Teaching Computer-Assisted Content Analysis with Yoshikoder

Last blog post I discussed the second project in my applied research class, a sentiment analysis of Tweets using Yoshikoder - a free computer-assisted content analysis program from Harvard.

As promised, I want to share my assignment, and my handout for students that teaches them how to use Yoshikoder. Before we do the project, however, I do a brief in class activity to get students learning how to use Yoshikoder. So let’s start there for today’s post. And next post, I’ll share the assignment itself.

PART 1: THE SET UP

What I like to do, is present the problem to the students via the project assignment. Then, we go back and start learning what we’d need to do to solve the problem. So, after lecturing about what sentiment analysis is and why it is important, I get students introduced first to the idea of constructing a coding sheet for keywords by taking a list of keywords and adding them to categories.

First, we talk about the idea in class, and I show them some simple examples, like: If I wanted to code a sample for the presence of “sunshine” – what words would I need? Students brainstorm things like  start, sun, sunny, sunshine, etc., etc.

We discuss the importance of mutual exclusivity, being exhaustive, etc.

I show an example from my dissertation which looked at agenda setting topics on Twitter.

On the class day before I introduce Yoshikoder to the class, students do a practice assignment where I give them a list of random terms related to politics and elections. They then have to create “positive” and “negative” content categories using the terms. The terms aren’t necessarily well fit for this exercise, which gets them thinking a bit… They then hand code a sample of Tweets I provide about two different politicians. I tend to use the most recent election. So, in this case Obama and Romney. They are frustrated by having to hand code these Tweets – but a little trick is to do a search for the exact phrases in the Tweet files on the computer and they are done fairly quickly. Ok, so on the next class period:

1) Practice with Yoshikoder We do the same basic task, but this time they learn to program their “positive” and “negative” categories into Yoshikoder. They then load the Tweets (which I have saved as a txt file) and analyze them for the presence of their positive and negative content categories. This is a great point to stop and have students assess the reliability between what they hand coded and what the computer coded. Often, there will be discrepancies. And this makes for a great opportunity for discussion.

Here is the activity that I use in class. I also provide Tweets that I’ve downloaded using the search terms for the politician/candidate I’m using in the activity (e.g., Obama; Romney) in plain text format so Yoshikoder can read it. Also, see the below handout which I provide students to show them how to use Yoshikoder and how to program, and run the analyses I just described.

As I mentioned above, I create a handout that I like to give students that explains the different functionalities of Yoshikoder and how to run the analyses. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, I like to provide handouts. And the one below isn’t one of my more elaborate handouts. But it provides a quick overview with some screen shots to show what buttons need to be clicked. This is super helpful if you are trying to learn Yoshikoder, or want to use it alongside the activity (discussed in this post or the project discussed in my last post, and which I will provide in my next blog post).


Enjoy! .

EDIT: The assignment is now up. See the post.

If you’d like to learn more about using Yoshikoder, I found this great tutorial:

- Cheers! Matt

Why Do Academics Blog? Mysteries of 21st century academia!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving break!

A recent article published in Studies in Higher Education asks: Why do academics blog?

Hmm. I guess it seemed obvious. Why does anyone blog? Fame, fortune…? Then I got thinking. Yeah, why do academics blog?

Of course, as an academic and a blogger, I had to read the article. It is titled: “Why do Academics Blog? An Analysis of Audiences, Purposes, and Challenges.

Articles such as Why Academics Should Blog by McGuire at Huffington Post, say that people should blog for a number of reasons as “the point of academia is to expand knowledge,” and the hard to accept but admittedly true: “because some of your ideas are dumb.”

Of course, there are other reasons too, like promoting your ideas and that your blog is part of / and builds your reputation. The authors of the research article wonder if this is in fact true – why do academics blog? By investigating 100 academic blogs  via content analysis , the authors produce an interesting look inside the real reasons why academics blog.

This got me thinking about why I blog.

Why do I blog?

When I created this blog, I spent lots of time working on who I was writing for, and how I wanted to name my blog. I attempted to articulate that in my “About this blog” page. I’ll summarize:

Social media education is a new and emerging field. I want to be a part of that conversation.

To expand:

I teach social media. I have a vested interest in growing with the field. To be great at my job, I need to grow, change, adapt. I need to constantly learn. So, I want to learn and reflect on what I learn.  But I believe I can also help the field grow. I want to share my knowledge.  Maybe by talking about my experience, I can help other educators, or get people thinking about social media education. And too, I want to meet others with similar interests and goals.

How has a Blog has been helpful to me?

Oh, this list could go on and on. So here are a quick few:

  • I’ve met great professors who are great people – before I blogged, I was on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. And I’d connected with some folks. It wasn’t until I began blogging that I really began having meaningful conversations with other academics. As I shared my knowledge, experience, and areas of interests, an amazing thing happened! Other people have learned about me, who I am, and what I have to say and what I am hoping to learn. Doesn’t that make it easier to connect and build relationships?
  • I’ve been asked to participate in events – from research to Google+ Hangouts, new opportunities to grow, learn, and enhance in the field have been presented to me by awesome people I never would have met (see item above).
  • It has given me a chance to reflect - I’m the sort of person who learns by talking things through or teaching them to others. 
  • It has helped me grow my other social media – I believe that when people see you have a blog, they see that you are participating in the social media conversation at a deeper level, and thus are more likely to follow and engage you on sites like Twitter. I’m not sure if the blog signifies a level of credibility, or that they anticipate gaining more from you because you have a blog. But, I have certainly been much more interactive with folks on social media. And if # of followers on Twitter is important to you – those metrics have grown significantly!
  • It has given me a chance to help others – and I love to help others! I’ve seen a lot of folks looking over my syllabi and assignments, and it makes me feel great that something I have done may inspire them in what they teach!
  • My own place to share my research - I first created a professional website when I was in grad school using Sharepoint. I then moved to WordPress, but the page was static. Having a blog is so much more dynamic, but I still use by blog to post my CV, research, and so forth. I’m always excited when I see people looking over my research or searching my research on Google and finding my site.

I hope you enjoy the research article!

Why do you blog? How has blogging opened opportunities for you? Are you thinking about blogging but haven’t started?

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

- Cheers!
Matt

photo – creative commons, opensourceway

Born to Blog author talks social media challenges, opportunities, and more!

I always learn so much from our guest speakers! This week we were very fortunate to have the author of our class text, Born to Blog, Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) Skype with our class.


If you aren’t familiar with Mark, he is a very well-known name in the social media field, author of the popular Grow blog, a sought after consultant, and the author of Born to Blog (a book I’ve reviewed on this site and which inspired me to start this blog), and another great book I’ve read Tao of Twitter. I haven’t read his 2nd book, Return on Influence, but I hope to soon.

Here are some highlights from his presentation to this semester’s Comm 322 Social Media class.

Challenges and Opportunities in Social Media – Mark said that a major challenge today is information density. Today, we have so much information that people are reaching information paralysis. How do companies adapt and thrive in this space, with so much competing for our attention? Though not specifically about information density, the article “How the physics of social media could kill your marketing strategy” offers what I believe is a good look at the general issue.

Why do some businesses succeed on social media and others fail? Mark said it really boils down to corporate culture. Questions that come to mind after hearing Mark discuss this topic are: Does the company understand and embrace the social space? Are they agile and responsive? Do they want to adapt?

What Metrics Matter?: Since I’ve been seeking to teach my students basics of Google Analytics, the importance of, and how to track metrics, I ask guest bloggers what metrics matter to them. When asked what the key metrics he tracks are, Mark said there was one that matters: returning visitors. Are they coming back? If people come back, eventually they’ll bring their friends. Traffic doesn’t create business benefits. Returning visitors do.

We’re All Students – the media landscape shifts so rapidly, it is difficult to be an expert. We all are students. And we should strive to keep learning and adapting. As a professor, I loved hearing this reminder. I am always looking to learn, change, grow, and adapt and it is great to hear someone with as much experience as Mark talking about the importance of being a lifelong learner!

Tips and Advice for Students

The Power of Blogging for Students – Mark echoed another class guest, Nate Bagley, when he encouraged students to blog, build an audience, and create meaningful content. He said that it was a valuable tool to show potential employers that you can build and sustain an audience. He said that often times he finds students or grad students are not blogging, and was glad to see students in our class were blogging as a semester long project. I was, of course, very happy to hear this. :) So students, if you’re reading this, keep blogging!

Know Stats - Mark said education in stats is important. Increasingly, data and numbers are driving online business. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be able to ask questions and the ability to think critically, and choose the statistical analysis needed to answer those questions. While many students were probably grumpy to hear this, I agree completely. Stats and research methods are more important than ever.

It is not often that students get to speak directly with the author of a class text, and it meant a lot to me for students to get this wonderful opportunity. So thank you so much to Mark for being so generous with his time and knowledge!

-Cheers!

Matt

Social Media Educator Google Hangout; Google Drive in the Classroom

Last week was such a busy week I didn’t get a chance to post this content I had planned. So here are a few things I didn’t get a chance to share:

I participated in another great Google+ Hangout with social media educators from our social media educators LinkedIn Group! This session’s topic was: 50 Tips in 50 minutes: Social Media in the Classroom.

I always take away so much from these conversation and that’s why I love participating in them. You can watch all the great tips in the below YouTube capture of the Hangout with some truly innovative professors and wonderful people: Don Stanley, Jeremy Floyd, Gary Schirr. If you’re a social media educator, I encourage you to check out this group!

Second, here is a great article by Taylor Loren discussing the potential uses of Google Drive in the classroom. It builds off of my post last week and offers a number of great ideas I hadn’t thought of. I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in integrating Google Drive into their teaching!

Lastly, this past Saturday I had the honor of co-presenting with my wife, Kelin, at the 28th annual Student Leadership Conference at Shepherd University (@Leadership_Shep). Our presentation, titled “Leadership, Success, and the importance of other people,” was on the benefits of building interpersonal networks in college and in their future careers. Thanks so much to everyone who attended!

- Cheers!

Matt

Join us for Social Media Professor Google Plus Hangout Weds 5-22!

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Happy Tuesday! Tomorrow we will be holding our second Social Media Professor Google Plus hangout where professors teaching social media around the country get together to talk shop. The event will be broadcast on Google Plus and available for on demand viewing (check back later in the week for the video).

I’m excited (and a little nervous) to be hosting the event for the first time. The topic will be a great one:

Major skill sets we should be teaching to prepare our students to excel in the social media economy.

If your teach social media and care to join in on the the Google+ hangout, we’d love to have you. Our last two hangouts have been a ton of fun and I’ve learned a great deal from professors who are leaders in the field of social media education. Drop me a comment below or via Twitter, and I’ll send you a G+ invite. Or check out our LinkedIn group: Teaching Social Media Marketing and Management.

You can watch our most recent discussion on social media analytics.

Hope everyone is enjoying summer! It is starting to get hot here in West Virginia!

- Cheers! Matt

photo:

Must-watch interviews with social media experts (Snow Day!)

I should be sledding. Shepherd University is closed today and the views from my front and side windows are inviting.

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photo: Snow and our vintage typewriter

As I sip my morning coffee, glad I don’t have to shovel our long, steep driveway, I’m wondering if it is truly March 25th. No matter. Whether you’ve got the day off today for a snow day, spring break, or not, here are some great social media resources you don’t want to miss.

Recently, Don Stanley (@3rhinomedia), social media strategist and professor who teaches social media at the University of Wisconsin-Madision, conducted two great interviews with two social media heavyweights: Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe), founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer), author of {grow} and a number of social media books.

Snowday-march

photo: out our kitchen window.

Thanks to Don for a wonderful job hosting these, asking great questions, and for sharing these on his class blog. I learned a ton from each. (if the embeds aren’t working, click on the title to go directly to the post on Don’s blog).

Content Marketing with Joe Pulizzi – founder of the Content Marketing Institute

Joe Pulizzi Video (Click the link to watch – WordPress will not allow me to embed. My apologies.)

A few things that stuck out to me from this interview:

  1. Blogging and social media in general is a marathon, not a sprint. Joe discusses how long it took him for his business to become successful through blogging. Many of us get discouraged when we don’t find immediate success.
  2. Don’t use a blanket approach to posting to social networks. Each social network is different. The culture and audience of each network is different and so we must .
  3. We don’t own our social networks. They can be gone tomorrow. It is important to get email addresses for your blog’s followers, so that you can stay in contact with your readers.

Mark Schaefer talks Twitter

Mark Schaefer Video – Click the link to watch – WordPress will not allow me to embed. My apologies.

Takeaway:

  1. Read Mark’s books. That’s what I decided to do after watching this interview. I got my hands on Tao of Twitter and Mark’s new book, which I am absolutely loving: Born to Blog. Both books offer great insights into the culture of social media and how to thrive in it. I will post reviews of each in future posts.

Ok, no sledding for this blogger. Its time to get back to work. It may be a snow day but the AEJMC deadline is fast approaching! Will I be seeing you in DC in August?

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Photo: View over our deck

Photos from this morning courtesy of my awesome wife, Kelin!

Social Media Measurement Google Plus Hangout with Social Media Professors

G+ Hangout

Screengrab of our Google Plus Social Media Professor Hangout

Last night I had lots of fun hanging out on Google+ with some very talented social media professors. Gary Schirr, Nancy Ricmond, and Jeremy Floyd, and I discussed social media analytics.

This was the first public G+ Hangout broadcast from the Social Media & Marketing LinkedIn Group. We are planning to do hold one about every month.

Jeremy Floyd (@jfloyd), who hosted the G+ Hangout, put together a great list of resources from the discussion including links to texts and analytics tools.

Not loading? Watch the video on YouTube.

Among the many new tools I learned about last night, I am thrilled that Jeremy shared with us the spreadsheet he created for his students to use to monitor their social media. One thing that struck out to me was the ability to track metrics against individual posts per their day and time to help in post scheduling optimization. This is a tool I am looking forward to getting my hands on and adopting for my own classes next semester.

If you’re a social media educator, I strongly encourage you to check out the Social Media & Marketing LinkedIn Group, which I wrote about in a previous post on how to find social media professors.

It is a great space to discuss issues and strategies in social media education and has been a valuable resource and sounding board for me as I build out the Strategic Comm concentration here at Shepherd University. I believe I’m the only faculty member coming from Communication in the group – but, as you know, the lines have blurred with social media. I really feel that cross-pollination is the way to go and encourage both marketing and strategic comm folks to join.

Come join and be part of the discussion and next month’s G+ Hangout. I will be moderating next month’s topic which will be on what key knowledge and skills we need to teach students to thrive in a social media economy.

Cheers!

- Matt

How to Connect with Social Media Educators on Social Media

There are many passionate and talented professors across the world pioneering social media education.

With social media education being a new and emerging field, it is vitally important that those of us teaching social media connect to discuss best practices, experiences, tips, and talk content and curriculum. Here are a few quick ways to join the conversation:

 

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The Web-Savvy Professors List


It may be the definitive guide to social media educators. The The Top 100 Web-Savvy Professors of 2012, put together by BestOnlineUniversities.com, profiles – well, you guessed it: web-savvy professors.  Many of these are champions of social media – whether teaching social media, using it to teach, or both.

 

Social Media Professors on Twitter
There are many social media educators on Twitter. You’ll find many of them on the Best Web-Savvy Professors list mentioned above. A few other ways you can find them are:
Twitter lists
Education By Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (@kerrygorgone) – A list of higher ed folks, some of whom are active members of the Teaching Social Media Marketing & Management LinkedIn group discussed below.

 

Edu by Modern Journalist (@ModernJourno) – List of 196 educators and trainers on social media.

 

Academia by Ph.D. student at UT Austin Curt Yowell (@curtyowell) – 419 academics listed!

 

WVU professor John Jones’s List (@johnmjones) – One of the most comprehensive list of academics I’ve seen with 500 folks (Maybe that’s why it has 37 subscribers!).

 

Academia: Academics that Rock – My own personal list (@mjkushin) of  social media professors and related Tweeters.

 

Hashtags? Here’s 1 to get you started: #teachSMM for teaching social media marketing.

Join a LinkedIn Group
There are a few great LinkedIn social media educator groups I recommend:

 

Teaching Social Media Marketing & Management group – Great group that has just started a monthly Google+ Hangout to discuss social media in the classroom.

 

Higher Ed – this group that is not for educators, per se. It is aimed at connecting “professionals employed by a higher education institution who are actively engaged in social media planning, strategy and execution for a college, university, technical college, community college or college system.” But an interesting group and one I enjoy staying up to date on to get a sense on how universities are using social media in their marketing.

 

Teaching Public Relations – This group is aimed at public relations professional. Given the increasingly vital role of social media in PR, discussion of social media is common. However, there are many other subjects discussed here and social media is not the main topic. May not be of interest to some.

You’ll be surprised to find just how many educators are on social media. And while universities may be failing on the whole to teach social media, there are plenty of people who are changing that.

 

How have you connected with other social media educators?  Have other tips and resources? Please share in the comments section below. Thanks in advance! ☺

photo creative commons by Fora de Eixo