My Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is the traces you leave behind from your online activity. Everything you do online is findable. You are knowable. There are 2 segments to your digital footprint: 1) active footprint is the data created by what you voluntarily contribute to the web (e.g. Facebook posts, Tweets, blogs, pictures, videos, etc.), and 2) passive footprint is data collected by other organizations about your cookies and browsing history (Madden et al, 2007). There is also the digital footprint that you can’t totally control- data that others share about you.


The sad thing about our digital footprint is that it starts very early and stays with us. When we are young and stupid and don’t understand the implications of our behaviors we might post things on the web that are embarrassing, cruel, stupid, etc. When we mature we gain a sense of decorum that guides us not to publish these sorts of things. Unfortunately, the damage has been done. There are no take-backs on the web.

Thankfully for me, the web did not come along until I was mostly past my impetuous stage. I understood proper online behavior. I have crafted my footprint to portray the professional digital identity that I want.

To review my digital footprint I searched Google using “Terry Shaneyfelt” and “ebmteacher”. I had Googled myself before but never used the quotation marks and doing this did affect the results of my search.  I mostly found what I expected: my blogs, my Twitter activity, my YouTube videos, my university information, etc. What I did find that was unexpected were links to my YouTube videos on a variety of medical school (and one nursing school) library sites. I knew my videos were being used by a few other places but didn’t realize that way more than I expected were using them. Since I am putting together my promotion package this was a welcome discovery. Thankfully I didn’t find anything bad but I sure something exists as I can’t control what students post about me or disgruntled patients. I also didn’t search the deep web.

In summary, my digital footprint is professional and reflects the digital identity that I want to portray. My footprints seem to be heading in the right direction.


Madden, M., Fox, S., Smith, A., & Vitak, J. (2007). Digital Footprints. PEW Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from

Note: image is in the public domain

Twitter for Just-In-Time Professional Development

In this module of EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) I had to follow several hashtags in Twitter that would be useful to me professionally. I use TweetDeck to organize my hashtags. Prior to this course, I had never used a tool like TweetDeck. I will from now on. It really helps organize my Twitter feed.



Screen shot of TweetDeck with columns for each hashtag

Prior to this week I never followed any hashtags; only people on Twitter. This seems like a more efficient way to find information that I care about but I am worried that I will miss information because most Tweets don’t have hashtags applied to them. I know I often forget to put a hashtag on my Tweets and choosing an appropriate hashtag can be challenging.

What new hashtags did I follow? #edchat #onlinelearning #edtech #oer #elearning #connectedlearning and #BlendedLearning. In just the 1st hour I learned several new things: 1) EdChat (“discuss and learn about current teaching trends, how to integrate technology, transform their teaching, and connect with inspiring educators worldwide”) occurs every Tuesday and users can choose the topic of discussion, 2) OfficeLens is a tool I didn’t know about that can “scan documents, cards, and whiteboards with your phone, making them more readable, and in some cases editable”, and 3) most important, I realized I need to pay attention to hashtags in Tweets and follow ones that relate to my interests. I previously only focused on the thought leaders I wanted to follow.

I have been using Twitter (along with several blogs) for a few years for professional development. It has been an invaluable resource. I found so many useful resources and interesting bogs/papers that I don’t think I would have found otherwise.  I use it in more of a push mode in which I get information pushed to me randomly instead of a pull mode where I search for specific information and pull it in. I periodically review my Twitter feed during the day (usually while waiting for the elevator, standing in line, or waiting for a meeting to start) and if I see an interesting link or resource I open it and review it. If I know I want it for later I favorite it or retweet it (that way it’s saved in my Tweet list).  When I need specific information on a topic I tend to Google it. So I have no experience searching Twitter for specific information. The challenge of using Twitter for professional development is two-fold I think: following the right people and hoping things get Tweeted that you need.

Now it’s your turn. How do you use Twitter for PD? What are some of its limitations and how have you overcome them?


COPs, PLN, and Connectivism: A Creative Expression

Nonlinguistic representations can facilitate deep learning of a concept. In the 2nd module of EdTech 543, I explored communities of practice, personal learning networks, and connectivism. These are related but different concepts. The graphic below represents a simplified view of how I learn from people and resources. I’ve tried to represent how personal learning networks (PLN), communities of practice (COP) and connectivism relate  to each other.


Communities of practice are defined as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger-Trayner, 2015). They have three important characteristics. There is a shared domain of interest to which the COP is committed and has special competence in. The community shares and learns from each other. The goal is to develop and cultivate a shared practice which results in resources, knowledge, tools, processes, etc. COPs can be sustained or transient depending on their goals.  I am a member of several COPs in diverse domains of interest that have no overlap (my inpatient internal medicine ward team, a prostate cancer screening guideline panel, my classmates in EdTech 543, for example). COPs are indicated by the multicolored groups of people in the above diagram.

Connectivism may or may not be a unique learning theory. Some view it as unique while others consider it a branch of social  constructivism. As learning theories often do, it integrates other principles including those of chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories (Siemens, 2004). Knowledge is not contained in any one individual but is distributed across a linked network of  nodes. Each node is a resource or knowledge source. Learning is the “construction and traversing of the network” (Downes, 2007).  What gives this theory some validity to me is the observation of Landauer and Dumais (1997) that people have much more knowledge than appears present in the information to which they have been exposed. We each have small amounts of knowledge that gets amplified when we network. When I first read about connectivism I realized this model really fits patient care well. As physicians, we can never know everything about every disease or have the technical abilities to perform every procedure. So we consult other specialties (the nodes) to provide information. It is the network that cares for the patient.  In the above diagram, connectivism is indicated by the lines between me and the COPs, individuals, and the tools I use for learning (web, video, social media, and print materials). Some of these connections are very strong and I use them a lot (darker lines). Some are weaker and don’t get used as much (lighter or dotted lines). Some connections occur in person (line emanates directly  from me) and some are mediated via technology (lines emanating from devices). Some connections are very close geoprahically and some are long distance. Some connections are indirect and are mediated through a person I am directly connected with. Some of my connections are also connected to others in my network and to some of the COPs I am a member of. Many of my connections are independent of each other.

I have been cultivating my personal learning network for a few years. A PLN is a group of individuals you connect to in order to learn from and with, collaborate with or be inspired by. PLNs are intentional and as such go beyond friendship.  They are usually mediated via social media. I mainly use Twitter, blogs, and various Diigo groups. A PLN differs from a COP because COPs are made up of individuals with a shared domain and are designed to produce a product. PLNs are often composed of people from various domains. For example, my PLN contains educators, instructional designers, EBM experts, clinical experts, medical journals, and philosophers. I use my PLN to learn about lots of things.  PLNs are designed for personal needs while COPs are usually designed for corporate needs (I use corporate as an inclusive term. It could be a corporation or a school or a garden club, for example.). The COPs I’m a member of are designed to accomplish very specific tasks (for example, develop a prostate cancer screening guideline).

How are these related?  PLNs and COPs are tools or ways in which we can work together to learn, create products, and/or improve processes. Connectivism helps explain how and why we connect and learn within PLNs and COPs.

Now it’s your turn. How do you think these concepts are related? Is my diagram a reasonable representation of these concepts? How could I improve it?


Downes, S (2007). Msg. 30, Re: What connectivism is. Connectivism Conference: University of Manitoba.  Message posted to

Jackson, N. (2015, May 14). Seek, sense, share: Understanding the flow of information through a personal learning network [Web log post]. Retreived from

Landauer, T. K., Dumais, S. T. (1997). A solution to plato’s problem: The latent semantic analysis theory of acquisition, induction and representation of knowledge. Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from:
Wenger, E. and Wenger-Trayner, B.(2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved from:

EdTech 543: My baseline views and uses of social media for teaching and PD

This week I start a new and near-final chapter in my MET program. EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) should nicely complement my recently completed course on openness (EDTECH 597). This is blog post is a reflection on my current use of social media for professional development and teaching.



From Wikipedia and Brian Solis and JESS3 (


What are your initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course? I assumed we would use social media in this class. I have accounts for all the tools mentioned this week. I use Twitter and Diigo daily. I don’t use Facebook other than to occasionally (once a week or less) check on what my friends have been up to.

What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development? I have been using Twitter and Diigo daily for professional development for several years. They have been very valuable tools to find and share resources. They are also very valuable for finding thought leaders in education and educational technology. I am a physician and didn’t know the names of education leaders outside of medicine. Twitter (and blogs) has allowed me to expand my personal learning network outside of medicine. I use Google+ some for PD. In the areas that I follow it’s not as risk of a resource as Twitter. I don’t use Facebook for PD (or much of anything). I’m just not a fan of its organization. I think you have to have a couple of resources that you can keep up with regularly and understand how to use and try not to engage with too many social media. A lot of time can be wasted.

What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment? It’s limited as I teach in the medical field which is way behind in using online and social media for education. This year I started a Diigo group for a weekly noon conference where I post I important article or resource related to the topic of the conference. We have about 120 residents and 30 faculty who have been invited to join the group and only 24 have in the last month. No one, other than me, has posted anything. I have used Google+ in the past to run a course because our in-house designed LMS has no discussion board feature and I needed a discussion board for a class. I am going to study Twitter this spring in one of my classes to see if tweets of hard to understand topics improve knowledge. I use YouTube and SlideShare regularly to teach. I use WordPress blogs as class sites 2 two things that I teach.

What are your expectations for this course? I feel comfortable using social media for my own learning but want to get exposed to more ways to use it in teaching. I also want to get exposed to some of the theory and research data about its use (though I’m not sure we are scheduled to cover this or not).  I’m a theory geek and like a deeper understanding of things. I also hope we have freedom to use social media we want to and not be forced to use certain platforms at all times. I am worried about so much use of Facebook as I just don’t like Facebook.

I look forward to expanding my knowledge and facility of using social media tools. I also look forward to seeing how teachers outside of my profession use social media.

EDTECH 597 Was Transformative


© via Flickr

EDTECH 597: Introduction to Openness was a new course added to the Master of Educational Technology program this summer. Dr. Fred Baker did an amazing job teaching this course.

This is a studio model course examining major areas of openness, the impact on education, and instructional design. Students will create and revise several project artifacts, and will interact heavily throughout the development cycle. Key elements include examining the centeredness of education, questioning what human-centered education might look like, and exploring openness in education through a human-centered design lens.

It’s always a bittersweet time when a course ends but this one is especially so as this was a transformative course for me. I came into this course with a very naive view of openness. My only exposure to openness was via open access medical journals which are looked down upon by the elitist academic establishment. I emerged from this course changed in how I will approach my teaching and publishing in the future.

What are the most important things that I learned?

  1. Open does not just mean free. Lots of stuff is free but not open.
  2. Open resources are all around us and we use them constantly in all aspects of life.
  3. Openness is variably defined but its 2 primary components are transparency (visibility and accessibility to all parts of something) and freedom (ability to do what you want to with something free of legal or technical barriers).
  4. Wiley’s 5 Rs are a useful way to explain open use (freedom) activities: reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, retain.
  5. We need to create more open educational resources (OER) and not just consume them.
  6. Open access journal articles are used & cited more than traditional journal articles. They are also cheaper to produce.
  7. Open scholarship: making courses open to the public, making course materials OER, publish in open access journals, use open tools like blogs, make research data open.
  8. There are 2 types of MOOCs: cMOOCs and xMOOCs. They vary greatly in their openness.
  9. Open access journal models: green (authors self-archive), gold (authors pay article processing fee).
  10. Design thinking and human-centered design principles.

How has my thinking changed? Why was it transformative?

Dr. Patricia Cranton defines transformative learning as. . . “an individual becomes aware of holding a limiting or distorted view. If the individual critically examines this view, opens herself to alternatives, and consequently changes the way she sees things, she has transformed some part of how she makes meaning out of the world.”

There are many aspects that have changed and it’s hard to express them all but I think I have fomented a greater sense of the implications of my view of learning as a social event. We maximize learning with and from each other. For knowledge to be socially constructed there must be sharing of ideas and resources. To share fully, things must be open.

Learning is a societal good. As such, everyone should be able to learn what they want, when they want, and how they want. We currently have too many barriers to learning. Open education ideas, open scholarship, and OERs can reduce these barriers.

What will I do differently in the future? How was I transformed?

If someone is transformed they change their beliefs and behaviors. My beliefs about the quality and benefits of open have changed. My beliefs about open scholarship have changed. Without realizing it I was already doing some open behaviors prior to this course. I regularly published my PowerPoint slides to SlideShare for anyone to use and made my teaching videos public on YouTube. What I didn’t do (and I will in the future) is to make sure I put a Creative Commons license on them that clearly allows for open use with attribution. I will also strive to make publications open access (when I can’t publish in an open access journal) and to publish in open access journals when possible. I will also encourage learners to publish materials they create in an open way.

So as I close out another chapter in my MET program I will always fondly look back on this course as one of the most important and enjoyable of my degree program. I learned a lot about the benefits and limitations of openness. I discovered a university that is open. I learned to use some new tools in creating course projects. I used witty comics to develop a comic about the differences between MOOCs and I created a HyperDoc to present a workshop on creating OERs.  I learned about several open source tools to create and edit video, create and edit audio, and create and edit graphics. I learned about open access clip art and photo sources. I learned about sources of open access textbooks (and even used one for this course). I learned about human-centered design.

I am forever changed.  Thank you Dr. Baker.

EDTECH 506 Assignment: White space

Wrist - Arthrocentesis 101- An Online Course for UAB Internal Medicine Residents 2016-03-31 17-12-29

The above page is a screen capture of a blended course I am developing on arthrocentesis. This week we learned about white space. White space is the area between visual elements whether that be text, graphics, or elements within a graphic. Its the background color. It is used to separate elements and to direct the eye to important information. It can be used to clarify information.

Write a justification paper for the activity you select. Describe the following:

  • Your users and the assumptions you make about them (such as age, reading level, and assumed skills). My users are internal medicine residents who have graduated from medical school.
  • Why you think your solution will work; include at least two ideas from the book, including page numbers and your interpretation of the passage used. I use white space to chunk and organize the information (Lohr 2008, p. 272).       Chunking is grouping of information in meaningful or related clusters (Lohr 2008, p. 125). I also use white space to evenly distribute the graphics/pictures in each information cluster.The site is simplistic in design but has symmetry. I wanted to project professionalism since it’s a site to educate medical professionals (Lohr 2008, p. 275). According to Lohr, symmetry can be boring but I think the graphics and color scheme of the template help with that some.
  • What you learned from a “user-test” (have someone look at the image and verbalize their thoughts while looking at the image). I asked 2 faculty to evaluate the page. They felt the spacing was good. Information was broken into meaningful chunks. It was visually appealing.
  • The changes you will make based on user comments (or create a revised image). My colleagues had no suggestions for improvement.


EDTECH 506 Assignment: Organization

Week 6 Graphic_ Fluid Analysis-3

Organizing information (or at least helping our learners organize information) is one of the most important roles of a teacher in my opinion. Chunking, using visual cues, and hierarchy are all ways to organize information.

I am designing a blended course on arthrocentesis. The graphic describes the types of fluid that can be obtained from a joint and its diagnostic characteristics. I created the image using Google Drawings. The cells are labelled for reuse from Wikimedia.

Write a justification paper for the activity you select. Describe the following:

  • Your users and the assumptions you make about them (such as age, reading level, and assumed skills). My users are internal medicine residents who have graduated from medical school. They would recognize the cells in the graphic and understand all the terms.
  • Why you think your solution will work; include at least two ideas from the book, including page numbers and your interpretation of the passage used. I use chunking to help organize the information. Chunking is grouping of information in meaningful or related clusters (Lohr 2008, p. 125). Shape (the circles) facilitates chunking and comparison of the types of fluid (Lohr 2008, p. 252). Each circle is a chunk of information that is related. I also limited the amount of information (5 pieces) in each chunk so as not to overload working memory. I don’t have a lot of white space between my chunks but the circle outlines help delineate the chunked information (Lohr 2008, p. 126). I depict hierarchy (as you go left to right the diagnoses get worse) in this image in 2 ways: increasing WBC from left to right and darkening of syringes from left to right. Also using the horizontal makes the most important information standout (Lohr 2008, p.128).
  • What you learned from a “user-test” (have someone look at the image and verbalize their thoughts while looking at the image). I asked 4 learners to evaluate the image. I asked for their overall gestalt about what the image was depicting and then specifically about what each of the circles was depicting. I also asked them what stood out in the graphic (ie what drew their vision).

Learners understood that the graphic was depicting the possible types of joint fluid and what the testing of the fluid would reveal. They said they noticed the circles in the middle of the graphic mainly.

  • The changes you will make based on user comments (or create a revised image). Learners had no suggestions for improvement.