Archive | July 2012

Social media research seminar offered again this Fall

I’m really excited to teach the graduate social media research seminar again this Fall – TECH 621: Research Focus: The Social Internet.

This semester, the course will be offered Tuesday evening from 6-8:50 pm.

Each week, we read and discuss research about core social media topics such as: Internet culture (lolcats!), online communities, crowd sourcing, online identity, attention and distraction, etc. Students’ grades are based on social media immersion (tweeting, blogging, experimenting and reviewing services), article analyses, and an original research paper on a topic of their choice. Last year’s syllabus is embedded at the bottom of this post.

The course is open to all students at Purdue and usually enrolls an interesting and diverse group of people. No technical expertise required.

This is what students who took this course in the past had to say about it:

The informal operation of the class helps to support an environment of participation and collaboration. I felt like classmates were really my teammates in the learning process.

Prior to enrolling in TECH 621, The Social Internet, I had not received formal education on how to effectively design and carry out a research project at the graduate level. Dr. Vorvoreanu’s course structure not only introduced me to these important aspects of graduate education, but also enabled me to develop my first-ever research paper on society’s use of emerging, Web-based communication technologies. I now look forward to submitting my paper to an upcoming high-tech conference.


Because of this course, I feel ready to undertake new research endeavors in both my academic and professional career. It is my hope that Dr. Vorvoreanu continues to offer her students practical, hands-on research experience.

I really do like the implementation of Twitter into classroom assignments and learning. It was not only epicly awesome, but social media as a whole is something that is going to play a big part in the future of companies development. Though me, as well as other classmates, were not a fan of Twitter to begin with, Dr. V’s assertion of using the media outlet lets one respect how powerful, and helpful it is for not only classroom purposes, but business potential as well.

Finally, I enjoyed how this technology class can be adapted to fit the needs of any student from any department on campus! I hope that you continue to allow the final project and class presentation topics to be selected by the students.

She talks about a fountain of learning and encourages open discussion. I feel like I learn a lot more out of it when the thoughts of myself and others are free flowing. Her readings she assigns are also current to the medium we are studying, nothing it outdated.

Dr. V is a wonderful instructor and always willing to help students in any way possible. She was able to find a good balance of knowledge about social media that wasn’t too challenging for the beginner students, yet introduced new topics to students with quite a bit of experience in social media.
Also, I really liked the lessons about how to effectively read a journal article in a short amount of time. This is something I haven’t been taught in my previous two years of grad school.

If you took this course and would like to comment below, please help others decide whether this course is for them. You can do so by sharing your opinion of the course and/or answering questions such as:

  • what kinds of students should take this course? what majors?
  • looking back, do you think this course helped you? why? why not? how so?
  • what advice do you have for students who want to succeed in this course?

If you are a graduate student interested in this course and have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Looking forward to seeing you in class,

Dr. V

Online identity management article in JOEE

We (myself and my research group) have been working for a while on projects related to the management of online identity – that is, how people do, and should, present themselves online, across several social media sites.

One of the first papers in what will hopefully be a series was published this past Friday in the Journal of Online Engineering EducationOnline Identity Management Literacy for Engineering and Technology Students (pdf).

This video explains why you should read the paper. 🙂

The paper discusses the current employment climate in the U.S., where many employers check students’ Google resume in addition or even instead their paper resumes. It presents data about online identity management of undergraduate students, collected through in-depth interviewing. It then presents a program for students to manage their online identities:

The program begins with social media literacy – understanding the dynamics that make identity management trickier online than off. It then suggests tools, ideas, and direction for 4 steps:

  1. Creating professional online content
  2. Optimizing online content for social media
  3. Developing and maintaining an online professional network
  4. Monitoring and maintaining online presence

Coincidentally, there is an article in today’s university newspaper about this very topic. The article quotes yours truly (I forgot to mention that my name is Dr. V!) and summarizes informally some of the points that are developed formally in the journal article.

The journal article is intended for:

  • college professors, who are asked to consider teaching a bit of social media literacy in their courses;
  • college students, who benefit from awareness of how to manage their online information (at least that’s what the students who read the paper tell me).

And no, you don’t have to be in engineering or technology to find this article useful. 🙂

Graduate students who are interested in this and other social media topics may find the research seminar I am teaching this Fall interesting. TECH 621: Research Focus: The Social Internet is a course that reviews current research in core social media topics. In this course, students are immersed in social media and work on an original research project of their own interest. More info about the course coming soon, but feel free to contact me if you’re interested and are a Purdue student. And, if you are interested but are not a Purdue graduate student… well, why not become one?

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