May 15

my criteria for evaluating whom to follow on twitter

I have been using twitter since December 2007… so waaaay before Oprah and it going mainstream. In fact, i am not sure i like everyone and their brother talking about it and doing it…it kinda makes me cringe when the local news anchor mentions twitter to sound hip and with it, but it is in a way that you know he has no idea what he is talking about. it feels like it has become uncool in some way.

Anyway, in the beginning, i followed everyone that followed me. I guess i thought it was the polite thing to do, and i was just pretty much stunned that anyone that i didn’t already know would want to follow me.

I don’t do that any more. And i am much more selective about whom i will follow and let follow me. i now intentionally want to filter noise from signal. Some people will twitter about any/all random thoughts in their heads. i use twitter primarily professionally and to document my exploration of the social web and instructional technologies (this is my signal), but as i have said in a previous post, i have experienced a blurring with my professional self, and so you will find in my stream occasional personal tweets about my life/family (this is my noise). I look for a balance of noise and signal, and where there is more signal than noise.

So, how do i decide if i will follow you, or follow you back?

  • I look at your twitter profile. do you seem interesting in some way? i followed a guy who said he likes  pudding @ryenyc. and i am following a cat @fluffythecat who diligently tweets meow every day.
  • if you lock your tweets (make them private) i can’t know who you are, what you are about, especially if you have nothing (no link, no description) in your profile. I can’t see who you follow, who follows you, what you tweet about. … If we have any affinity. . . what is the point of being in twitter if your stream is locked?   i just don’t get it.
  • what is your name? are you a person or a business? are you a real person? i will block most businesses that are not edtech focused. i will block most vendors unless i use/like their product. it is astounding how fast some of these vendors will tweet/follow you when you mention their product. Sometimes i am impressed, sometimes it feels slimy.
  • where are you located? not that it matters. i am just curious. and interested.
  • where do you work? if you work for the ministry of education in Colombia, i am interested. If you are the Sr. Director of Tech Evangelism at BB, not so much.
  • how do you define yourself in your bio? You can loose me here, if you say something stoopid.
  • do you provide a web link to a blog or site with more info about you? i rarely follow someone with no web link. lately, i have been DMing (direct messaging) people without links that follow me asking them for a link to get to know them better before i decide if i want to follow them.
  • how many people do you follow? if you follow 1,259,537 people, i will NOT be 1,259,538.
  • how many follow you? if 1,259,537 people follow you, i might be curious about that, but i probably won’t follow you unless you are obama or brent spiner.
  • what do you do? higher ed faculty, k12teachers, instructional technologists will likely get a follow, people shilling books or services will most likely be blocked.
  • i look to see how many updates you have and when you joined. If you joined yesterday, have 2 updates, and 1,369 followers, it’s a pass.
  • i look to see what your ratio of posts to @replies are. If you only post you are suspect. If you are @replying only you are suspect. I look for a balance.
  • i look at whom you @reply to and what you are talking about. If your @reply conversations are too personal or i can’t figure them out…
  • I look at how often you post. if you post too much, you are irritating. If you don’t post enough, you are not relevant.
  • I also look at whom you are following and who follows you. I also look to see if we have people we follow or interact with in common.
  • i then look through 2-3 full screens of your twitter stream. if i learn one thing from you, i will follow you. all it takes is one thing.   : )

My purpose for twittering is for professional development and community and to extend my PLN. i want to engage in interaction on things that are of interest to me with people that interest me or that know more than me about things that i am interested in –  namely instructional technology. I also love twittering conferences and documenting my web2.0 experiences. I also use twitter to update my facebook status feed.

Without a doubt or without any reservation i say that twitter has been the most powerful influential professional development experience in my life. It is a vibrant exciting living expression of my community of practice. It gives me access to experts all over the world that i might never have met otherwise. and it gives me a forum in which to document my work, express myself, interact with others, and establish my own professional presence, credibility, and level of expertise.

it not an overstatement for me to say that i heart twitter  :  )

June 20

best intentions

So i had every intention of blogging through the delivery of this course…but so far i have had no time. The course is in its third week and i am still trying to figure out how to use the grading features and trying to keep up with it all. I am trying to be a good example and to practice what i preach. There are somethings that i know already i would do differently next time and some things that i will change. i have been meaning to reflect on the experience a bit so far. 

From about 15 original registrants there are now 8 students in the course.

Wow! Building and teaching this course has been one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences i have had in my professional life. So far I have LOVED every minute of the exhausting experience.
  • I am using a manual that i wrote as the course textbook – a CMS neutral resource in which i have updated my thoughts and approaches to online course development.
  • I designed a course in Moodle.
  • I blogged.
  • I interviewed online faculty and posted the interviews with their online courses creating podcasts for faculty development purposes – an online course for observation with author /instructional designer commentary.
  • I created 3 Breeze presentations – audio annotated powerpoint presentations.
  • I designed and have implemented several course learning activities using web2.0 applications that are external to the CMS, including edublogs, voicethread, diigo, meebome, youtube, twitter…
This has been a very satisfying experience. I innovated, i stretched, i did new things, i have met and interacted with new people, i am listening/observing … it is a total blast.
I still trying to figure out how to use the gradebook. I am not crazy about how much work this is for me. Next time i will change the intro discussion in module 1 and the discussion design of module 2. With the voicethread some of the self intro in the first module discussion is redundant… i thought that would be ok, but i need to really reframe that discussion to be more than a casual into… interestingly enough that same discussion with new online SLN faculty is a completely different experience. There is a different character to the teacher/student relationship that i had not anticipated that is not there with faculty that i train. It is probably the fact that i am not grading faculty : )
The second discussion in module 2 may be too many questions… i need to evaluate that some. Look at which questions are generating engagement and which are not.
Also, i am concerned that the class community area is not getting as much traffic as i would like/as expected. Perhaps because it is visually/physically way down several scrolls on the screen. Students are contacting me with questions via email rather than in the ask a question area or in the talk with me area. I need to think about how to address that and manage it better next time. I am looking forward to feedback from the students on all of this.
May 28


so my course has started… 14 enrolled, so far there are 9 that have shown up. One has dropped

i am concerned about several things.
I am not confident that i know exactly how certain things in the course are going to work – the gradebook, the discusion ratings. I just discovered how to make a custom rating scheme today and set it up, but i have no idea how it will work.

I finally got my rubrics finalized. It has been a challenge designing assessments for this Pass/Fail course. I don’t like it.

I have not gone in and tested yet with a student identity. (i confess – this is not good – so do as i suggest, not as i do).

No problems with using voicethreads and setting up the blogs. Except no one has done a video post… might be becuase they don’t have the hardware. I LOVE that they have interacted with each other. I had hoped they would. What i had not anticipated was that they would script and read their comments. And provide them in both audio and text formats.

I am not happy with how the written assignments had to be designed. I want to be able to attach files, reply to posts/have a discussion, add subject lines, and i can only do that with the discussion forums sort of… The problem is that i want to collect them all and then once all have been collected, then turn them back over to the students for review and comments…

I had to recreate the BB. The news forum is not working. The students can’t see the add new topic button and can’t see any of the reply links on the discussion topics. weird… So i hid it and recreated it and now they can see it. It is a bummer though becuase the news forum has an announcements block tied to it that is a nice feature. Unfortunately, that too is buggy and the see previous announcments link does not show anything beyond the current post.

March 16

assumptions i have about online faculty motivation

i have “trained” more than 3,000 online faculty since 1995. Twice a year, almost from the first year, i have had an average of about 300 faculty in my online conference for new online instructors. that is about 10% of the total number of faculty in SUNY, that is also the national average of number of faculty that teach online…. not bad. The main difference between this course and that one will be that the “students” in this course will be taking the course for credit and i will need to evaluate them in some way resulting in a grade. Grades and credit… powerful motivators. Students in this course will complete the activities required for this course as i design them because then want or need the grade/credit… and because they want to pass, and because they want to learn the course content – how to teach online. Since i have never done this before I don’t know what to expect. I assume there will be added motivation to complete the course as i design it.Faculty participate in my conference because they are asked to, told to, are paid to… and because they want to learn to teach online effectively, and SLN (I) present them with a step by step process to achieve that objective. Since i have facilitated this conference a million time i know that new faculty all have similar concerns about online teaching and learning, that most are interested in discussing their concerns and that having them participate in an online course on how to develop and teach an online course is online effective the first month or so of development. Because once they start working on their actual course and working with their instructional designers and attending the f2f trainings, they don’t have time, or want to come back to a course where there are no consequences, if they don’t complete it and I can’t “make” them attend, participate, or complete the online conference. So I design the conference accordingly.