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Category: 831 Final Project

Nancy Smith Grad Studies 2019-12-11 04:57:00

Nancy Smith Grad Studies 2019-12-11 04:57:00

Summary of Major Digital Project

For my major digital project for EC&I 831, I completed Option A: to undertake a major digital project that involves the integration/development of open educational resources related to my practice.

Specifically, I worked on creating a parent education initiative on social media.  

In March of 2018, I self-published a book, Social Citizens: A Positive Approach to Social Media & Parenting in a Digital World.  I wrote the book in response to a negative experience I had attending a parent session on social media safety at my son’s school.  The session focused on all of the dangers of social media rather than explore how parents can help guide their kids in responsible use.  I found the session to be very extreme and the audience was left with many frightening examples of cyber-bullying, sexting and child pornography.  The advice was to discourage kids from using it as long as possible.


That advice did not resonate for me, so I shared a post on Facebook about my frustration



The response was overwhelmingly supportive (63 post reactions, and 48 comments).  My friends and family encouraged me to share the knowledge that I have as a practitioner and social media educator and apply it to help parents.

My focus was on speaking at schools, education conferences and for parent groups.  I had a business coach who was encouraging me to find ways to “monetize my knowledge” and that there were great opportunities to reach a large audience and profit from this.  This advice never resonated with me.  It wasn’t the reason I was motivated to do this project, nor did the advice align with my values.

So, when our professor Dr. Alec Couros challenged us with creating a major digital project, I thought it was a good opportunity to leverage the work I had done and build out more resources that would be free/open to all.
I used the materials I wrote and researched for my book as the core content for my project.   

The digital project would build my website www.socialcitizens.ca and my Facebook page 

I shared my project idea with our class in this blogpost on September 24:   https://nancysmithgrad.blogspot.com/2019/09/for-my-final-project-eci831.html

It was validating to get feedback from other students that my idea would be valuable as a resource:
Little did I know at the time that this would be the easiest part of the project – coming up with the idea.  The hard part would become a reality over the month of October.

A few weeks later, I wrote this blog as an update on my progress:
https://nancysmithgrad.blogspot.com/2019/10/update-on-my-final-project-october-2019.html

I realized I had no idea where to start. So, I created a list and determined the priorities I would need to learn to complete.

1. I would need to learn how to use the website platform Squarespace so I could add pages to my website and build out the content

2. Determine content plan for my website, which I divided into two phases:

Phase 1: build out content for my existing book.  I spent over 10 months writing and researching the material, so it is important to leverage this.  Specifically, I will:

– record audio version to be uploaded as either an audiobook or podcast (still in research mode to determine which I will do)

I was eager to learn about podcasting, and it was beneficial that this timing coincided with the week in our course where we were reviewing tools & technology that could help build open education content.  Several students, including myself, wrote blogs about the app Anchor.fm

I had tried recording using Audacity and Garageband, but found the process to be confusing and overwhelming.  I had previously I reached out to a friend who is a podcaster Ernest Barbaric , and who runs an annual Podcasting Conference called Podsummit.  He helped me get a professional recording microphone and gave me some great advice on the audio recording process.  However, I found being the perfectionist that I am prone to, I was overwhelmed.  Instead, I committed to trying the app I had reviewed, Anchor.fm
The actual research and recording process from start to finish took me approximately 20hours.  I rehearsed, recorded, re-recorded and finally published the series of podcasts that would act as an audiobook

Here is the audiobook/podcast series https://anchor.fm/socialcitizens

I was surprised when I looked at the analytics that I have had over 150 plays of my podcast episodes.  I was happy to see that they were all on the Planet Earth (I love that the app is FUN and easy to use) but was really interested to see that 60% of my listeners were in the United States!



Here is the blog post update after I completed my podcast series:

My November update https://nancysmithgrad.blogspot.com/2019/11/final-project-update-november-4-2019.html

Realizing my goal of learning how to add to my website proved to be more challenging than I anticipated.  I found some resources online that I used including on Lynda.com, Youtube and Udemy.  And I was successful in building out the framework and content of the site.

I have added new pages, and have continued to work on content but must admit this did not get close to my goal for completion.

I guess the good news is, now I know how to do it, and I can continue to make progress and add to it every month.

I am pleased with the efforts I made on my Facebook page – during the timeline of this project I shared 27 facebook posts – and my Facebook analytics show that my content reached over 1,400 people across North America.  I am always amazed at how social media can help share your message!

In summary, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share my ideas/opinions/knowledge with these resources that are open for anyone to access.  

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