Archive for March, 2015


Class 9: Consumers to Produsers

March 28, 2015

This week is Spring Break for Akron students so the class was in the DIT seminar room in Dublin for a change of scene. For the first half we discussed progress on the group project and re-emphasised the importance of reflecting on what is not working in the collaboration in addition to what is working. It is important that participants are writing about this in their blogs from now to the end of the semester.

The second part of the class consisted of a discussion based around Prof Axel Bruns’ lecture that students had read over the week. At the beginning many professed confusion about what Bruns was proposing but as the discussion progressed it became clear that most understood it better than they realised. It may be that as emerging ‘produsers’ themselves the concept is so familiar that it is almost invisible to them.

The concept of wikipedia not being about the creation of finished products but the ongoing revision of information – constantly amended and updated by people who may have originally come to it as consumers but have become content creators – was clearly understood. The development of the distribution system for news from the formality of traditional newspapers that are controlled by editors and publishers to the openness of blogs, Facebook and such systems that have eliminated the gatekeeper was considered – with particular consideration of the pros and cons. The issue of reliability was surfaced, leading to a reminder of the importance of reputation – and brand. As users become the producers of content: people who care enough to participate – as opposed to those who merely want to consume – personal brand becomes increasingly important.

DIT students are reminded that their blogs were due for the second assessment (after week 8) but this has been postponed to this week giving you a chance to catch up if necessary. The importance of proofreading posts before publishing was emphasised.


  1. Read: about the girl who resigned her position as uk police youth commissioner due to previous tweets (accessed 02/13/15).
  2. Read: about another example of a person losing her job over a tweet (accessed 02/13/15).
  3. Read: why Dr Phil removed a tweet from his TV show (accessed 02/13/15).
  4. Write the ninth post: to your blog reflecting on the benefits and difficulties of collaborating online across time zones.

Class 8: Is the medium the message?

March 22, 2015

Last week students were asked to watch a lecture by Prof Axel Bruns but the link was faulty – while the slides accompanying the talk were visible the lecture itself was missing. So, the correct link will  be posted this week and we will discuss the idea of ‘Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content’ in another class.

This week in class we discussed Marshall McLuhan’s proposal that the ‘medium is the message’. Use of the smart phone emerged as the dominant theme, particularly the way in which it appears to have replaced face-to-face encounters for many people today.



  • Watch and listen: to the lecture ‘From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation‘ by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology) explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.
  • Write the eighth post to your blog explaining how Marshall McLuhan’s theories inform the thinking behind this class.

Class 7: Communication?

March 15, 2015

Class this week proved to be a lesson in communication – or lack of it! Summer time began in the US the previous Sunday but doesn’t begin in Ireland until the end the month resulting in a three week period where the usual time difference between us is increased. We knew about this but, the difficulties associated with adjusting schedules and communicating across continents defeated us this semester. For DIT the 9.30 pm finish time is quite late and moving it on to 10.30 pm is not possible. For Akron students the class takes place in the afternoon and most students have other classes directly after it so changing their schedule is not feasible. In addition, it is reading week for a number of DIT students and they were not expecting class this week. In the end, about six students attended a rather small class gathering – demonstrating in a practical way how difficult online collaboration and communication can be across time zones.

We used the opportunity to discuss project progress with those in attendance and, unsurprisingly, similar difficulties were revealed by the students in relation to their communication within groups. One particular issue that may be a cause of concern to some is the selection of the cause or charity for the project. John and Locks advised students not to become overly concerned about this, reminding that the project is a vehicle for participants to experience working collaboratively online and discover not only what works well but also what doesn’t. It is the process of working together that students are expected to explore and the detail of the project itself is of lesser importance. Group members might also do well to review Sitearm Madonna’s talk, in the second class, about the roles of group members

This conversation continued as the student blogs were discussed. The importance of reflecting critically on the process of working with colleagues in an online environment across different time zones was emphasised. Please read what was posted to the blog around this time last year which outlines what students need to consider in their own blog writing.


  • Lecture: watch ‘From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation‘ by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology) explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.
  • Write the seventh post: to your blog describing the process in which your group engage to select the subject for your project. Include a critical review of how successful (or otherwise) you think the process was and what you would change if you were approaching this task again.

Class 6: Review of projects

March 6, 2015

At the start of class we had some more elevator pitches followed by a discussion on the visit last week to Virtual Ability Island. Most students were impressed by what they saw and the visit gave you a sense of how important virtual worlds can be to those who are housebound for one reason or another.

Then the students divided into their groups and found quiet parts of Akron Island in which to work on their projects while John, Dudley and Locks met with each group to discuss progress. We seem to have missed one or two groups so please let us know next week and we can meet you then.

Most groups appear to be making good progress and have decided on the general direction of the project. Each groups seems to have met synchronously and asynchronously and have agreed their communication methodology. While many are finding Facebook useful because they check it regularly already some have opted for email, google documents or Second Life as the key space for collaboration.


  1. Read this: interesting blog post about understanding Marshall McLuhan’s ‘medium is the message’ (accessed on 12/02/15).
  2. Read: some of Reinventing Ourselves: Contemporary Concepts of Identity in Virtual Worlds, Eds Anna Peachy and Mark Childs, published by Springer 2011 (accessed on 12/02/15).
  3. Write the sixth post: to your blog describing your contribution to the development of the group project.
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