Online PhDs an Emerging Segment of the Digital Society

A University of Oxford DPhil in full academic ...

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A few weeks ago I responded to a LinkedIn discussion question – “online PhD or not?” There were over 20 responses to this post weighing in both sides. I began to panic as I continued to read some of the posts that argued against online PhD, citing, “lack of acceptance by brick and mortar” institutions. My goal is to one day become a university professor. I fear my degree will be frowned upon because I did not go the traditional route.

Through my research I discovered that at least one-fifth of all higher education students now taking a least one online course. Of the estimated 3.9 million online students, 14 percent of those are taking graduate level courses. My belief is that online PhDs are an emerging segment of society, that will began to gain acceptance as the online education continues to grow.

Who could be better equipped to teach the next wave of online learners than PhDs who went the non-traditional, online route? More notably, is the scholar-practitioner model, that is the cornerstone of many online PhD programs. Online PhDs, learn about their about the scientific endeavor of knowledge while being simultaneously grounded in the day-to-day delivery of a product or service.

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Refseek Competition for Google Scholar?

Refseek logo

After reading Stan Schroder’s article in Mashable about refseek, a new academic search engine, that was launched today in beta mode.  According to the reseek site,

RefSeek (rĕf-sēk) is a web search engine for students and researchers. refseek aims to make academic information easily accessible to everyone. refseek searches more than one billion documents, including web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers.

In comparison to Google refseek indexes more that just scientific publications, thereby returning more search results. The site also has a a “narrow your search” feature that suggests terms to help you narrow your search for better results.  Another noticible difference is there are no ads in refseek’s search results, which is always a plus when your diligently researching a topic and prefer not to be distracted.

I’m adding refseek to my arsenal of research tools.  Hopefully it will prove to be useful.  you think of

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Social Media Classroom: a New Web 2.0 Education Platform

SMC Logo

Last week ReadWriteWeb highlighted Social Media Classroom (SMC) a new web 2.0 platform for education.  SMC is a free open-source Drupal-based web service for teachers and learners.  SMC is an web classroom format that integrates social media tools such as :

  • blogs
  • wiki
  • chat
  • social bookmarking

The Classroom also includes curricular material: syllabi, lesson plans, resource repositories, screencasts and videos.  The Collaboratory (or Colab), is what we call just the web service part of it.  Educators are encouraged to use the Colab and SMB materials freely, and we host your Colab communities if you don’t want to install your own. 

This website is an invitation to grow a public resource of knowledge
and relationships among all who are interested in the use of social media
in learning, and therefore, it is made public with the intention of
growing a community of participants who will take over its
provisioning, governance and future evolution.

Read more about Social Media Classroom here.

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What is the Definition of Social Media Marketing?

Confused???! (Image provided by Tom_ka via Flickr)

This week I’m covering marketing basics in my business management class.  The curriculum developed by the college is very general, and I  have a lot of leeway on what marketing topics I cover in class.  With that being said, I normally structure the week that I cover marketing by first discussing  the basics of marketing such as: the 4 P’s, product life cycle, and traditional marketing collateral. But, the world of marketing is has been disrupted by the emergence of social media marketing (SMM) – Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

These “marketing additives” are the center of discussion in many businesses and no definitive answers have eveloed as to adoption and integration into enteprise marketing strategies.  I do feel SMM is too big to gloss over, but I have yet to pinpoint a definitive model of what SMM looks like from an enterprise standpoint.

Peter Kim posted a thought-provoking blog today – Defining Social Media Marketing.  Peter defines SMM it as:

“Interaction between a company and individual via [digital] delivery channels, intended to share commercial content that will lead to a sale and/or be passed along to others.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  What is the definition of Social Media? What should I cover in my class?

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Introduction to Web 3.0 a Free Course: Day Four

Today we are going to explore varying perceptions of web 3.0.  Below is a collection several interesting articles and videos from experts: Tim O’Rielly, Nicholas Carr and Kevin Kelly on the subject of web 3.0.  It’s interesting to see the Web 3.0 from three different perspectives.

Tim ORielly

Tim O'Reilly

Today’s 3.0 Nonsense Blogstorm, by Tim O’Rielly

I find myself particularly irritated by definitions of “Web 3.0” that are basically descriptions of Web 2.0 (i.e. new forms of collective intelligence applications) that justify themselves as breakthroughs only by pretending that Web 2.0 is somehow about ajax, mashups, and other client side technologies.

Read the full article here.

Nicholas Carr

Nicholas Carr

What is Web 3.0?, by Nicholas Carr

Here we are, halfway through 2007, and we still don’t have a decent commonly-held definition of Web 2.0 and already we have competing definitions of the Web’s next generation. Or do we? I think that the apparent conflict between the two definitions may in fact be superficial, arising from the different viewpoints taken by Schmidt (an applications viewpoint) and the Semanticists (a communications viewpoint).

Read Nicholas’ article here.

Kevin Kelly helped launch Wired magazine in 1993, in this video he discusses how web 2.0 is only 5,000 days old, and what will the next 5,000 day of the web will look like.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What do you think the web will look like in the next 5,000 days?  I welcome your comments.

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Join Blog Action Day 2008 – Blog About Poverty on October 15

I'm in. Are you in?

I found this compelling call-to-action posted on DevLounge featuring Blog Action Day 2008.  BDA is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. This year’s focus is the global issue of poverty. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues. Each blogger brings their own perspective and ideas. Each blogger posts relating to their own blog topic. And each blogger engages their audience differently.

Visit the BDA website to learn about the three ways you can get involoved:

  • Publish
  • Promote
  • Donate
Register Now!

Register Now!

Blogs Participating

Blogs – both large and small are participating, including: EU Minister Elena Valenciano, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, LifeHacker, Mashable, Smashing, VentureBeat, ProBlogger, Inhabitat, ZenHabits, Stepcase LifeHack, MentalFloss, DailyBlogTips, TorrentFreak, SEOMoz, GetRichSlowly, WiseBread,, GigaOm, DumbLittleMan and more…

Vodpod videos no longer available.
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Tag Clouds for the Classroom

While searching the Web for classroom ice breakers that tie into my daily lesson plan, I came across Nancy Wozniak’s blog, which contains a variety of topics dedicated to Web 2.0 for educators.  Nancy posted a discussion on using Tag Crowd as a classroom ice breaker.  Tag Crowd’s Website states that Tag Crowd is:

A web application for visualizing word frequencies in any user-supplied text by creating what is popularly known as a tag cloud or text cloud.

I decided to try it myself before I used it in the classroom.  I had a minor problem when trying to use the URL option to create a tag cloud, it produced a blank screen. But the copy and paste option worked fine. Here is a screen shot of my tag cloud.

I am definitely going to incorporate it into my lesson plan.   I plan to take it beyond using it as an ice breaker.  I will have my students create their own Word Press blogs, and then write a personal essay about themselves.  They will then post their essay and their tag clouds created with Tag Crowd on their blogs.

I’m currently teaching Business Management at Heritage College. The final project in the class is a business plan.  The students can then use their blogs as part of their Marketing strategy for their business plans.

My belief is that as potential small business owners I want to equip them with all the tools they need to be successful.  The integration of Web 2.0 technologies into mainstream business is a growing trend.  Utilizing a blog for target marketing on a grassroots level has proven to be an inexpensive and effective channel for small and large businesses.

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