Class 9 Continues: The Asynchronous Adventure

We’ve left you with one whole hour of Class 9 time to use for venturing into an asynchronous adventure.  Start here to discover the context and specific tasks, then move further along in the post to find resources you can explore.


I’ve asked colleagues to join me in sharing work related to social media and its role in the faculty roles of teaching and researching in a world-wide community of scholars.  These contributors – including me, Michael Burns, Cristina Costa, Tim Kamenar, and Christina Petersen – have each provided a screencast object/document: something created through the use of images, words, sounds and presentation software or platforms that require a screen for creation and broadcasting.  We created these objects with two purposes in mind: to (1) convey ideas, concepts and practices for using technology to support learning and teaching, and (2) make use of technology platforms we might use in creating objects that could lead into a flipped or inverted class session.

You’ll find five posts, with these general focuses and in this order:

  • On using social media as a researcher / for research
  • On mindfully creating a personalized digital footprint
  • On making accessible presentation slides
  • On making learning presentation slides
  • On making decisions about using tech tools & social media in teaching


  1. Select and view two of the five screencasts offered here.
  2. Note ideas about content but also about delivery mode.  How does what you see, hear and learn seem to be of use to you as an early career scholar and teacher?  What are you seeing, hearing and viewing that might be of use to you as a teacher – and in what ways.
  3. Then come back to the post and add some of your ideas, the key thoughts you have in mind, to the community discussion via Comments.

Social Media (and) Research in a Digital World / Cristina Costa

You can find more about Cristina here.  And you can view her presentation here.

Establishing a presence online is becoming more and more necessary and relevant. This is particularly true for you as early career researchers, who need to keep up to date with the latest developments in your discipline and establish close contact with other individuals in your field as part of building a research program, research network, and research reputation.

This presentation aims to:

  • Introduce 4 dimensions of online engagement:
  • Share examples of how other researchers are using social media to collaborate and disseminate research

In the presentation I asked several question regarding the concepts I explored. I’d encourage you to contribute with your answers via the VoiceThread presentation itself.

As a final question, I’d like to ask you share your thoughts here in a reply to the blog post:

How will you approach Social Media in the context of your research practice as you move into the next stage of your career?

Mindfully Creating Your Digital Footprint / Ilene Alexander & Cristina Costa

You can download the presentation here – and you will need to download it to get the sound, and that will give you live links to the resources noted at the end.

A digital footprint.  We all have one if we’re part of a university – perhaps because our name’s mentioned in a newsletter or listed in a group of new grad students, postdocs or faculty, or maybe even because we’ve published something and that something is available to others through an electronic database or the information of the publication is shared via a blog post or Tweet.  This presentation aims to get you thinking about how you can curate, cultivate, have a bit more say in what shows up when someone Googles your your name, when they try to follow the digital footprint that shows up across various search engines.  As a final question, this one after you’ve not only heard/seen this presentation but also Googled your own name:

What is one social media tool you could use in order to more mindfully craft a digital identity ahead of going on the job market as a candidate for an early career position?  What tool – and why that one? how would you make use of it?

Creating Accessible Presentation Slides / Tim Kamenar

You can learn more about Tim here, or via the TILT blog.

You can access Tim’s presentation here.  To fully view the Notes field, you’ll need to download the document.

One critical element of designing slides is cleaning up bad image content. Whatever the platform, slides must feature clear images and accessible content to be amenable to student learning overall.  Always, creating images and slides that project better, print better, convey ideas more clearly, and leave less to conjecture will benefit all students.

In the process of re-making slides and adding verbal descriptions of a slide, we become more aware of points of spoken emphasis or patterns of connection typically conveyed orally in class.  These insights – in this case perhaps about which chemical markers / interactions a teacher asks students to attend to first – can be drawn on to further clarify the points we make while presenting the new images as part of a class session.

This presentation demonstrates the process of cleaning and clearing up slides, while also modeling how to make use of the Notes field to record content and concepts that inform a speaker’s extemporaneous remarks during a formal interactive presentation.  The notes do not script or replicate the spoken presentation, but support the presentation and make notes available for use beyond the presentation.

As a final query –

What are you thoughts or questions on developing clean and clear slides for a presentation?  How do you imagine that working to develop clear and clean slides beneficially affect the development of clear and clean concepts to structure the presentation?

Learning Presentations: 10 Framing Principles for Using Presentation Software to Support Learning and Teaching  / Concepts: Ilene Alexander & Christina Petersen; Slides: IleneDawn

You can learn more about Christina here, and Ilene here.

The presentation is here, with links to an accompanying print and audio overview in the Notes for Slide 1.

In this slide set, we introduce Learning Presentation design principles that incorporate theories of Adult Learning.  These presentation principles and approaches can be adapted by researchers, teachers, and students for use in classrooms, conferences, and communities, whether F2F, hybrid, or online environments.  Drawing on our work with future faculty and current instructors as well as work – for example – by Garr Reynolds (design) and Stephen Brookfield (learning) we set out three foundational practices – to scaffold, to connect and to extend – and build ten principles to suggest a mindset that can guide teachers (and others) in creating presentations for learning.

As a final question –

You’ve been a great deal of reading, thinking and creating about learning, about interactive teaching, and about aligned course design these last ten weeks, how do the principles and practices presented here add to your thinking about designing teaching for learning – the overall theme of the term?

Technology Tools to Support Teaching and Learning / Michael Burns

Some ideas about, as the title notes, selecting and using tech tools in the teaching role.

The link to this soundcast is here.
To learn more about Michael, click here or here.

And a final question: 

What do you want your story about using technology in the classroom to be at the end of the first term you’ve made use of technology – at all or in new ways – when you are the teacher of record for the first or next time?  



  1. In regards to Cristina’s research post- While blogging can be a wonderful point of exposure or identity, for me it is also a venue for research. We often share others’ blogs or posts to spread knowledge and insight. This ability for a blog to be interactive or social provides a wonderful network by which we(visual artists in my case) can conduct research which we may not be able to otherwise due to geographical, time restraint, or language barriers.

  2. I read Tim’s post on how to make presentation slides clean, easy to read, and easy to understand for students. He made great points about not only making slides readable (sometimes the print is too small to see in the back of the class or would be too small to read if the slides were printed out), but also about making them clear. The take home message is that it should be clear what the main point on each slide is. If it isn’t, you’ve got too much stuff going on and you need to rethink how you are presenting the data/information.

  3. I read Tim’s post on clean presentation slides as well. I liked how he talked about only putting purposeful images on slides and having font that is large enough to read from all over the room. I think sometimes that’s tricky to remember to do. I’m wondering about how to go about making slides for things like conference presentations that are both stylized and clean. For a lot of my research, I’ll make a whole slide just an image and then talk about the image. Is it important that I include text or try to avoid certain colors, or anything like that?

    • never put text in red…its hard to read. The best slides to read in a dark room have white font with a dark background. In a lighted room its the opposite.

  4. As with the others, I read the presentation created by Tim. I believe making clean and clear slides is something that is often over looked. As a student, when I see slides that are “busy” I almost always shut down and stop looking at them. It is a waste of energy to try and read a complex slide while also trying to listen to a professor speak so rather than do both, I turn my attention to the professor only. I think that removing all the clutter on a slide will keep students engaged with the presentation which will make the slide the learning tool that it was intended to be.
    I also listened to Michael’s sound cast. To answer his final question, I hope that at the end of the first class I choose to use technology in the story will be one where students felt that the use of technology enhanced their learning experience. I could easily see how technology could be viewed as an additional thing to worry about in a class. I would really like to integrate technology in the class in a way in which students don’t really recognize it…if that is possible. .

  5. I listened to Christina post. I got some input for new toys and will try Evernote and Diigo. As a response to the mentioned reference manager I started using papers 2 a while ago and can recommend that one. It has a easy to use interface to search for literature and directly imports pdf. It also provides a good in text citation.
    The second post I listened to was Ilene’s on creating a digital footprint. This made me think of reactivating an old blog and also thinking more of how to generate my own footprint better.

  6. I also learned about some new tools from Christina’s post. The Diigo tool will be especially helpful, I think. Generally when I cite anything, its the primary literature. However, when collecting epidemiological data on various cancers, this data is best found on various websites, so this is a nice tool for collecting those citations.

  7. I listened to Cristina Costa’s post. Even while I work in the technology area, I don’t often realize the power of the social media for communicating my own research, that may also benefit other researchers dealing with similar problems. I never thought of Twitter as a tool to network in research. I also believe that we need to think more of our research in terms of how it is/will help other people (not research/academia), something that I think it is overlooked in favor of ‘how this will benefit me’. I know that we are constrained in many ways and that first we need to secure our jobs/incomes, but it would be good to think in this perspective and how can we communicate this to the people.

  8. I also read Tim’s presentation. Indeed there is a huge difference when we slightly adapt our material to make it more fit for presentations. These changes are often as simple as making some fonts bold, and changing colors, and in others may require a bit more of processing of the material. But in the end we have slides that are self-contained, versus having slides whose text is almost unreadable. Adequate visualization is sometimes very challenging and needs to be adapted to the specific audience to whom a presentation is being given. I liked the points that Tim made in his slides.

  9. I listened to Michael’s sound clip and really appreciated what he shared about two aspects of technology helpful in assisting teaching and learning. I can’t agree more with his insights — Tech provides access to interpersonal interaction and adds variety to assignment. I’m really excited to discuss with my advisor this coming week on providing alternative for students to get access to the office hours. In addition to conventional in-person visit, I think it’s a great idea to have them use Skype or Google + or Talk to discuss their questions online, which can incredibly assist students in learning. Also, I would love to use multimedia to enrich the assignment for my future course to teach. Instead of transmitting material mostly in written format, audio clip allows me to explain more details in a limited time frame, which is more efficiently than written forms. In addition, I would be able to use speech characteristics, such as stress… to emphasize the key concepts and describe the expectation more vividly.

  10. Christina’s presentation on social media and research in digital world tweet my original thought about the dilemma between internet footprint/identity and privacy, which is the main reason to remain inactive in the online social network. But when I think about the power and efficiency of message transmission via the web I feel like getting active in social network is really important in promoting my research work to the public. She also shared about how useful developing a blog in aggregating others opinions and sharing personal reflection during the research period. I also appreciate that her generosity in sharing many technology tools in enriching the research support, such as Mendelay’s interest community…etc. I come up couples of to do things after having her presentation – creating my identity on to establish the reputation and creating a blog to share some of my thoughts about research. Oh, one issue I have with the active social network is the intellectual property. I think I might feel reluctant to update the blog because feel that someone may steal the ideas I share on blog. Ummm…

    • In listening to Cristina’s VoiceThread I keyed in on her promotion of social media as a means to develop a digital voice. Jocelyn, I share a lot of your feelings and reservations about social media. I have shied away from using them, perhaps a bit afraid of putting my voice out there and allowing myself to dismiss them as distractions or outlets for celebrities and professional athletes. However, this class has me coming around to the idea of using a blog, Twitter, or some other social media outlet as a networking and idea-sharing tool. What I’m still wrestling with is how much of myself do I reveal – too much and I feel I run the risk of turning off potential employers, but keeping things too dry may give the impression that I’m socially inept.

      • Just after posting this I realized Ilene and Cristina co-wrote a module on how to go about creating a digital footprint. After looking it over I have some ideas on how best to use social media to achieve my goals, but I’m still a bit wary on blurring the line between my social and professional lives.

  11. I gained a lot of valuable information from Christina’s presentation on different social media technologies that I am interested in trying out. One thing that kept coming up in my mind was the cultural implications of the increasing use of social media outlets for communication in personal, academic, and professional worlds. It is very possible for a person to sit on their computer for a day and not come into physical contact with a single person while both socializing and working. Will the loss of this personal contact have any effect on our culture and how other cultures view each other? A significant part of communication, both personal and professional, relies on non-verbal cues that would be difficult to pick up even on a video chat. And some cultures value face-to-face interactions more than others. For instance, a friend of mine is applying for jobs in Korea and has had to fly there multiple times in the last 2 months for interviews. I asked her why she couldn’t just Skype-in for the interviews and she told me that they would prefer seeing her in person and that taking the time to fly out highlights her commitment. Whereas, another friend of mine just got a job at a company on the east coast without ever having to meet the people he was working for face to face.
    Another challenge that I thought of with regard to researchers posting and blogging about their work was that many researchers, particularly in the science fields, are concerned with being “scooped” by other researchers. By blogging or posting about their unpublished work, they feel someone else might steal their ideas. Is there any way around this?
    Just some questions that don’t necessarily need direct answers but just something I was thinking about….

  12. I read Tim’s presentation. the initial slide of four molecules, which he improved by focusing on the important molecule was very striking. It is really easy to have too many images on a slide. Not only will the students lose focus, but I find it difficult to effectively explain the entire slide if I have too many images. I tend to either forgot important details or build up the information to quickly.

    I also listened to Michael’s presentation. It made me think about wanting to use technology as a tool for further active learning. Active learning does not need to be limited to the classroom and even in the classroom it can be used to help students connect with each other and the material.

  13. I really appreciate Cristina Costa’s presentation on Social Media (and) Research and Ilene’s presentation on digital footprints. I’d say I have a semi-randomized digital footprint in that I have a LinkedIn page and currently manage our research groups webpage and email newsletter. Similar to previous posts, I never realized the impact and benefit of actively creating my own digital presence. I think both presentations provided some very practical guidance for quickly creating a solid identity and reputation online with fairly minimal effort from me. I especially liked the explanation of personal styles (currently I consider myself as audience) because the thought of regularly posting my own blogs scares me! Now to come up with a unique handle… how many Andy Ericksons are there on the web?

    Meta moment: I appreciated the voice narration on both presentations. In both cases I was able to pause the recording and flip to word processing some notes and then flip back. I liked that I could back up and re-listen to something if I had multiple thoughts about something that was said. In lecture classes I sometimes find myself not being able to scribble (or type) my notes fast enough, missing something the professor said, and then trying to catch up to the thought process. For me, this really emphasizes the benefit of flipped classrooms.

  14. Regarding Tim Kamenar’s document on creating presentations:

    One graphic design convention for propper line length is called “an alphabet and a half.” Putting together a line of about 39 characters allows for easier reading than extremely long or short columns.

    I believe that people will be reading or listening, generally. If there is too much text, people might be reading it and miss what the presenter has to say. The images should supplement rather than repeat. Otherwise, the presenter should send out a text file.

  15. Re:Mindfully Creating Your Digital Footpring / Ilene Alexander & Cristina Costa

    I found this presentation helpful because I am concerned with maintaining both an online identity and privacy.

    I have posted things on HASTAC in the past, and use Twitter just for documenting process work and finished designs. I’d like to be more involved, however, because it seems like I should since I am studying interactive design. At the same time, I want my messages to be relevant and work-centered.

  16. I viewed Tim’s slides on cleaning up slides for presentations. Very good suggestions as to how to create slides that draw the viewer in and does not distract from the main point you as the presenter is trying to convey. I agree that busy slides often distracts from the main point. There are ways to provide a lot of information on slides without making it seem cluttered.

    I also listened to Cristina Costa’s Voicethread presentation about digital technology. This was a nice presentation that gave the viewer the ability to scroll at their own pace. The content reinforced a lot of advantages of using digital technology that was discussed in the previous class. When there were redundancies in the content I have to admit it was difficult not to skip over a couple of slides, which may be the biggest downfall of this type of presentation.

  17. I watched Cristina Costa’s presentation. Before watching this presentation I had a lot of reservations putting too much information on the net and that hasn’t changed much. I do see the benefit for your research and career using all these social media sites, but I value privacy even more. With that said, I do use some social media for collaboration. In particular I have used skype for meetings with colleagues and drop box for sharing large files with collaborators. I don’t think of drop box as “social media”, but it was mentioned in Cristina’s presentation. After watching the presentation I plan on checking out, and even using google docs for writing journal papers with my collaborators (assuming they are willing to give it a shot).
    Cristina really tries to push using blogs as a main presence. It sounds like a great way to share your work and get feedback from others in your field. However, like many other people, I worry about privacy and intellectual property. I am currently working on some very interesting and unique projects where I even watch what I disclose to my friends working in the same field. With these projects going on I wouldn’t use blogs, twitter or podcasting. I just don’t think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

  18. I really appreciated Michael’s snippet on the ability of technology to open up options – options in the timing of interactions and options in assignment type. I am a big fan of both convenience and variety and Michael’s soundbite highlighted how we as instructors can escape the rigidity and monotony of the classic teaching style through the use of any number of digital tools. Though I have not used any of the tools he mentioned, as I listened to his talk I really started thinking about how I could incorporate them into my class/assignment design.

  19. Great comments, all! Did some quick coding to find themes/threads and questions. From that, two things – a set of brief comments here for the questions wanting a quick response, and a short follow up blog post to dig a bit into the threads related to creating a digital footprint.

    Using technology tools to support informal / out-of-class learning: The Google Suite really is great for things like office hours that involve both conversation and working on papers, problems, other assignments. Whether from being able to set up a phone number to take messages, as Michael noted, or to working through a stuck spot in an assignment or sequence of lecture notes, or to meeting with an entire team as it plans for a classroom presentation.

    If you’re going to be using PDFs as a text book, consider introducing students to – and using yourself – something like Evernote or GoodReader as tech tools allowing both storage and annotation of articles alongside generation and storage of notes taken, for example, during a lecture. As you’ve noted about Diigo and Mendeley as helpful to your organizing, Evernote is often recommended to students as a tool for storing PDFs, slides, notes and other course materials.

    Finally, I want to recommend a two links with regards to visual and other accessible elements of slides, then one on accessibility:

    Garr Reynolds – author of Presentation Zen and other books on design with links to learning: Top Ten Slide Tips: Don’t just review this post, check also the “breadcrumb” links at the top right corner: Preparation Tips and Delivery Tips.

    Christina Petersen – my colleague and co-developer of ideas about Learning Presentations, created this blog post synthesizing several key slide design pieces in the sciences – and then we wrapped some additional resources into the recommendations:

    Teaching Inclusively Using Technology – You can review/work through short modules related to :
    Preparing Your Learning;
    Delivering Learning (Lecture / Classroom);
    Delivering Learning (Practical / Fieldwork / Placement)
    Delivering Learning (Online);
    Assessing Learning.
    And to move the ideas into practice, modules are set up with these specific focuses:
    Teaching Inclusively Using Technology (Generic version);
    HE in FE modules; [US translation: Higher Ed units in equivalent of community colleges]
    Economics modules;
    Information and Computer Sciences modules;
    Art, Design & Media modules;
    Physical Sciences modules.
    Nicely thoughtful and specific ideas as you move into using technology and setting it up from the start so that it will be accessible to a broad range of students.

    Okay, to that short post on digital identity. And, by the way, the Center’s blog will feature on Monday a post on designing with flipped / inverted teaching and learning in mind.

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