Posts Tagged ‘blog writing’

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2015 in review

January 4, 2016

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Class 7: Online conventions

November 12, 2015
Prof Dudley Turner, University of Akron Ohio, visits the class

Prof Dudley Turner, University of Akron Ohio, visits the class

Prof Dudley Turner, University of Akron in Ohio, visited class this week. He invited us to drop by Akron Island (see links at right) anytime and also offered his help to students on their projects. If you haven’t already made friends with Dudley look out for him when you next log into SL.

Class opened with a discussion around the reading material from last week, Reinventing Ourselves. Despite the fact that it is quite a dense and academic text it revealed the importance of understanding how identity is formed both in Real Life and online. Many of you needed to read through it a few times to get an understanding of the philosophical and psychological issues underlying this complex process. It also demonstrated to you the seriousness with which these matters are taken and how much is at stake.

The discussion informed your feedback on progress in your projects. Everyone has been exploring SL for interesting buildings and trying to meet the owners and builders. The latter is proving less simple than it sounds and you report having come up against time zone differences, e.g., arriving in deserted cities because (despite the 4 time zones) everyone in North America is sleeping or working! Or being unable to establish contact with people, sometimes even when their avatar is standing in front of you. We talked about strategies for engaging with individuals you meet in SL: understanding what avatars in SL might be doing; the difference between Instant Messaging (IM) and local chat; contextualising your request. So, when you meet someone online the normal human cues that allow you to decide when and how to introduce yourself are not available. You need to keep in mind that people may well be engaged in different conversations that you cannot see. Trying to engage them in conversation may not succeed therefore you need to leave a message that they can see at a more convenient time. When doing so it is important that the message gives the full context of your request: who you are, what you are asking for; why you are asking this particular person; how can they contact you. This approach should be used in any form of online communication.

John also reminded you to read the project brief and the assessment requirements thoroughly so you understand precisely what to do. He said that although you are working on a group project you will be assessed individually based on your discussion of the project during class, your blog posts about your contribution to the project and your role in the final presentation at the end of the semester.

Finally, John spoke about writing posts to your blog. A summary of his advice can be read in a post to this blog from last year and would be useful for you to read now.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: about the Impact of Technology on Disaster Relief and the History and Power of Hashtags and Five Brilliant Ways to Use Hashtags.
  2. Write the seventh post: to your blog describing progress on your project.
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Class 3: Exploring Second Life

October 15, 2015

To facilitate a class trip In Real Life (IRL) the time for this weeks class was brought back to 4.00 pm. Some people had a little difficulty finding their way up to the Media Centre because the ‘Home’ landmark brings you to the ground floor – you need to teleport up to the Media Centre from there.

We spoke about the experience of finding interesting places to visit in SL and many of you had difficulty finding places or accessing landmarks. Some of this may have been a result of slow connection speed. So, we visited a few different locations to give you a sense of the variety of SL. First, we went to Lauk’s Nest, one of the oldest locations in SL, and a lovely nature reserve with some interesting buildings and tree houses. We got used to controlling our avatars when flying and trying not to get lost. After a chat about the economy of SL we visited a shop to see how a commercial enterprise works. Finally, we visited the Blarney Stone pub in Dublin Virtually Live to meet some of the punters and experience a virtual leisure outlet. The final destination was the only one that did not allow voice. We had all activated the module group so we were able to use private group chat to keep in contact.

Lark's Nest wildlife park in Second Life

Lauk’s Nest wildlife park in Second Life

Blarney Stone pub in Dublin Virtually Live

Blarney Stone pub in Dublin Virtually Live

Returning to the Media Centre there was a brief chat about the importance of keeping your blogs up to date – writing at least one post a week. it is also important that the activities set for the next class are completed. All of you had read at least one of the texts on personal branding but as we ran out of time it was agreed to postpone discussion until next week – giving time for those of you who haven’t yet read the text to do so now!

We spoke a little about the etiquette around approaching strangers in SL. John explained that it is perfectly acceptable to approach strangers and talk to them. In this way SL is very different form RL. Generally, avatars are perfectly happy to chat. This may be done via voice or public chat, depending on the avatar’s preference and/or the availability of voice in the location. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened for any reason simple teleport away to another location or log off. Do not hesitate to do so if you meet any aggressive or unpleasant behaviour. SL allows you the freedom and safety to explore in a way you might not in RL.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Go: out into SL and make contact with at least two people who you haven’t met before.
  2. Write the third post: on your blog describing your encounters.
  3. Explore: the website Humans of New York (accessed on 16/10/15) and see how the author has used social media to make an impact – an example being his use of instagram, facebook, twitter alongside the blog. Take note of how he has identified and positioned himself.
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Class 1: First meeting

October 6, 2015

Congratulations to the participants who made it into Second Life for the first class yesterday! You all managed very well indeed. For those who are still having difficulty logging into SL please talk to your colleagues and see if they can offer advice and help.

After meeting outside the DIT Aungier Street building in Dublin Virtually Live we teleported to the Media Lab for an introduction to the course with John and Locks. The regular class meeting time will be Thursday (starting this week, 8th October) at 8.00 pm and finishing between 9.00 and 9.30 pm. We will meet at the Media Lab and all participants saved the location so you will be able to return there whenever you log into SL.

We also added each other to our ‘friends’ list. This enables you to see when participants login to SL and you can send an instant message (IM) to each other when you are in different locations – very handy if someone gets lost in SL.

John explained that class will be interactive and discursive. Each week we will look at a different topic, introduced by a set text that participants are asked to read before the class so as to inform the debate. It is important that all participate fully and engage to get the full benefit from attending. You will also need to visit SL between class times to complete activities that will be set to encourage exploration. Specific activities will be set for the first few classes to get you started.

You were all asked to create a new blog for the duration of the course. You will be expected to write a weekly post describing your experience of the class and the discussions and activities in which you engage. If you keep this habit and post weekly you will avoid the burden of having to write a complete paper at the end of the module. John also explained that you will be paired off next week to work on a project which will be presented at the final class of the semester. You are encouraged to read through the pages listed in the right hand column of this website to get full details of the project, see examples of previous student blogs and get an idea of what to expect in the rest of the course.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Set up your blog: using bloggerwordpresstumblr or any other blog site. Complete the ‘About Me’ page (read some of those pages on other blogs first) and remember it is different from the first post on your blog. Write from the perspective of your avatar: the persona you will be using to explore in this module. 
  2. Write the first post: to your blog about your expectations for this module – what you hope to get out of it, what you think you might contribute, etc. Address the relevance of  module objectives from your perspective, ie, justify why you think they are important to you.
  3. Look at: John O’Connor’s blog and Dreamscape Diary bearing in mind what you learned today compare your own blog writing to this.
  4. Visit the following: Dolce Merda, Brain PickingsIllustration Friday, Chris BroganStyle Pantry Think about how you would identify these blog authors…what impression do you get of the person behind the blog?
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New course begins October 1st

September 17, 2015

Snapshot6_004We are pleased to announce that registration for the Autumn/Fall 2015 course is now open. The module will begin Thursday, October 1st, 8:00 p.m. Irish Time, and will be taught online in Second Life.

The ‘Is One Life Enough’ professional social media course is a university-level online course taught weekly for 10 sessions held at Dublin Institute of Technology Campus in Second Life and accredited by Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. The audience for this course is undergraduates, professionals, and educators seeking university-level training and credit in the use of online tools, such as Second Life, WordPress, Twitter and LinkedIn. Attending class as avatars participants will maintain online journals between sessions. Students will learn to establish and strengthen their online professional presence. You will learn also to work collaboratively, online, to complete team projects selected by the students and presented at module’s end to a collective university and Second Life audience.

Dublin Institute of Technology Students will receive 5 ECTS Credits as part of their current tuition – contact the office of Dean John O’Connor or your School for details.
Second Life Students receive DIT Accredited Professional Continuing Education Credit for a part-time tuition fee (99 Euro or equivalent in L$/US$) – contact Dublin In SL Registrar Sitearm Madonna
University of Akron Students may receive UOA College Credit as part of their current tuition – contact the office of Dr. Dudley B. Turner.

Inquiries: James Neville (‘Sitearm Madonna’ in SL) sitearm@gmail.com

Module History

In 2009, the ‘Is One Life Enough’ module was founded for Dublin Institute of Technology DIT students by (then) Head of School, John O’Connor (‘Acuppa Tae’ in SL), and eLearning Development Officer, Claudia Igbrude (‘Locks Aichi’ in SL).

In 2010, IOLE received the ‘Jennifer Burke Innovation in Teaching and Learning Award’ from the Irish Learning Technology Association and Dublin City University. Also in 2010, module eligibility was expanded to the greater Second Life Community via collaboration with Dublin Virtually Live Owner, John Mahon (‘Ham Rambler’ in SL).

In 2012, IOLE received the ‘Further and Higher Education Innovation Award’ from Learning Without Frontiers (London, UK). Also in 2012, Dr. Dudley Turner (Dudley Dreamscape in SL) graduated from the Autumn 2012 module as a Second Life Student.

In 2014, module eligibility was further expanded to University of Akron students via collaboration with Dr. Turner.

Organization History

Dublin Institute of Technology is the largest provider of third level education in Ireland with degree awarding authority and is on track to be Ireland’s first nationally accredited technological university.

Dublin in Second Life is a recreation of Dublin City online, celebrating the music, art, education, culture, and enterprise of Ireland and is a premier member of the broad Second Life Community, recognized by both Residents and Linden Lab Top Management.

University of Akron is one of America’s strongest public universities, focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Vitae

John O’Connor is a Director of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in Dublin, Ireland, and Dean of the College of Arts and Tourism. His work includes sitting on the Senior Leadership Team of DIT, teaching the award winning module, ‘Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?’ and promoting Dublin as a creative city and thriving economic hub. His academic interests include: access to education for isolated communities; the use of technology to support learning; typography; and development of the professional design sector in Ireland.

Dr. Dudley B. Turner is Former Interim Dean, College of Creative & Professional Arts, University of Akron (UOA) in Akron, Ohio, USA. He teaches communication, persuasion, and professional speaking. Dr. Turner is a champion of the use of virtual world communication technologies such as Second Life. He is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Ohio’s Innovative Teacher Award from the Ohio Communication Association.

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Class 1: Akron meets Dublin

January 30, 2015

CLASS SUMMARY: Akron students started familiarising themselves with Second Life in early January and Dublin students joined them this week on Akron Island, virtual home of the University of Akron. This semester sees a larger group than previously with about 30 participants in total. Dudley and John spoke about the module in general and gave some details of what to expect over the next weeks.

  1. The format of the class is interactive discussion, based on reading material provided prior to the class. You need to have read the material posted in advance (or else next class will be longer to allow for catch-up).
  2. You will need to spend time in SL outside the normal class time to complete tasks and activities.
  3. Check this blog regularly for updates on the module. Information will also be posted to Twittter using the hashtag #iole15. When you post to Twitter don’t forget to include this hashtag.
  4. After each class you will be given a topic to write about in your blog. It is important to keep your blog up to date as this will ensure you don’t have an excessive amount of work to do at the end of the module. The blogs will be graded using the rubrics found here.
  5. Academic writing standards must be adhered to always.
  6. Every week, visit a new location in SL and refer to it in your blogpost.

Academic writing Part of the methodology for this module is to use writing as a mechanism for learning and as a goal in itself. We hope that by the end of this module you are confident in writing as well as being familiar with conventions around accountable writing. The following points were addressed:

  • Forms of writing to use include: Narrative, Descriptive, Reflective, Critical.
  • Sourcing reliable information is essential: where to find it, deciding what is okay to use (judging sources)
  • Correct referencing is essential. Use the Chicago or APA style preferably (see link below) MLA if needed.
  • Writing to topic – don’t go off the point. Use headings as anchors.

References

DIT’s Study & IT Skills Survival Guide for Academic Writing
Purdue Online Writing Lab page on Academic Writing

Here is a guide to the Chicago referencing style
And here is a guide to the APA style
And this helps with MLA if you use it.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Set up your blog: using bloggerwordpress, tumblr or any other blog site. Complete the ‘About Me’ page (read some of those pages on other blogs first) and remember it is different from the first post on your blog. Write from the perspective of your avatar: the persona you will be using to explore in this module.  Post a link to your blog in your SL and twitter profiles. 
  2. Write the first post: to your blog about your expectations for this module – what you hope to get out of it, what you think you might contribute, etc. Address the relevance of  module objectives from your perspective, ie, justify why you think they are important to you, all the while applying the conventions of academic writing given in the class.
  3. Look at: John O’Connor’s blog and Dreamscape Diary bearing in mind what you learned today compare your own blog writing to this.
  4. Visit the following: Dolce Merda Brain Pickings Illustration Friday Chris Brogan Style Pantry Think about how you would identify these blog authors…what impression do you get of the person behind the blog?
  5. Set up: your twitter account in your avatar’s name. When posting to twitter don’t forget to use the hashtag #iole15.
  6. Do: Based on your ‘About Me’ blog page prepare a 30-second ‘elevator pitch’ about yourself and the identity you want to portray online for the next class. Think about yourself (your avatar). Who are you? What is your online identity? (who you are and what you are about). NOTE: Dudley will provide a notecard in SL with some help for the elevator pitch if you IM him and ask for it.
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Class 6: Blog Posts and Group Work

March 21, 2014

The IOLE14 participants met on Akron Island this week.

We spent the first part of our class discussing our blogs: what you have done and ways that you can continue to improve them.

Part of the purpose for the blog is for you to report on your progress in the IOLE module, and you have done that.  But there is more to consider when you create your blog posts.

As part of your virtual identity or your personal brand, your blog posts influence the reader.  The writer should want to present their information and thoughts in a professional and thoughtful way.  How can you do that? Dudley Dreamscape and John mentioned a few ways.

First, you can be sure to provide the context for your post.  If you refer to what you did “for class,” let the reader know what class and give them a link to our blog (IOLE).  If the reader happened to find your blog post through a search and the key term showed up in your post, they found you – now let them know where this is coming from.

Second, and similarly, the context comes from something you read or experienced.  When referring to something you read, provide a link to it.  Just as you would in an academic paper with a footnote so the reader can find the original source, you can provide a link to the article, video, or other source that you refer to.  If you visited a place in Second Life, get the SLUrl, the location for the place as well as telling us the name of the place.  If the reader happens to find you because you mentioned a group they are in or a place they are familiar with, it is much better for them to see that others reading your blog are able to find their place (building good relations).

Third, you should do more “reflection” in your blog posts. Describe what you learned and what other people have learned and their experiences then spend some time reflecting on those lessons.  Bring it all into your own writing, a more discursive space – writing your opinions, support for your opinions, and relevance for your opinions.  This is a start to building respect for your opinions and perspectives – building your personal brand so that others want to follow you, read what you have to say.

Remember that there is no right or wrong way to reflect. Your reflections are your thoughts, and while we can all engage with them and you, we cannot fault you.  So don’t be afraid to express your thoughts.

In other words, we want you to think (as students and others should do). Share your thoughts and how they relate to your colleagues thoughts.  Along with your own blog, read the others and provide feedback to them, too.  Build and continue the dialogue.

We then broke into groups and gave feedback to our fearless leaders.

Group work in the cabin

IOLE14 group working in our cabin

Group in photo op

Group taking a photo op

Meeting on the cliff

IOLE14 group meeting on the cliff

NEXT WEEK:

The Akron students have “Spring Break” and may not be available.  The instructors (both Akron and DIT) will be available at the regular meeting time for anyone who wants to log into SL.  We can help with your planning for your final project, or provide some help with presentation techniques and tools.

However, we still want some activity from the students.

  1. Read (see below), and
  2. Post on your blog (catch up and continue); reflect on the readings as examples of the use of virtual worlds or in light of our theme “Reality.”

READINGS:

“Technology’s Impact on Disaster Relief,” examples:

http://forums.techsoup.org/cs/community/b/tsblog/archive/2012/10/31/technologys-impact-on-disaster-relief.aspx

Digital Marketing Blog

Hashtag use in social Media Engagement:

http://www.siliconcloud.com/blog/bid/92928/are-hashtags-actually-a-useful-social-media-engagement-tool?source=Blog_Email_[Are%20Hashtags%20Actuall

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