The end of things

Our USQ 23 Things pilot is ending with a reflection. With the orientation that makes a total of 10 weeks across 8 things. That’s a somewhat truncated version of the full 23 Things, which is itself a truncated version of the original 43 Things that I found when I did some digging a week or two ago. I assume that 43 Things was derived from the 43 Folders idea. That I understand. 43 = 12 + 31 and is the number of folders needed for a tickler system in which things are filed for the day they are due in the current month or under a future month. The originator of 23 Things apparently thought 43 Things would be too many and arbitrarily reduced the number. If our pilot is any indication that was a smart move. We appear to have struggled with 8 Things over 10 weeks.

The invitation this week is to reflect on the past 9 weeks. I looked at the 4 suggested readings about social media and academia. They were interesting and confirmed some existing ideas but I don’t think there was much that was truly new for me in there. Coincidentally Corinne Weisgerber tweeted a link this morning to 10 Rising Social Networks You Should Explore. That’s 10 more things just waiting to be explored for those who made it through this pilot and really wanted 23 Things 🙂
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Things for building research profiles

This post appeared first as Research profiles ( / ResearchGate) where it fulfilled my commitment to the USQ 23 Things project.

My brief for the USQ 23 Things project is to write a short (200 to 400 words – but who is counting, I’ll easily exceed that) post about ResearchGate and with focus on their applications in Higher Education (particularly teaching and learning). I’m interpreting my brief as dealing with online things that might profile and promote my research outputs.

I’ll begin with some general thoughts on the topic, comment on those specific sites, and then refer to other sites with what I consider to be related purposes. Finally, I’ll look at some more ‘out there’ alternatives and suggest some things to try.
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The Linked thIng

This is week 7 in our 10(?) things for USQ 23 Things sequence and our thing is LinkedIn. Our blogger of the week, Ron Pauley, has produced an informative post about LinkedIn, which alerted me to some features and uses I hadn’t paid much, if any, attention to.

I’ve had a profile on LinkedIn for several years, possibly since soon after it launched. One way or another that has resulted in an accumulated 461 connections. Some of them I know well and have worked closely with. Others are little more than a name.
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The thing about copyright

The thing about copyright that makes it a nuisance is that it is complicated. That’s what makes it an interesting topic for number 6 of the 10 USQ 23 Things. It’s also what makes me want to avoid dealing with it whenever I can.

The post by Tahnee Pearse lays out some useful information about copyright in the Australian context and some of the support that USQ offers to academics who need to deal with it for teaching purposes. That helps to clarify the situation but I don’t think it necessarily makes it any easier. She also includes some material about open access licences and Creative Commons and links to some useful resources.  Again, that is a help but getting everything together neatly is not a simple task and can be time consuming if a project uses multiple resources.

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The video thing

This week on USQ 23 Things our thing is video and the post begins with the claim that video is worth a thousand words. It cites Forrester Research(?) as having shown that 1 minute of video is equivalent to 1000 words. That’s arguable. If a picture is worth a 1000 words (cliche) and video delivers 25 frames per second is a second of video worth 25 000 words? In that case a minute would be worth 1 500 000 words. I think it depends.

The claim being made for video is that it allows us to convey more emotion and passion and that it is more visually appealing (than words, I guess). That may be true for well crafted video but how much of the video being uploaded to YouTube, Facebook and other sites each day would rate as well crafted? Much of it is anything but well crafted. Much of it is not crafted at all and possibly is worthless for conveying any message except about the lack of craft and poor taste of the producer. Video reminds me of the “little girl, who had a little curl”. When it is good it is very, very good but when it is bad it is horrid.

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Private and confidential things

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Thing 4 among the 10 USQ 23 Things is Privacy and Confidentiality. When the post first went up yesterday it did not identify the author and I thought at the time that was carrying privacy and confidentiality to extremes. That omission has now been remedied and we know that it was posted by Tim McCallum. The post also broke new ground by including learning tasks and quizzes. Fortunately the tasks required little time and the quizzes were bot sing M/C question affairs that I managed to get right.
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Facebook is a Thing

The third of the 10 USQ 23 Things is Facebook. I’ve been on Facebook (peter.albion) since May 2006 and confess to checking it more than once each day. In fact, because I have it on all my Macs, my iPhone and iPads and it is integrated at system level with notifications switched on, I tend to be alerted to things as they happen although I don’t look every time a notification appears. Mostly I’ll look in the morning and at night and in occasional downtimes through the day.

Whereas my Twitter activity tends to be primarily professional and work-related, my Facebook activity is much more about family and friends. My wife, children, older grandchildren, siblings and in-laws, nephews and nieces are all on Facebook and it provides the basic thread of family communication. My mother, who turns 90 this month, is on Facebook at least daily and uses it to keep up with the family. The broader range of my 170 or so Facebook friends does include professional connections but they are mostly those with whom some personal rapport has developed rather than purely work-based connections.

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23 tweets?

USQ 23 Things is into its second week and the topic is Twitter. The post for this week provides a basic description of Twitter, suggests ways that it might be used for academic work, and explains how to get started. Our task is to join Twitter (done some years and 6000+ tweets ago), follow some new people from the 23 Things group (done), send a tweet with the #usq23things hashtag (done), find an interesting article and tweet a link to it (done), comment on the USQ 23 Things blog post with my handle (done), and reflect in my blog about the activities (doing that here).

I confess I was a Twitter sceptic when I first signed up to use it during the SITE conference in 2009. There was limited Twitter activity at the conference that year and it was a while before I discovered how useful Twitter could be for turning up resources for teaching and research. I’m now a regular user and Twitter is a major source of material to feed my professional and general news interests.

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23 Things?

A while back I was invited to participate in a USQ Library pilot of a 23 Things project. I was specifically invited to contribute to discussion around the use of sites like ResearchGate and for building academic profile but I was also encouraged to participate in the rest of the project. My specific part comes toward the end of the project.

It’s actually 23 Things – Lite because there are 10 things rather than 23. At one per week who has the endurance to slog it out for 23 weeks? The project has a blog at USQ 23 Things where contributions about each of the ‘things’ will be posted and discussion is possible.

Participants are encouraged to establish (if necessary), and use, their own blogs to reflect throughout the project. Not surprisingly then, the first thing is blogging. That kicked off last week with a blog post about blogging. Ever since I’ve been meaning to do some renovations here and post something other than automated links from Diigo. That week has passed; the next thing, Twitter, is up and running; and I’m still running behind on this one. I did contribute to the comments on the project blog and in the private Facebook group but I’m only now getting to write something here.

The project is evolving as it goes. Somewhat paradoxically, in the interests of making navigation to the posts about ‘things’ easier, the project blog initially began putting those posts into pages rather than posts so that there was no RSS feed for following them. Neither was there any other subscription mechanism. That has changed now so that the project blog is more bloglike – probably a good thing if the goals of the project include having participants learn how the ’things’ function in the real world.

At least the activity has prompted me to get back to writing something here and to tinker with the theme and generally renovate the site. Perhaps a few weeks of attention and being challenged by what other participants are doing will get me back to doing more than auto-posts of Diigo links.