Identity: Finding Your Form Online

Attending the first session at #ir11, which is fittingly on online identity. Imention that this is fitting as it is my area of interest for my doctoral thesis (the proposal for which I will begin in this coming January).

The first presenter is Kelly Bergstrom at York University, who is speaking about trolling at I have never used Reddit, so yet another thing to put on my to-do list.

I hear a lot of people tap tap tap on laptops; once again, not a surprise given the conference focus. Yes, once again I very much miss my Mac.

Kelly is speaking about Grandpa Wiggly, a real account on Reddit, and which is the focus of her work. In the process of her work, it came out that Grandpa Wiggly was really a young person, and there was an explanation that was provided for people. While there was no sinister motive, this was done for the sake of a fictious account to tell a story, or rather group of stories. Seems many people were upset that this character was not real. Alas, how does one verify who or what is real or accurate or honest or not online?

So, was this character a troll (one who disrupts discussion or otherwise causes problems or flares) or a character to begin discussion? This was interesting, as the concept of trolling is current and of concern and  is filled with loaded language.

Yoonmo Sang is now speaking about his paper on “Right of Reply,” which is about the concept of being able to reply to comments in the same medium where they were originally given, related to “the growing necessity of redeeming reputational damage on the Internet.” Interesting concept, yet something else I do not know much about.

I like how Yoonmu began his work with some legal explanations and rulings about this concept. It seems the right of reply is more common in the US in traditional media, though this is not as easy in the Internet. We are going back and forth between how this works in the US and in South Korea. Nice to see these sorts of comparisons between nations / cultures.

It is clear that the concept of the right of reply will become an even greater factor in Internet Research, law, and ethics. Seems the US is a bit behind in the area of the right of reply, and that seems fitting given our focus on freedom of speech (especially for speech that we “agree” with, alas).

Nora Madison is speaking about “Bi Watchdogs Patrolling the boarders of (in)visibility.” Interesting concept of binaries (male or female, gay or straight, etc.). This is related to my recent focus on dualism and how this seems focus on a post-positivistic perspective of giving name to things and putting them in this or that box.

Bisexuality as a narrative of resistance. Hmm, interesting concept about hegemonic discourse and cultural binaries. Ahh, I love critical theory. This is a really engaging concept, specifically about how using terms frames a discussion and way of thinking about things. Makes me wonder about how those who control or dominate the Web force their frames of issues for those who do not have the voice to speak up.

One of the things I like about liveblogging, is I process my own experience of the presentation as it is happening. Yes, very related to my research stream.

Interesting watchdog concept of looking for bisexuality and its use online, to see if it fits within the perspective of what is or is not acceptable to a person or community.

“Community  formation is always a political event,” of who is included and not included. Interesting in how this relates with cultural and online presence and voice. Reference to and the “I am visible” campaign.

Now, the fourth presenter Jennifer Cypher on “Questioning anonymity in the blogosphere: A blogging cycle of identity formation.” This is right in the area of my research and which I have blogged abbout before. Ahh, this is within her PhD work.

The more work she did on blogging, the more that issues of identity started coming up.

Ahh, zero comment and zero reader bloggers. I can relate to them! Blogging away in a vaccum. Nicely stated, though I wonder why many of them use pseudonyms. Alas, I wonder why?

She just listed Six steps of identity creation via blogging practice. I missed the reference for this, alas. Will have to look into this more.

The room here at the conference is full. Nice room, though a tad small for the group here.

Pseudonym + concealment = anonymity? Interesting concept that Jennifer is presenting. Seems her work is around concealment and blogging identity. She just shared how she blogged at one point after she had a child who died, and she anonymously blogged about her experences as a coping mechanism. She did not share this with anybody she knew, but then this all started to develop in a particular community when she started to communicate with others who has similar experiences.

I really love struggling through these issues, and am saddened that I have been so busy that I have put a lot of my own work in this area on temporary hold as I have been so busy. Alas, no more of that unending work as I am realizing how disconnected from my own communities I have been.

I like her blogging name, DeadBabyMama. Quite macabre and fitting in an October conference. I wonder how that self-naming relates to self-identity (or identity development)? Interesting work on silos and integration with concealed identities.

I have a question for Nora about her perspective on binaries, and how this relates to ontological or epsitemological perspectives. While related to control (critical theory), does her work look into post-postivism and how it is silently present when those who have voice use that to frame (and thus control) the conversation?

Internet Research 11 — Conference Opening

Feels nice to do some liveblogging again, as I have not attended a conference in several months now. Here in Gothenburg, Sweden, we are finally beginning the AoIR (Association of Internet Researchers) conference IR 11 (Internet Research 11). Odd title, as we are still in 2010, but the 11 refers to the number of this conference, not to the date. Nice to be iconoclastic, such as the field itself.

The location here at Chalmers University is a wonderful setting.

The introduction to the conference is beginning. What happened to the microphone? Ahh, there it is.

Interesting comments on the role of the Internet on sustainability, which is one of the themes of the conference. I wonder when these sorts of conference will be streamed online to make them even more sustainable, but as several people commented yesterday, one of the greatest values of these conferences is the face-time, the socializing, and the community that gathers around the central theme that unites us all together.

Oops, the speaker just welcomed us to  Copenhagen (where the conference was a few years back), though the organizer afterward reminded us all that we are indeed in Gothenburg.

The opening session is not very widely  attended. Too bad, as I find these things so very valuable to formally begin a conference. For me, these openings help to set the tone, get me focused on the conference theme (which is often not carried throughout many conferences; note to self–make sure this is mentioned in some way in my paper presentation on Saturday morning at 10:20). Most people are sitting in the back of this lovely presentation hall; feels a little like church).

I wonder why there is already a coffee break, now just after the opening. Well, time for the socializing.

New Directions in Autoethnography & My Presentation on Autoethnographic Liveblogging

This was my own research session, along with 5 other papers that were presented during the early morning of the first full-day of the QI2009 conference.

My paper was entitled Liveblogging as Autoethnography: Exploring Blogging for Meaning Making, Power, and Positionality:

Using constructivist and critical theorist lenses, this paper will be an autoethnographic exploration of the experience of liveblogging (the practice of blogging and posting the results in real-time). The author has engaged in liveblogging several academic and practitioner conferences, and will explore what liveblogging is and how it is an opportunity for an attendee to publicly and collaboratively engage in meaning-making by sharing in the presentation itself using just-in-time reflective practice. It will be argued that liveblogging conferences promotes democratic knowledge exchanges and expanded possibilities for research.

The other presentations were rather varied, with wonderful issues that were raised about digital storytelling, troubleshooting lying about getting a PhD and getting fired, and even inanimate autoethnographic experiences.

I got some really good ideas, especially about exploring ethical issues with liveblogging autoethnography, expressing the experiences more as stories, and including more theoretical issues in my work in reall time.

I  want to revise my paper and look to publish it, as there is little work out there right now.

E-Learning & the Science of Instruction

I am attending my first session of the conference, by Ruth Clark.

I like the title slide she is using, which lists her name, email, website, a photo of her book, and a brief activity (for anybody who has the book). I took a photo of this slide and will post to Flickr later today.

Very large conference room, that is, about 2 minutes before it begins, about 25% full. Not bad for one of the first scheduled sessions at 12:00 noon on a Sunday.

Wow, there even seems to be wireless access here. Sweet.

The intro – reminder to fill out an evaluation and the session materials. Nobody gave them to me when I came in. Will run grab them now.

Ruth is speaking now. Needs to speak louder. I just yelled out and asked her to speak more loudly. She then adjusted the microphone, to mixed results. She also speaks very quickly. Wonder if she is from NY?

Wow, text heavy slides! She is quick.

Her content seems like it may be useful.

She is speaking a lot about research she has done around eLearning. I wonder how this research was done and the methodology used? She has not mentioned this–perhaps it is a reason to buy the book?

Lots of speaking about evidence and research. She just mentioned “evidence-based education” and the research she uses. Reference to Educause 2007. Bridge to producers of research and consumers of research. She will be signing her book at 1:30 and 5:00 today.  This seems very familiar to the world of the scholar-practitioners in which I work. I think I would like to speak with her.

She is showing a bad example of eLearning. It is awful, though very common from my experiencing.

She is now having us speak with colleagues about what grade we would give the eLearning sample she just showed. Nice use of interactivity. Of course, I am so busy liveblogging this, I am not speaking with anybody.

She mentioned there is lots of research for what works best. I wish she would mention, at least once, where this research is from.

This is a common experience–people talk about the importance of research, how they use evidence, bridge the gap between scholarship and practice–all without explaining which research is used, the methodology, how it is validated, etc.

She just mentioned her handout, which looks interesting. I like the variety of modalities, interactivity in her presentation, and general facilitation techniques. She is engaging and seems to be modeling really useful techniques. This is particularly interesting in that she is speaking about eLearning.

She is now speaking about Richard Mayer at UC Santa Barbara, her research partner and co-author of her recent book (though her name is bigger on the cover!).

It feels good to liveblog a conference session again, as I have not done this since Northern Voice 2008 a few months ago.

Mayer’s Research Limits:

  1. Immediate learning
  2. Short lessons
  3. Process content
  4. Many lack practice
  5. Western learners

Words and visuals improve learning over words alone. Seems like a no-brainer, but she was speaking about this being research based (notice the limitations above). I wish there were some discussion as to the size of the study, when it was done, and the methodology used. Yes, once again the researcher in me.

When using eLearning, less is more. Stories throughout the eLearning sometimes distracts the learner from learning what is clearly in the learning objectives. Even if the stories are interesting and provide examples, they can still distract the learner from the fundamental content in the lesson itself.

Now she is speaking about animation vs. stills. Hmm, “Stills May Promote Learning” (from her slide title). I like her use of language in and around research = “May” promote vs. “Does” promote. This is a fine line that is very important for developers of eLearning. 

Is it better to have visuals explained with audio narration or with text or with text and narration? Visuals with narration seems to be better than with text alone or with text and narration.

I wonder how we can make use of this with the rapid development with are planning to use at my work?

“Leaning is better when animation is accompanied by narration alone  than by narration and text.”

Ruth’s handout is quite good. It does not repeat the slides. Instead, it complements them. It asks some of her same questions and topics with room for learner notes next to them.

She is really a good model from which to learn about how to teach / facilitate (if only she would speak more loudly and a little slower). I usually speak loudly, and often just as fast I suppose.

Ruth is now speaking about where text should be on slides in the eLearning. Visuals with narration is best, with Visuals and text together in a slide, and then visuals with text at the bottom  (separated) being the worst.

I think I want to buy her book.

Should have brought my back-up battery. Think it is in my other laptop bag.

Something smells nice in this room. Smells like vacation candy. I am metacognitively aware of how I am getting distracted. I just looked at my laptop battery settings.

Somebody just walked by in shorts, a beach hat, and wearing only socks on his feet. Guess adds to the “homey” feel at the conference?

Anyway, I think I am saturation level with Ruth’s content.

She just showed this demo with avatars. Entertaining and possibly useful. It seems the avatar needs to be / do something relevant, and the voice that is used is critical for learning success. I did find the avatar screen she used a bit confusing, though I think it was an example from a vendor rather than her own developed one.

Liveblogging is easier when typing is faster and there are no other windows or applications open to hog MS Vista resources (even though my Lenovo is strong enough to launch a spaceship, it is still no match for Vista).

There certainly seems to be an open world for eLearning and online educational research. Perhaps I should begin to more seriously consider engaging in formal research in this area?

Yes, at saturation point. Lots of great stuff. Will buy her book. Will post this now.

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Blogging as Creative Expression

I was asked to consider this question:

Describe one of your own creative works and what you accomplished with it – then become your own critic and find out what you could have done better.

I looked at this question for some time, as I do not normally consider myself the most creative person. Knowing this is probably not the case, I am thinking about how I am often creative in my academic research, my professional work in instructional design and organizational consulting, my teaching, and here on my blog, the one public outlet for my creativity. 

I suppose one creative work is this very blog, as it has been ongoing since my first post on December 7, 2006. Hundreds of posts later, with my daily Tweets captured here as well, I can say that I am still capturing my daily thoughts and feelings and interests and sharing them with anybody and everybody online, whether they are interested in them or not. This blog becomes fertile ground for my experiment in reflective practice.

What can (could) I (have) do (done) better? I can censor myself less by writing in a manner that more closely resembles my spoken voice. There is little that is not public, and maintaining a personal blog is one way to own my (virtual) identity. I should probably write in my own voice more, as others who do so are quite refreshing. I think Twitter is helping with this. Restated a positive way, I can be more authentic and self-identified. Perhaps that is exactly what I am attempting with all the writing about liveblogging I have been doing? Perhaps that is why liveblogging is my next area of formal research? Perhaps autoethnographically studying my liveblogging I will learn something about media-supported live expression and self-narrative?

And I thought this question would be difficult to answer!