Welcome to Week 2 – Digital Networks

Thank you everyone for your contributions, reflections, and conversations on Slack and your blog posts. #DigPINS is the kind of learning experience that only works if you interact and learn from one another so thank you for all of your sharing.

Personal Learning Network (PLN)

As we begin to talk about digital networks we start to talk about being more resident in more public places. One way to think about building connections is with a Personal Learning Network or PLN model. A personal learning network is just like it sounds – an informal network of people that you learn from. Working in the open among those you don’t know can be scary, especially when you are just getting started, but building a supportive PLN can get you through that fear. Also, to mitigate some of that I’d like to introduce you to people from our (Joe and I’s) personal learning network. All of these folks are all focused on issues of higher education and digital pedagogy – many of them are concerned about social justice issues in digital spaces and many of them have past connections to SNC and to #DigPINS.

Many of these people I have met in the flesh but many of them I have not. What I admire most about them is that they learn in the public. They share the process and content of what they are learning about, researching, or just thinking about in public and by following them I learn from them. Besides just following them I interact with them; no matter if I have met them in the flesh or not I would say that I “know” all of them and if I reach out they are likely to respond (disclaimer here: people’s lives are busy and if someone does not respond I know I can’t take it personally) They are well connected and regularly post and interact on Twitter, their blogs, or other social spaces about issues of higher education, digital pedagogy, critical perspectives on educational technology, and more – Many of them are likely to respond but twitter is often a storm and everyone’s individual contexts are fluxing all of the time so if you reach out and they don’t respond don’t take it to heart. Check out their profiles and see if they are someone that you would like to connect with and if so give them a follow.

Some folks you may already know from our conversations or other connections to SNC:

Well there is me – @autumm (two m’s) I blog at http://autumm.edtech.fm/ and maintain a professional site at autumm.org

And Joe at @joefromkenyon blogging at https://tweedyimpertinence.josephmurphy.name/

@actualham– keynote last year and this year at SNC’s T3 and past DigPINS guest. Blogs at http://robinderosa.net/my-blog/

@bonstewart – Past #DigPINS guest, past SNC T3 keynote, researcher on scholarly uses of twitter. Blogs at http://theory.cribchronicles.com/

@bali_maha – One of my best friends, one of the co-directors of my side project Virtually Connecting, author on one of our readings this week. Blogs at https://blog.mahabali.me/

@laurapasquini – A past #DigPINS guest in previous iterations, researching institutional perspectives on scholarly social media and blogs at https://techknowtools.com/

@ShorterPearson  Presented at SNC’s T3 conference this past May on Open Online Science Lab. Blogs at https://chuckpearson.wordpress.com/

@hypervisible – Expert in digital security and privacy, digital redlining and blogs at https://hypervisible.com/

@amcollier – Digital sanctuary, author of a piece we will read in the pedagogy week. Blogs at http://redpincushion.us/blog/

@rclemmons Past CIO at SNC blogs at https://rclemmons.wordpress.com/

@daniellynds – Worked with many at SNC, social network analysis, instructional design. Coined the #DigPINS acronym. Public website at http://daniellynds.com/

@sundilu Has worked with many at SNC, designed and delivered the initial DigPINS at SNC, co-designed and often co-delivers #DigCiz conversations with me blog and personal site at https://sundirichard.com/category

Others who are awesome for just so many reasons but don’t have a direct connection to SNC or DigPINS (yet):@amichaelberman, @slamteacher @jessifer, @catherinecronin, @hj_dewaard@harmonygritz, @shorterpearson, @readywriting, @courosa, @bryanalexander, @cogdog, @kreshleman,

Find Your Own Network – Of course, Joe and I’s PLNs are different than yours – you are going to need to search out your own PLN and start to build relationships. One way to find people in your field is to look for the hashtag for a conference in your area of study and see who posted to it. You also might try searching Google for a person’s name and the word “Twitter”, that will often turn up their account if they have one. There are tips about how to reach out and connect in this weeks video from Bonnie Stewart linked below.

With our work from week 1 you should have three tools at your disposal – Slack, Twitter, and our blog. You can be resident in any of these but starting with this week, for those who are comfortable, I’d like to start moving to Twitter as a focus. Remember that Slack is always there as more private place to connect with the SNC group. This week start exploring the public scholars and professionals in your field and start thinking about how you might connect with the online communities that are in your field.



Because of its public nature twitter is the place where many networks and communities have formed, and it is “open” or “flat” in the sense that you can join lots of conversations. Twitter can be a bit scarier because there are a lot of people you don’t know in there. You may use an already established twitter account or create one just for this experience.

Residency in Twitter

To move into that resident space a little more you could post a hello while tagging #DigPINS. If you are a little further along you could find some people to follow – check out my suggestions below, you could respond to some people who are posting to #DigPINS to welcome them, or search out others to interact with.

Suggested Hashtags: #DigPINS#DigCiz#AcDigID pop these into the search box in twitter – people use these to indicate that their tweet is about a specific topic.(notes: If you just search for these tags in twitter it will give you the ‘top’ results and you need to click ‘Latest’ to see chronological order, also cases do not matter for hashtags but I’ve done so here for aesthetic reasons)


Our Blog

At this point you should also have access to our blog here at snc.digpins.org where you can post some longer reflections of your thinking regarding what we are talking about in DigPINS.  Back and forth conversation like what we get in Slack and Twitter is great but it doesn’t go very deep and can feel kind of shallow after some time. The blog posts are meant to just give you some space to let us know what you have been thinking about without the limits of something like Twitter but still public.

Don’t like writing your thoughts out? Consider an audio or video post. Maybe your post is a series of images with some captions that tells a story – get creative.

Residency in Our Blog

You contribute to residency in a blog not just by writing and posting but by reading and connecting with others who are blogging. Once you publish a blog post you need to share your post. For this course you can always post to our Slack if you only want a smaller reach or on Twitter with #DigPINS if you would hope to tease out a larger audience or perhaps another hashtag that might be appropriate for your post. Of course it is the web so it is important to remember that it is technically pubic. Consider your audience when blogging – who is it for?

Posting is not enough – it is really about reading and engaging. Residency is about creating connections and you will never connect unless you are listening to others. Take time to read a few blogs and make some comments. Maybe your next post is an expansion on thoughts expressed on someone else’s post and you link to them and talk about how their thinking impacted yours.

Joe wrote this bit about commenting that we thought might resonate:

This kind of community takes nurturing. It won’t just happen on its own. I am going to commit myself here to a commenting discipline which I think will help. For every comment I get here, I’m going to dip into the blog flow and comment on another recent post. I’m going to try to pay forward the joy of having a stranger give your ideas serious consideration.

If you would like to visit the whole post you can do so here.


Things to do this week:

  1. Explore and Orient – Start looking for environments and individuals who are working the public in areas that you are interested in professionally and academically. If you feel like you don’t know where to go get started jump to our required materials for the week and watch the video with Bonnie Stewart from a previous DigPINS
  2. Watch this week’s video from Joe (sorry I was traveling this weekend so no Autumm in this video) This is a busy week so the video is pretty short
  3. Play” the Nicky Case narrative game The Wisdom and/or Madness of Crowds to dip your toe into the world of network science.
  4. Required reading/watching materials, 1 video (in addition to the the welcome video) and 3 readings – all linked below. They are in order of relevance, if you don’t have time for all start at the top and get through as much as you can. 
  5. Blogging, Slacking, and Tweeting – This week you should start working in the public more (disclaimer: if you have concerns about working in the public due to security or privacy talk to me). Our main prompt for the week is to consider people and environments for building your PLN and share your process for finding and connecting with them. You have three tools at your disposal – Slack, our blog, and twitter. Slack is the “backchannel” which has less people in it (note I did not say “private”) where our blog is public and Twitter is very public.
    – Note that I call the blog public and Twitter very public. Why is this? They are both tools on the public internet but one has a larger audience of people in the public paying attention to it. You can somewhat control your audience by choosing how you engage and where you post. Posting on our blog and not promoting at all will probably not get you much of an audience. Posting on our blog but posting to Slack let’s our group know. Additionally, posting to our blog and promoting on twitter if you don’t have many followers there will not get you much of an audience but promoting on twitter with #DigPINS will open it up to a larger audience who has participated in #DigPINS including our Kenyon colleagues.Think about what you want to share publicly and what you would be better shared in the backchannel.
    – Consider your blog for this week for a larger audience and write it for a larger audience. Promote it not just on Slack but on Twitter using the #DigPINS tag. Think of Slack as an ongoing conversation – check it daily and post or respond at least 2-3 times over the week to help us all get to know one another.Remember that our colleagues from Kenyon are not in Slack and so if you promote in Slack they will not see – they will be watching Twitter and promoting there is a great way to loop them in.
    – Read Twitter, blogs, and Slack. Respond. Comment. Engage. Network.
    – Here I want to mention the word Heutagogy. What is Heutagogy – it is the study of self-determined learning. DigPINS has content and activities but what really makes the experience different than other online “courses” is a focus on humanized learning and letting participants build off of one another and learn from one another. If you want to know more about heutagogy you can check out this article but for now just keep in mind that your contributions are what really make this experience something special for everyone.

Videos / Readings – Required

Developing Networks (video) – Bonnie Stewart – Video from previous #DigPINS with Bonnie Stewart (Video starts at 27:23 – at minimum watch through 36:40 but feel free to watch whole thing)

Personal Learning Networks: Knowledge Sharing as DemocracyAlison Seaman

Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online – Maha Bali

Digital Identity in a World that Never Forgets – Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt

Technical help (optional):

Getting Started w/ Twitter: https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter and Maximizing Your Learning on Twitter

Link to Tweetdeck: https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/ – Twitter can be overwhelming because of so much information coming at you at once. Tweetdeck allows you to organize by search terms, hashtags, user lists… etc.

And of course remember you can reach out to me (Autumm) if you need help by DMing me on Slack or Twitter