All posts by shawnday

Final Module Evaluations

Just an update to say that I have sent personal emails to each of you with marks for your reflective assignment, social participation and group marks that goal along with your journal review your final mark for the CS3107 module. Thank you all for your participation and for your varied contributions to Social Computing. If you have any queries about the evaluation or other aspects of the course please do be in touch. If you have not received the email to your TCD account, please also let me know.

Happy New Year and Thanks

Happy New Year to you all and thanks very much for submitting the final assignment:  the critical reflection on the course itself. I thought it was particularly appropriate given the nature of the delivery and as it was so evidently germane to our larger discussion that this reflection formed part of your evaluation – as well as mine!

I really appreciate the tremendous thoughtfulness of the pieces that were submitted right across the board. That you were all able to balance the pros with the cons and to share both directly and without bandying about is very much appreciated.  I have been working through them with tremendous relish as it really forms the first (and really only) opportunity for me to get feedback directly on how things were perceived – and received by you all. Trust me when I share that this has been as much a learning experience for me as well – and I thank you all for that.

I will be returning to with judgements on the last three components of your module mark shortly and sincerely wish that we had been in a position to carry out both face-to-face traditional seminars as well.  There has been some tremendously engaging discussion online that I can only imagine  would have been equally powerful in the physical hall. Best of luck in the current modules and back to you soon.

Thanks again,


Best Wishes

I just wanted to take an opportunity to say that I have really appreciated the participation in forums, blogs and twitter – along with your thoughtful submissions to the assignments. There has been some great discussion and although I am engergised by the online experience, I am disappointed only in that I have not had greater opportunity to engage in discussion face-to-face.

All the best wishes for a restful and safe holiday break.


Solo Journal Review Assignments

Apologies for not having your solo journal review assignment grades to you earlier.
They have all now been graded and you will receive your personal mark directly.

The reviews were generally well done and I thank you all for your thoughtful consideration of the articles themselves. As with any academic journal review (and I appreciate that this may have been a first time to complete such a task) is to be circumspect in your consideration of the material presented and to question the author(s) conclusions, choices of methodologies and to also ask so what? as you attempt to place it within the larger research ecosystem surrounding the area explored.

In terms of general remarks, one of the largest differentiators in the submissions (and they are all there for you to appreciate) was the adherence to the overall structure and ensure that there was a balance between the sections noted for the structure and to avoid simply summarising the article and allowing this to take up the bulk of your 750 words. This was the largest challenge in the assignment and 750 words was (as you all discovered) a meagre space to try and fill. The importance of contributing your own thoughts and not simply reiterating the author’s findings and opinions was key – as there was 25% of your mark reserved for this in the conclusion and also partially in the thoughtfulness component. So it was crucial to balance between the 5 sections requested.

The reviews ranged widely in this respect and this led to the span of grades. Asking questions of the work presented and also attempting to tie to the broader themes discussed in the forums, blogs and on the twitter feed was also a factor used to differentiate your work.

I was lenient towards format adopted, as well as use of point form at times to express findings. I was also less strict on grammar and spelling as well but would expect in printed form for submissions to be well proofread.

Although there was a challenge in some for trying to situate the material presented within discussions that may have taken place online or in your other modules, the attempts to do so were appreciated and generally well done when attempted.

The five sections requested were:

  1. Your précis of author’s argument;
  2. An explanation of the issue being addressed / The question being asked / The larger area of investigation;
  3. Situation of this article into the research ecosystem – i.e. referenced and related articles and arguments;
  4. Your appreciation of how well the author achieves his/her objectives;
  5. Questions that remain in your mind after reading and considering the article.

As discussed perfect balance and division of words/discussion between these areas was not expected not always germane to the particular article, some attempt at each was expected and not providing some attempt towards each reduced marks awarded for the adherence to structure.

Marks were awarded according to the scheme:

25%: Academic / Professionalism
25%: Depth of Thought / Consideration of How it is Related to Larger Module Issues in the blogs and forums
25%: Thoughtfulness of Conclusions
25%: Adherence to Structure

Missing sections ate away at marks awarded in the last area. Additionally conclusions were tied into how much of your own thought was evident and this was difficult within a summary of what the authors’ themselves discussed so if there was too much summary of the article this tended to reduce marks awarded in the middle two areas.

If you presented a well worded, smooth review you scored well in the first section but needed to demonstrate your own contributions to do well in the next two.

The grading is accomplished with the following in mind:

1 70% + Excellent performance – all areas addressed as requested and delivery is beyond expectations and worthy of note in all areas.

2:1 60-70%: Very Good performance – meets all the criteria expected and delivers beyond requested in one or more areas.

2:2 50-60%: Good performance – meets all the criteria as requested.

If you have any further questions regarding your individual evaluation when you receive your own grade please do be in touch.

All the best for the holiday season and thank you for all your thoughtful participation across all media and in this rather new online experience,


Elaborating on the Group WIki Assignment

I have been following the progress on the wiki as the collaborations have developed.
I was asked, quite rightly, to clarify further what direction I am hoping to see the assignment take.
Here is a little more discussion on each of the main sections:

    1. Executive Summary;

This part is as I expect fairly self-evident. What I am looking to see is only a couple sentences at most that summarise the 6 subsequent sections. Identify what you are discussing, who might be involved in the space and where you see it going. Save the discussion surrounding the reflection for that section alone.

    1. Definition of the Issue/Topic and Associated Terms;

Why is the space/sector/service important to discuss? What’s going on in this world. What direction is it going?

    1. Main streams of thought in the area Companies or Technologies Active in the Area and an exploration of their product/service

When I refer to main streams of thought this is a reflection on the shape of the space in general. IS it growing, are there new entrants? Are old entrants fading away or loosing marketshare? Are new technologies changing the landscape in this area? Is there an emerging controversy? Are we learning more about the impact of this area on society more broadly that is shaping the future?

    1. The competitive landscape

What companies/service providers are most active in this space? Why are they successful/dominant? What could change this and are there signs that you might identify (technological/social/political) that could change the existing order?

    1. How this Issue/Topic ties into module discussion topics;

Are there issues that have arisen in the forum discussions, the responses to blog postings or on twitter that are relevant to this discussion?

    1. Individual issues as provided for each topic.

If there are issues raised in the particular topic discussion on this blog that I ask – please address them, otherwise feel free to be creative here – creative confidence 😉

    1. A reflection on the experience of working on a document collaboratively.

Finally, I would like you to think about the challenges, strengths, advantages, disadvantages of working on an organic document in a wiki as a group.

Does Open mean Accessible?

Over the past week there has been a flurry of discussion in Ireland over proposed amendments to the Freedom of Information Act here and has led to public reversal by the Minister responsible.
Freedom of access public information is a core principle in a liberal democracy and Ireland has in the past few years had a middling reputation in this arena. In fact, during the past general election both parties now forming the governing coalition made promises to reform Freedom to Information and to remove the restrictions placed by the previous government. There has been much valid consternation over Ireland’s continuing practise of charging a fee to make a request for information under the FOIA. Many argue that this is discriminatory, restrictive and reflective of a desire by the state to make information available in principle but inaccessible in practice. Earlier this year the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform tabled new legislation which the department claimed would modernise approaches to FOI and lend greater transparency to the operation of government in Ireland. However, the Minister and his department have been roundly criticised for seeming to actually raise barriers to access and reverse earlier moves to make public information more accessible. Specific clauses in the proposed legislation seem to put new restrictions in place and in ambiguous descritpion make the entire process far more subjective and unwieldy. Essentially, as Gavin Sheridan has pointed out in The Story (, people should object to paying for information they have already paid to collect.  This article provides a great overview of the serious issues raised by the erosion of access that the proposals as currently proposed.
I was interested in raising an interesting counter argument however. As the discussion of the FOIA request fee was raised I was surprised to discover that only 3 nations currently charge a fee to file a request for information under FOI acts: Ireland of course, but Israel and Canada being the others. I was chagrined. Why is the nation of my birth, and a paragon of Openness in government (well that’s debatable but there are some amazing initiatives there right now and I applaud them highly) charging when most countries seemed to have accepted that information should be available freely to their citizens on request?
When I considered this (and not wanting to become an apologist for the Canadian government – many of whose recent decisions, such as making the census voluntary beggar belief and are not in harmony with my own values) I did want to make a counter case for FOI charges.
I believe that there is an important distinction between saying something is available and actually making it accessible. Simply legislating that people have the right to request public information is not the same as putting in place a mechanism to ensure they actually receive the information they are requesting in a timely fashion and in a form that they can use. To that end mere legislation only solves half the problem- and I would argue in the case of Canada, the charge actually performs and important function with regards to the rule of law and in especial establishment of a contract between the citizen and state. It is difficult to arrive at an appropriate charge structure, but it is clear that the minimal charge in Canada is actually renders the process straightforward and establishes a contractual agreement to provide a service and now in a perfectly transparent fashion. As was crystallised as an Action in Canada’s Action Plan for Open Government. All requests for Information are logged and publicly displayed on a website showing that they have been received and providing the requester and the general public with an way of holding the government to task on fulfilment. Without the development of the contract it can be argued that the citizen can pursue the government through the remedies identified in legislation but these are far more onerous, time consuming and difficult that being able to pursue for breach of contract law. Now, bearing in mind that I am not legally trained, many of these distinction may be lost on me, I think that at its basic level there is some justification for a nominal charge, not to discourage abuse (that’ll happen – its not always rational) but instead to actually bind the intent of the legislation with the legal provisions to actually deliver on that intent. This needs to move from the statute book to a legally enforceable contract and in Canada this seems to be the case.What think you Ireland?

Week 5 – Exploring Innovation in an Open World

This week we will look at the concept of open innovation. How does it differ from traditional innovation and what examples can we explore to appreciate its dynamics? Is it related to Open Source and Free Software as we have been discussing over the past weeks? Is it feasible and can we measure its impact?

Please take a look at the following video presentations.

Don Tapscott – 4 Principles for the Open World (2012)

donTapWe met Don a few weeks back and although we’ll meet a couple others shortly, let’s let Don to share a few more thoughts on Open Innovation – in a really down to earth way. Note the whole open theme forming.

The second presentation comes from Eric von Hippel. This is an intriguing and a little more academic discussion exploring the economics of innovation. Please take a watch of:


Eric von Hippel – Paradigm Shifts in Innovation (2009)

Eric von Hippel is an economist and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, specializing in the nature and economics of distributed and open innovation. He is best known for his work developing the concept of user innovation – that end-users, rather than manufacturers, are responsible for a large amount of innovation. In order to describe this phenomenon, he introduced the term lead user in 1986. von Hippel’s work has applications in business strategy and free/open source software (FOSS) and von Hippel is one of the most highly cited social scientists writing on FOSS.

Finally meet Charles Leadbetter – The Era of Open Innovation (2008)

Charles Leadbeater’s theories on innovation have compelled some of the world’s largest organizations to rethink their strategies. A financial journalist turned innovation consultant (for clients ranging from the British government to Microsoft), Leadbeater noticed the rise of “pro-ams” — passionate amateurs who act like professionals, making breakthrough discoveries in many fields, from software to astronomy to kite-surfing.

There is no reading this week. It’s just watching. There is an intriguing piece but I am leaving it entirely as a ‘bonus’ piece. I like the concept of Open Innovation and am happy to explore it further, but the above videos will give you a very good scope and scan of the parameters.

Here’s the bonus in case you wish to pursue:

Question for forum discussion

Open Innovation holds great promise (feel free to agree or disagree) and you’ll see much discussion about Open Innovation 2.0 and even 3.0. Our own Martin Curley, Director of Intel Europe is an OI champion and is pushing the concept of OI 2.0 to more broadly involve a wider number of stakeholder groups to create an innovation ecosystem.  Exploring the concept of open innovation and the Dublin Declaration as defined ( is this a purely aspirational initiative or can we measure the success of open innovation in its 2.0 conceptualisation?


Thank you all for your submissions to the forum for the journal article review.

A reminder and my apologies as there will *NOT* be a physical class/lecture on 12 November 2013.

I hope that you found the journal review experience useful and possibly even enlightening. I know from some of the commentary that this was the case and I trust that the solo nature was appreciated, but grew through online engagement. I will send you personal assessment on this within two weeks.

So now onward to the group assignment. I am informed that although groups do exist in a couple of the other modules, not everyone is taking this elective and that those groups cannot be simply relied upon. Can I propose the following: over the next week (set Monday 18 November as the deadline) you will be in touch with members that you are already working with and if you are happy to hold those groups and communicate same names and group to me via the forum topic (Group Composition and Topic). Anyone who is left out of this, and doesn’t belong in a group from another module, etc, please be in touch with me by Friday 15 November, but do feel free this week to be in touch with others and join a group. I will take those who feel lonely and slot them as available into other groups when names are submitted on Monday.

I realise that this is somewhat haphazard, but this I think has less bearing on the nature of grouping because this is a largely online assignment.

Once assembled, can I ask then you take a look at the group instructions, choose a topic and indicate that choice in the forum as noted in those instructions.

As with the journal article this will be first come first served. I will accept group topic decisions posted from 12 noon on 18 November Monday.

The deadline for the wiki pages to go cold will be as noted 12:00pm (noon) 19 December 2013.

Please be in touch with any questions after taking a look at the instructions and the short video posted.

I will be posting this weeks articles and video links shortly. I had forgotten last week was reading week so had restrained from assignment last week.

I hope all goes well.

All About Open

In case it hasn’t been obvious I do like things that have open in front of them. It’s an ethos I have been exploring personally and professionally for some time now and generally encourage such ponderings amongst module participants. You ‘enjoyed’ an interesting discussion on Free last week and we contracted it with the concept of open. To attempt to root our explorations in the current I will draw your attention to the Open Government Partnership meeting tat is taking place in London this week. As I mentioned in an earlier post Ireland has recently committed to this important initiative and Minister Brendan Howlin will be attending the first summit since Ireland made this commitment. This is an important time for Ireland. Although  the Action Plan for Ireland remains in development following a series of public engagements over the summer, there is gathering momentum amongst citizen groups to inform the eventual Action Plan. Continue reading All About Open

Week 3 – Free versus Open

Let’s think about the concept of ‘free’ software and open source – both in terms of a development strategy, but additionally and more broadly as a philosophical set of principles.

Please take a look at this video from Richard Stallman – Free vs Open (2009)

richard_stallmanRichard Stallman is an American software freedom activist and computer programmer. He campaigns for the freedom to use, study, distribute and modify software; software that ensures these freedoms legally (via its license) is termed free software. Stallman opposes proprietary software. In September 1983, Stallman launched the GNU Project to create a Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software.Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, which uses the principles of copyright law as a contract to preserve the right to use, modify and distribute free software, and is the main author of free software licenses which describe those terms, most notably the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used free software license.In October 1985 he founded the Free Software Foundation. In 1989 he co-founded the League for Programming Freedom.Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against software patents, digital rights management, and what he sees as excessive extension of copyright laws.