Reflective Review of the Module

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    Reflective Review of Module CS3107
    Daire Lynch

    The use of Online forums

    When it was announced that this class was to take place through online forums and social media I was a little hesitant as I have previously been involved in online classes and there were numerous problems with connectivity and basic accessibility. However the inclusion of social media was a new slant that I thought held some promise and I found it the perfect excuse to dust off my twitter account. In practice the use of social media fell off the radar pretty quickly, and after a few weeks it seems that the focus shifted towards the forums and there were fewer and fewer twitter posts.

    When it came to the flexibility offered by having an online class as opposed to physical classes that too was something I had high hopes for as it meant that forum posts could be made when I had something I felt was worth contributing instead of at a set time, however this was not without its problems as there was always the quantity vs. quality issue to consider. Sometimes I found myself tempted to respond to a forum post when I would have been replying just to prove I was participating instead of replying because I had something to contribute.

    Personal Experience

    On the whole I felt that the use of an online forum as the main medium for the class worked well, even though personally I had some issues creating my account and later posting to the forums. However with that being said it seems that the majority of the class had very limited or no trouble when posting to the site so I can’t really say that my experience was the norm. One major drawback I experienced was that from time to time I would try to post to the forum and would be prompted to enter my username and password again, and often my posts would not commit and I would have to resubmit my comments multiple times. Whether this was a problem with my specific account or the site in general I am not sure, but I did have trouble creating my account at the beginning so user error cannot be ruled out here.

    Again there was the issue of quantity vs. quality and more often than not I found myself refraining from commenting, either because what I had wanted to say was already said by another user or I felt that my comment wouldn’t add much to the thread. Where I think the course really worked well was surprisingly the group project, typically I cringe at the mention of group work but I think the creation of a Wiki-environment was the perfect project for collaboration. Not only because within the group the Wiki structure allowed for a great division of labour but because on the whole every groups project itself acted as a contributing element to a larger Wiki and the end result was quite impressive.


    In conclusion I think that the course worked quite well despite some of the issues I mentioned earlier, with the majority of the class seeming to have a positive experience overall. The coursework was well structured, with plenty of choice for those users who got in early and were proactive in their approach. I found all the topics brought forward interesting however I would be hesitant to include some of the longer videos as although you could watch them in multiple sessions the main thrust of the video sometimes became lost when watched in multiple sittings. Overall I would say that the content was extremely relevant, even the topics brought up in some of the older videos are still very much current event topics.

    I would rate my personal experience of the class slightly below what I perceive to be the average if only because several of my posts were lost, including my personal review. However as Shawn was extremely understanding in relation to this problem I think that this approach allowed for technical difficulties such as my own.


    Yvonne Healy

    Reflections on CS3107 Social Computing Module
    Yvonne Healy

    Online Reaction
    Discovering that this module was to take place entirely online was a surprise but I was willing to participate, especially with the added incentive of an extra evening at home. Commencing the module with a face to face lecture was enjoyable and it sold the whole online concept very well. I have to confess to being dubious about the whole social media element: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. If the observations below seem relatively basic, I should add that I approached this module as a novice with no real social media interest or skills. From the outset “radically closed” would have been the best way to describe my position vis-a-vis social media. I looked forward to experiencing a shift in this stance. On discovering the difference between social media and social computing, my interest veered toward the latter.

    The Experience
    Various logins. I found the various logins to be confusing and wondered about the consequences of information is being shared via logging in with Google or Twitter.

    I found it difficult to add a profile photo in WordPress. Using Google or Twitter, sometimes a photo came too. It was not my intention to remain a grey anonymous icon.

    Navigation: Sometimes things weren’t where I expected them to be and there was a little bit of a hunt to find new material, perhaps this was the intention.

    The provision of links on homepage to the weekly topics would have been a bonus.

    Problem viewing some videos – e.g. I had the problem with the video Richard Stallman – Free vs. Open (2009) and ended up looking at a variety of other videos online instead.

    I tried Twitter and Facebook as requested and found it all very trying. In fairness I gave a considerable amount of time to understanding the basics and security settings but at the end of the day they are supposed to be life enhancers and this was just not the case for me.

    The material was so novel that viewing, reading and understanding posed so many questions that sometimes I did not feel qualified to express an opinion by way of comment (which may not work for me when marking!).

    The recommended coursework was excellent. The subject matter was varied. I would probably not have had much exposure to many of the topics covered otherwise. It provided me with a newfound appreciation that radical ideas are often a great starting point to finding middle ground.

    The Journal Review was a practical assignment and required a disciplined approach on my part.

    Group Wiki – I enjoyed the collaboration and coupled with the video on Wikis I now have a greater appreciation of how they work.

    Many areas of this module tie in well to other areas of the course e.g. Protection of IP in Law. For me it built up a more complete picture to be able to consider a concept from different perspectives.

    Open government, articles on Smart Cities, and Fintan O Toole’s article “Blueprint for a Smarter Society” really worked for me.

    The online forums were good and the topics discussed always interesting. Being new to the world of forums, I enjoyed the exchange of views. Even adding a comment or two became less daunting.

    The eureka moment for me was the realization that social computing has such a positive contribution to make, locally, nationally internationally and globally. My initially negative thoughts on aspects of the internet centered on privacy and security. These were soon replaced by the realization of the positive and overwhelmingly beneficial contribution that openness and forward thinking views can make.

    To Conclude
    The content was excellent and the assignments were interesting, practical and timely. Perhaps the website could be customized to be more user-friendly. In an ideal world it could mirror a warm inviting club that you want to keep going back to (Cheers – where everybody knows your name!). Maybe as a compromise there could be a more interactive homepage with new content highlighted.

    The scope of the material covered in the module was current, interesting and often complex. Even a few minutes of conversation here and there between other lectures was stimulating and enlightening and added to my online experience. This experience could have been enhanced by monthly “live” discussions on topics covered. Finally, I may have to rethink my use of Twitter just to keep up with the news @iridium.



    The Social Computing module was decisively different than any other module I have participated in during my time in Trinity and I must say that I have taken away much more than I had originally expected to. In the beginning, I was uncertain as to how the online delivery would afford me the same amount of quality in terms of knowledge retention as a typical lecture based module would but as I now reflect on the course I feel that the dynamic delivery, real-time engagement with the lecturer and classmates, and the use of social computing tools has enabled me to take on the same amount if not more knowledge than a traditional lecture-based model.

    One of the biggest benefits to this module, other than the sharing of information between participants, was the encouragement to use the different mechanisms such as the forums, the blog, Twitter, and the PB Works Wiki in order to engage with my fellow students in a novel academic approach. Using these tools has radically reshaped my opinion regarding knowledge accumulation and knowledge sharing and I can see a real future in this type of module delivery. Whilst I did not feel that all of the mechanisms of this course were flawless, the nature of this module with its active engagement and open schedule allowed me and my fellow classmates more time to think deeply and acutely and to discuss topics in more detail than a conventional time-defined lecture would allow.

    In my past experiences with conventional learning environments I have found that too many topics were crammed into a three hour lecture and there was not enough time to explore these topics in a collaborative and meaningful way. There were 30-40 voices and it was just not possible for everyone to really examine and discuss the learning material in the allotted time. By using the IS Course website and other social computing tools, the learning never really ended and the more time that someone wanted to engage with the class the more they could actually learn. I do not feel that this type of module delivery would have suited everyone unless they were prepared to take steer away from traditional academic methods and utilise contemporary technologies to stay current on the topics discussed on this course.

    I do not really have many negatives to discuss about this course, other than in my opinion, there was a longer period of adjustment than with my other lectures and that there could have been more face-to-face time with the lecturer and my classmates.

    Regarding the longer period of adjustment, I tried to explore the IS Course website early in the course in order to get a feeling for the site and take in the essence of what it was all about, however I had trouble getting my head around the site in the beginning. I didn’t have any issues getting my head around the information but I had trouble discovering where the information was and what I was supposed to do with the information. I guess what I mean to say is that I would have benefited from used a better “map” in the beginning so I didn’t have to stop and ask for directions.

    In relation to more face-to-face time, I think it just adds a bit of normality and another way to reinforce the module so that students can transition into this type of learning a little smoother. In the future, I think this course could be facilitated more effectively by having a live virtual classroom set-up for Q&A at the beginning of the module over the first a couple of weeks.

    In conclusion, I enjoyed this module and the positives certainly outweighed the negatives. I think the topics of sharing, innovation, collaboration, governance, and openness were the most interesting and the area of social media activism is hugely important. I like the fact that we as humans all have the opportunity to share our voices and work together in ways that were not always possible and, as a natural optimist, I think that the social computing tools available today can make our world better. If nothing else I now understand the importance, historical significance, and impact that social computing has on individuals, groups, and society.



    Reflective Review of Module CS3107

    by Mainard Gallagher 13315575

    When it was made known that the class will not be meeting on a weekly basis there was an audible shocked gasp in the class. My initial reaction was surprise and contemplation as to how the next few weeks would develop. This quickly unfolded and became nervousness and apprehension to my own ability to self-motivate and concentrate on a single task without reinforcement or engagement of a regular and traditional classroom environment.

    I do agree the whole nature of Social Computing is communication from remote or virtual location. In this regard ,the class itself was appropriately virtual having only met once however this can lead to fragmentation and allowing other college modules to take precedent with their equally demanding and time consuming projects.
    I can, thankfully, comment that I have used social media in a positive and not all consuming fashion. There are many aspects that I found useful in my day to day use especially in my work place. As part of the training programmes that I run I can inform clients of new training programmes and if a typical programme is running out of places i can keep my network updated and informed of changes.

    I found Twitter to be very useful for work I was able to express information quickly and effectively. It is unfortunate that my interaction using Twitter may be overlooked as I made the mistake of not using the class’s hashtag when sharing information.

    Facebook though an important social computing tool may not have had much involvement within the class. I am glad I created an account as there is a healthy established family member network within 24 hours I had 40 cousins that I hadn’t been in touch with for many years, which was a touching and unexpected outcome.

    Linkedin the professional’s Facebook for adults. I have heard of others benefiting from Linkedin in particular seeking interviews or getting news jobs through this facility. In the future, sophisticated algorithms will allow employers to abandon recruitment services in favor of LinkedIn to meet their companies employment needs, currently LinkedIn Recruiter assists with targeting potential staff. I had an account prior to the class with about 400 connections I actively increased these connections through the first semester and now have just over 1200 connections.

    I really didn’t get Foursquare. I didn’t think it added any value(when it worked) to my online social experience. I could appreciate that if I was giving a guest lecture/presentation at an event it would be useful inform followers of my location and what I was doing. Facebook and Twitter offer similar packages that negate the need for Foursquare and unless they provide more functionality it’s like having two spare tires in your car.

    I believe I failed to interact or react on an online social level mainly because of real world commitments. Through the necessity of this module I did embrace the tools laid out for us such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. With these tools I explored how other users implemented and partook in social media use and how they would share information, personal options and business related activities. It still amazes me the number of mundane activities people would share about their lives and personal experience to perfect strangers. I was however able to increase my social ranking even if by a tiny margin this is leaps and bounds higher then prior to the Social Computing module.

    Though I understand the need to offer opinions on a public forum I think to add cohesion and functionality a private section to communicate ideas and express opinions would be desired. Through a short number of weeks my Twitter account quickly grow and I found myself following about 400 individuals and being followed by 100 users all offering opinions and information. That level of data mining and filtering was exhausting.

    Though I believe in-house practical experience would be invaluable to students I have suggested the follow for next year’s students:

    • “Global Social Couch” Holding online virtual gatherings, to explore and review online documentaries/films, sharing real time experiences and opinions at a designated time and day. Tools like twitter could be used to engage with the class and others.
    • Everyone linking Twitter accounts on day one, I think I personal am only connected to about 6 or 7 student members of the class
    • A project to include Facebook. The class must create a page to increase awareness of a local or global issue that can either be real or fictional and how they would go about promoting it using social computing tools and networking means.
    • Twitter Debating. Whereby students are within in their assigned groups and in the for/against category with a rotating team adjudicating. The tweets are then retweeted or added to favourites to show approval and count points.
    • I think at least two/four weeks of term should be dedicated to the delivery and analytical study of Social Media and their place in the work place
    • Research on a new or reimagined form of social computing



    Reflective Review of Module CS3107 – Emma Moffatt – 87171953

    My initial reaction was a bit of shock and a lot of apprehension. I had never posted a comment on line, participated in a forum or written a blog and had very little interaction with social media.

    I saw participation in this module as a big step to take which was potentially exciting but this was largely overshadowed by a sense of dread as this would take me out of my comfort zone. This may be difficult to comprehend for those who are used to social media and participate in online debate.

    The module was sufficiently diverse to allow us to experience different tools and online learning methods, most of which I hadn’t used before and some of which worked better than others. I particularly enjoyed starting to use Twitter and it added an extra, mobile, dimension and enlivened the more static website.

    The solo assignment was a good challenge as it forced us to formulate a considered opinion on a topic and write in a specific way. It was good to be able to choose your own topic from the extensive choice and I enjoyed researching the use of Twitter.

    The group assignment was a challenging online experience. We used Google Hangouts but we also felt the need to meet up to discuss the issue as we found it easier, quicker and more enjoyable to do this face to face. Google Hangouts is fine for short conversations and to clarify points but I didn’t find it suitable for lengthy discussions. It possibly becomes more useful the more you use it.

    PB Works was very useful for collaborating on the documentation and collating the research information. I have used other tools such as Dropbox and Teambox to collate information but PB Works is more streamlined. However it was frustrating to use at times due to network connectivity issues.

    The blog and forum topics provided a useful introduction to the main areas of social computing and widened my narrow view of what it entails. However I found this part of the course the least enjoyable.

    This is partly due to my general reticence in posting comments but I found participation too demanding and time-consuming. The website worked well most of the time once you got used to it but I continued to have problems posting occasionally.

    I didn’t feel qualified enough to make in-depth comments on some of the topics. This was due to the time commitment necessary to research a topic, formulate a view and then post it. I guess it’s a personal thing, as if I’m writing something I’m not an off-the-cuff writer, I like to consider it carefully first. I think if more structured material had been provided on each topic as a starting point this would have speeded up the process.

    I have three suggestions which I think could help facilitate more effective delivery of this module. I think that if the material provided for the blog and forum topics was supplemented by a mini-lecture on each topic this would help students to get to grips with the topics more quickly and I think this would facilitate more in-depth debate by more students.

    I haven’t participated in live blogs/question and answer sessions but maybe this could be tried as a way to get the class participating at the same time. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to hear more of Shawn’s views and it seemed like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

    Finally, I think the course needs to cater more for those of us who have limited online participation experience, perhaps by providing a more detailed introduction to the tools we were to use and more face to face discussion to allay any concerns people had (once the initial shock had worn off!).

    To conclude, I think that online learning will always suit some people more than others, but despite the fact that I found elements of the course frustrating, I found other aspects useful and worth further use and investigation.

    I really like the fact that this module has enabled me to move up a few notches in the openness scale, and although I am quite far from being “radically open” and on top of all issues, I am happy that I am not being left behind and feel more involved and sociable in the digital world.



    Reflections on Module CS3107 Social Computing
    Author: Leidy Romero Cruz
    Student Number: 13333420

    My First Thoughts
    Learning this Module through different online tools was a new experience for me. I felt it was a great idea to embrace the new facilities that technology provides and help the class to use them and replace the more traditional ways of learning. When I heard it in our first day of Social Computing I could only see positive things such as working remotely and in my own time and expanding on my social media knowledge and so I was looking forward to the challenge.

    Personal Experience and Opinion
    In my opinion the introduction of online media sites in the learning field has significantly changed the way things were previously done because now it’s more about working collaboratively. People feel comfortable with their online networks and discuss subjects openly and with more transparency so this gives more reserved personalities a way to express themselves as well as any other.

    It was good to be able to discuss in great detail different topics with my colleagues at a time and pace that suited me because it allowed me the time to research and give more meaningful comment and opinion.

    It brought the class together as a group more effectively than with offline lectures as with online discussions there is more interaction among colleagues discussing a subject. In my personal experience I joined the group after most of them already knew each other and this Module made me feel more integrated to the group. Somehow you get to know your colleagues personalities through their comments which I found quite interesting.

    The group work through the Wiki went very well. It was a new environment for me and so I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. Our team enjoyed working together through this tool and it helped us in our combined efforts to complete the project.

    The time management for the subject was quite challenging for me. I must admit that, with hindsight, I could have done better. It came as a surprise to me that it required quite a strict discipline and so I didn’t manage this as well as I would have liked. For example, in a given week in order to keep up with class progress I found myself having to research a number Topics at a time. So because of this I think in future it could work better if there were specific deadlines for each blog and forum in which case a student could do them in a more timely manner.

    I did not find “Wordpress”, to be very user friendly. At the beginning I had to upload some articles several times as it wouldn’t save as seamlessly as other sites, which didn’t give me confidence. So instead I prepared my articles on an external document and then posted them to the site, in case I lost anything. There were other problems, for example with setting up your account or watching some videos. But then again working together online as a group helped with this as other members of the class could sometimes help with the solutions, which demonstrates another benefit of using social media.

    I could see that, for some students, Twitter played a good role in this Module. Personally Twitter is not my favorite choice as I use Facebook most of the time to keep in touch with colleagues and friends and to keep myself up to date with my preferred subjects, through the pages that I follow. I have noticed the trend of people migrating to Twitter from Facebook but I still consider both Facebook and Twitter to be quite similar and for me Facebook is a more complete product for my use. I think that spending time on some of the other popular social media tools discussing their advantages and best applications could help to a better understanding of these tools, for example: LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, Google+, DeviantArt, LiveJournal, Tagged, Orkut or other related sites that were relevant to this Subject.

    I believe that Social Computing, as a learning tool, is here to stay as it continues to prove its value in communications and research. It has great advantages throughout the learning process when used properly, establishing fact from fiction. It was enjoyable to discuss different topics with colleagues online whether one was in agreement or not. Working collaboratively online is proving on a daily basis that it makes learning fun and more interesting, it contributes to innovation and increases productivity while learning in itself, becomes a social experience. “Social media allows us to behave in ways that we are hardwired for in the first place – as humans. We can get frank recommendations from other humans instead of from faceless companies.” ― Francois Gossieaux, The Hyper-Social Organization: Eclipse Your Competition by Leveraging Social Media



    Reflective Review of CS3107 by David Spain 10103562

    Initial Reaction

    I was quite excited when I read during the summer that one of the course modules was Social Computing. I knew that it wasn’t going to be all about social media but as an IT professional I’m always being asked questions by my colleagues about social media. These questions are about everything from security of the services to tips on how to get the most out of social media from a marketing point of view etc. I thought that this course would answer some of these questions or at least go some way towards answering them. In the first lecture when Shawn introduced himself I thought he was rather interesting and we’d learn a lot from his experiences. Then came the news that this module would be delivered exclusively through online content and interaction. That was a little bit disappointing but it suggested that I could go home each Tuesday evening and there would be no exam, so let’s say the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.

    What worked/ didn’t work

    The forums and blogs were obviously the most useful part of the course and I was more than willing to contribute towards them. To be honest I don’t have that much to say unless I’m provoked into action by someone else’s comments on a subject, so blogs and forums proved somewhat positive in this regard. The journal review was useful as we were allowed to pick an article that interested us and this always makes the task easier to complete. As I’m already a Twitter user it was easy to keep up with any tweets that were tagged with #tcdcs3107. This allowed me to interact more easily as I could use my phone instead of having to take the charger out for the laptop and waiting 5 minutes for the thing to start-up. I did use the Hootsuite app which made it easier to separate out the college material from my personal stuff. The homepage on the has a nice list of all the topics to be covered by week number. This didn’t seem to be followed and led to some confusion as some of us thought there were no new topics being added. I was interested in finding out about privacy and I don’t think there was anything covered except for a mention under ‘Location Based Services’ in the ‘Group Case Study’ page. There were other subjects that I didn’t see covered like ‘Social Media Engagement’ and ‘Social Media Management’
    One thing that was confusing was to have to setup about 4 accounts, iscourse, disqus, wordpress and pbworks. Maybe we only had to setup 3, I’m still confused as you can see. It was nice to be introduced to thinkers like Don Tapscott and Richard Stallman. Some topics seemed to take a lot more energy to get through. I watched 3 hours of videos one night and didn’t follow up by commenting on the ideas discussed, that was my problem but I wasn’t ready for all the content for that particular section

    Suggestion Box

    The Iscourse website seems disjointed. Maybe the introductory lecture could also go through this, as it’s quite confusing as to what you’re supposed to be looking at. There are some good things on it like the Twitter feed etc. In all other modules we get a list of topics to be covered at the start of the semester and they are usually followed in the order they are presented. Perhaps this could have been done here as it gives a good timeline as to how you’re getting through the material. The homepage has a list of week 1 to week 10. It would make sense that this be followed like the chapters of a book. This is probably more important in this module as there was only one physical lecture. On the physical lecture point, it would have been useful to meet up after reading week; this could be done outside of college to change the dynamic a bit. Maybe videoconferencing facilities could be used for the first lecture and leave the physical presence to a later date. The whole idea of having to setup various accounts for blogs, forums etc, was confusing. Perhaps this type of facility is provided by a single website service with a single username.



    Personal Reflection on CS3107 Social Computing
    Olivia Waters. 96523891.

    My first introduction to the Social Computing module was in second year when we were asked to choose a stream for our third year classes. After reading the module description I was quite excited about the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how social computing increasingly impacts on our everyday lives. The module descriptor did not indicate that the course would be delivered solely online so finding that out during the first lecture was a bit of a surprise. Breaking from the normal lecture structure seemed slightly radical but on the whole I was up for something new and willing to embrace the change. In this reflection I am going to firstly address the content of the course and how I felt it enhanced my understanding of how social computing technologies can be applied by individuals, communities and organisations. I will then try to give an open, honest opinion on my experience of the module before concluding with some recommendations for future years.
    The course content opened me up to a number of concepts and characters that I had not encountered before. These included the use of a wiki-environment for the group assignment, the concept of open innovation, and the introduction to Richard Stallman to name but a few. Through the varied topics I feel that I did learn about certain current ideologies that I maybe would not have come across otherwise. I liked the feature on intellectual property law as it tied in with the Law and IT module and added a depth to it that would not have been possible through that module alone.
    One of the downsides of this module was the issue with trying to access the forum. I also encountered some issues trying to post to the blog. I felt that increasingly as the term went on the amount of content in the Social Computing forum and blog became unmanageable. I spent most of my time trying to identify and read through what was new. I think the idea that contribution to the forum and the blog would be rewarded with module marks meant that comments were being posted for the sake of it. The feeling of having to post content to gain marks for me negated the social appeal of the forum which I believed to be a place to post constructive comment, should an individual feel the need, not a place where individuals felt constrained to post comments. The arrangement for choosing a journal article for review was not well thought out. The full-text of some of the articles could not be found in the library catalogue. Once I chose my article I had read down through other people’s choices to see if it had been chosen by someone else however it was easy to make a mistake, which I did, and had started on a different article before finding out that it had been chosen by someone else. This added an additional workload for me. Also, I felt that limiting the review of the journal article to 750 words did not allow enough scope to properly place the article in a wider context.
    I think the idea of online interaction was a good for this course and I liked the idea of having all the content for one module in one place. However I felt that more lecture face-time was necessary. Originally we were due to have a lecture mid-way through the term but this did not materialise. Having an opportunity to discuss what was and was not working for the class could have allowed for a re-structuring of the second part of the term. Personally, I feel that having a structured class allows individuals to block off the required amount of time necessary to ensure a deep understanding of that module. As part-time evening students with full-time jobs it is difficult to balance work, college and home life and as the term progressed and deadlines for other modules loomed it was difficult for me to structure my time in a way that allowed me fully engage with all the content on the forum and the blog.
    After completing the course I would have a few recommendations as to how it could be improved for future years. I think the social forum and blog could be used in a slightly different way. As we are committed to three hours of lecture time for the course each week during term perhaps a way to incorporate the social forum and blog would be to have the first half of the class as face-time in a lecture theatre where the main ideas and technologies are discussed. This would then allow individuals a focused approach to the material before being tasked with doing some research and posting constructive comments into the forum. In terms of the journal review I think allowing a larger word count for the review would be preferable. I think the idea of using a wiki to facilitate collaboration with our team for the group project worked well and enabled our group collaborate remotely. Finally, a focus group with the class to see how individuals could use social computing to enhance their work or personal life might have added a real-life benefit to the module. Overall, I’m happy we had an opportunity to explore something new with this approach to teaching a class however I think I am more suited to a more structured approach of learning.



    Kevin Burns. 11103051

    From the outset this was one of two modules that I was looking forward this year. Why, I am not 100 % certain. It may have something so do with LBS and my wish to check-in at every venue I visit. Something that was hard to do without a smart device and I drove my friends mad making them check me in. So a couple weeks into the module I invested in a smartphone. This made the module more accessible and enabled me explore or indulge in my social behaviour.

    When I first learned that the module was going to be delivered online I thought what a wonderful world this is and how much easier it would be. My thinking was that I could do a bit during the bus journey to and from work, (small investment needed), during the quiet times in work and I could do more when everyone went to bed at night and that I would have the 3 hours Tuesday to spend with my family. It would allow me to make better use of my time.

    Looking back at the 11 weeks I have to admit I got lucky. The weeks that Video content was posted to the blog I was mostly able to watch them in work during the day. The last video posting also happened at a time when my workload increased
    I also liked the use of twitter, and found it as a great way of collaborating, a way for us to be reached with articles. The bus journeys can be utterly boring and now here was a way to read up on current issues and module information that was being provided in a period not just by a lecturer but by classmates who were also interested in sharing. It can also be fun. I did make another investment to help with the morning reading, a thermo flask for coffee. I had never tweeted before this module and I think it is great for reaching out. The 140 characters is more to my liking than a ½ page summary. My first tweet was from Las Vegas

    While some of the Videos posted to the blog were enjoyable to watch others just seemed to drag on. I had constant issues trying to play the Richard Stallman video until I download it. This was one of 2 videos that I had a hard time watching. The reason, simply because I felt he harped on too much and I did not agree with him on some matters. But if you can grasp the difference between free and open and the freedoms associated with Open Source parts are ok. Unfortunately I believe the video was too long at 100 minutes. The mind does begin to wander off after 20 minutes. Videos sometimes need a great narrator or storyteller and the videos that worked the most for me where by Don Trapscott. I do believe that Open Source software has benefited from explosion in social computing. The forum did have some topical subjects but there was no genuine debate. Perhaps we were all to guarded as not to offend but it lacked the community feeling. It may have been helpful though for perhaps an extra class, in the middle around week 6. This could have been used to discuss\debate what we had been watching and reading and in turn a chance for you to provide feedback on how as individuals we were doing. It was also beneficial that the forum/blog were accessible from mobile devices. A stat from one of the tweets during our module (#tcdcd3107) says that only 27% of companies have mobile optimised sites.

    While the choice of topic for the group assignments reflected the course material, the delivery method of wiki style brought something new that we had not been asked to do before. And while we have given PowerPoint presentations before we had never been asked to submit them to slideshare for all to see. Despite a small panic to get it in the day before Christmas Eve it was a somewhat challenging assignment due to the terms and conditions. I think the total work count hindered what could have been unbelievable assignments. That is if you tried to stick to the count you could exclude essential material and lose marks. On the other hand you could have exceeded the count to fully explain an areas existence in social computing and hoped that any deductions would be less than the bonus for submitting an all rounded assignment. LBS is such a vast and diverse topic we ended cutting while hoping that the cut did not impair the assignment.

    If I was to give a suggestion on this for next year it would be to give a minimum and maximum word count, something like minimum 1500, max 2100 with penalties if you went over. This may simply level the playing field for all. To make it a more interactive learning environment software that supports group interaction for chat sessions on google or a webinars with free software such as could be used. Additionally the videos should be kept short were possible. Additional slides for every topic in social computing would be useful. These could be shared on slideshare if the idea was to stay away from trinity’s blackboard. Something else that might be worth trying is getting groups to submit a YouTube video. A bit more on governance and some security in social computing and trolling. Trolling seems to be on the rise and get a lot of mentions these days.

    So I leave you with this, I have learned during the module is that Social Computing is for the people and given how easy accessible it is (in Ireland) there is appears to be little discrimination. We do need to be security conscious. The other thing I think about as we finish the module is how my footprint can be used against me by future employers



    Reflective Review of CS3107 John Lohan – 11104422

    What was your reaction when you learned that this module would be delivered through online tools?

    Having taken part in courses previously where the content was mainly delivered online or with online support I felt comfortable with the prospect and thought that a Social Computing course taught online was very appropriate. On reading the means by which we would be evaluated I was okay with the Solo and Group assignments but felt apprehensive at the online contributions component; not really having much previous involvement in online blogs or forums. I agree with the principles of openness and sharing online and feel that they have the potential to improve society but in practice find them difficult in an online context and recognize that this is probably something I should work on.

    Your experience within the module specifically what aspects worked and what aspects didn’t;

    I found that effective online engagement requires a different set of skills from working on ‘normal’ assignments. For example trying to ensure that the contribution you are making is relevant and concise. Preparing to make a post took a lot of time, sometimes it took so long to formulate a reply that the point had already been raised. I realize that this is down to lack of practice and is one of the reasons I think that participating in the course has been a good learning experience. In the latter part of the course I was able to make what I hope were relevant contributions. Also there were some problems with postings not appearing and leading to duplicates but this was due to hyperlinks in the text and the posts did appear in due course.
    Although the course was meant to be online I thought that at least one extra face to face meeting may have been useful. Unfortunately I missed the meeting at the start of the course in October. But I understand that scheduling difficulties meant that we could not have a second face to face class as originally planned.

    Your suggestions for how this type of learning could be facilitated more effectively in the future using online means.

    Overall I found the course interesting and beneficial. The blog topics and associated recordings were interesting and relevant; I would listen to the videos while working on other things. The online engagement requirement of the course was a strong motivation to make contributions to the different discussions. Also prior to the course, although having an account for some years I never really understood the popularity of Twitter but now am checking it first thing in the morning even before turning on the radio. Unfortunately I still have to make a tweet but the Twitter feed on the main page was informative to read and maybe more emphasis could be placed on this in future courses. While having an account on Facebook I still do not really use it apart from keeping up to date with family members.
    I thought the group assignment; working on a collaborative wiki document was a good learning experience. In work we use Wikis for knowledge sharing and have created several relating to projects I have worked on but this was the first time preparing one in collaboration with other people.
    I enjoyed the discussion on the proposed Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act in Does Open mean Accessible and thought that there scope for a companion discussion on Privacy of the Individual, only now realizing I should have raised it in the Weekly Discussion forum.
    One area where I thought that there was some slight duplication of functionality (if that is the right word) on the CS3107 site was between the Weekly Discussion Questions forum and the main Blog page. While it was possible to see the latest updates in the Most Recent Posts section I would sometimes forget to check the Weekly Discussions forum. Maybe if they were integrated into the main blog area they would be more noticeable but I understand that this was to allow participants to raise their own discussion questions.

    Overall I found the course challenging but feel that the experience will help in future assignments and courses.



    Reflective Review on CS3107
    Deborah Marino – 11104830

    If I had to write a book on this experience, its title would be “A short story of a struggle – diving into Social Media”. The book would bring the reader through the emotional ups and downs of my personal discovery of Social Media and online technology as a learning tool.

    However since this is simply a brief objective reflection of my experience with the module delivery I will spear the reader the emotional part!

    Despite not being ‘into’ Social Media, I am aware of its importance. Social Media is shaping society, from the way we communicate to the way we make business. Additionally, having chosen a career in IT, it is fundamental that I understand it and how to exploit its potential. Most likely the next generation won’t even have the option (like I think I still have) to either embrace or not Social Media, so much it will be engrained into everyone’s lives.

    Therefore, I was looking forward to the module and I approached it with an open mind.
    Still, when I first realised that the module would be delivered entirely online, my reaction was a mix of perplexity and apprehension, combined with a hint of excitement.

    On one side I was curious to find out if at the end of this journey I would find myself converted to the Social Media world. On the other side I was nervous that this conversion just wouldn’t happen and somehow I felt I was being asked to make a major (at least for me!) lifestyle change in a very short time (writing on blogs, sign up to social networks etc.). I felt extremely overwhelmed when I saw the list of Social Media tools that suddenly I had to sign up to and honestly I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t on my own as many in the class showed a similar reluctance.

    Nevertheless after the first lecture I decided to keep the open mind approach and I looked forward to start this ‘project’.

    So what did work?

    I enjoyed the discussions on the blogs. The topics discussed and the material provided were truly extremely interesting, current and relevant. I will definitely be looking further into some of them.

    I also learnt more about my fellow students. The lectures not always allow us to share our views and knowledge, while the blogs and forums did (even if not spontaneously!). I truly enjoyed reading some of the posts and learnt how knowledgeable everyone is. I also became more confident in writing on a blog.

    I became familiar with new tools that I can use in my day to day job e.g. wikis to collaborate with colleagues.

    What aspects of the module delivery could be revisited?

    Too much too soon. As a Social Media outsider, I found the timeframe to embrace such a change too short e.g. writing on blogs, sign up to Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This made me feel overwhelmed. Perhaps in the future the module could focus on only one social media platform of choice (chosen by a list).

    The weekly discussions material required considerable time to understand the topics, elaborate on them and make a relevant contribution to the discussion. Perhaps new topics should have been posted on a fortnight basis.

    I really missed face to face interaction. Online technology is good when physical interaction is not available but it cannot replace it. I would have preferred to have more face-to-face lectures.

    The site felt quite packed, maybe old content could be removed. Also, it was time consuming to get some tools to work properly or to simply understand how they worked e.g.. I once ended up with several comments on the same blog because no feedback mechanism was alerting me that my post was on hold.

    In Conclusion

    I believe online technology is an effective learning tool and through the weeks I became more confident in using it. However I am not convinced that it can replace fully the traditional classroom environment and the benefits of face to face interaction, regardless of how sophisticated the tools are. That is why I would have preferred if the online aspect of the course was regarded more as complementary to the “offline lectures”.

    I appreciate how online course delivery allows for significant flexibility and facilitates access to education (e.g. the Open University) and for this reason I am glad we had the opportunity to investigate elearning and to understand its advantages, shortcomings and to ponder its potential.

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