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Updates: Fall 13 Social Media Syllabus; New Theme and Menu; A Blogging Milestone!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

Hey all,

Just a few quick notes:

1. My Comm 322 Syllabi Now Available on Scribd!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the changes I was making to my social media class for this upcoming fall. I’m excited to say my Comm 322 Social Media syllabus for this upcoming fall semester is done! I’ve published a copy to Scribd. You can see it at the bottom of this post. It can also be accessed via the new menu bar above (discussed more below). The syllabus from last year will remain up as well, accessible via the menu.

I’m stoked we’ll be having some amazing speakers visiting with us this semester:

Leigh-Anne Mauk – Social Media & Public Information Specialist @ Hagerstown Community College Office of Public Information & Government Relations. Leigh-Anne is also a writer, social media consultant, and more!

Nate Bagley – An expert in social media with a wide array of experience, Nate is a graduate of my former institution  Utah Valley University. He’s the creator of a great podcast that seeks to prove true love exists in the 21st century, the Loveumentary!

Mark W. Schaefer – author of our course text this fall, Born to Blog, and super-well known blogger and social media expert!

2. New Theme and Menu

I really want to do a better job of providing access to resources in social media education, including my own work as well as that of others. I get a lot of traffic to the blog from people looking for social media education syllabi, assignments, and more.

I’ve updated the theme for easier reading of articles. Readers no longer have to click on every article they want to read, they can simply scroll down. If you like the new theme, let me know! If you’d prefer the old theme, I’d like to know that too. 🙂

I’ve re-organized the menu on this blog, which is now permanently on the left, in an attempt to help people find what they’re looking for more easily. This includes a reorg of blog topics, pointing to teaching resources I’ve created, and I’ve added a link to all my syllabi hosted on Scribd. What do you think?

Along those lines, if you have links to social media education resources you’d like to share with our readers, please leave a comment below, or contact me via Twitter, G+ or LinkedIn. I’d love to link to them on this blog!

3. We’re Past 25!

Lastly, my last blog post marked a milestone. It was post #25 since starting this blog this past February! I’m so excited that my previous blog post on Mendeley’s new Literature Search was by far the most read blog post since I’ve started this blog. Thanks so much to everyone who shared it. I am hoping to expand the focus of the blog to include more posts like this on productivity, tips, and tricks for fellow professors. If you’ve got a topic you’d like to see a post about, please contact me or leave a comment below!

New Social Media Syllabus:

Scholars: Save Time With Mendeley’s New Literature Search Feature

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

searching-academic-references

Let’s face it, the time it takes to find the citations you need is slowing down the research process.

Tools like Google Scholar have made it much easier for academic researchers to search for and find academic research. But there’s another player out there you should be using when searching for literature: Mendeley reference search (If you’re not familiar with Mendeley, check out my last post on why researchers should use Mendeley to organize their research library and more efficiently compete their research).

The other day I was updated to the latest version of Mendeley Desktop for Mac. This new update features an exciting new feature embedded into the desktop application, but which you may not know already existed on Mendeley.com!

You can now conduct a literature search of the Mendeley community crowd-sourced research database – that is, all the articles that are in the Mendeley libraries of all other Mendeley users – via a search bar in the program (click the “Literature Search” from the library box on the left hand side of the app). An important feature here, is that you can download the PDFs of articles people have shared (I’ll explain how below).

mendeley-literature-search-overview

A quick test of this feature made me a believer!

How does it work?
Think of Mendeley.com as a social network for researchers (see the features at the bottom of this post). When you join Mendeley, you create an account and can fill out a profile (here’s my Mendeley profile  – it needs some updating). The articles in your library are connected to your profile, and are also added to Mendeley’s ever-growing database.

The Literature Review feature in Mendeley Desktop mimics the Papers search on Mendeley.com. The integrated search carries some of the same great benefits of search on Mendeley.com. For example, In both cases, when you find a reference or reference with PDF you want to add to your library, you can seamlessly add it to your Mendeley reference library via a button either online or in your Mendeley Desktop. What could be better?!

mendeley_seemless-search

Maximize Mendeley Desktop search with Advanced Search:

A quick search for Twitter revealed 4,223 results. Great, right? Yes and no. While a number of the articles were journal pieces and conference proceedings, many were web pages or newspaper articles. These are useful, but what if you want only journal articles?

To have success with Mendeley Literature Search, you will want to learn how to do advanced searches. Advanced search works like many queries using operators such as author: “Kushin” or title: “How to Use Mendeley”. In Mendeley Desktop you can easily search the following by clicking the down arrow on the magnifying glass: authors, titles, publication name, year, and whether the article is from an open access journal. So no memorization needed.

mendeley-search-advanced

But let me add to that a few operators you’ll want to write down to enhance your searching:
(Note: When entering a query, leave no space after the colon.)

Article Type –  This allows you to search only the type of article you want to find, such as for my Twitter search example above. To find only journal articles, use the operator type:journal.
A few more common article types you may want are:
type:conference_proceedings – Conference Proceeding
type:book – for a book
type:book_section – book chapter
type:thesis – for a thesis or dissertation.

Discipline – Because Mendeley covers a wide array of academic disciplines, you may want to search just within your own. Use the operator discipline:
A few popular disciples are:
discipline:social-sciences
discipline:humanities
discipline:business-administration
discipline:arts-and-literature
discipline:psychology
discipline:computer-and-information-science

Use of quotations, AND and OR – Just like Google a word in quotes means the search query must match the exact words. Without quotes, the search query will return any word in the query. OR and AND can also be used, such as author:”Bill Smith” AND year:2003, which will return articles by author Bill Smith that were published in 2003. OR enables you to find one or another. For example, you may search for year:2008 OR year:2009.

So, if I’m looking broadly for journal articles in the social sciences that contain Twitter, I might search:

Twitter type:journal discipline:social-sciences

If you don’t want to learn these operators, you can conduct a Papers advanced search via Mendeley.com and complete the form.

mendelywww-search

Looking Forward:

According to a news release, Mendeley plans to add to Mendeley Desktop the ability to search journals your institution subscribes to (a la Google Scholar). I can’t wait for this one! They also plan to add search for people and groups within Mendeley Desktop.

While I’m a Google Scholar fan myself, more and more I find myself supplementing my searches with Mendeley reference search. The ability to find the profiles of scholars, and thus their other works, is something that excites me!

Check out this new feature and let me know what you think! Do you use Mendeley search? How have you found it? If you enjoyed this article, please share it.

FYI:

Mendeley.com account Features:

  • Dashboard – with news feed of people you follow or research groups you are in
  • Library – Access to your entire library and PDFs (those you’ve added to Mendeley Desktop) meaning you can access your library from anywhere on the web.
  • Groups – You can find groups by discipline or research interest, share papers, have discussions, see what others are reading, and more. Not seeing a group to fit your niche? Start one! This is a lot of potential for new collaborations here! Groups can be public or private and you can access them directly through Mendeley Desktop.
  • People – Find colleagues or your favorite scholars!
  • Papers – The ability to search the Mendeley reference library (again, cultivated from Mendeley users).

Related Posts:

photo credits: top: public domain – wiki commons, rest: screen grabs

Web Roundup: Content Marketing: Does it matter?, Big Data and Politics (7/12/13)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

coffee

Happy Friday! Here are some great articles from around the web that caught my attention this week.

For the politics and social media lovers:

  • Election 2016: How Big Data + Social Data Will Determine the Next President – A must read for an interesting perspective on the future of social data and micro-targeting! I find big data and predictive analytics both fascinating and scary. It seems things have shifted. It used to be campaigns took their cues from business tactics. With the costs of presidential campaigns skyrocketing, it seems the tables have turned. This article discusses the innovations of 2008 and 2012 and what they may mean for the 2016 election.

But the big theme this week is something I’ve talked a lot about on this blog content marketing:

  • Gary Schirr asks “Is content marketing the NEW new thing?” with some thought-provoking Google trend graphs showing the exponential growth in search volume for “content marketing” versus other popular marketing trends. As the data shows, there is no question – content marketing is as popular a term as ever.
  • Mark Schaefer proclaims “Why Content Marketing is a ‘do-over’ for social media – arguing that content marketing offers a new and exciting opportunity for online marketing in response to what Mark sees as a failure of social media marketing. The upside, according to Mark, is that content marketing represents a maturation of the field. To me, the failure is the ‘out-the-box’ approach to social media, or as Mark describes it: checking it off the list. Still, it is interesting to hear someone call social media marketing a failure. I’d say the failure sounds more like a failure of social media marketers.
  • And Robert Wynne offers the “real story” of content marketing – where he examines whether content marketing is something new or a buzzword for something that’s been with us for a long time.

Have a great weekend!

– Cheers, Matt

Stop Being a Disorganized Researcher With Mendeley Reference Manager

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

(note: See the follow up article on the new mendeley features)

The other night my wife, who works in continuing education for optometrists, asked me, “Do you use Zotero?”
“No,” I said. And then, proudly “I use Mendeley!”
“What’s that?”
I went on a 10 minute pro-Mendeley rant that I’m quite sure she wasn’t prepared for!
Though I’m sure it was much more than she ever wanted to know about reference managers, it made me realize just how much Mendeley has changed how I do research.

Are you a disorganized mess when it comes to doing research? I know I was. And it was frustrating! Mendeley has helped me become much more organized and expedited the research process for me.

What’s Mendeley?

Mendeley software is a “free reference manager and PDF organizer,” meaning it organizes your research articles which are directly connected to the research article PDF files on your computer. The program is a standalone application for Windows or Mac. Below, I’ll talk about the benefits.

Research Library: A Life of Chaos

When I was first learning to do research in grad school, our professors would assign us articles and we’d go photocopy the class set (or if we were lucky, the professor would print them out). Journal articles were available online, but professors all seemed to be old school and prefer print copies. So this is how I learned. I soon found myself trying to organize folders upon folders of articles, many of which I thought I’d never need again but was afraid to get rid of. I soon ran out of room. I’d keep piles at home where I’d do most of my work, and others in my office. I’d lug stacks of them back and forth across the hills of Pullman (yes, often in the snow… and yes, both ways since I had to go down a hill then up 1 to get from my house to school), often to find out the one I wanted wasn’t with me causing delays and frustration. My apartment floor was littered with folders and articles. I’d go digging through them, never seeming to find the one I wanted. Can you relate?

Then I began downloading them to my computer. But organization was difficult. I’d try to title the articles so I’d remember them, and place them into folders as best I could. These folders weren’t printable so it seemed impossible to find the article I wanted. I’d open tons of PDFs before getting the right one, wasting valuable time. I couldn’t mark up the articles online, so then I’d end up printing them.

Yes, I’d tried Endnote but the version I had didn’t connect to the articles (or I didn’t understand how to use it), so it was like a Dewey Decimal system and I’d have to go find the article in my “stacks” – a disorganized mess on my computer or a hard copy. I played with Zotero, which was then a Firefox extension and wasn’t happy. I’d all but given up when I discovered Mendeley.

Here is why I love Mendeley.

Making Research Easier with Mendeley

  1. Auto-exported bibliographies with meta-data: When you add an article to Mendeley, it pulls the article meta data such as article title, authors, journal, etc. This data is now all searchable, sortable, and the citation can be exported in the reference format you desire, such as APA. If it can’t find the data, click ‘search’ and it will try and get the correct data via a Google Scholar search. Saves me tons of time!
  2. Tags and Keywords: I can also add my own meta data. While there are many fields like abstract and notes, my favorite are tags and keywords. When I read an article, I will pull out constructs from the article and enter them as tags. Say, ‘political involvement’ or ‘efficacy’. Now, when I’m working on research and I realize I need something on political efficacy, I do a quick search of Mendeley and find all the articles I have that cover political efficacy. Talk about a time saver! While there are folders, this offers an easier way to find articles as often an article covers multiple subjects.
    mendeley_tags
  3. Drag and Drop Articles / Auto Organization of Articles: Mendeley not only organizes your articles in the application, it also organizes the folders on your hard drive. To see the options, click “preferences” from the menu bar, then the “file organizer” tab (in Mac). It works two ways. 1) You can select folders for Mendeley to scan. Anytime an article is dropped into that folder, it will import it into Mendeley and also name the article as you’ve decided, such as by year – author – journal title. 2) You can take an article from a folder or your desktop and drag it into the Mendeley app. Mendeley automatically imports it, including references, and saves a copy to your designated folder on your hard drive.
    mendeley auto organize folders
  4. PDFs are connected to your references: When you pull a reference up on Mendeley, you’re not just getting the reference and your tags, notes, etc. You are getting the PDF that’s on your hard drive. So it is super easy to access the article.
  5. Markup documents: Once you open the PDF, you can highlight it, add comments, and more. Mendeley saves these markups. No more need to print out the article for markup.
    mendeley highlight article text
  6. synching across computers: No more lugging of articles back and forth or making sure you have the PDF on the right computer. Install Mendeley on multiple computers and your library can be synched between computers (there are data limitations of 2 Gig, but I am not close to reaching them).iPhone / iPad integration – I haven’t used this, but if you need access to your library on the go this is for you!
  7. Private Groups: You can create private groups or join public groups on Mendeley. I have used private groups to have discussions and share articles with colleagues. The online storage feature allows you to upload articles to your group where your colleagues can access them making it very easy to share research articles.

See a full list of Mendeley features.

I haven’t even gotten into the web features of Mendeley. While I don’t use these features as much, they are worth noting. So as not to overwhelm you with my excitement for Mendely, I’ll hold off mention of these for another post.

Ray Aldred sums up how I felt when I discovered Mendeley with this Tweet:

My gosh! Mendeley collaboration, citation and bibliography tool, where have you been all my life?!

— Ray Aldred (@Ray_Aldred) July 9, 2013

I cannot advocate Mendeley enough. I am truly an ambassador for this free service and cannot count the number of times I’ve gotten people to try it. I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think. What reference management software do you use? Do you recommend it? If you use Mendeley, why do you love it? Other tips and advice do you have for researchers? Have you found it useful

(note: See the follow up article on the new mendeley features)?

images: top: Mendely.com, others: screengrabs

What’s Changing? Plans for My Social Media Fall 2013 Class

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.Neon_sign,_-CHANGE-

I often find myself at the end of the semester saying “I wish we’d had time to talk about X!” Or, “when I planned this class, Y wasn’t even on the map!”

The great thing is, the relative shortness of a semester enables constant innovation.

Having taught social media for a number of years as a standalone course, there are a few things I plan to change for this upcoming semester.

When I first taught a social media class, I taught it as a hybrid class, half in person and half online. Our major project that semester was the #UVUSOCIAL speaker event featuring Cory Edwards of Dell. Last fall I taught the class based on the team-based learning teaching model (Here’s the syllabus). Students completed in class modules and at the end of each modules completed in in class project designed to put to test the various things they learned during the module. The projects were applied scenarios and students were forced to analyze situations and solve problems over the course of two class periods. While this approach had many benefits, I felt somewhat limited by it.

So what am I planning on doing differently this fall? Here are the major changes that are in the works:

UPDATE: A copy of the syllabus for this social media class is now available as 1 of the resources on this blog!

  • Hootsuite University program & Certification – We’re participating in the Hootsuite University Higher Education program, and students will get “Hoostuite Certified” via their exam certification process. Last semester we used Hootsuite in the class, but weren’t part of the program. t love Hootsuite and am super excited to be a part of this awesome program! It will be a great resume builder for the students.
  • Semester-long blogging project – I’ve wanted students to get hands-on experience with social media. The trouble is, often organizations are a bit wary of turning over the keys to Twitter or Facebook to a professor and his college students. And I completely understand. Unfortunately, to know social media students need to use social media. So much of learning social media is through planning and audience analysis, trying out engagement strategies, building relationships, monitoring, metrics, and evaluation. One way I’ve gotten around this in the past is to host our own social media event. This year, I realized another way to get around this issue was to have students author a niche-based blog on a topic they’re passionate about related to their career interests. I consulted a number of people on who have done this project before, and heard many professors found it to be very successful (I got lots of great feedback from the Teaching Social Media Marketing Linkedin group – Thanks!)
  • Metrics – While we touched on metrics last semester, this semester students will get a chance to set real goals, monitor their very own traffic (as opposed to hypothetical scenarios), etc.
  • Optimization of Posts: Days and Times – Last semester I talked about this quite a bit. Students even read Zarella’s Hierarchy of Human ContagiousnessThis semester, students we will discuss the topic and provide some examples. But instead of doing exercises, students will use a modified version of Professor Jeremy Floyd’s social media metrics spreadsheet to track their posting schedules and see what days and times are most effective. Thanks to Jeremy for sharing this awesome tool!
  • Social Media Audit – Last semester my Politics of Social Media class did an in-class social media audit activity of an organization we were working with. I was also planning on having them complete a full social media audit. However, due to how busy we were working on our #ACFF12 campaign, that never happened. So this semester in Comm 322 Social Media, students will complete a social media audit on a brand of their choosing.
  • Infographics – More and more it seems that visual storytelling is what’s winning on social media. I was considering integrating infographics into the Writing Across Platforms class I’ll be teaching next semester. Unfortunately, there is just too much to cover into writing class. I’m going to have to do the project in the social media class instead.
  • Lastly, A New Book – I’m dropping Zarella’s Hierarchy of Human Contagiousness, and adding Born to Blog by Mark W. Schaefer, a great companion for the blog project and 1 of the books from my social media book summer reading list.

What do you think? What recommendations do you have? I hope to finish up planning for the class this week and to get a copy of the syllabus up sometime soon. I also plan to offer some more in depth explanation of some of the projects and topics I’ve mentioned in this post.

If you are teaching a class on social media, what are you planning to cover this year? Are you making changes from previous semesters? If so, what? Drop a comment in the comments below or shoot me a Tweet (textbox on the right)!

I’d love to know!

photo CC By Felix Burton (Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons

2 weeks without the Internet: 5 Lessons Learned

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

Could you go two weeks without the Internet?

I did (well, almost – see below). And I am so happy I did.

At first, it was more from necessity than choice. You see, Kelin and I recently took a two week belated honeymoon to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and the Coromandel in New Zealand. We hit Rarotonga first. Before we went,I realized that we weren’t going to have much access to Internet on a small tropical island. I was concerned. But I figured I’d spend a good amount of time in Internet cafes replying to emails, checking in on social media, reading news, weather, and blogs, and so forth.

rarotanga_1

Then a few things happened. First, I saw just how expensive the Internet cafes were – some charging $5 for 10 minutes! On terribly slow computers, not much can be accomplished in 10 minutes except loading Gmail. I’d soon blow my vacation budget on Internet when that money was for snorkeling, sightseeing, cycling, and hiking. Then, I stepped back and realized… Matt, you’re on vacation. You’ve been planning and saving up for this trip for over a year. Enjoy it.

I took a breath and let it go.

Kelin and I decided not to seek out the Internet. We knew it would still be there when we returned.

The only time we used the Internet was for 10 minutes to fulfill our promise to email back home via a personal email account to let everyone know we were safe. And once when we needed to check with our bank on a question, about 20 minutes (international calls are far more costly than 10 minutes of Internet). A total of about 30 minutes.

For me this was a big deal. I had NEVER taken a vacation that didn’t involve computers, smartphones, Internet cafes, or the other things that tether me to the world like television. I’ve spent countless hours (and money) in web cafes in Europe or sitting in hotel rooms browsing the web or watching ESPN. That’s not a vacation. That’s simply being in another physical location. It is not another mental location – away from your normal world.

I had to take a vacation away from the web to figure that out.

palmtreeoverlagoon_cookislands

Here are five things I learned about myself and my relationship with technology:

  1. How much of my time is spent using technology. I am constantly on a computer or staring at a smartphone. I reply to emails like a person swatting flies, desperately trying to keep unread emails at bay.
  2. Technology should add to my life – not control my time. I love technology – always have.But I should not feel beholden to it. Even as I write this blog post on a Sunday evening, I feel a bit of guilt. I should be out enjoying this amazing weather. I should be getting exercise. But I’m quickly falling into old habits again. It is hard not to.
  3. I can navigate the world without my smartphone – although the smart phone is much more convenient. 🙂 There are so many helpful people out there. You don’t get a chance to meet them if you rely too much on technology to help you.
  4. There is so much out there to see and do beyond the glow of the screen.
  5. And the most important thing I learned – It is healthy to take a break. Just like you, it is vital in my career that I keep up technology and trends. I debated whether I should even admit that I took a break from technology on something as public as a blog. People may think, “A social media blog talking about the benefits of unplugging? Has Kushin gone wonky?” Today, with everything moving so fast, we’re so worried that we might miss some advancement, some critical news, an inspiring blog post. But the truth is that we all need a break, even from the things we love and the things we depend on.

I came back from this trip feeling relaxed and refreshed for the first time.

cathedral_cove_coramandel

Of course, I’ve jumped right back in. And I’m glad to back online. But it was good to be away, if just for a little bit. Honestly, I haven’t changed my habits as much as perhaps I would have like to having learned everything I did. But I did have 2 amazing weeks with my wife, saw so much more than I would have behind a screen, and came to develop a better perspective of my relationship with technology and an appreciation for the role it plays in our world today that I would not have without this experience.

If you’ve been considering going without Internet on an upcoming vacation, or even for a weekend, I strongly encourage you to take the plunge. If you have a spouse or are traveling with others, I believe it is important that everyone is on board. I know it was important for Kelin and I. Had one of us been seeking out the web, it just wouldn’t have worked.

Turn off the iPad, put down the smartphone, and unplug. You’ll be glad you did. I firmly believe it is the healthy and responsible thing to do. As Stephen R. Covey wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , you’ve got to “sharpen the saw.”

And trust me, the rest of us here on the social web – we’ll be here when you get back. 🙂

If you’d like to see some photos, I’ve posted a few to a public album on Google Plus. They include photos from around the Coromandel peninsula in New Zealand including the hauraki bike trailKarangahake gorge walks, Tairua, Cathedral Cove, and much more. In Rarotonga, most of the photos are from Muri Beach or the Cross Island Treck. I highly recommend all of these places and activities!

We took over 1,000 photos! If you’ve got any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a comment. I’m more than happy to talk about how to ditch technology for a vacation or just about these amazing places in the world we were blessed to be able to see!

Have a great week!

Cheers! – Matt

Teaching Keyword Competition with Google Adwords (Activity)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details.

This post is long overdue!

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of teaching content marketing in the college Communication or Business writing class today. I followed up with a post about Search Engine Optimization and an activity for introducing students to the importance of keyword research using Google Trends. I promised a follow up brief activity with Google Keywords Adwords Tool. Then the end of the semester and life ganged up on me! I realized I needed a full post just to talk about Keyword Competition, using my own website title as an example.

Continue reading Teaching Keyword Competition with Google Adwords (Activity)

A Social Media Education Blog by Matthew J. Kushin, Ph.D.