Thank you everyone for your contributions, reflections, and conversations so far. #DigPINS is the kind of learning experience that only works if you interact and learn from one another so thank you for all of your sharing.
DigPINS explores digital networks from the perspective that who you interact with, and how you interact, informs and shapes your digital identity. We form one network, as a group doing DigPINS together; in interacting with our SNC colleagues we’ll branch that network out a bit. As we explore other forms of digital media in the open, you’ll find other networks which may speak to your identity.
Some of the guiding questions include:
- Who do you interact with online?
- How do you find and join networks?
- What are your current networks?
- What are the affordances and limitations of particular networks?
PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORK (PLN)
As we begin to talk about digital networks, we start to talk about being more resident in more public places. One way to think about building connections is with a Personal Learning Network or PLN model. Working in the open among those you don’t know can be scary but building a supportive PLN can get you through that fear. Also, to mitigate some of that I’d like to introduce you to people from our personal learning networks.(Autumm and I have a lot of overlap.) All of these folks are all focused on issues of higher education and digital pedagogy – many of them are concerned about social justice issues in digital spaces and many of them have past connections to St. Norbert College and to #DigPINS.
Some of these people I have met in the flesh, but many of them I have not. These are folks who learn in the public, and I want to salute them for that. They share the process and content of what they are learning about, researching, or just thinking about in public, and by following them I learn from them. They are well connected and regularly post and interact on Twitter, their blogs, or other social spaces about issues of higher education, digital pedagogy, critical perspectives on educational technology, and more. You may learn a lot just by watching their style of interacting with others, or even from reaching out to them yourself. (Disclaimer here: people’s lives are busy and if someone does not respond quickly or at all, I know I can’t take it personally. It helps me to think of Twitter as a very active stream going by. I know I miss a lot and I’m fine with that, and I try to extend that charity to others.) Check out their profiles and see if they are someone that you would like to connect with and if so give them a follow.
This is a long list. It’s OK to scan; it’s OK to be choosy.
@bali_maha – One of the co-directors of Virtually Connecting, a project which has changed my approach to my profession and extended my professional network more than anything else I can point to. Author of one of our readings this week. Blogs at https://blog.mahabali.me
@bryanalexander – Has spoken a couple of times at Kenyon and a good friend to me. Very valuable thinker and writer on issues in the future of higher education, including technology issues. Blogs at https://bryanalexander.org/. (Check out the way he interacts with comments!)
@sundilu Designed and delivered the initial DigPINS at SNC, co-designed and often co-delivers #DigCiz (digital citizenship) conversations with Autumm.
A number of folks who’ve spoken at CIP events have Twitter profiles and blogs; you might remember events with James Lang @langoncourse, Beverly Daniel Tatum @BDTSpelman, or Todd Zakrajsek @ToddZakrajsek.
Possible reflection prompt: can an organization be part of a “learning network?” Lots of Kenyon offices have presences on Twitter and Facebook; of course I’d love it if you were to follow @KenyonCIP. (Our Facebook page and Twitter account are actually mirrors; let me know if you want the guided tour to how that works.) And I may be contractually obligated to point out that @Sean_Decatur does social media really well. That’s not just sucking up; he really is quite good at it.
Find Your Own Network – Of course, our PLNs are different than yours. And you do already have one; a good place to start might be to work your mental rolodex of collaborators and friends and see who’s already on Twitter or running a blog.
One way to find people in your field is to look for the hashtag for a conference in your area of study and see who posted to it. You also might try searching Google for a person’s name and the word “Twitter”, that will often turn up their account if they have one. You can also follow networks like you follow citations in scholarship – once you find someone in your area of interest, look at their profile and scan who they follow, and who follows them to see if you recognize anyone else.
There are tips about how to reach out and connect in this week’s video from Bonnie Stewart linked below; that would be a great place to start.
With our work from week 1 you should have three tools at your disposal – Moodle, Twitter, and this blog. You can be resident in any of these but starting with this week, for those who are comfortable, I’d like to start moving to Twitter as a focus. This week start exploring the public scholars and professionals in your field and start thinking about how you might connect with the online communities that are in your field.
Because of its public nature, Twitter is the place where many networks and communities have formed, and it is “open” or “flat” in the sense that you can join lots of conversations. Twitter can be a bit scarier because there are a lot of people you don’t know in there. You may use an already established Twitter account or create one just for this experience.
Residency in Twitter
To move into that resident space a little more you could post a hello while tagging #DigPINS. If you are a little further along you could find some people to follow – check out our suggestions above, you could respond to some people who are posting to #DigPINS to welcome them, or search out others to interact with.
Suggested Hashtags: People use hashtags – a pound sign followed by a term or abbreviation – to show that a Twitter conversation is about a particular topic. We’re using the hastag #DigPINS to collect our relevant tweets. By looking at a hashtag, you can find people talking about the same topic or event whom you might not follow yet. Just pop the hashtag into the search box in Twitter to see the conversation. You also might try hashtags like #DigCiz or #AcDigID for conversations adjacent to ours. (Notes: Twitter presents the ‘Top’ search results first; you need to click ‘Latest’ to see chronological order. Also, cases do not matter for hashtags, but mixed case can make them easier to read.)
Back and forth conversation like what we get in Moodle and Twitter is great but it doesn’t always go very deep. Our blog posts are meant to just give you some space to let us know what you have been thinking about in a longer form.
You can experiment with that form, of course. Consider an audio or video post. Maybe your post is a series of images with some captions that tells a story – get creative.
Residency in Our Blog
You contribute to residency in a blog not just by writing and posting, but by promoting, reading, and connecting with others who are blogging. Once you publish a blog post you need to share your post. For this course you can always post to our Moodle page if you only want a smaller reach, or on Twitter with #DigPINS if you would hope to tease out a larger audience, or perhaps other hashtags that might be appropriate for your post.
Take time to read a few blogs and make some comments. This can be daunting; you’re in someone else’s space, adding text to their website. But comments also let authors know that someone read their piece and was affected by it, so they’re great positive reinforcement. Do leave comments! You can also build off someone else’s blog; maybe your next post is an expansion on thoughts expressed on someone else’s post, and you link to them and talk about how their thinking impacted yours.
I wrote this bit about commenting in another project, and we thought it might resonate here:
This kind of community takes nurturing. It won’t just happen on its own. I am going to commit myself here to a commenting discipline which I think will help. For every comment I get here, I’m going to dip into the blog flow and comment on another recent post. I’m going to try to pay forward the joy of having a stranger give your ideas serious consideration.
If you would like to visit the whole post you can do so here.
Things to do this week:
- Explore and Orient – Start looking for environments and individuals who are working the public in areas that you are interested in professionally and academically. If you feel like you don’t know where to go get started, jump to our required materials for the week and watch the video with Bonnie Stewart from a previous DigPINS.
- Watch this week’s video from Joe. This is a busy week, so the video is pretty short.
- “Play” the Nicky Case narrative game The Wisdom and/or Madness of Crowds to dip your toe into the world of network science.
- There is one video and 3 readings this week, all linked below. They are in order of relevance; if you don’t have time for all start at the top and get through as much as you can.
- Blogging and Moodling – This week you should start working in the public more (disclaimer: if you have concerns about working in the public due to security or privacy talk to me). Our main prompt for the week is to consider people and environments for building your PLN and share your process for finding and connecting with them. You have two main tools at your disposal – Moodle and our blog. Moodle is the “backchannel” which has fewer people in it (note I did not say “private”), while Twitter is very public. Think about what you want to share publicly and what would be better shared in the backchannel. Consider your blog for this week for a larger audience, and think about not just promoting it on Moodle but on Twitter using the #DigPINS tag.Our goal is for Moodle to be an ongoing conversation – check it daily and post or respond at least 2-3 times over the week to help us all get to know one another. Remember that our colleagues from SNC are not in Moodle and so they’ll only see your thoughts if you post them to Twitter, or on your blog or as a comment on their blogs.Here we want to mention the word Heutagogy. Heutagogy is the study of self-determined learning. DigPINS has content and activities but what really makes the experience different than other online “courses” is a focus on humanized learning and letting participants build off of one another and learn from one another. If you want to know more about heutagogy you can check out this article but for now just keep in mind that your contributions are what really make this experience something special for everyone.
Videos / Readings – Required
Developing Networks (video) – Bonnie Stewart – Video from previous #DigPINS with Bonnie Stewart (Video starts at 27:23 – at minimum watch through 36:40 but feel free to watch whole thing)
Personal Learning Networks: Knowledge Sharing as Democracy – Alison Seaman
Digital Identity in a World that Never Forgets – Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt
Link to Tweetdeck: https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/ – Twitter can be overwhelming because of so much information coming at you at once. Tweetdeck allows you to organize by search terms, hashtags, user lists… etc.
And of course remember you can reach out to us if you need help by direct messages on Twitter, or through Moodle or email.