Open Access Course: Social Media & Open Education (Fall 2009)

I will be facilitating an open access graduate course this Fall titled EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education. I expect about 15-20 registered (for credit) students, but I am opening up the experience to all other interested not-for-credit participants. This will be the third time I have run the course, and it has been quite successful in the past. I have rethought a few pieces, and I am hoping that this offering will be the best yet.

The course wiki is available here: The “synchronous sessions” page is slowly being filled out as I work to schedule presenters and appropriate weekly topics. Additionally, I have set up a Google Form to gather information about those who would like to participate as not-for-credit students. Quite a few people have already signed up, and we’d love to have you participate as well!

Participation is quite flexible. This can mean simply joining in on the weekly synchronous sessions (these run every Tuesday from Sept 15/09 to December 08/09, 7 p.m. Saskatchewan time). You could also help inform our reading list by tagging relevant articles & media as ‘eci831readings‘. You could respond to the weekly lectures through your blog, or whatever media/site you choose, and tag these as ‘eci831responses‘. Or, you could comment on student blog posts (feed/links will be available after Sept 8) and expect other participants to engage you in your writing spaces. And, I am sure there are many other ways to participate, create, and collaborate that we have yet to discover.

If you have any questions about the course, feel free to contact me. And if you are interested, we would love you to join us in this upcoming, collaborative learning experience.

Behind Every Tweet: K12Online Presentation Teaser #2

My K12 Online Conference Presentation 2008 will be released one week from today. The conference has already started with Stephen Heppel’s Preconference Keynote and there are so many great presenters scheduled. To keep you interested, I thought I would release my second teaser. This one looks at the mystery behind every Tweet.

If you missed teaser #1, here it is. You may also be interested in the original teaser for my online graduate course.

I’ll link to my K12 Online Conference presentation when it goes up. Thanks for watching!

Get Unplugged

There has been some important discussion as of late about renegotiating relationships and our ties with social network tools and online spaces. For those of you still finding your way, here’s a cute video that may help.

This is part of a viral advertising campaign from The company’s strategy tagline is “use the Internet to get off the Internet.” Check out the “get your friends unplugged” page, where you can send your friends a reminder to get offline. Yes, it’s viral marketing so as always, carefully critique the sender and the message.

Go outside!

Sarah Haskins Targets Advertising to Women

Adfreak featured a piece on Sarah Haskins today who has been putting together some really neat literacy pieces related to advertising targeting women. Take a look at some of the “Target: Women” series on Current. I have posted links below.

Birth Control:

Yogurt Edition:

Weddings Shows:

Chick Flicks

I like Haskin’s approach to media literacy. While I don’t find it very deep (nor think that’s her intention), she identifies key issues and does it in a humourous way. The technique is key. And, if you are looking for something to critique with your students, here is my growing list of videos for discussing media representation.

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JC Penny Mocked in Viral Ad

From the Wall Street Journal:

J.C. Penney Co. execs are blaming the company’s ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, for a fake ad that debuted at Cannes and is now on YouTube in which the retailer appears to be endorsing teen sex. The purported ad shows two teenagers in their own bedrooms stripping down to their underwear and then timing themselves as they race to put on their clothes. All this is done in preparation for the boy and girl to hang out in her basement while her mother is upstairs. The video, called “Speed Dressing,” ends with the teens heading down to the basement as the words “Today’s the day to get away with it” flash on the screen, echoing Penney’s use of the phrase “Today’s the day to…” in a series of ads it launched last year. Penney’s logo and “Every Day Matters” slogan then appear on the screen.

Daily Brand Timeline Portrait

I just came across “Jane’s Brand-timeline Portrait“, a visualization of the brand names that one is exposed to each day.

Jane's Brand Timeline Portrait

All that talk about brand perception got me thinking about how brands affect our daily lives. Have you ever thought about how many brands you use in a typical day? Well I did and created a visual representation of my Typical Friday in Brands. I have to admit that I was pretty surprised at how at how big this thing got once I started working on it. I am also surprised at how much this reveals about me …

Creating similar brand portraits through a classroom assignment could help students gain deep and meaningful understanding of the marketing forces around them, even those students who perceive themselves as impervious to the effects of advertising.

As a compliment or reinforcement to this activity, I would recommend this video from Derren Brown that demonstrates the power of subliminal advertising.

Note: I am always skeptical of videos like this, and I haven’t looked to how accurately this experience was portrayed, but believe the basic concepts are sound.

Microsoft Moves to Limit ULPCs

Microsoft has launched a campaign to promote the use of Windows OS in ultra low-cost PC notebooks. However, the company is asking hardware manufacturers to limit the hardware capabilities of these machines as to avoid cannibalizing sales of higher-end notebook computers.

Microsoft plans to offer PC makers steep discounts on Windows XP Home Edition to encourage them to use that OS instead of Linux on ultra low-cost PCs (ULPCs). To be eligible, however, the PC vendors that make ULPCs must limit screen sizes to 10.2 inches and hard drives to 80G bytes, and they cannot offer touch-screen PCs.

has found a niche in this market, as it has been available on the XO, the Eee, and others. ULPCs have great potential to solve problems around access and affordability to technology in the classroom. It’s unfortunate that the true potential of computers like this will not be realized due to manipulation of the marketplace by companies like Microsoft.

Drug Deal? – Google Maps Streetview

This is almost too crazy to be real, but the link to Google Maps is authentic. points to this very focused view in Google streetview in Chicago.

The zoom/street view on Google Maps is crazy, here’s another great find – in Chicago of a car break in . Yes, this is real.

Google Streetview theft

Now I can’t tell exactly what this individual is doing. NotCot reports a car theft, but I do not see verification of that anywhere else. For all I can tell, it could be two people trading baseball cards.

Google Maps, amazing, but still more than a bit scary. See also “Top 15 Google Street View Sightings“.