Week 7 RSS and Information Mgmt

For Class Discussion (to prepare in advance):

RSS tools have experienced radical changes over the years. The most dominant player, Google Reader is gone (many people were dismayed and unhappy, but it is what it is), and other Web tools and social media have added RSS features within its own. Of course, some other RSS tools and services have come up to take place Google Reader’s roles. There are other tools also that are not exactly RSS, but have gained niche places to help people better organize a large amount of information. RSS and these tools are to manage information (that is rapidly changing and growing) more effectively and efficiently.
  1. RSS in Plain English by Lee and Sachi Lefever (3.5 minutes)

RSS tools are similar in terms of core features. (1) They provide search feature. You should see that web sites/services where content updates are frequent, they are a good candidate for having RSS features (e.g., news, journals, library search results, discussion threads, etc. – you can enter the name of the web site/journal name directly to the tool’s search field, or from any website you visit and see the orange “rss” button, if you click it, popular RSS subscription tools should pop up. (2) They allow you to organize your subscriptions by folders or categories. (3) They allow you to export/import subscriptions across similar services – most popular tools also allow you to share your subscription(s) with others. In the lab, we will visit popular news sites, journals, and library search results, and each time, will see how the page can be incorporated into your RSS subscription.

  • Feedly
  • Feedspot
  • And more RSS tools or feeders – Some are for desktop and platform specific
  • RSS Mix (web service) – If students work on research or web search, their search URLs can be combined and created into a RSS feed
  • If you know HTML code and DreamWeaver, this service automatically converts any RSS feed into a JavaScript code, which you can insert within a

    tag. This way, from 250, you learned how to create events/news on the site, and allow people to subscribe to your web page (RSS to Javascript)

  • Netvibes, Flipboard, vs. MyYahoo – Each tool  allows you to add many panels/flakes to a single web page. The first two allow you to organize panels by different RSS feeds (if the web site provides RSS feeds). As of 2/16/2014, Pageflakes’ DNS registration has expired (and this is strange, people expect that to come back soon). Google also used to have a feature called iGoogle that is similar to MyYahoo, then discontinued its service recently. Case in point? Invest in big pictures, major functionalities – things will change, and you can catch up quickly!
Further Resources

  1. Blog search from Google or Technorati’s watchlist – same action as above can be done
  2. Social search (social media search)
You can comment on any of the following:
  • How have you managed a lot of resources or information you have found on the Web? Have you used RSS or any tools introduced here before, or any other similar tool to better track or organize your subscriptions?
  • Which features or functions did you find as very useful from which tool? How will you use  the tool/service more in the future?
  • For more active and better use of the RSS or information organization tool in class or training, what would you suggest?

Week 6 Collaborative Writing/Editing

 For Class Discussion (to prepare in advance):
  1. Wikis in Plain English by Lee and Sachi Lefever (under 4 minutes)
  2. The Power of Wikis in Higher Ed by Linda L. Briggs
Popular Tools – Course Google Site at IDT351 Course Google Site
Further Resources
  1. See Who’s Editing Wikipedia by John Borland
  2. Wikipedia and the New Curriculum by David Parry
  3. Wikibooks (increase in textbook cost is crazy, and you can see people try to write books on various subjects together)
  4. Google Drive – Short video link to Google Drive features
  5. Google Sites – Video tutorial detailing how to use Google Sites
  6. PBWorks – Video tutorial demonstrating some of PBworks functions
You can comment on any of the following:
  • Any difference, strengths or weaknesses compared to blogging tool(s)?
  • What are unique or major strengths about wiki tool?
  • Important things to consider in adoption or implementation (e.g., user management)

Week 5 Blogging

For Class Discussion (to prepare in advance):
Among many and evolving web 2.0 tools, blogging should be the first one worth being discussed. Blogging has changed web publishing in a radical manner, and it has revolutionized news publishing, marketing, and even journalism. Class lecture goes over good principles/practices of blog writing and in the lab, students will create a blog using blogger.com (should send the URL to the instructor via gmail or post URL on WesternOnline by Sunday midnight).
  1. Educause’s 7 Things You Should Know About Blogs
  2. Reflecting, Writing, and Responding: Reasons Students Blog by Carie (Windham) Page
Blogging Tools – As a group or by yourself, select one blogging tool from below or any popular one, then post a needed information about the tool to the Course Google Site (will update link here).
Further Resources (for those who are interested in exploring further about blogging – these sources provide many excellent examples, ideas, or templates)

Your comment can be on any one of the followings, please make your comment as to the point, and address all parts concisely and thoroughly (200-250 words, using course contents, sharing resources/experiences are very helpful!):

  • Which blogging tool is your favorite, why? Which feature(s) did you find most useful for teaching or learning?
  • Any difficulty or problems experienced in publishing contents or using the tool? Did it make you think about challenges in adopting and leveraging blogging?
    For adoption or implementation within an organization, what is important?
  • For what purposes do you plan to use your blog? Class lecture showed possible applications, such as portfolio, content/file management, class discussion, etc.

Week 4 Find and Evaluate

Class discussion

I have little doubt that you frequently hear about problems, such as the poor quality and accuracy of information, and the information overload on the Web. About the information overload, sources below (#1 and #2) will give balanced perspectives (they say overload is a ‘wrong’ perspective. #3 and #4 clarify that the major innovations for the next generation of the Web are driven by ‘post-filtering’ and search algorithms (to improve search effectiveness and efficiency). On Monday and Wednesday, everyone will compare two different search procedures for his/her own topic of interests – online library database search vs. Web search (e.g., using Google search, Google scholar, YouTube, Slideshare.net, or professional association web site). Then on Wednesday, you will do a scavenger hunt to find and improve a rubric to evaluate the quality of retrieved search results using Rubistar (last resource on the list below). The goal is to learn how to find quality information when you have a topic that you don’t know much, and how to evaluate the quality of such sources retrieved.

As a class, it will be also very useful to brainstorm which filtering (e.g., like, # of views, tags, rating, indices, impact factor, selection of reactions on Slashdot.org, etc.) exist and how it has evolved to deal with information quality/overload, and how they shape/influence/affect “authority” or “expertise”. If you like challenges, I like to state that some sees the next generation Web will focus more on managing exploding information and do quality control (Artificial Intelligence and algorithms are major drivers). If you think about location-based searches/services or community/group based organization (e.g., on facebook), these are all to make information management and learning more effective.

Your comment by Sunday midnight should answer how Web search vs. traditional (online or on-campus) library search compare in terms of quality, effectiveness, and convenience, and how the quality/accuracy should be evaluated.

  1. We’re on information overload by Thomas Washington.
  2. It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure” by Clay Shirky. A little under 24 minutes. The problem of information overload, different perspectives can reveal positive aspects of abundant participants: Cognitive Surplus (by Clay Shirky, 13 min, and Captcha project: Massive-scale Online Collaboration by Luis von Ahn, 16 min)
  3. Tips for Handling Information Overload: Too Much Content by Dawn Foster (with Google Reader is gone as the most popular RSS tool, alternatives can be found here).
  4. The Chronicle of Higher Ed: The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority by Michael Jensen for subscribers only. For an earlier and freely available version, see Authority 2.0 and 3.0: The Collision of Authority and Participation in Scholarly Communications by Michael Jensen.
  5. The iPad and Information’s Third Age by William Rankin
Web tools/services:
Items 1~3 are information organization tools that allow browser customization. Zotero compares to a 3rd party citation tool called Endnote. Anytime you do online search, you can create a summary note. Rubistar is a great tool to create an evaluation/grading rubric. If you ever need to create a rubric to evaluate products or processes, it is a great, free, and easy to use tool.
  • Netvibes – personalized dashboard publishing platform for the Web
  • Protopage also allows to create a personalized homepage
  • Zotero – A tool that helps gather, organize, and analyze sources and then share the results of your research
  • Rubistar – A free evaluation rubric builder with a search feature (if you create a web or information search task, and trainees or students create artifacts (list of useful sources, summary of sources, etc., you would want to evaluate their work. Don’t reinvent the same wheel, chance is, if your topic is popular, Rubistar might have something you can adopt and even contribute. WebQuest is the most popular activity in K12 (sort of scavenger hunt and evaluation of the source).

Week 3 Reaction Paper (due 2/07 Sunday midnight, post it here as comment)

Past two weeks reviewed major trends and issues, such as learning 2.0, trends in education and society, and online rights and safety. Establishing a good reason for why one should incorporate Web/social media to teaching or learning is a must.

The following question doesn’t have correct or wrong answers, but naïve or over simplified arguments must be avoided:

(1) What is your perception/knowledge of the Web as teaching (or learning) tools now and why? (2) Assume that you are recognized for your knowledge in web/social media at school (or work), and have been charged  by your boss to improve digital literacy and web/social media use. Many employees have concerns about privacy, internet rights, and copyright infringement.

Answer each question using contents from the previous weeks and knowledge you have gained. Your answer must be backed up by relevant materials/resources (about 1/2 page, single line spaced – see an example below). Reviewing related materials can greatly help (50 points total).

  1. Clear and concise capturing of major benefits/strengths of the Web for teaching/learning (30%)
  2. Use of relevant materials (minimum 2) to support views (30%)
  3. Flow and cohesion (20%)
  4. No naïve or over/rosy-generalizations (10%)
  5. Accuracy of grammar and spelling (10%)


My understanding of the web as teaching tools is that tools, such as xxx are readily available for teachers to use in the classroom as well as outside the classroom. They can motivate students more with resources that show the application of contents, and engage students into active and reflective learning. For instance, Brown and Adler in their article, entitled Minds on Fire, show many web projects where teachers make the best use of resource-based, inquiry oriented, and cooperative learning environments. Unlike past teaching that heavily relies on textbook and knowledge transmission (as seen in Wesch’s video, Machine is Us/ing Us and Information R/evolution), web tools provide greater opportunities for students to search, share, and discuss related materials easily and publish work in view of audience outside the classroom.

Richardson (2009) also points out, work remains after the course and these artifacts can work as resources for future students as well as their portfolio that can grow over time… However, care must be taken for online safety (or identifies) because xxx indicates that students are using popular social networking tools with little parent or teacher guidance…  Unless teachers pay attention to the issue of fair use and the existence of sources (can add related sources, such as Creative Commons) to support your view or as a resource), students may impinge on copyright without knowing or reinvent the same work ….

Week 3 Class 2 Rights and Safety

(Online today, no F2F) Class discussion

Create a Google account (choose a login and password that is different from your university ones, and send your gmail address to gracefulgrace@gmail.com). The topic of online right and safety is thorny. Issues can result in grave consequences for any individual or workplace, and you will see many powerful arguments for using web 2.0 tools as well as against it.

I believe, debates on whether the Web is safe for school kids/youth, or whether one should participate in Facebook or not, or whether companies must ban or monitor social media will completely miss the point. Web and social media are drivers of social and market changes, and balance is most important – simple that is. Any workplace and individuals must proactively plan, manage, evaluate, and improve online rights and safety, if they plan to leverage web and social media.

I encourage you to explore URLs here. If about an hour, watch first two videos. Then, check further resources #1, 2, 3, and 6, which talk about how to measure your online presence (Klout), how to build up your reputation (by utilizing popular services, such as facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc), and how to address/protect privacy. Others are related to policy and resource examples to address these issues through instruction or laws/regulations. Your comment for this posting is optional, but  don’t forget to complete respond to the next post, which asks you to summarize your understanding of the first three weeks contents.

  1. Be aware online filter bubbles (Eli Pariser, TED 9 min)
  2. Google Profiles, Online Reputation Management, and Digital Footprints by Wesley Fryer (the second video: digital dossier inside the link, 4 min is strongly recommended)
  3. The Online Amplification Effect by Margaret Soltan (many examples that show how stories can spread rapidly and affect individuals and workplaces)
  4. Your phone company is watching (by Malte Spitz, 9 min)
  5. Copyright-Friendly and Copyleft Images and Sound (Mostly!) for Use in Media Projects and Web Pages, Blogs, Wikis, etc. by joycevalenza – as an IDT major, if you want to share your work more with others or like to use their work properly, you must read this and also check the video on the top (3 min video)
  6. Your online life, permanent as a tattoo (Juan Enriquez’s TED talk video, 5 min)
  7. Recut, Reframe,Recycle by the Center for Social Media at American University – Did you ever wonder about whether you can use commercial work in your video or school project? Check the short video on fair use (about 4-5 min)
Further resources

Week 3 Class 1 Trends in Ed and Society

Class discussion (per each source)

#1 – Shows how learning would be like at school and work in the (near) future.

#2 – His book, the world is flat is one of the most popular sources people use to support globalization. See which ‘flatteners’ Friedman says as driving globalization. If you are keen on social justice and sustainable economic development, you will find Cambridge prof. Chang’s work, entitled Bad Samaritans and his other work to be fascinating. He is not a capitalism skeptic.

#3 – His book Growing up digital captures core characteristics of digital youth very well, and discusses implications for organizations (hiring, career, development, etc.). Together, #1~3 gives both – positive and critical aspects of technology, innovation, and globalization. Infographics and data can be very useful for understanding any abstract but important phenomenon, such as global development (by Hans Rosling, 20 min TED talk).
#4 – Interested in leveraging social media for good causes? Based on a Stanford course on using social media, book includes many great cases as well as a model/framework for effectively planning/analyzing, designing, and implementing social media projects.
#5 –  Creating and leading a ‘great’ learning system is not easy, it involves visionary leaders, students, effective processes and support. Revisiting cases from Finland and Singapore from W2 will be very helpful seeing exemplary cases for Ken’s talk.

  1. A day made of glass (by Corning, 6 min)
  2. Thomas L. Friedman’s 2005 talk “The World is Flat 3.0” (Listen from 5:57 to 1:04:47)
  3. Growing up digital: How the Net Generation is Changing the World by Don Tapscott (45 min) (If further interested, also watch his 2012 TED talk: 4 principles of the open world, 17 min)
  4. Dragonfly effect (changing the world using social media) – (from Stanford Social Innovation Review)
  5. Lastly, to make education right, it should be on teaching and learning, not on standardized tests or STEM only. Key Robinson is one of the most popular TED presenters. If you plan to create a holistic and systematic learning system, try applying his principles. Watch How to Escape Education’s Death Valley (TED Talk, 15 min) and also Do School kills creativity? (15 min). How YouTube is driving innovation (Chris Anderson, TED talk, 18 min) can be one example of educational innovations.

Further resources – * Each source can take a while to read/review. You can skim each briefly, then devote more time later to peruse for particular interests.

Exemplary projects and initiatives – Last week, when we talked about learning 2.0, many said participating in and utilizing (online professional) communities as the best way to leverage learning 2.0. You can click open each of the following, spend no more than a minute or two, can join selectively to spend more time later.