Aggregating and Curating My Dashboards

Creating tools

  • Google reader has been really helpful. It’s really much easier to read postings from classmates when they are all consolidated, rather than having to go to each individual blog site. As noted in an earlier post of mine, I receive a consolidated list of entries made on a number of listservs I subscribe to, and this is very similar. I’m still getting used to sorting, marking as read, etc. but overall, it’s been beneficial.
  •  IFTTT recipe writing went okay – both IFTTT and Twitter both seem to be working now. I’m still unsure about the point of Twitter and why many people seem to be addicted to it. I suppose my reluctance to using Twitter is because it’s new and I’m unfamiliar with it.
  • Tweetdeck was the site I chose for managing Twitter posts and feeds. Creating the account wasn’t much of a problem, but trying to add a column was a little frustrating. Directions were non-existent (that I could find) and I had to try a number of things before I finally realized how to do it. I’ve noticed that same phenomenon with a lot of these new resources I’ve been exposed to – no “owner’s manual” or step-by-step guide. I’m not sure why; maybe the creators think it’s just intuitive and directions are needed. But for the relative newbies to these new technologies, it isn’t. I muddled through, though. I do think that using Tweedeck will be helpful as I am on the planning committee for the annual conference for ASCA (the Association for Student Conduct Administration) and a hashtag has been created. When I added a column in Tweetdeck, I realized there has not been much activity using the hashtag, so that’s something I’ll look into and hopefully increase.
  • Netvibes was an enjoyable find.  It is a really great way to get information in a variety of formats (blogs, articles, videos) and neatly organized. And it’s different information than using Google, bing, or other “traditional” search engines. Actually, now that I’m aware of the filter bubble, I did a search using Google, bing, and Netvibes with the exact same search terms (online academic cheating) and got very different results from each. I also realized that a more specific search terms can result in different outcomes. Case in point:  my interpretation of “cheating” meant academic cheating – copying, plagiarism, etc. But I got results which interpreted “cheating” in the personal relationship sense – cheating on a spouse or partner. Changing the search terms to online academic dishonesty yielded what I was really looking for.

Aggregating vs. Curating
Aggregation is just collecting information about a subject, with little regard for the importance or authenticity of that information. It is usually done via mechanical means, i.e. a search engine.  Curation, on the other hand, is collecting information on a subject, then organizing it by sub-category, source, etc. This usually involves a human, who can interpret more than simply the words on the page.

In finding information about aggregation vs. curation, there were a few graphics I found (some of which were pinned to Pinterest), but I created my own, just to add my perspective (and, I admit, to procrastinate a little bit.) Here’s my visual interpretation of the difference between aggregation and curation:

As I was researching these two terms (again by searching Google, bing and netvibes), I thought about the need (or not) to cite where I got my information. A traditional “research paper” of course would need citations to all non-original material, but the informal nature of blogs muddies that water. (I did, however, cite the photos in my graphic above, because I clearly did not take them myself.) While doing a little bit more investigation, I happened on an interesting initiative  from to encourage abbreviated referencing and attributing of web-based materials on blogs, posts and the like.  It makes sense to me, as I’ve seen more than one instance where multiple webpages have exact wording, but no indication of where the material originally came from.

While sorting through information I found on aggregation and curation, I came across this article. As I was a journalism major as an undergrad, I found this article interesting. Are aggregators and curators really writing or just collecting and organizing? I’m not sure I know the answer….



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IFTTT test, 2.0

The first one didn’t seem to take. I realized I did not activate something IFTTT told me activate. Hopefully, this time things will work…

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IFTTT test

Okay, here goes nothing. I think I set up my recipe correctly. And turned it on (thanks for the tip, Amy). Hopefully, all will go smoothly. If not, tomorrow is another day…

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Week 3: Blog Post

The opportunities the Internet affords are, obviously, many: quick access to information, the ability to share thoughts and ideas with others, the capability to compare multiple options easily to name just a few. But with that easy access comes the pitfalls: information overload, inaccurate or just downright wrong facts, distraction from completing important tasks.

Mr. Pariser’s video on the filter bubble was eye –opening for me. I did not realize that Google, Yahoo and others filter information to tailor results you your supposed likes. That definitely could lead to a lack of information and all views on a topic. Old media filters information, too, but you know generally what type of material will be included in these old media. (Compare the content of a liberal news magazine such as Newsweek with a more conservative one such as The Weekly Standard and it’s easy to see what each publication’s leanings are and not generally what types or articles will appear in each.) Even then, you can choose to read, or not, a particular article. You’re acting as the filter, not the computer. A filtered search will remove your ability to choose. That’s a little disconcerting.

I thought Mr. Mangat’s schedule makes sense and allows him to manage all his different social media contacts well. I don’t have many social media outlets (yet; we’ll see at the end of the semester!) I can understand how it might overwhelm someone. E-mail does have that capacity. I manage e-mail by doing a few things:

  • I check e-mail only every few hours, rather than constantly. Nothing is that critical that needs immediate attention.
  • I turned off the e-mail notification (both sound and visual) so I’m not tempted to check an e-mail when it first comes in.
  • I use Thunderbird and make use of the Tags feature, which allows me to color code message, then sort and organize. If I am looking for a pending e-mail on academic honesty, for example, I just click a button and all the orange-colored e-mails come up.
  • Once I’m finished with an e-mail, I file it, so what’s left in my in-box is only the pending items, not everything I’ve ever received. I try to keep my in-box to 100 e-mails or less. (A colleague has 3200 e-mails in her box. I guess it works for her, but that would stress me out immensely.)

I belong to a couple of listservs (hosted by Yahoo) and have arranged to get the “digest” version of the postings. Rather than receiving each post as a separate -mail I  get one e-mail a day with all the individual posts listed together and grouped based on the original post . That way I can scan through and skip an group of postings that I’m not interested in and I only have to delete one e-mail (the daily digest) rather than each individual message. It also keeps my inbox less full.

When I find website I like or need, I bookmark it and organize them all in files and subfiles. Now that I know about Diigo, though, I’m going to start using that, because I’ve had many an instance when I’ve been on my work computer and wanted something I bookmarked on my personal computer and vice versa.
As Prof. Timins noted, understanding the source of your information and the credibility of the source is important. Stanford University (a very credible .edu, I’d say) gives good suggestions on creating a trustworthy website here. Number 10 on the list is an important one – even typographical can effect the perceived quality of a site. If the authors can’t spell or aren’t double-checking their work, how accurate is all the material on the site?

Mr. Thompson’s article on cyborgs, and his reference to Deep Blue reminded me of a similar project IBM did a few years ago with Jeopardy and WATSON, a computer who easily defeated the two highest players who amassed the most money as Jeopardy champions. An interesting watch:

WATSON wasn’t just for fun, though. The purpose if WATSON is explained very nicely at

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FERPA Statement

Personal FERPA statement

I, Michael Fernbacher, understand and accept that some of my academic work for EDUC 439/639 (taken in Fall semester 2012) will be published on the open web and that this work will be located at

Unless content put up can potentially damage my online reputation, I also pledge to leave it online until at least December 21, 2012, the end of the fall semester.

Under those terms, I waive parts of my FERPA-granted rights for the purpose of exploring social media and web 2.0, excluding private conversations with colleagues and course grades.

Adapted, with permission,  from:

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Course Expectations

I am hoping to gain a better understanding of what roles social media can play in the educational process and how they might be integrated into the conduct process (without violating students’ FERPA-protected right to privacy of their conduct – i.e. educational – records).

My perception of social media (Facebook, primarily, but others like LinkedIn, Twitter and others we will hopefully learn about in this course) is that they are mostly just that – social outlets.  I do admit that I have avoided all the above-mentioned social media sites, despite the numerous requests from people using them, because of A) my belief that most social media sites are simply a way to procrastinate and B) hearing stories of the outrageous things posted on these sites and how some may have negatively affected those involved. I hope to understand how to make the best use of the positive and educational aspects of social media sites without encountering any of the negative aspects.


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Some Information About Me

I am just beginning my doctoral studies in Educational Leadership. I completed a Master’s degree (in Student Affairs Practice/College Counseling) at UD in 1999, then began working here that same year. Since 2002, I have been a member of UD’s Office of Student Conduct, where I have primary responsibility for overseeing conduct cases generated from the Residence Life staff (as you might expect, a lot of alcohol violations, but other policies as well, such as drugs, violence, noise, etc.), faculty (academic honesty) and, occasionally IT (Digital Millennium Copyright Act violations.)

For more information about me, please visit my site at

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