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.


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

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 http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2007/Digital-Footprints.aspx

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 http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=12

Jackson, N. (2015, May 14). Seek, sense, share: Understanding the flow of information through a personal learning network [Web log post]. Retreived from http://www.lifewideeducation.uk/blog/seek-sense-share-understanding-the-flow-of-information-through-a-personal-learning-network

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 http://lsa.colorado.edu/papers/plato/plato.annote.html.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Wenger, E. and Wenger-Trayner, B.(2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved from: http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/.

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 (theconversationprism.com)


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.