Trending: Twitter in Higher Ed

I had the opportunity to engage in the exciting task of making a video for my final assignment. I chose the broad topic question; ‘what role(s) does digital media have in facilitating student learning and engagement’?

Using this question as a base, I decided to focus my video specifically on using the most popular social media platform, Twitter as a learning tool within higher education. While my main argument was to advocate Twitter as a learning tool, I included some rebuttal of the issue by scholars who found some disadvantages to using Twitter in higher education as well. This was done to allow an opposing view to be observed and acknowledged. I made it clear within the video that overall, Twitter is an overwhelmingly helpful and positive tool in and out of the classroom in higher education.

I had pictured my video to be presented in the way similar to a news report. I got inspiration from such TV shows as Charlie Pickering’s ‘The Weekly’ because it delivers a topical story in an interesting and engaging way.

 

 

The reason I chose to go with this method of filming is so I could report my topic in a professional way like a news reporter, easily bringing in my scholarly findings. I drew on scholarly sources by describing studies that explored the benefits and concerns of using Twitter in higher education.

My plan was that while I was talking to the camera I would include cuts to panning shots depicting what I was speaking about to make the film engaging. Similarly, I wanted images relating to my dialogue, to appear up in the left hand corner of the screen while I spoke. This is to give the audience something else to look at and also provides further appealing imagery relating to my topic.

This method of adding photos within footage is called picture in picture on i-movie and I was very excited to use this action within my video. Likewise, the action of cutting to pan shots of footage while I’m speaking, called ‘cutaway’ was what I used throughout my video. In the way of Creative Commons material, I only used two. Firstly the intro music at the start, I got from SoundBible and the other was an image of the Twitter logo, which I referenced in the end credits.

Some difficulties I encountered in the production of my video included, the initial planning of the video. At first I thought I’d make it into some kind of movie, with actors and a storyline, however I found this method would cause difficulty in referring to scholarly sources. It was a bit of a slow start for me to finally choose a topic and be able to research something specific. However once I had my idea, images started coming together in my head and I had a set plan for my video, which proved helpful when it came to the editing stage. For example, while I was typing up my script, I wrote my editing directions in brackets to get an idea of which footage to use where.

I dedicated a day, early in the production process to go to Deakin with my sister, Emma to get all the footage I could. I spent time practicing my script before filming the news report sequence. The day before shooting the main component I had asked my boyfriend, Braden if he wouldn’t mind being in the movie, he agreed and I got him to dress up in characters mentioned in my video so I could take portrait photos of him and add them as part of my video. Once the bulk of the filming had been done, I started editing and as I had all the images and footage from the previous days uploaded; I had everything in i-movie, ready to go.

Overall I loved creating this video, I have always loved producing movies for fun, so to have an assignment that asks for a video, as an assessment piece is really a great privilege. I just hope I’ve done it justice! 🙂

Words: 678

 

My broader online activity and engagement

My online engagement is shown by Tweeting in the unit hashtag; Tweet 1, Tweet 2, Blogging; blog 1, blog 2, commenting on Soundcloud, commenting on YouTube and participating in the #StudentOnlyChallenge.

 

Video References:

Dunn, L 2013, ‘Teaching in higher education: can social media enhance the learning experience?’ in 6th Annual University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference, Glasgow, 19 April, viewed 26 May 2016 < http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/78491/1/78491.pdf>

Junco, RC, Elavsky, M & Heiberger, G 2013, ‘Putting Twitter to the test: Assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and success’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 273-287

Kassen-Noor, E 2012, ‘Twitter as a teaching practice to enhance active and informal learning in higher education: The case of sustainable tweets’, Active learning in higher education, vol.13, no. 1, pp. 9-21.

Mccool, LB 2011, ‘The pedagogical use of Twitter in the university classroom’, Graduate Thesis and Dissertations, Iowa State University, Iowa.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, AJ & Szapkiw, M 2011, ‘Engaging Higher Education Students Using Twitter’, School of Education, Liberty University, United States < http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1205&context=educ_fac_pubs>

 

Video Music and Imagery:

News Intro Sound – August 21, 2012 by Maximilien (CC BY 3.0)

Twitter logo Public Domain Decication (CC0 1.0)

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Reflection

Sienna

The unit I have just undertaken has been like no other class I’ve been a part of before, and that’s saying a lot as an arts/journo/writing student…

When I say it’s like nothing else, I won’t include my minimal Twitter involvement for my online journalism class in undergrad, because while the teacher encouraged us to follow the La Trobe online magazine and politics, there was nothing within the class that really motivated me to strive at this online stuff.

Blogging and Online Communications revolved around the students’ online engagement. We learnt by watching, listening, commenting, tweeting, blogging and engaging with our peers online. It was a class with no long, boring lectures, but short, enjoyable videos to learn about weekly topics. It had been gamified, The unit had become like a game, for example, students who participated on twitter, wrote a blog post or put up a short video would gain ‘tiffits’ which were essentially points that could be used to gain further information or as it is called in the gamified world ‘unlockable content’. This gave students an aim; an aim to collect points, be awarded badges and to essentially ‘win’ the game of blogging and online communications.

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As one of the ‘on campus’ students, I found I got a lot more out of the subject. By being able to have human interaction and face-to-face conversations with my peers, I felt like the subject was real, it made me more motivated to strive. To have that human interaction and being involved in a real social, classroom context is something that should never be fully replaced by technology. To feel like you are a real person, in the real world, is vital for your ability to socialise and speak to other people. I believe it is necessary to maintain that collaborative learning in a room with other people as well as the online component. Knowing your classmates in person connects you more to them individually, rather than perceiving them as the thumbnail they are on social media. However lets look at the benefits I have seen in online learning as a whole.

Blogging and Online Communications has really put the importance and realism of digital media into perspective for me. I realise now that I don’t have to and shouldn’t stop my blogging, tweeting and involving myself in online activity once the unit is over and assignments have been handed in half-heartedly. I need to look at my work as my own portfolio for future career opportunities and put my whole heart into the work I do. It is challenging to keep up with online activity, especially being consistent at blogging. This has been my goal for the semester, to blog consistently. While I’m not going to turn into successful, glamorous, columnist Carrie Bradshaw instantaneously, I am getting better at maintaining my blog, even if I create a new blog post once a fortnight or every now and then.

As long as I keep getting back to it, I will pick up the pace and get into the rhythm of blogging every week. I need to learn how to intergrade blogging into my daily or weekly routine. My theory is this; if I can make myself go to Pump classes every Tuesday night, I can make myself blog every Thursday night. Because when I’m on a roll, I don’t usually want to stop.

In saying this, I hope I will continue and grow in my blogging, so I can use these skills to gain a successful career in the future. My ultimate and (somewhat unrealistic) dream would be to be a travel writer. Imagine that, being payed to blog about places around the world, whilst being anywhere in the world!

However on a more realistic note, I could see myself writing for magazines or having my own column (which would have derived from my success in blogging of course!)

This photo was taken at the Shepparton News during my work experience there in 2009. I typed in my own answers. As you can see, even at 16 I knew that I wanted to travel and have a good career…

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Taken at The Shepparton News, 2009

Be an Activist and Just Press ‘Share’

Have you ever been involved in a petition shared over Facebook? If so, you could be part of a massive social move and not even know it.

After reading Carty’s Social movements and new technologies I have discovered something. I have been an online activist and not even known it! Well I sort of did but not in the same context as I do now.

Carty gives us a few examples of petitions started online, on websites such as change.org. Online petitions can be created and hosted by anyone with any cause in our digital world and they give citizens the opportunity to participate in not only petitions, but virtual sit ins, demonstration and rallies just to name a few (Carty 2015, p.13).

The examples given in the text were of communities taking to change.org, which is the worlds biggest petition platform, to peruse an issue. Like the school kids from Brookline who read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and discovered that the movie that was going to be based on the book had no mention of the environmental themes that were vital to the storyline. Hence, these 4th graders demanded on change.org that the movie must have an environmental message. Being shared online the petition went viral, gathering more than 57,000 signatures and in the end the movie company agreed to updated the movie (Carty 2015, p.13).

After reading this, I decided to venture to change.org to check it out for myself and found out I was already signed up to the website. I thought about a petition I once became part of after signing up to it on Facebook. So just to check, I clicked on my name, and into ‘my petitions’ and sure enough it came up! The petition was to stop the unnecessary wrapping of individual portions of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets, namely Woolworths and Coles, because of its harm to the environment.

This petition is now closed as it had been posted over a year ago. However I took a look at the outcomes that followed the outrage that was excessive use of plastic wrap in store. The issue had gained 109,091 supporters, but apparently needed 40,909 more to reach 150,000 people.

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Scrolling down I noticed petition updates posted around 7 months ago. One read that Coles had finally agreed to meet and discuss their arrangement in addressing the concern. This was a positive breakthrough and the petition founder, Pat Lowe further asked supporters to help by posting photos of these plastic wrapped foods from and demand them to ‘scrap the wrap’ (Lowe, 2015).

This update was written on August 4 2015 and on September 25 2015 Coles replied basically saying that they know that consumers don’t want their organic products packaged in plastic, but there is no easy solution right now. However they are recycling as much of the plastic waste as they can and are improving their recycling more and more each year, having a 70% rise in their recycling rate in 2015.

In conclusion, I guess not much came of the problem except that Coles and Woolworths might have reduced the amount of plastic wrapped foods and that they are mindful of the environment… (yeah, sure).

Here is another very recent issue that has stricken outrage in Australia…and that is the so-called ‘new and improved’ Arnott’s Shapes.

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Spot the Difference by medically_irrelevant CC BY 2.0

Shapes are one of Australia’s most iconic and loved biscuit. So why has the company decided to change them? Can’t they foresee the negative impacts that are going to arise after taking away and changing something people love and are accustomed to?

I noticed just yesterday on Facebook, that people are sharing their letters of disapproval and outrage sent to Arnott’s Biscuits Australia. For example a post sent to Arnott’s Facebook page on Sunday May 1, was an essay of a woman’s tragic story of tasting the new Shapes. It was written with extreme passion and detail and in my opinion it was a bit over the top, maybe that’s because I’m not a massive Shapes fan myself.

She had lines like, ‘Alas, I still held hope for the trusty BBQ shape. But where was that vibrant red and green flavouring…?’

The disappointed customer even mentioned that her dog didn’t even approve of them! This was accompanied with a picture of her chocolate Labrador starting up at the camera with a disappointment and confused look on his face as a not very colourful BBQ shape and Pizza shape sit on the table, untouched in front of him.

This post was shared 3,865 times, which meant that this person was doing something right in her rant, maybe it was because so many people felt the same way and maybe it helped that the picture she chose to attach to the post was of her cute dog.

What we can gather from all this, is how easy it is to have a voice nowadays because of technology and the growing number of ways in which to use it. You can be part of digital activism and online social movements so easily today. You are able to stand up to large companies in ways that were once impossible.

So if your passionate about something don’t wait for someone else to step forward, become your own leader of a petition and rally, protest and gain support for your issue.

You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home.

 

References:

Carty, V 2015, Social movements and new technology, Westview, New York, pp. 1-16.

Lowe, P 2015, ‘Stop wrapping small portions of herbs, vegetables and fruit in plastic and styrofoam’, change.org, viewed 25 September 2015 <https://www.change.org/p/woolworths-and-coles-supermarkets-stop-wrapping-small-portions-of-herbs-vegetables-and-fruit-in-plastic-and-styrofoam#delivered-to&gt;

 

From Myspace to Facebook to Twitter; my continuously changing online persona

 

Back in the early years of 2002 – 2003 when social networking sites were fairly new and the extent of social media was Friendster and MySpace, users were of a specific subculture.

In reference to MySpace, Boyd and Ellison (2007, p. 217) state that there were three distinct groups that formed within the site; ‘musicians/artists, teenagers, and the post-college urban social crowd’. As I am focussing on the changing ways of people and their online identities through the changing ways of social media, the concept that bands were the initial people (apart form former Friendster’s) who turned to MySpace intrigue me. As stated in the journal of (Boyd & Ellision 2007), MySpace became a place that allowed Indie Rock bands to join as they had been turned away from Friendster for not complying with its profile regulations. These bands used the site as a platform to promote themselves and interact with their fans.

With MySpace’s rapid growth and indie rock band influences, teenagers started to sign up to follow and communicate with their favourite bands. Teenagers begun to customise their MySpace pages with particular backgrounds and photographs that reflect a self that they wanted others to see.

As for me, I didn’t have MySpace at the time that everyone I knew started talking about it. This is because that it was not long after the talk of MySpace began around me, that Facebook had arrived. Facebook was accessible to everyone for the first time in 2006 (Boyd and Ellison 2007, p. 212). It wasn’t until I was in year 9-10 between the years of 2008-2009 that my classmates and I started signing up to it.

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Myself in 2008, when I first got Facebook

According to Joinson (2008, p. 1027) ‘[in] July 10, 2007, Facebook.com reported signing up its 30 millionth user, with a year on year increase in unique users of 89%’. Unlike MySpace, which had a specific and limited number of users, Facebook broke through these specific groups to attend to the interest of diverse groups of people everywhere. Facebook became a global phenomenon.

Facebook records everything you’ve done and said since you signed up to the site. It even has a timeline on your profile under ‘view activity log’ that allows you to click on a year and see how your online presence has evolved. So when I had a look back at 2009 me, and the way I displayed myself on Facebook I was astonished at the contrast between then and now. When I first got Facebook I only had a limited number of Facebook ‘friends’ and most of them were close friends from school and family members so I didn’t think twice about what silly status updates I put up for to see. Here’s an audio slideshow example of the obvious change between 16 year old me to 23 year old me.

You can easily see the difference between the way I expressed myself to my ‘friends list’ in 2009 compared to what I’ve shared (or lack of) in recent years.

Today I am more aware of how I display myself on social media and what I want my ‘friends’ or followers to see (or not to see more to the point). I don’t post status updates, technically the last status update that wasn’t a photo was where I got tickets to see Tim Minchin who I love and was very excited about seeing, and that was in 2014.

exapmple c 2014 status update

How then, have I changed in a digital context? I guess it comes down to the issue of privacy. Over the years I have become more private on social media. As it developed, I developed. My main intention on Facebook is to observe. However in the context of Twitter, I have found that I have more freedom to interact, especially through specific hashtag threads. For example, I am…

concerned about worldly issues:

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political:

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and engaged with outside events I’ve attended:

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I have been the most active on Twitter this year gaining double my previous amount of followers. The way I have developed on Twitter is more rapid and different to that of Facebook.

 

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Check out my Prezi that depicts the growth of my Twitter profile 

I make sure my privacy settings are set so that only my Facebook ‘friends’ can see what I share. Many people don’t even consider their privacy settings on social media. Some never even change the default privacy settings, meaning that their profile information is publicly accessible by everyone. Pomfret and Previte (2012) argue that ‘…whilst consumers’ are increasingly concerned about their privacy, they appear to take little or no action to protect their personal information when using social networking sites’.

On the other hand the issue of privacy has been around long before social media and to some extent, my latter point can be contradicted by Derlega and Chaikin (1977, p. 102), who say that ‘Privacy represents control over the amount of interaction we choose to maintain with others’. This definition can be looked at in the contemporary view in accordance to social media. Derlega & Chaikin (1977, p. 102) also state that ‘if one can choose how much or little to divulge about oneself to another voluntarily, privacy is maintained’. I disagree with this argument to an extent. It categorises people and this one idea that privacy, if obeyed by the rules is simple to maintain. (Pomfret and Previte 2012) challenge this view by saying that consumers’ current attitudes towards privacy on social media are a lot more complicated than that.People want to look at other people’s lives through accessible social media and this is described in Joinson’s article as ‘social searching’ or ‘social browsing’ (2008, p. 1028). They want to share their profile information yet don’t specifically state that they want their personal information disclosed, therefore creating the controversial issues around privacy today. This creates what Pomfret and Previte (2012) call a ‘privacy paradox’.

These days, it’s hard to get away from social media if you tried. Try deleting your Facebook account. You actually can’t, it is just ‘deactivated’ until you choose to log on next, waiting for you like you never left to begin with… creepy. You just got to go with the flow of it, people change with social media as it continues to grow and you can choose to share as little or as much of your online identity as you want.

 

                                                                                 (1045 words not including citations and captions)

References

Boyd, DM 2007, ‘Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship’, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 210-230.

Joinson, AN 2008, ‘Looking at, looking up or keeping up with people?: motives and use of facebook’, Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference of Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1027-1036 viewed 28 March 2016, < http://onemvweb.com/sources/sources/looking_at_motives_facebook.pdf>

Pomfret, L & Previte, J 2012, ‘If I didn’t want people to know, I wouldn’t put it on Facebook: How privacy is changing in the age of social networking’, Australian and New Zealand Marketing Acadamy Conference (ANZMAC 2012), pp.1-7, viewed 21 April 2016, < http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:287210/UQ287210_full_text.pdf>

Derlega, VJ & Chaikin, AL 1977, ‘Privacy and Self-Disclosure in Social Relationships’, Journal of Social Issues, vol. 33, no.3, pp. 102-115.

 

My Broader Online Activity and Engagement

My online activity for this unit has been fairly broad and consistent. I have created an About me page, been tweeting on a regular basis in the unit hashtag, #ALC708, sharing blog posts and interacting with classmates. For example I tweeted an article I thought would be interesting for the topic of the self. I chatted with classmates through tweets and commented on other peoples’ media. I posted the link to my blog post in lure of my presentation called ‘Sneak Peak’ and another one called ‘An Audio Presentation for my actual presentation.

 

An Audio Presentation

So if you read my previous blog post, you may remember me talking about having an audio presentation assignment coming up. Well it’s due tomorrow and I have been working at it all day today to get it done.

Who knew that the process of recording, editing and exporting an audio would be so involved? Actually me. I knew it would be. That’s why for once I’m not leaving it until the absolute last minute.

My presentation is focussed on the way Instagram is a contemporary digital media platform that has changed the way in which people construct their identities in not just the form of a ‘selfie’ but in a thematic way.

I won’t waste time rambling about it, because you can hear all about it in my Soundcloud presentation below.

Enjoy!

 

Sneak Peak

It is week 4 in my online blogging and communications class at uni and the topic this week is “constructing online identities”.

As I have chosen this particular topic for an upcoming assignment, I have received the privilege to be one of the first to present. yay. I say present and I bet you’re probably thinking ‘gee, glad that’s not me!’ whilst remembering back to the dreaded days of oral presentations given in your year 11 English class …pounding heart, hot cheeks and hands so shaky that you’re wishing you made smaller cue cards… Well I’m sorry to say, this is not that kind of presentation. It is in fact, an audio presentation done with the aim of distributing the media online after editing it and making it interesting with royalty free jingles at the beginning and end.

So as blogging is pretty vital in this class, and part of my social media interactions, I will reveal the sneakiest peak of my presentation… I have decided to focus on Instagram as a contemporary social media platform in which people use to specifically create an idealised self. This could be in a form of selfies, or it could be an array of beautifully filtered and carefully cropped photos that are of similar themes; like the typical ‘fitness’ profiles and food pictures. I argue that Instagram has changed the way people identify themselves in digital media and how not all self portraits are in the form of selfies, but can be observed in the theme someone has created with the help of hash-tagging specific groups and gaining followers with similar interests. Instagram is a new and unique way to create an online persona that is different to Facebook.

“The filtering process on Instagram decreases its documentary values as an un-altered record of what existed before the camera, but increases its capacity to capture the desires and moods of its author” Fallon, p. 59 

Kris Fallon perfectly defines Instagram’s intention in ‘Streams of the self: The Instagram feed as narrative autobiography’. Instagram is an application that promotes filtering and editing of images. Instagram allows people to paint an idealised picture of themselves that is allowed to be creative and extravagant.    

“Filtered images do not claim “this is how it looked” but rather “how I wanted it to look…” Fallon, p. 59

To me Instagram and its capability to manipulate photographs is a form of art. You’re multitude of awe-inspiring pictures, whether they are intentionally thematic or not evokes an idealisation of how you want others to view you. 

 

 

Paris in Summer

paris in summerParis in summer is like looking into a watercolour painting set in the 1920’s of a crowd of people in elegant outfits doing various things to take full advantage of a cloudless, angelic day. There are couples holding hands walking along the riverbank, families picnicking on the green grass next to serene, swan-filled ponds. There is a young, rosy cheeked wife with her head on her husbands lap, her round belly holding the joy that is a baby, they have unconscious smiles drawn on their lips as they lie on the grass under a Maple Leaf tree. Not far in the background sits the Eiffel tower with a bluish hue, faded in the sunlight.

paris in summer 2Except, instead of it being the 1920’s with ladies in long, white flowing summer dresses and parasols and men in top hats and caps, it is the 21st century and people have converted to wearing stylish summer dresses and shorts and t-shirts. Elegance still remains however, after all Paris is one of the fashion capitals of the world. You don’t see one sloppy-dressed person along the Cham Elysee. When you walk along the symmetrical, cobble-stoned boulevards, that are lined with beautiful architecture, you will pass cafés and restaurants one after the other with chairs turned outwards to face the street allowing coffee sipping, Parisian customers to observe the never-ending hustle and bustle of commuters. Groups of tourists hurry past with their wide eyes hidden behind cameras and maps, eager to clime the Eiffel Tower or cue up at the Louvre. Old smartly dressed couples stroll arm in arm on their way to the bakery they go to each morning for fresh Baguettes’. Apartments are magnificent with their cream colours, rusting iron balconies and elaborately cut stonework. Each windowsill shows off a flourishing bunch of colourful flowers, no matter what the season.