods and areas to evaluate and measure
  6. In-Person Learning Reimagined – Opportunity to engage in F2F social learning from the springboard of social tools
  7. Appendix: Social Media Governance – Examples of a few corporate policies and guidelines to consider for your organization

Chapter 5 provided excellent considerations on how to analyze and understand stakeholders when considering a social (media) learning approach. This section outlines this lightweight analysis to help quantify social and digital tool adoption. As I tend to work with non-profits, K-12, higher education, and professional/trade associations, I modified the descriptions and questions from this section of Bingham and Conner’s (2015, pp. 206-252) book to focus the analysis for learning and development organizations:

  • Analysis 1 – Perspective: Do you have a sense of how people in your organization feel about the company/institution, each other, their clients, etc.? What if you could better map the perspective of your stakeholders? What is your priority with a new social learning approach? It will be critical to analyze patterns of attitudes, feelings, conversation tone, and individual voices in your organization by reviewing the unstructured data created by social and digital platforms.
  • Analysis 2 – Engagement: How important is it to have a large majority of your organization fully engaged in their work and/or learning? Are your stakeholders aware of the organization’s vision, mission, and purpose? What does it mean to have engaged educators and/or learners in your organization, with regards to online participation, generative production, and choices for collaboration?
  • Analysis 3 – Connectedness:  How do you want individuals in your organization to know each other or, at least, have a method by which they can get to know what skills and knowledge everyone brings to the table? Have you conducted an organizational network analysis yet? Do you have a method for sharing information, managing knowledge, and directing your organizational stakeholders to resources and/or other people?
  • Analysis 4 – Fiscal Fitness: Are you concerned that social (media) will be of little value to your organization? Are you afraid there is no way to measure the value many assure you is there with social media for learning? What is the ROI for social learning? Sometimes there might not be direct counts; however benchmarking our own performance indicators will help with identifying new opportunities to balance the reward-risk ratio. Outcomes of social learning might be noticed in the side effects, i.e., increased employee morale, a decline in sick days, or a growth in collaborative team projects.
  • Analysis 5 – Impact: How do you know what you are doing is actually making an impact to your organization? How have social (media) tools improved or supported your own learning and development? Is there a change in behavior, opinions, attitudes, and experiences of your stakeholders? Do you notice an increase in productivity or improved learning outcomes?
  • Analysis 6 – Influence: Do you know how collaboration and communication change measures of authority and the effect it has on who is “seen” to provide real value? Influence can come from a position of authority; however, it might also is socially and informally created with our digital, network tools. Involving all stakeholders to participate and identifying impactful messaging from leadership will be critical for open communication. You might not realize how pluralistic ignorance can impede social change in your organization.
  • Analysis 7 – Attention: Do you know how your own stakeholders can dramatically multiply the value of their own and their colleagues’ knowledge? Are your stakeholders paying attention to key messages and less attention to distracting noise? What are the key trends and movements in your organization on these social channels? Do you have a pulse of the conversation and needs on these platforms? Believe it or not, there is life without email.
  • Analysis 8 – Capacity: How do you want to expand the social learning methods and platforms you use to understand and maintain the critical skills needed for your organization? How can you analyze and foster leadership, interests, knowledge, content, or geographic distribution, for your social learning approach?
  • Analysis 9 – Change: How can you best understand your organization’s culture and the impact social approaches will have on transforming learning and development? How will you conduct a learning culture audit that includes the assessment of social media platforms for learning? How will you communication the transformation of your learning approach to the organization?
  • Analysis 10 – Fill the Holes:  How can you help others in your organization imagine a future and stimulate exploration of topics and ideas that might not fit into an existing structure? Can you conduct a personal network assessment to identify who in your organization might help to “fill in the missing holes” for your social learning approach? How might you analyze and review the real-time experience on your social media platforms?

Reference:

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2015). The new social learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work., 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

*Full disclosure: The @NewSocialLearn book was sent to me by @ATD Press to read and post a review on my blog. Thank you for the read – it was enjoyed. 

Book Review, Open Education, OpenAccess

The Battle for the Open [Needs YOU Higher Ed]

If you have not had the chance to read The Battle for the Open by Martin Weller – you should. The battle for all things open in higher education is still being waged. As Martin said,“I’m not sure I believe in revolution in education.” But there is change ahead with openness in post-secondary learning. If you work in post-secondary education, you can not avoid this battle and should probably read on to learn about Martin’s perspective.

[Full disclosure: Martin sent me a copy of the book; however he knows I would give him praise & banter with it as needed. Thanks @mweller!]

BattleOpen

The Battle for the “Open” shares how higher education is moving towards open practice and scholarship. The goal of OPEN is to share openly, use open sourced resources, and consider strategies to include open education resources (OER) for teaching, research, and service scholarship.

Last fall, Martin paid a visit to Texas to talk with the UTA LINK Research Lab, specifically to share how openness is impacting higher education. Martin’s talk focussed on a few key areas he addresses in his book:

@mweller and all the narratives

  1. Open Access – Pathways for free online access to online scholarly works have been created. There are two routes for open access: 1) Gold Route – pay to publish an article; and 2) Green Route – self publication;  often on your own website or institutional repository. There are major policies which mandate publicly funded research to make their findings publicly available – countries are forced to publish open access. For example, 51% of authors have published open access from the Wiley survey. Read more about The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009.
  1. Open Education Resources (OERs) – Initially started in 2001-2002 with the MIT OpenCourseWare project, and has continued with others such as the Open Learn initiative from the Open University and OER Commons. Open textbooks, like OpenStax, sell for the cost of the degree and impact the publication process of textbooks. The OER Research Hub increases access to course materials earlier and even in advance of the course start, with efforts like the #OER Impact Map to understand where open education resources are being developed.
  1. Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) – The big, free, and online courses came out of Canada, initially,…then Google Trends chart the course of the MOOC evolution into higher education. It turned out it was not just the Canadians who were interested in MOOCs. Licenses of developed and were then restricted for each of the edX, Coursera, Udacity, etc. environments. For learners, MOOCs are free to sign up, allow open access of material, and with varied creative common rights for education.  Many of these MOOCs moved into other learning management systems or varied delivery methods. With this education platform, rose issues of support and sustainability for learners. Some say that MOOCs have high-jacked what openness really means, because if you fail at a MOOC, there is a reaffirmation that open/online learning is not really for you. This might not be the case.
  1. Open Scholarship – Martin’s book, The Digital Scholar (and my recap blog post), discusses issues and challenges academics will encounter as they move online and shape their identity in the networks. Scholars are increasingly sharing information, resources, teaching curriculum, commentary, medias, and ideas in digital spaces. The growth of our networks in academia allow researchers to connect, collaborate, and contribute. The social networks also shape our identities and influence us in these spaces. Research opportunities emerge in the open, specifically with the art of guerrilla research (Martin, 2014):
    • Involves 1 or 2 researchers, and does not require a team
    • Relies on open data, information & tools
    • Fairly quick to realize
    • It is disseminated via blogs and social media
    • It does not require permission

It is critical we engage and participate in this open discussion in higher ed. If we don’t, then we will let someone else write this narrative and direct where post-secondary scholarship and learning is directed moving forward. Ultimately the battle for the open is really the battle of ownership –who owns what? Have we lost the ownership of  online learning? Can we restrict research and scholarship? What rights do we have for curriculum and educational resources? Now that “open” is prevalent in higher education, it cannot be avoided. As Martin says, “Openness is not just a peripheral interest now.” How does openness impact your role on campus, and how will you contribute?

 

References:

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury Open Access. DOI: 10.5040/9781849666275

Weller, M. (2014). The battle for open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bam

 

Book Review, Social Media

Book Review: The Etiquette of Social Media

At the end of last year, I was a lucky GoodReads.com winner of Leonard Kim’s (a.k.a. @MrLeonardKim) book – The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media. As I teach a professional development class and write/research this topic, with regards to social media learning and performance, I thought this might be an interesting read to add to my shelf.
Thanks for the book @MrLeonardKimOur lives are more social and online. For those who say “in real life” or “IRL” – let me just tell you, social media is real life. There are less distinctions and divisions between our online and offline selves. That being said, there has been little provided to model good behaviors and polite encounters on social media platforms. Little Miss Manners ought to write a quick overview for social media; however I think that Leonard Kim got to it first with this book. There are a number of questions and situations that need to be addressed with individual use of social media, and Leonard Kim attempts to provide examples and strategies the following questions he introduces in this book:

  • Should we act however we want online?
  • Should we censor ourselves?
  • Are we supposed to act civilized on certain platforms but casual on others?
  • What happens if we encounter a bully [online]?
  • How do we start a conversation with a potential business partner, client or future employer?

When I read these questions, I immediately thought about the number of questions I am asked about using and interacting with social media on a regular basis:

  • Do I have to have a professional photo/avatar?
  • Should I include my full name on my social media platform or website URL?
  • Should I start a blog
  • Who should monitor our office social media account(s)? And how should this be done?
  • Should I have more than one profile to interact with my colleagues vs. students?
  • What social media spaces should I be active on to learn or network within the field?
  • Who can I go for help with my own social media development/use?

With in the influx of social media platforms and increasing amount of users within our professional online networks, there are a number of questions being added to both lists. This book was a light read, with some great points and examples for both my students and early career professionals/academics who frequent social media – or want to use it further learning and performance.

Kim’s book addresses the individual use of social media, and implications using these platforms might have in your personal and professional life. In other social media books, there is a directive for organizational content development, marketing, and/or business; however these text rarely mention how professional should interact and behave online. Kim offers examples of interactions and posts from common social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora. Although these tools might be used right now, he addresses acceptable behavior online in any forum and encouragers his readers to be nice and respectful. Other segments of this text address personal/professional goals that includes research, building a good reputation, being polite with interactions, connecting with others, and seeking out a mentor for advice. Many of these concepts can be applied to online communication and development; but really have a greater focus on professional growth and life objectives. In contrast, later chapters do detail the potential negative aspects for being active on social media, such as  negative comments, how to manage online attacks, and how to deal with cyber bullying.

The bonus final chapter identifies how to effectively reach out to a new contact and how to avoid awkward interactions with digital messages. This section is dedicated to supporting those who want to gain experience with effective “cold call” social media messages to potential peers, collaborators, employers, etc. To be honest, a number of my students could use the basics for effective e-mail drafting and see the examples provided in this chapter, including these common denominators for a successful message (Kim, 2014, p. 92):

  • Grammar is properly used.
  • Address the respondent by name.
  • Each message has a unique sense of personality, reflecting the messenger.
  • A heartfelt and genuine compliment is stated at the beginning.
  • Build common ground on points and based on initial research.
  • Show that you respect and value the time of the message recipient.
  • Provide a reason behind the message.

Overall, I appreciate how this book deals with social media and the individual use, specifically personal interactions and polite communication. For staff and faculty in higher education, Kim provides some helpful examples and useful facts throughout the book, and it is a quick read for your students.

Reference:

Kim, L. (2014). The etiquette of social media: How to connect and respond to others in the world of social media.