EdTech 543 Final Reflection

Unfortunately, Social Network Learning is coming to an end. I am always sad when a course comes to an end. I get very wrapped up in them and make new friends that I likely won’t work with again.  543 was a great course for several reasons. First, It was very social. I got to work with and learn from others.  I learned more than I thought I would. Third, the course schedule was great for learning. Being given 2 weeks for each assignment allows you to really indulge in the material and not just rush to get assignments done. Fourth, the course was designed to use the material we were learning about. Dr. Gerstein practiced what she preached and writes about the development of this course here. Finally, I got to use new tools I wouldn’t have and learned some new skills (more on that below).

The infographic below covers the highlights of what I learned. I will go into more detail below it.


What did I learn?

I learned a lot. I’ll list the main things here:

  • Facebook is more useful for education than I thought. We used a Facebook group for our class to share content and to give feedback to each other.
  • I learned the theory behind communities of practice. COPs are “groups of people who share a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” They have 3 key components: the domain, the community, the practice.
  • Learned how PLEs and PLNs are different but related.
  • Explored my digital footprint and learned how to manage it.
  • Learned how to maintain a positive online reputation.
  • Curation differs from collecting. Curation adds value and context to resources. It tells a story.
  • Developed better understanding of the roles my devices, services, and tools play in my PLE.
  • Learned how to develop and evaluate social media policies.
  • Most importantly, I learned how to effectively incorporate social media into an educational module.

I also got to use some new tools:

  • Twitter tools:Tweetdeck, #hashtags, chats
  • Curation tools: ScoopIt, Livebinders
  • Facebook groups
  • Piktochart

How will I apply what I learned?

I will be using the skills I learned in this class. The final course project, a mini curricular unit, will be used this upcoming semester in a course I teach. The mini curricular unit incorporated all we learned in this course. In the future, social media (in some fashion) will be incorporated into all the courses I develop. I will be the first educator at my medical school to use social media in a course. I hope to change the mindset of the students, faculty, and administration so that others incorporate it into their teaching. Finally, I will be studying the effect of Twitter as a spaced repetition tool in a course that I teach.

Finally, part of this assignment is to grade my own blog post (75 pts max).  I went back through each module to reflect on what I learned. I covered what was expected in the reflection. Thus, I give myself 75 points.



Fictitious social media policy for the medical school

This week my assignment in Edtech 543 (Social Network Learning) was to develop a social media policy for my school. I need to review at least 10 schools’ social media policies to guide the development of my policy.  A few of the  policies I reviewed were thoughtful and useful. Some were not well thought out and likely drafted by lawyers and not reviewed by end users. The key is to teach responsible social media use at a young age. It’s critically important for everyone to realize what you post online reflects upon you (obviously) but also upon your institution. Institutions have a right to expect that their employees will help promote a positive image for the institution.  I never even knew UAB had a social media policy.  These policies need to be disseminated periodically to remind all of us of our duty to our employers.

Review the policy I created here. NOTE: this is a class exercise and the linked policy is a class assignment and not the policy of UAB School of Medicine. In the references section I link to UAB’s actual social media policy.

Social media in medical education:

In EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) I was tasked with curating evidence of educational uses of social networking and social media in my content area (EBM and medical education) and grade level (medical students and beyond).  I did a multifaceted search using ERIC, MedEdPORTAL, Google Scholar, and Google. The main takeaway is that medical education is way behind (though I guess this is a matter of opinion) on leveraging social media for education. Many references focused on professionalism (and the concerns for lack of professionalism) in using social media in medicine. The main  technology that is used in medicine is simulation and lecture capture. We don’t have much, if any, distance learning in medicine as all students are terrestrial…there really isn’t online medical school.

laptop and stethoscope

I did manage to find a few studies that evaluated the use of social media in medical education and I curated them using LiveBinders (link is to a blog post about using LiveBinders). This is a fairly easy to use curation tool that you can pretty much add anything to, just like you would a plastic binder on your bookshelf.

You can review my LiveBinder on Social Media in Medical Education. I did include a tips section for those interested in using social media in medical education.

My Personal Learning Evironment

In this module of EdTech 543 (Social Network Learning) I was asked to reflect on my personal learning environment (PLE) and create a visual representation of it. There are variable definitions of what a PLE is but I like this one by Connie Malamed:

A self-directed and evolving environment of tools, services and resources organized by a person seeking a way to accomplish lifetime learning, to create, and to connect with others of similar interests.

In short, a PLE includes your personal learning network (PLN) and the tools you use to interact with it. Everyone’s PLE is unique. We all use different tools to interact with our unique PLN.


My PLE diagram tries to convey that I use devices, services, and various tools to interact with people and information. People includes colleagues, friends, communities of practice I belong to, communities of inquiry, and other smart people around the world. Information can be in print, online, or stored in my computer.

I mostly follow the 4 Cs model created by Chris Sessums in which the 4 Cs are collect, communicate, create, and collaborate. As such, there are 3 zones to the devices, services and tools layer of my PLE diagram. At the bottom, are tools I use to create and communicate.  On the right, are tools and ways I like to learn, including using online, print, and verbal media. Finally, on the left, are the tools I use to collect, communicate, and collaborate. All these tools are also used by others to interact with me. I also included the “low tech” old-fashioned way of learning and communicating: the lecture and meetings.

While reflecting on my PLE, I realized I have a core group of tools that I use. There are many tools available but I think most of us regularly use just a few. Over the years I have tested many tools and rejected most of them for various reasons. It was also helpful to reflect upon what role various tools play in my PLE and how the tools have evolved over time. Tools often have many uses but I find I use some tools at only a fraction of their capacity.

I reviewed several of my classmates’ PLE diagrams. Most focus on technology (as does mine). Many of us use the same tools, which makes sense as these tools have been around a while (e.g. Microsoft products, Google products). I did find some people included tools I wouldn’t have thought of as being useful for a PLE. For example, one diagram included PayPal, amazon, and eBay. Others include tools I just don’t use like Instagram, Pinterest, Skype, RSS aggregators, Flip Board, and some educational social networking sites. But that’s what make a PLE personal. What I always miss in assignments like this is not finding out how people use these different tools. I find it’s easy to learn to use a tool but harder to discover new ways to use them. Finally, I like how at least one of my classmates included face to face interaction in her PLE diagram. Too often we focus on technology but interacting with colleagues in the office or at conventions is still a very useful way to learn and create. I also found it fascinating of how different people followed different models to organize their PLEs. All were very creating and informative.

Real Time and Live Virtual Professional Development

In this module of EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) we used Twitter chats and live webinars for professional development. I have used Twitter for professional development for some time but had never participated in chats. One of the reasons I never did was the difficulty keeping up with random tweets and the tweets related to the chats in my Twitter feed. TweetDeck made this task much easier.

Twitter chats are live discussions about a topic usually formulated as questions by the moderator. Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of the topic chosen by the moderator. Thus, it’s not useful for solving problems or knowledge deficits that aren’t the topic of the chat. They also occur at scheduled times and thus aren’t helpful answering questions when you have them. What is useful about them is that usually nationally, and sometimes internationally, recognized experts on a topic share their experiences and knowledge. Usually, useful resources also get shared.

Webinars are basically lectures broadcast on the web. Some of them have discussion areas where participants can discuss concepts or ask questions. I found webinars much less useful. I couldn’t find any on medical education during the time of this assignment. Most of the ones I found were geared toward K-12 educators (which I am not) or were at times when I couldn’t participate. They were also on topics I didn’t care about nor need to know more about.  The ones I did participate in weren’t as participatory as the discussions in Twitter chats. They also use technology that often isn’t widely available or user friendly. My institution doesn’t use some of the tools these were broadcast on. Some of them were only available to paid members of professional organizations. I signed up for one on Adobe Connect and I never could get it to work through the Connect app on my iPad.  A couple I signed up for would never allow me to log in despite multiple attempts. Thus, I only participated in 2 webinars. Webinars suffer the same problems I noted above for Twitter chats (not in time and not problem specific).

I doubt I will use webinars much for PD in the future. I will continue to participate in Twitter chats when the topics are of interest. Below is a Word document discussing the chats and webinars I participated in and what I gleaned from them.



Openness in Eduction: A Curated Topic

In this module of EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) we are learning about content curation. I don’t think I had heard of content curation as it relates to education. Curation is not just about collecting information. It’s about collecting the best information, arranging it in an organized fashion, contextualizing it, and sharing it. It’s the adding of our expert perspective that provides value. You want to tell a story with your content so the ordering of the content you present it and what content you present is critical to your message. Because of this, you need to be somewhat expert in your curated topic area. You need to be able to know what content is most useful and be able to add your perspective.

I have been interested in openness since taking Fred Baker’s Introduction to Openness course (EDTECH 597) this summer. I curated a broad overview of what openness is. It was a more of a challenge to decide which tool to use to curate than to choose the curated content. Ultimately I used ScoopIt. I liked the way it presented the material and is fairly easy to use (though I wish it were easier to put things in the order I want). LiveBinders looked interesting too but I couldn’t figure out how to add my perspective to the content I curated. I also couldn’t get PearlTrees to do what I wanted.


In this module we also developed criteria to evaluate the quality of a curated topic. Below is my self-assessment of my curated topic.


  1. Is the content out of date?  While some of the content is several years old it is still current.
  2. Has the content been regularly updated? NA- this is a newly curated topic
  3. Is the date of last revision documented? I dont see a way to put a date field other than in the topic title but each content entry has the date it was curated so a user would be able to tell when it was last revised.
  4. Does the content contain stable and reliable background material that will not go out of date soon? Yes. The content from David Wiley and Martin Weller are classic descriptions of openness.
  5. Do all of the links work? Yes


  1. Is the content from credible sources? I know they are but not sure how a user would know that.
  2. Is the content free of bias? I think so. I tried to post content that offered alternative perspectives and that was free of commercial bias. I found it could be difficulty to find quality counterperspectives. Most were just opinions of some blogger whom I didnt recognize and who didnt offer references to support their opinions.


  1. Is the content is well organized? I put the content in the order that it was presented in the course I took. It goes from more general information to more specific.
  2. Is the content consistent with other content? It all ties together as I curate various components of openness.
  3. Is there a contextualized organization beyond the general theme? I add my perspective to the content. I organized it from general material about openness to more specific about components of openness.


  1. Is the content from a variety of sources? Yes
  2. Is the content format varied? (text, video, pictures,etc) Yes


  1. Does the content provide new knowledge? Yes to someone unfamiliar with this content.
  2. Does the curator add value through summaries and descriptions? I do add my perspective to each piece of content.
  3. Is the content relevant to the learner’s needs? It would be to someone wanting to get a good overview of openness.
  4. Is the content appropriate for the level of the learner? This is geared toward an adult learner.

I think the challenge of using these criteria are several fold. One, they are probably more useful for the curator than someone who is consuming the curated content. Several of them require some content expertise and the curator would likely have more content expertise than the consumer. Next, some of the criteria require content expertise to know if the material is current, reliable and properly contextualized. This might be difficult for a novice in a curated topic area. While I dont know how I would alter the criteria we developed I think it just needs to be realized that some (if not many) learners might not be able to utilize these criteria themselves.

Now it’s your turn. Do you think my curated topic is useful? Why or why not? What could I improve?

Terry’s Tips for Developing and Maintaining a Positive Online Reputation

As a physician, an educator, and an EdTech student it is impossible to not be on the web. Everything we do on the web leaves a digital footprint (those little traces of where you’ve been and what you’ve done) that is indelible. It is important to build a positive online reputation for several reasons including public trust, employment and advancement opportunities, building a brand, and serving as a role model to colleagues and students.

While I do browse a couple of sports and political websites, stream some movies, and buy from Amazon, my visible online presence is mainly of a professional nature. I have developed a few websites and YouTube videos for educational purposes. I  use social media for professional development and rarely for social purposes. I have always had a goal of portraying a certain image online. This requires purposeful development and active surveillance which will be the focus of this post.



From patparslow via Flickr.com


There is a lot written on this topic all over the web so I will focus on what I mainly do and some new things I learned in researching this topic. So here are Terry’s Tips:

  1. Define yourself. Decide on the image you want to portray to the world and build that image.
    • You’ll have to decide on a username. It should be descriptive of you and your talents. If you have a common name, like John Smith, consider adding something descriptive to it (for example JohnSmithEdTech). Whatever name you pick, use it consistently on all your sites. My main identity is as a teacher of EBM principles so my online name is EBMTeacher.
    • Use an appropriate photo. Dress professionally and choose a photo with a high pixel count. Remember you only have one chance to make a first impression.
    • Develop an informative but brief profile description. Highlight your skills and interests (The Ohio State University Career Services Office, n.d.).
  2. Choose the online tools that best match your strategy to define yourself. You should develop a strategy that will maximize your professional presence online. What content will you put on the web? Who is it for? You will need to decide if a website or blog is best for some of your content. Can some content be disseminated by Twitter or other social media? Here again, be purposeful and consistent so your consumers know where to find you and what to expect (Joel, 2009). I use Twitter to share quick ideas and resources. I use my blog to tease out more complex ideas and opinions. I use YouTube to teach EBM concepts to learners. I use SlideShare to share my PowerPoints. I also include a page on my website to share open learning materials that I develop.
  3. Limit what you do and post online. Do you really need to tell or show everyone on Facebook or Twitter where you’re going, what you’re eating or what you bought? Do you really need to take yet another selfie and post it on Instagram? NO! No one cares…trust me…they really don’t. So don’t put a lot of nonsense out there that can shed a less than positive light on you. Remember even if you just send your friends the selfie how do you know they won’t post it somewhere? You can’t control what others do with information about you. You, though, can control what you put out there. So take control (and stay in control).
  4. Have separate personal and professional social media accounts. But remember, just because you have  personal accounts these still reflect upon your professional image because they will be found by search engines. You still have to think before you post.
  5. Follow first. Subscribe to or follow thought leaders or the top “voices” in your field for a little while before adding your voice. This will give you a sense of their style, what they share, and how they share it. You can learn what professionalism looks like online. You can also then figure out what you can add to the discussion. If you can add unique opinions or information you will build your professional brand (Joel, 2009).
  6. Regularly monitor yourself. You need to regularly monitor what you are posting and what gets posted or shared about you. Do a Google search with various variants of your name and with your name in quotes. You can also set up alerts with Google  to notify you when something is posted about you on the web. There are professional services that can be hired to help repair damage to your online reputation. If you find negative posts about you, respond back to set the record straight (Hengstler, p. 119, 2011).
  7. Monitor your professional network for inappropriate postings. Your professional image is also affected by the company you keep. Actively monitor your connections and remove individuals who post questionable content, even if they ae a source of good information. If you find an individual you follow is posting inappropriate materials contact them and tell them you are removing them from your network and tell them why (Hengstler, p. 122, 2011).
  8. Maintain professional boundaries. You don’t need to friend or follow everyone that asks or follows you. This is especially important for educators and physicians. I get requests all the time from patients to be friends on Facebook. I decline them. The power dynamics of student-teacher and doctor-patient relationships are not equal. You have to keep your personal and professional lives separate as much as possible. You don’t want children or disgruntled patients posting negative comments on your own site. I would think most school systems and hospital systems have policies against this and you can politely tell your students or patients that this would be against school or hospital policy (Hengstler, p. 122, 2011).
  9. Buy yourself. What I mean is buy your domain name (yourname.com). Don’t let someone else own your domain name as they could build a website and post whatever they want to. Domain names are fairly cheap through a variety of services like GoDaddy.com (no affiliation) (Digital Citizenship Adventures, n.d.).
  10. Promote yourself. Include your website, Twitter username, etc. on title slides of presentations, in signature blocks of emails, on business cards, etc. This will bring greater exposure and klout (Edminston, 2014).

These are just a few of my thoughts on maintaining a positive online reputation. There are lots of other ideas out there and products you could use. The key is that it requires planning, persistence, and vigilance but it will pay off in the end.


Digital Citizenship Adventures. (n.d.). Managing your digital footprint. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/digcitizenshipadventures/managing-your-digital-footprint

Edminston, D. (2014). Creating a personal competitive advantage by developing a professional online presence. Marketing Education Review, 24(1), 21–24.

Hengstler, J. (2011). Managing your digital footprint: ostriches v. eagles. In S. Hirtz & K. Kelly (Eds.), Education for a Digital World 2.0(2nd ed.) (Vol. 1, Part One: Emerging technologies and practices). Open School/Crown Publications: Queen’s Printer for British Columbia. Retrieved from https://www2.viu.ca/education/faculty_publications/hengstler/EducationforDigitalWorld2.0_1_jh89.pdf

Joel, M. (2009, March 5). How to build your digital footprint in 8 easy steps. Retrieved from http://www.twistimage.com/blog/archives/how-to-build-your-digital-footprint-in-8-easy-steps/

The Ohio State University, Career Services Office. (n.d.). Building your professional online presence. Retrieved from https://asccareerservices.osu.edu/sites/asccareerservices.osu.edu/files/Building%20a%20Professional%20Online%20Presence.pdf