Podcast resurgence?


As with many folks around the U.S. it seems, I have been slowly listening to podcasts with greater frequency. I was looking through some of the podcasters that I follow to share for Thing 14, and came across this wonky episode from Fresh Air: the mashup of Downton Abbey and Walking Dead initially drew me in as it seemed like such a random combination.

One of the things that I love about WordPress is how easy it is to insert images, videos, and audio clips from the web. No need to mess with the text editor to copy and paste the embed code from various sites. 🙂

Thing 13: web-based video platforms

... So Little Time (or) Radio video foto Janssen (Explored)

I’m exploring the accessibility, licensing, and features of the Vimeo platform. To do that, I looked through several of the videos in my liked and watch later categories. It was fun to re-watch these FemTechNet dialogue videos:

I am not sure what type of license this video holds. It doesn’t seem to explicitly state if this video can be reused. There is a clear link to a script, but that was included by those who uploaded the video. I also don’t see a closed caption button to toggle the captions on/off. This seems odd as captions are a basic accessibility requirement for video. When I went to Vimeo’s Help Center, it showed that captions could be uploaded. Only when they are uploaded with the cc button appear. I’m not sure if this is better or worse than YouTube’s auto-captions which are notorious for their inaccuracy.

Exploring OER with Thing 12

OEPS Advisory Forum and Project launch

For Thing 12, we are exploring Open Educational Resources. Great timing, as I’m writing this just prior to the 2016 OpenEd conference, which will kick off tomorrow in Richmond, VA. More specifically, we are looking at the amazing work that’s taking place at the University of Edinburgh in the areas of open educational resources and open educational practices. I am looking through their repository, which appears to be divided roughly by content area: arts & humanities, medicine & vet med, science & engineering, etc. This video about avoiding plagiarism pitfalls seems like it would be most applicable for students:

Remix this post: Thing 11


Our topic for Thing 11 provided an overview of copyright in various countries and introduced us to Creative Commons. I have a baseline understanding of how copyright in the U.S. works, but less of an understanding once it moves past the country’s borders. It’s amazing how much it can differ between countries, particularly in the context of applying copyright and fair use to teaching and learning.

The two completion steps for Thing 11 called for us to first find two media files that carry a CC license for materials we might use in our work. I am working on a podcast for a class project right now, so it would be helpful to find some CC-licensed intro and outro music that I could use for it. Using the CC Search, I chose Jamendo as the search option and typed ‘instrumental music’ in the search box. There were about a half-dozen songs returned in the results. I chose one at random:

I am not able to tell what type of license this song has, nor if I am able to safely reuse/remix it for my podcast purposes.

I would also like to find an backdrop image for my SoundCloud podcast, so for the next search I chose Pixabay as the search option and typed ‘explore’ in the search box. I chose another one at random, mostly to see what type of license the image carried and to figure out what the download process would be if I were to use it. It has the best type of license, CC0, and an easy click-to-download button.

Creating knowledge with Thing 10: Wikipedia explorations

House of Knowledge Variation1 by Adrien Sifre CC-BY-NC-ND

House of Knowledge Variation1 by Adrien Sifre CC-BY-NC-ND

After a week-long break from the 23 Things course, I’m picking back up with Thing 10. Prior to heading to the AECT convention, I went through the Wikipedia Adventure and learned the basics of editing articles. It was quite fun to play and broke down the steps into smaller pieces. Participating in Wikipedia Edit-a-thons seems much more manageable now…

I’m listening to wikipedia while writing this post…it’s very calming. After Rainy Mood, could be my new favorite backdrop for work/study sessions.

Hanging out online: Thing 9

2013 Esri International User Conference - San Diego, CA

Thing 9 presented us with a couple options for web-based connection tools, one of which was Google Hangouts. My institution is a Google Apps school, so we use Hangouts several times each week.  Hangouts in that context are fairly easy to setup and/or join.

When I have used Hangouts outside of work, sometimes they can be more difficult – especially when you start to bring in more than one or two people. Many months ago, I was part of a few Virtually Connecting sessions (1, 2, 3) and used Google Hangouts on Air.  Those sessions were a lot of fun, although they came with a few more responsibilities behind the scenes for setup. This gave me the opportunity to learn more about the ‘on air’ version of Hangouts – although with Google’s frequent changes to its offerings I may need to re-learn it.

Our 23 Things course facilitators are holding a Hangout live session at the end of this week. Due to the time difference I will need to sit this one out…see the rest of the group on Twitter instead?

Data visualizations for Facebook: Thing 8

Social network (Magazine Illustration)

Thing 8 asked us to look at Facebook. I have had an account for many years and have used groups, lists, pages, etc. When searching for Facebook photos on Flickr for this post’s header image, I came across a neat graph that showed friend networks. I started digging into it to see if I could make something similar with Netvizz and Gephi. Turns out that there were several tools that used to do this, but when Facebook rolled out its API changes in 2015, those tools no longer worked. The creator of Netvizz detailed the app’s updates and demise. It does not look like there is a way to visualize your friend network at this time.

An aspect of my Facebook account that was new to me: I can choose now if I want to have my account permanently deleted or memorialized. If I chose the latter, I can add someone as a ‘legacy contact’ to manage a limited number of aspects of my profile.

Twitter analytics with Thing 7


Thing 7 focused on one of my most-used connection tools. I’ve been on Twitter for several years and am familiar with the lists and various management tools. My chief reason for signing up back in 2009 was to connect with student affairs professionals. Oddly enough, it was through the use of Twitter and blogs that helped point me towards a different career path…anyways, my continuing reason for using the platform is to keep track of, find out about, follow conversations, and receive updates from folks in higher education, edtech, and related areas. I’m figuring out ways to grow my connections and contribute to conversations. I particularly like this idea about sharing what you are reading:

tweet over 20 bloggers' content everyday

How to Use Social Media for Academic Branding by Sidneyeve Matrix

Tweetdeck is my current platform of choice, and I use it to manage two other Twitter accounts in addition to my own. I have also used Hootsuite but its interface is not as pleasing to me. Or perhaps I’m just not overly accustomed to it.

Thing 7 also introduced us to Twitter’s analytics tools. This is a new-to-me topic. Clicking on the analytics gives a snapshot of activity over the past 28 days:

twitter analytics

From there, the activities from current month and past two months are broken down into more detail. The main area of analytics seem to be broken down into two areas: engagement and impressions.

For example, in October this tweet earned 330 impressions. Impressions are how many times my tweet appears in other people’s feeds.

This tweet yielded 10 engagements. Engagements are likes and/or retweets.

Lastly, there is a section devoted to audience. Audience refers to people who follow you. I think this section would be more helpful if it was reversed and the analytics showed the countries, regions, gender, and languages of the people that I follow. In this way the platform could provide an overview of whose voices are strong and whose voices I am not hearing. Something along the lines of the (now defunct) Twee-Q, which analyzed your recent retweets and assigned a score of where you fell in terms of broadcasting mens’ or womens’ voices.

I found this Buffer Social article to be helpful in learning more about what the analytical components mean. Overall, I am not really sure what to do with the data from Twitter analytics. Engagements and impressions seem to be more geared towards individuals and/or companies that are using the platform to reach out for business and marketing purposes, or who want to influence their followers.

Interesting side note: while reading over the 23 Things syndicated feed, I noticed that another participant is an #indieweb user (Hi, John), and that we share the same WP theme (go SemPress). I think I might be able to trigger a response/comment to his blog via this post. I see that comments are closed on his post, so perhaps this won’t work after all. I will insert his post URL ‘in response to’ and see what happens…

People, words, and images: Accessibility exploration through Thing 6

011-Relatividad-via aixa.ugr.es

Rounding out the first block of 23 Things….next up: accessibility.

This is a topic that’s on my mind most days, as I’m working on content for courses in higher education. With that in mind, I wanted to go in a different direction and explore the features of a smartphone. They were fairly easy to locate on my phone, and divided into three main groups: vision, hearing, and dexterity & interaction. I was surprised at how many options are built into the phone. For those who are not familiar with various features and options, there is extra text that explains what they are and how to activate them. I thought that TTS option for reading articles might come in handy, so I activated it.

One last thought…since the topics align, I’m giving a shoutout to the new accessibility.umn.edu site, designed by some of my colleagues. It’s chock full of resources for instructors, course designers, and web developers. One of the helpful articles talks about planning for accessibility from the start (of a course, in this case) but could be applied to a project that you might be working on now.

Exploring diversity with Thing 5

2 spectrum

Diversity in online spaces is one component of the long-running debate about technology and neutrality. The resources for Thing 5 illustrated this idea in different ways.

Paige Tutt described the use of multicultural emojis as a new means for individuals to spread racist messages online:

The emoji are being used to make racist comments on social media and insert questions of race in texts and tweets where it may never have arisen before. Instead of correcting its mistake — excluding people of color from emoji — Apple has, in some ways, made the situation worse.


Technology can never be predictive, only descriptive. It reflects our human nature – all of our inherently marvelous and unfavorable qualities. As our societies around the world creep towards higher use of data to make decisions, it’s important that we take a step back and ask critical questions about how the data is gathered, analyzed, and displayed. Dr. Alvaro Bedoya illustrates how unexamined biases exist in data:

This video is part of a longer presentation in which he and Dr. Latanya Sweeney discuss big data, inequality, and discrimination.

Signing off with my newly created bitmoji:



Came across two articles recently that spoke to this topic.

h/t to FemTechNet for the link to The Guardian’s article about machine logic

h/t to D’Arcy Norman for posting this video that talks more about how our biases are written into code.