Huike Thinking. This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.




It is that time.

It is time to reflect on what you have done over the past nine weeks. If you have missed a topic, don’t worry. You can catch up by finding all our topic posts here.

Here are some readings to get your juices flowing:


This week you need to complete your reflective blog post on your experiences over the last several weeks. You can write your reflective blog post however you would like, but here are some questions to get you started:

  • How have you managed to complete the tasks, and what were some of the challenges you faced?
  • How have you enjoyed (or not enjoyed) the ‘sharing’ experience?
  • Is there someone you have met or learned about through this learning experience that you feel will continue to follow, or who has inspired you?
  • Did you learn something completely new?
  • What concept or idea has been introduced to you that was a surprise?
  • What is one thing you have learned that you will utilise into the future, and why?
  • Which was your favourite blog post, and why?

On completion of your reflective blog post, you will be recognised as having completed the program. If you like, you can find out how everyone else found the experience by viewing participant blogs here.

Thank you to all our contributors, organisers, and supporters. Congratulations everyone!

Research profiles ( / ResearchGate)

640px-Humanités_NumériquesArticle by Professor Peter Albion

Humanités Numériques, by Calvinius CC BY-SA 3.0





My brief for the USQ 23 Things project is to write a short (200 to 400 words – but who is counting, I’ll easily exceed that) post about ResearchGate and with focus on their applications in Higher Education (particularly teaching and learning). I’m interpreting my brief as dealing with online things that might profile and promote my research outputs.

I’ll begin with some general thoughts on the topic, comment on those specific sites, and then refer to other sites with what I consider to be related purposes. Finally, I’ll look at some more ‘out there’ alternatives and suggest some things to try.

Research & visibility

It might be true that in research, as in politics, there is no such thing as bad publicity. At least it seems that recognition for researchers, individually or institutionally, is tied to reputation which is often linked to relative visibility of publications.

USQ Publications Prizes go to authors who publish in journals with the highest rankings which are determined using citation rates. Success with grant applications is similarly tied to track record which is linked to previous success including publications. Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) uses metrics such as citation counts that depend upon research being found by others and their acknowledging that.

The things in my brief

Anything that makes research outputs more visible seems likely to benefit the researcher and institution. Sites like ResearchGate and have been developed to play to that need to be seen but they are not the only players. However, they are my assigned subject so I’ll begin there.


I forget when and how I heard about ResearchGate but I joined it a good while ago, probably not long after it launched in 2008. I won’t attempt to describe it or its history. You can check the Wikipedia article for that.

Although it is described as “Facebook for scientists and researchers” and might function that way once you sign up, it is not very useful for promoting research to non-members. Even if you manage to find the minuscule link to a list of profiles hidden at the foot of the page you cannot see them without signing up (which you can do using Facebook). Visibility on ResearchGate seems to be restricted to the in crowd.

Once signed up you are able to use a selection of automated searches to create a profile on ResearchGate that will list your publications. Thereafter ResearchGate will, from time to time, encourage you to upload full text copies regardless of whether you have the necessary rights. I’ve declined to do that because I don’t have the relevant rights for all publications and I don’t have time to do it. I’d be happy to include links to the copies in USQ ePrints but that is not an option at present. Some of my publications are there because co-authors may be less concerned about copyright and/or blessed with more time than I have to upload copies.

From time to time I do get messages from ResearchGate users requesting copies of papers. Typically I respond with a link to the paper in USQ ePrints. That’s easier for me, exposes more of my work in ePrints, and promotes USQ.

ResearchGate also has some arcane measures of reputation, the RG Score “based on how other researchers interact with your content” and impact points derived by some mechanism that remains mysterious. It’s not clear to me how they work and some comparisons seem out of kilter with my personal impressions.

My biggest beef with ResearchGate is its constant carping about uploading full text. Just let me link to USQ ePrints.

Like ResearchGate, launched in 2008. You can read its history in the Wikipedia article. I probably signed up to at about the same time as I joined ResearchGate.

I tend not to bother with it much, though it regularly sends email messages to inform me that somebody searched for me on Google and found my page on In that respect at least it is doing its job and helping to make my work visible. My record there has a long list of papers that I must have provided at some point but I forget when or how. I expect it had some method for automating ingestion.

As with ResearchGate, would like me to upload full text but I’m not prepared to risk copyright infringement or donate the necessary time. Anything I’ve published can be found via USQ ePrints. At least my profile on, unlike that on ResearchGate, is accessible without signing up to the service. That makes it potentially more useful for promoting my research if only I could be bothered to keep it up to date. Like ResearchGate, has made efforts to court institutional support by grouping researchers according to institutional affiliation and sections within that.

Value for (no) money?

Am I skeptical about ResearchGate and Yes. Is it worth signing up? Probably.

To the extent that either site makes my work more visible that’s a potential benefit and requires little effort on my part beyond signing up (for free) and building an initial list of publications, possibly using a file exported from EndNote or some other easy process.

Other research profiles

Beyond those two sites, I have others where my research can be found by those who may be interested.

Sites based on Google Scholar

Probably the simplest to establish is a Google Scholar profile. Like the others that’s existed for a while and I’ve forgotten just how I created it but there was little or no effort required.

Another site that uses Google Scholar to source its data is Scholarometer, which provides an extension for the Firefox and Chrome browsers to search Google Scholar and return a list of publications by author with citation indices. Anybody can search Scholarometer for citations of any author. Those data can be checked and are stored so that any visitor can retrieve my citation statistics and/or explore rankings of, and links among, researchers in a field.

USQ opportunities

USQ offers no fewer than three opportunities to showcase my research.

The staff directory entry provides a space to list three most recent research outcomes. Unfortunately that requires me to manually enter the details and will not accept HTML so I cannot link to a more easily maintained list.

USQ ePrints would seem to be the obvious solution since my publications are already listed there and a recent update has unified the lists associated with name variations. If only I could link to there from the directory entry :-(

The USQ eportfolio based on Mahara supports a direct feed (via RSS) from ePrints that can be displayed in a profile page but seems to behave strangely with regard to what it selects for display.

There’s more…

Mendeley was developed as a free alternative to reference managers like EndNote and can exchange records with such software. It works using a downloadable application and on the website where it is possible to build a personal profile and establish groups. In 2013 Mendeley joined Elsevier but the website is still functional and can be useful.

Researcher identities

One of the challenges with any of these systems, including USQ ePrints, has been disambiguating names. Common names present potential for confusion among researchers with the same or similar names. Publications vary in their policies about using names and/or one or more initials so that my name may appear variously as Peter Albion, Peter R Albion, P Albion or P R Albion. Some researchers change their names. The obvious solution is a unique identifier for a researcher but who should issue and/or manage such IDs?

Google (Scholar) has created a code for each researcher who has established (or claimed) their profile. Scholarometer recognises the Google Scholar ID and supports searches using it but also has its own internal identifier.

Thomson Reuters has established ResearcherID which supports creation of a researcher profile that is publicly visible and can be searched by name.

ORCID describes itself as an “open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique research identifiers and a transparent method of lining research activities and outputs to these identifiers.” ORCID also supports a public profile and recognises IDs from at least ResearcherID and Scopus if you chose to link those.

What’s a researcher to do?

With all these options for profiling research which should we be using? As I suggested at the top, there is probably no such thing as bad publicity for research so use as many of those that seem to work for you as you can bear to deal with. Some are easier than others. Some, like USQ ePrints, are institutional requirements and should go to top of the list.

Doing your own thing

Of course there are more alternatives. There is a growing meme that favours reclaiming and managing our own online identities.

Google, Facebook and other commercial entities that offer ‘free’ services do so in order to turn a profit from our data. It’s true that if you are not paying for some online service it’s because you are the product being sold.

University of Mary Washington has been promoting a project, A Domain of One’s Own, to encourage students and staff to create their own web presence and EDUCAUSE has recently published a piece about Reclaiming Innovation.

It’s in that spirit that, when USQ closed out access to web space for staff personal pages a couple of years ago, I registered a domain and established my own presence at That site is still under-developed but I hope to find time to refresh it soon. I’ve done some work to build my publications list by pulling data from ePrints but that needs more work to automate it fully.

Things for you to try

This has run far beyond 200 to 400 words and I’ve yet to suggest things you might do to explore this area. Here are some suggestions you might try, depending on your interests.

  • Try searching for researchers you know about in one or more of the services. Do they have profiles and, if so, how well do they match what you know?
  • If you search for the same researcher(s) using a simple Google search which of the profiles show up and in what order?
  • Create a personal profile on one or more of the sites discussed above. How easy is it?
  • Explore the Scholarometer Explore facility. What can you find out about relative rankings of researchers in fields of interest or about the networks to which they are linked?
  • Register your own domain and claim your own identity on the web.


Getting Connected! by Ron Pauley, Liaison Librarian


Image LinkedIn by Esther Vargas Licensed (CC BY-SA 2.0)





What is LinkedIn?

This short 2 minute video sums it all up!


LinkedIn – Some Background

Conceived in 2002 as a way to help professionals find and keep in touch with each other, LinkedIn created a space to display resumes online, and promote one’s skills – a platform ideal for job seekers and head hunters alike. In this respect, LinkedIn has indeed become the recruitment tool of choice; “94% of recruiters who use social media use LinkedIn.” John Zappe LinkedIn Dominates Social Media Sourcing and Recruiting

Had LinkedIn remained simply an online job matching service, it is questionable that we would be reviewing it as part of the USQ 23Things project.

Jeff Weiner’s appointment as CEO in 2009 however, saw the transformation of LinkedIn from a job hunting site, into a professional “development” site, fully utilising its social media platform to inform, influence, and educate, demonstrably bringing new life, and increasing membership of 32 million in 2009 ( ) to over 300 million worldwide (6 million in Australia) by mid-2014 (


Academic Applications

It is the specific benefits and features created for academics, students, and educational institutions which attract our attention today. Academic advantages include improved facilitation to: connect to fellow researchers, find and reach people you need to build a broader network of professionals, establish collaborative relationships and projects, acquire and share expertise.


It could be said we are just beginning to glimpse the potential value of LinkedIn to the academic community. For example;

  • “As an academic whose primary focus is the education of undergraduates (as opposed to living a publish-or-perish life), I use LinkedIn as a tool for keeping track of graduates, making contact with professionals whose expertise could enrich our educational programs (e.g., through guest lectures in courses or seminar series), and helping current and former students network professionally.” Jason Miller Quora Blog:Do academics find value in using Linkedin? Why or why not?
  • The Influencer’s program initially launched in 2012, is expanding its publishing platform in 2014 to allow you to publish original content on LinkedIn’s platform, and thus push your content out to your network immediately, very helpful if you wish to attract attention and expand your reach. John Bonini How LinkedIn Got Cool & Became Your Most Powerful Distribution Channel


Student Benefits

Students can also benefit from engagement with LinkedIn to network with other students, promote their skills and specialisations prior to graduation, find a career mentor, and connect with major employers globally.


Employer Benefits

LinkedIn has become a tool of powerful influence, not to be overlooked by employers.

  • “When someone looks at a profile of one of your employees, it not only speaks to their personal brand, but to your company brand as well. If you help your staff build stellar, compelling profiles and show them how to engage and stay connected to their brand community, you’re sending a message about your company brand to everyone who visits their pages or interacts with them. This is valuable to clients, potential customers, business partners and existing and future employees. It supports competitive advantage. Through the collective profiles of your employees, people can see the talent and specific skills of your people.” William Arruda Why Every Employee At Your Company Should Use LinkedIn



The true value of LinkedIn is in the engagement, so let’s get connected.

Join or Sign In


Create a basic profile to get started. Once you are a member of Linkedin you will find yourself prompted to develop your profile; you can take your time with this, but for now at least, complete your name (and upload a profile photograph – remember, this is a professional site), and your current job description at USQ. You will notice the USQ Logo appear.


Connections. There are differing opinions on the benefits of connecting with only known colleagues or making new connections to expand your knowledge and collaboration base. For now, search for a colleague, or a past associate you wish to re-establish contact with, and invite them to connect with you.

  • “Personalize each connection request with a reminder of how the person knows you or explain why they should connect with you, and you’ll find they’re far more likely to accept.”   Melanie Dodaro 6 Ways to Grow Your LinkedIn Connections
  • “… keys to networking for academics on LinkedIn: how to find and sustain a professional relationship with colleagues and experts in your field, get others to Endorse and Recommend you in the right ways, and connect LinkedIn to the rest of your professional life.” Stacy Konkiel How to become an academic networking pro on LinkedIn


Groups. LinkedIn provides the platform and features to start your own group, or join up to 50 of the existing groups. You are not limited to joining groups in your own profession; you may wish to join in conversations beyond your usual network.

Search for groups in a field of interest to you, choose at least one and join to explore the features of group function as well as participate in conversation. You can withdraw from a group at any time. Stuck for ideas – you might like to consider: Innovative Learning & Education Innovators, Higher Education Teaching & Learning, TechinEDU, eLearning Global Network, Australian Higher Education, Future of Learning, or perhaps the newly formed local group Toowoomba Queensland Community.


Influencers and the Pulse. LinkedIn engages with a wide range of industry Influencers. Feeds of their short articles will automatically come to you through the Pulse (Similar to the Facebook News-feed).


A Final Word

LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner shares his vision for the future of LinkedIn, and how LinkedIn job market analytics may one day directly inform educational institutions on program and course development.

Wayne Breitbarth Power Formula Blog: Excerpts of the Weiner interview

Copyright and Licensing



Horia Varlan, Large copyright sign made of jigsaw puzzle pieces , used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0



Tackling the Copyright Puzzle, by Tahnee Pearse

Copyright – What is it?

  • In Australia, copyright is governed by the Copyright Act 1968 and applies automatically on the creation of a work.
  • It protects the rights of the creator.

It gives the owners exclusive rights to :

  • Reproduce the work
  • Publish the work
  • Perform the work in public
  • Communicate the work to the public
  • Make, reproduce, publish, perform or communicate an adaptation of the work.

The Copyright Act also includes a section on the moral rights of the creator of a work which seeks to ensure the creator is attributed and the integrity of their work is maintained.

The Digital Challenge

“The internet has profoundly changed the way we access, share and create content. It enables widespread access to knowledge, new opportunities for community participation and fosters digital innovation.” (Australian Digital Alliance 2013, Righting the Copyright imbalance, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0).

“The digital age has presented many and diverse challenges for copyright law. The rapid uptake of digital, networked technologies led to widespread online distribution of content, as well as the emergence of new practices and technologies that enabled digital content to be shared, reused and remixed on an unprecedented scale.

But while technology provided the capacity for sharing and reuse of content to occur on a vast scale, legal restrictions on the use of copyright material hampered its negotiability in the digital environment”. (Fitzgerald & Hooper 2013, ‘Explainer – Creative Commons’, The Conversation, used under a Creative Commons Attribution – No Derivatives 4.0).

Getting the right blend …

To assist with understanding this digital challenge, at USQ we have started describing resource use for learning and teaching in terms of a blend because we recognise that the resources that are used are not sourced from one location. For example, resources may be found on the Internet, in hard copy in the Library or accessed via a subscription database.

Thus when creating learning and teaching materials we blend different resources that are covered by different copyrights or licenses. This approach enables educators to enhance the teaching and learning experience by making informed decisions regarding the use of resources within moral rights and copyrights.

Making an informed decision

There are three key questions we recommend you ask when deciding whether to use a resource in online teaching and learning materials –

  1. What is it?
  2. What was the original format?
  3. How do I wish to use the resource?

The Copyright Matrix

At USQ we have developed a Copyright Matrix, based on these questions, to assist you in making decisions about when or when not to use a resource in a certain way.

The Matrix takes into account the impact of the following copyright or licensing allowances –
Copyright Act 1968
• Subscription Licenses (For a listing see the USQ eResources guide)
• Other Licenses eg. APRA/AMCOS licenses
• Open Access Licenses

Open Access Licenses

Open Access Licenses are applied by copyright owners of a work in addition to the copyright that already exists in the work (Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald 2004).

UNESCO has defined Open Educational Resources (OERs) as “teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution” (UNESCO 2012).

There are a number of licenses, however the most widespread used for licensing OERs is Creative Commons (Bissell 2009, p. 103). In this environment, users and creators of OERs require a working knowledge of Creative Commons licensing.

There are six main licenses, made up of a mix of four elements.

The four elements are –

Attribution (BY) BY – This applies to every Creative Commons work. Whenever a work is copied or redistributed under a Creative Commons license, the original creator (and any other nominated parties) must be credited and the source linked to.

NCNon-Commericial (NC) – Lets others copy, distribute, display and perform the work for non-commercial purposes only.


NDNo Derivatives (ND) – Lets others distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work. They may not adapt or change the work in any way


SA Share Alike (SA) – Allows others to remix, adapt and build on the work, but only if they distribute the derivative works under the same the licence terms that govern the original work.


The six main licences are :

Attribution (CC BY) cc by

This licence allows users to distribute, remix and build upon a work, and create Derivative Works – even for commercial use – provided they credit the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties). This is the most accommodating of the licences in terms of what others can do with the work.

cc by saAttribution – Share Alike (CC BY-SA)

This license allows users to distribute, remix and build upon the work, and create Derivative Works – even for commercial purposes – as long as they credit the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties) and license any new creations based on the work under the same terms. All new Derivative Works will carry the same license, so will also allow commercial use.

cc by ndAttribution – No Derivatives (CC BY-ND)

This license allows others to distribute the work, even for commercial purposes, as long as the work is unchanged, and the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties) are credited.

cc ncAttribution – Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC)

This license lets others distribute, remix and build upon the work, but only if it is for non-commercial purposes and they credit the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties). They don’t have to license their Derivative Works on the same terms.

cc by nc saAttribution – Non-Commercial – Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA)

This license lets others distribute, remix and build upon the work, but only if it is for non-commercial purposes, they credit the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties) and they license their derivative works under the same terms.

cc by nc ndAttribution – Non-Commercial – No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)

This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, allowing redistribution of the work in its current form only. This license is often called the ‘free advertising’ license because it allows others to download and share the work as long as they credit the original creator/s (and any other nominated parties), they don’t change the material in any way and they don’t use it commercially.

(Creative Commons Australia, 2014, About the Licenses, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

For more information about Creative Commons Licenses, see this article by Anne Fitzgerald and Neale Hooper – Explainer: Creative Commons, The Conversation and the Creative Commons Australia factsheet entitled, About the Licences.

Finding resources with Open Access Licenses

For a list of websites from which to launch a search for open access licensed items access this site.
A good place to start is the Creative Commons Search page.


As you can see in all of the above Creative Commons licenses, it is essential you attribute the resource that is being used.

The key elements to include in an attribution are – the creator, title of the work, the website address where the work is hosted, the type of license it is available under and the website address of the license. See the Copyright puzzle image at the start of this post for a good example.
To learn how to do this, access the Creative Commons Australia Attribution Fact Sheet or view the video by Adrian Stagg, eLearning Designer at USQ entitled, How do I Attribute Creative Commons Licensed Material?

Need further help?

This blog post focusses on copyright and learning and teaching. If you require further information regarding Copyright and Research, please access this site or contact your Copyright Information Officer.

Now it’s time for you to have a go!

1. Search for an image using the Creative Commons Search.
2. Post and Attribute the image correctly on your Blog/Facebook/Twitter account.


Australian Digital Alliance 2013, Righting the Copyright imbalance, Australian Digital Alliance, Canberra, viewed 7 July 2014, .

Bissell, A.N. 2009, ‘Permission granted: open licensing for educational resources’, Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 97-106.

Creative Commons Australia, 2014, About the Licences, Creative Commons, Brisbane, viewed 7 July 2014,

Fitzgerald, A. & Fitzgerald, B. 2004, Intellectual Property in Principle, Thomson Lawbook Co., Pyrmont, New South Wales.

Fitzgerald, A. & Hooper, N. 2013, ‘Explainer – Creative Commons’, The Conversation, 19 December, viewed 7 July 2014,

UNESCO 2012, Communication and Information – Open Educational Resources, UNESCO, Paris, viewed 7 July 2014,



Video – It is worth a thousand words, by Bec McSwiney

Did you know that Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world [1]? Yes you read that correctly…search engine. This means that people are preferring to “Youtube it” than to “Google it”. The reasons for this include our visual learners can listen and view what to do. You can pause and even view video on your phone.

The power of video has taken the world by storm and as more video is created…more is expected. I like the common social media term of “feeding the hungry beast”, as it supports the data of video consumption [2] and ease of access to video. With social media sites like Instagram you can produce 15 seconds of video and Vine with 6 seconds from your smart phone.

Video allows people/organisations to convey more emotion, passion and to be honest, it is more visually appealing. Why not try to create a feeling in a classroom through a discussion when you can execute this with a 45 second video? Forrester Research has shown that 1 minute of video is equivalent to 1000 words [3,4].

Let me prove my point. I could tell you a story about the fact there is this amazing technological device called the iPhone that will impact upon your life etc etc…or I could show you this video
Which did you prefer? Some of you will prefer my story but the majority of you would have found the video much more engaging.


How to get involved:

This data and societal trends are all well and good to have general knowledge about, but how do you utilise this information, contribute to the video boom and sift through the 100 hours of video that is posted to Youtube every minute [5]?
You don’t need a fancy television studio, tricky software or even a webcam. Most smart phones these days have a video inbuilt to your camera, allowing you to edit this on the comfort of your office or even couch at home. There are many free video software available online.

It is important to look at your search terms in providing a number of keywords, looking at the related videos on the right hand column and finding sources of quality.
Anyone with an email can sign up to create a video account. If you have a Gmail account, you are already provided with a Youtube account. The user interface will step you through. When feeling stuck…Youtube it.


Bec’s Tips:

  • Quality over quantity. With so much video, you want to make sure that the information that you are providing is quality. If you have a lot to say, why not break each key point into a separate video?
  • Keep your message simple and to the point. No one has time for rambling. If you don’t get their attention early users will switch off and continue searching.
  • Try practicing keeping to a minute timeframe. Place a timer
  • Practice makes perfect. Record yourself and play it back. You will pick up on ummmms and mannerisms that you might not be aware of.
  • You don’t need to introduce yourself in your video. There are captions underneath a video when you upload it and you can provide relevant links there.
  • Review your analytics. You will be able to see a retention rate, providing feedback of how long people are watching your video, where your viewers are coming form and so much more.
  • Subscribe to users of video that you find helpful. It will alert you of new content that you might be interested in. Looking for where to start, why not try TEDx or USQ?


Embedding video:

For those of you who are keen to now starting to embed video in presentations, I could explain how to do this with a diagram but why not keep in the spirit of video and watch the how to guides below:


Let’s share!

I would love for you to share the Youtube (or Vimeo) URL of a video that you have recently found and the reasons for why you like it.
This link might provide you with some inspiration as it shares the top ten videos of 2013 and also some pretty impressive statistics.

To kick start the conversation here is one of my favourite videos: Having played a lot of sport as a child, I felt instantly connected with the video and despite that there was very little audio the visual power continues to leave me with goosebumps. It was so popular that in fact they released a winter Olympic version:




Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy and Confidentiality, by Tim McCallum
Time required: ~30 minutes
Number of tasks: 2
Number of quizzes: 2


Privacy and confidentiality is a space of great controversy, in fact I would be hard pressed to write a fiction novel nearly as exciting as the real events which have transpired, in this space, over the last few years.

“In 2013 Edward Snowden leaked thousands of classified American National Security Agency documents, sparking a global conversation about citizens’ rights to privacy on the Internet.” (Snowden, 2014)

Earlier this year, Snowden, in exile, gave a TED Talk from a remote location in Russia, via a telepresence robot, which he controlled from his Laptop. During the interview Edward was told “Some people are furious with you. Dick Cheney, for instance, described Julian Assange [1] as a fleabite, and said you are the lion that bit the head off the dog.” (Snowden, 2014)

[1] Julian Assange – best known as the editor-in-chief of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks


Tim Berners-Lee (Inventor of the World Wide Web) with Edward Snowden  at TED. Image taken by Steve Jurvetson CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons.



During his Ted talk Snowden said “The biggest thing that an Internet company in America can do today, right now, without consulting with lawyers, to protect the rights of users worldwide, is to enable SSL web encryption on every page you visit” (Snowden, 2014)

We will look at SSL as well as a recent worldwide initiative to implement SSL called “Reset The Net” shortly.

Part 1


“The state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs: the right to privacy; There is so much information about us online that personal privacy may be a thing of the past” (, 2014)


“Having another’s trust or confidence; entrusted with secrets or private affairs”  (, 2014)


In the context of privacy, metadata relates to information about connections; instances of contact between different parties using technologies such as email, voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) and online messenger applications.


Content is the information in the body of the communication. Examples of content include voice, text, data files, videos and images.

Images are particularly interesting as they are now searchable and discoverable on the web.






This image was originally posted to Flickr by Paul Fraser Bird at It was reviewed on 4 February 2013 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.



It is a good idea to check the privacy settings on images which you post to social media sites such as Facebook.

Facebook photo privacy

Facebook provides information about editing privacy settings for photo albums

Facebook video privacy

Facebook also provides information about  video privacy

Part 2 – SSL

Earlier in the introduction we mentioned SSL, let’s take a closer look at it.


Watch the following videos (time required ~ 4 minutes)

Khan Academy video “intro to cryptography encryption” (1:31)

GlobalSign Inc video “What is SSL” (2:15)

[slickquiz id=4]

Reset The Net

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Derek Slater – Google’s Global Policy Manager which gave me a new perspective on privacy, copyright and emerging technologies. I was recently introduced to “Reset The Net” after following a link in an email from Derek.

I have since learned that “Google is upping its efforts … in the wake of last year’s widespread government surveillance revelations by adding encryption to its search engine … Chinese users are already benefitting from the privacy technology … searching for terms in China like … “Tiananmen Square” will no longer attract the attention of the strict government censors monitoring the internet … A recent report from the Washington Post revealed that Google will in future encrypt all searches by default, meaning intelligence agencies like the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British equivalent Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) will be met with indecipherable code when monitoring the search engine.” (Cuthbertson, 2014)

Protect Yourself – “The Reset The Net” initiative

Reset The Net has provided a pack which contains information and products for Mac, Windows, GNU/Linux and Phone platforms

The Reset The Net pack also provides information about securing your passwords and adding a second layer of protection using 2-factor authentication. I believe that Google was one of the first companies to introduce 2 factor authentication, the advanced sign in security post on Google’s official blog explains this concept well. Other companies currently using 2 factor authentication include Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Dropbox.

Take a good look at the Reset The Net  – Protect Youself Pack and have a go at the following Quiz

[slickquiz id=3]


Google has begun removing some search results to comply with a European Union ruling. This is a new process and Google processes each request individually. The court set out broad criteria for Google to remove links to information saying that a balance had to be struck between privacy and the public interest when it came to public figures. (ABC News, 2014)

In closing, it is a good idea not to post anything to the internet that you don’t wish to make public. There is the potential for anything on-line to become public. All impressive hacking and espionage aside, issues may arise from something as simple as a close friend (who is able to see your facebook images) innocently downloading and posting your image elsewhere on the web. You never know when you will need your privacy.

As time is precious, I have tried to keep this lesson under the 30 minute mark. If you would like to know more, please ask as many questions as you like in the comments section below.


Snowden, E. (2014). Edward Snowden | Speaker | [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Jun. 2014].
Snowden, E. (2014). Here’s how we take back the Internet. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Jun. 2014]., (2014). the definition of privacy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jun. 2014], (2014). the definition of confidentiality. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Jun. 2014]
Cuthbertson, A. (2014). Google Begins Encrypting Search in Reaction to Government Surveillance. [online] International Business Times UK. Available at: [Accessed 26 Jun. 2014].
ABC News, (2014). Google begins removing outdated person search results. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Jun. 2014].



Facebook is your Friend, by Tegan Darnell, Librarian


“facebook like thumb” is an image of simple geometry is ineligible for copyright and therefore in the public domain, because it consists entirely of information that is common property and contains no original authorship.


Why Facebook?

Love it or hate it, facebook is a fact of life. It is the largest social networking platform in the world with over 1 billion active users and 70 languages supported.

According to Statistic Brain , over 28% of people aged 18-34 check facebook before they even get out of bed in the morning. I admit, I am one of them…

How can I possibly use it professionally?

Facebook is designed for socialising, but it has a number of features which make it ideal for use for professional purposes such as:

1. Professional networking

I am a member of a number of groups on my ‘professional’ facebook account that I would never otherwise get to join in a formal capacity. Via facebook I have access to, and gain an  intimate insight into: ALA (American Library Association) Think Tank, Library Aware Lab, Facebook for Educators

2. Keeping track of blogs, news, and organisations

Among the pages I follow are WIRED, ADFI, CSIRO, Creative Commons, and the University of Southern Queensland. That’s before I even start to mention the University Libraries from around Australia and the world.

3. Groups

Facebook gives you the ability to easily create and manage groups, with a variety of security and privacy settings.

Groups allow you to share documents and files among members, survey members, create group events, and discuss specific topics and issues. They function smoothly for teaching or as discussion forums.

You can set groups as Open (Anyone can see the group, who’s in it, and what members post), Closed (Anyone can see the group and who’s in it. Only members see posts.) and Secret (Only members see the group, who’s in it, and what members post.) as well as separately setting how people can join the group or who can approve members.

4. Create your own Pages

You can set up a professional page, with CV like details, or a page for a service, division or business.

For demonstration purposes only, I have set up my own page here

Some other awesome examples of pages are: University of Queensland Library, USQ Early Childhood Education Lecturer Alice Brown and Edutech Australia

What do I do this week?

1. Set up a facebook account

Many people will already have a facebook account, but if you don’t, or would like to create a new one for the purposes of 23 Things (make sure you are logged out), facebook make it really easy on their homepage:

click on "sign up"

click on “sign up”





You will be asked for your details, and will have to create a password.

signup info








If you are setting up a second, or third, facebook account, you just need to sign up with an email address you have not previously used. Technically, you can have as many facebook identities as you have email addresses.

2. Make Friends!

Friend me, and some of the other 23 Things participants. You can search for people in facebook by entering a name in the search box in the top ribbon of any facebook page:

Search FB



3. Join a group

There is a USQ 23 Things pilot group, which is moderated, so will need to request membership.  Have a play and see if you can find any other groups which appeal to you on a professional level.

If you have already done all three of these things… try and create a group or a page, or experiment with your profile settings.

4. Read the article

You will have to join the 23 Things group for the link…

If you write about your experiences on your blog, you can share your blog post on Facebook or Twitter. Also, you are encouraged to comment and share your Facebook url below.


 Joining the Twitterati, by Carmel O’Sullivan, Librarian

twitter buttons in nest

Twitter Buttons at OSCON by Garrett Heath (CC BY 2.0)





What is Twitter?

Uses of Twitter in the working world

Why should USQ academics use Twitter?

How to get started on Twitter

Task for this week

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a short messaging service showing real time updates (tweets) that are up to 140 characters long. It’s the home of hashtags, celebrity tweets, news, trends, Q&A commentary, and serious academic discussion. We’re most interested in the serious academic discussion.

For the uninitiated, this video from Common Craft explains how Twitter works – in particular the Twitter search facility.

Uses of Twitter in the working world

Twitter is becoming an essential journalist’s tool as it can track real time reactions to, or observations of, breaking news.

With more than 500 million Tweets sent every day in 35 languages, Twitter is also used for marketing and social research, as by to analyse consumer sentiment. Politicians, sporting clubs and celebrities use “town hall” style sessions where they answer questions from the public live via Twitter.

Why should USQ academics use Twitter?

Academics commonly use Twitter to engage in a conversation with colleagues and the general public about their research interests and more. Twitter is most useful as a two way conversation, rather than a place to just post your latest papers. @davidmpyle’s advice is to use Twitter for informed opinion, news, links to new content, and collegiality. Other advice from academic tweeters is to tweet frequently about your research projects and your life, to posts links, be willing to engage with other users, and not get too political/dramatic.

The point of academic tweeting is to be a generous member of an online community. Give to the community by sharing and commenting on current events and research. Show your own personality. By all means tweet references to your own work, but make sure it’s a small part of what you contribute on Twitter. By using Twitter well, you can build a network of potential collaborators, and perhaps even crowd-source information for your teaching or research.

@mrkempnz is a primary school teacher who is using Twitter in the classroom and taking advantage of his large personal learning network to enrich the classroom experience.

This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education outlines Ten “Commandments” of Twitter for academics.

How to get started on Twitter

Step 1 : Create a Twitter account

Go to to set up your account.

My key recommendations are –

  • Use your real name
  • Use a short, easy to spell twitter handle (the @something that shows up next to your tweets)
  • Add an informative biography mentioning your research interests and University
  • Upload a photo – don’t leave the egg head as your avatar!
  • Upload a header photo that represents you or your research. Make sure it’s copyright free.

Step 2 : Download a Twitter app to your mobile device

More than 70% of Twitter users access it via a mobile device. Twitter was made for mobile, and works well in that environment. You can also use Twitter from the web on your desktop. If you spend a lot of time chained to the desk this might be a good option for you. Try out both to see what works.

Step 3 : Create your network

The key to making good use of Twitter is to establish a PLN (Personal Learning Network) of people and bodies whose tweets will appear in your feed. If they also follow you back, your tweets will appear in their feeds.

First, follow some people.

  • Try following some of these people for starters (you can always unfollow them later). @usq23things, @ConversationEDU, @GuardianAUS, @GdnHigherEd, @digitalsci, @PLOS, @HarvardBiz, @mrkempnz , @USQNews, @USQVC, @KenUdas, @researchwhisper, @lolmythesis

Then check who they follow and follow the most interesting ones.

  • You do this by clicking on their name in Twitter to look at their profile, then clicking on the “Following (number)” link to see who they follow.

Next, follow anyone who follows you.

Repeat to build your network

Tip : Try for a balance – you don’t want lots of inane Huffington Post updates cluttering up your feed and making you miss an important research link.

Step 4 : Start interacting on Twitter

  • Read your twitter feed, and re-tweet those that pique your interest.

o    Tip – You’ll get most value from your re-tweets if you make a comment in the retweet. This stamps your personality and interests on the tweet.

o    Click on the double arrows under a tweet to “retweet”it.

  • Tweet from websites. Start looking for the Twitter or share link on articles, and use it to tweet links to them.
  • Respond to people who mention you in their Tweets – it’s only polite.

Some tips about tweeting

  • Hashtags are ways of organising tweets on the same topic. Conferences often display the conference hashtag so that delegates can tweet using that hashtag, making it easier to follow the conference. Similarly sporting, event, or disaster hashtags are frequently used. Public awareness campaigns such as the #YesAllWomen campaign, or the #knowtheline campaign also use hashtags to good effect.
  • Retweets use the prefix RT, followed by the original tweeter’s handle, and the original tweet. This acknowledges the original source of the information and is good Twitter etiquette. By clicking on the double arrows under the tweet you’d like to retweet, these features are automatically added for you.
  • Modified tweets can be preceded by MT to indicate that the content has been modified, though this is not necessarily a ubiquitous practice. Usually the source of the tweet is acknowledged at the end of the tweet with “via @usq23things”.
  • If your tweet starts with someone’s twitter handle (eg @usq23things) then only people who follow both of you can see that post.
  • Tweet pictures or videos – these are eye-catching and tend to be retweeted more.
  • DM, or Direct Messaging is a way of sending a private message to one of your followers. They need to be also following you for DM to work.

Step 5: Organise your incoming tweets

Tasks for this week

  1. Join Twitter if you don’t already have an account
  2. Follow some new people (see the list above of suggestions)
  3. Click on the button below to send a tweet with the #usq23things hashtag
  4. Find an interesting article and tweet a link to it.
  5. Comment on this post with your Twitter handle so that we can all follow you (and you can follow us back)
  6. Reflect in your own blog about this week’s activities.


Let’s get blogging! by Neil Martin, Learning Technologist

blog-224432_640Image credit: Image is in the Public Domain and is covered by a CC0 licence (

First up a disclaimer. There has been plenty written about blogging and some really detailed resources are out there. This article aims to give you a (relatively) quick overview and provide some context and examples. I will post some links to resources at the bottom, so skip to there if you are bit short for time and just want to get going!

What is a blog?

A weblog (or blog for short) is an online space to share your knowledge, expertise and ideas:

  • The author (blogger) writes blog posts to share their expertise in a topical way weaving in their own opinions and insights
  • Individual blog posts are sorted in reverse chronological order with the most recent posts on top
  • Content can be tagged so that readers can search on different key words and categories
  • In most cases posts can be commented on by others to provide contrasting opinions and nurture debate. This content can be moderated for approval before being published, but doesn’t have to depending on context.
  • Many blogs include tools to allow the post to be shared via email or social media and therefore potentially increase the audience and impact

Blogs have been around in various forms for 15 years. The early blogs were particularly popular for those interested in politics where they provided opportunities for political debate in a new medium. Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire blog, for example, was established in 1999 and is still influential today. Since then, the number of blogs has exploded and blogs exist for just about every topic imaginable.

Blogging platforms: Blogger and WordPress

Blogger was one of the first mainstream blogging platforms. As a small startup, it was acquired by Google in 2003 and quickly became the leading tool for writing blogs. It is a hosted service, which means that once you have set up your blog, all your content will be hosted on a dedicated server owned by Blogger.

Blogger is great for:

  • Beginners; a Blogger hosted blog is intuitive to set up and easy to get going
  • Having simple and focused design templates geared towards getting your content out there

The other major blogging platform is WordPress.

WordPress comes with beautiful and modern templates (called themes) as well as a range of plugins that can add richer functionality to your blog.

WordPress comes in two flavours… is a hosted solution on WordPress servers. It has much of the functionality of Blogger but with more freedom to customise. may also be more suitable for team blogs as you can set up multiple users.

A second version of WordPress is This is a freely available version of WordPress that can be downloaded and installed on your own server. This is a much more sophisticated set up that allows you to fully customise the user experience thanks to the range of plugins and themes available. This blog is as example of a self-hosted WordPress setup. is not necessarily recommended for beginners as the options available can be overwhelming. It also requires you to purchase hosting and a domain or utilise web hosting within your organisation. At USQ no formal service exists at present.
It’s probably worth keeping and self-hosting in mind for the future if your blog matures and you wish to have more control, but for starters Blogger or are excellent.

Writing a blog

Writing blog posts can at first seem quite daunting, but it is really a case of adapting writing skills that you already have.
In preparation for blog writing there are a number of questions that you should consider:

Why am I doing this?

Let’s be honest here, writing a blog is a commitment. It’s important early on to identify the purpose of your blog and to set some goals. The purpose may be as a space for personal reflection, or as a resource that reinforces your credentials as an expert on a particular subject. It’s absolutely vital that you understand the parameters of your blog and the type of content that is likely to go in to it.

Example blog: Melisa Terras’ Blog
Melisa Terras is a Professor of Digital Humanities at University College London. She has kept a personal blog (using Blogger) for 7 years and has posted over 300 articles. Her blog has a number of functions: It is a space to share information and reflect about her subject area. It draws attention to her research in an informal way, but also includes aspects of her personal life as she juggles academia and motherhood.

What should I write?

Blogs exist for just about every subject. Here are some of the qualities of a good blog.

  • Engaging
  • Relevant (and current)
  • Expert
  • Readable (and scannable)
  • Sharable
  • Personal

Writing for the web is a different medium to more traditional types. Users tend to first scan read before engaging with the content. Try to make your content scannable by using short paragraphs, headers and bullet points.
Consider adding engaging images and videos. Remember to check any rights first. I tend to use creative commons images as these have been shared for open use.

Example blog: Elearnspace
George Siemens’ Elearnspace blog is a regularly updated blog that shares his knowledge, ideas and opinions on MOOCs, connectivism and learning analytics. He offers opinions, commentary on other blog posts and updates on his own activities.

Who is my audience?

In order to focus your blog further, think about your audience and their expectations. Are they within your peer group or more generalised?
You may have multiple audiences. The Seattle Children’s Autism Blog, for example, is primarily aimed at parents with autistic children but is also aimed at health professionals and researchers.

How much time?

It’s worth questioning about how much time you have to dedicate to your blog. The likely answer is “very little” given the pressures of balancing existing life and work commitments. Commit to a realistic number of posts per month, perhaps one or two only. A content plan can help you with this. This can be as simple as planning out the posts you wish to write over a six-month period in a spread sheet indicating rough dates of publication and a few keywords.

What shouldn’t I write?

Hopefully I’m not stating the obvious, but don’t forget that anything you post online tends to stay online. Search engines index and archive content and any web page can link to another web page.
Content that could be deemed as defamatory, offensive or overtly political is best avoided. Remember also to let the readers know who you represent, and if necessary, that the views are your own and do not represent the organisation that you work for.
One technique that a lot of bloggers use is to share the content with a colleague, friend or family member for checking before publishing.

Should I write alone or as part of a team?

Writing as part of a team has a number of advantages. It means that posting can be shared around so the blog can be quite active but require less commitment e.g. a couple of posts a year for each member.
I work within the Australian Digital Futures Institute and we have been running a team blog for over three years with around 150 posts. The blog is used to communicate research activities and professional interests of members of the institute. A couple of things that have worked well for us is to a) have a blog roster and b) an editor who has final say on publication.

How can I measure the success of my blog?

Ultimately a successful blog needs to have readers. This doesn’t have to be a large amount if the community of readers are engaged. Last week, I was talking to a colleague who kept a blog on local issues in her community. Her blog had a small readership of around 40 people living in her community, but was successful because of the commentary and debate that was generated.


A number of tools are available help analyse engagement with your blog:

  • Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that allows you to better understand how many visitors you have, where they are from and to what extent they are engaging with your site.
  • Both and Blogger have in built administration tools that can give you statistics and real-time information on user activity. For self-hosted WordPress users there is a plugin called Jetpack that allows you to utilise the tools provided by the hosted
  • You may also want to consider how you can build you audience. Utilising social media and email subscription tools may help with this.

Let’s get blogging!

Hopefully you’ve had a useful overview of blogging, what it is and some tips. The next thing to do is to set up your blog and get going. Below are some useful links that will help you along the way:

Blogging platforms

Blogging tips

Take a look at:

Activity: Create your own blog and post the url of your blog to the comments below!