Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Good Work Continues Onward

Remember when Dr. Burton's 295 class wrote and published an eBook over the summer? Remember the lightning fast marketing campaign we did to find people who would actually care about what we were trying to do?

Well, yesterday one of the people I contacted about our webinar, Anna Smith, mentioned me on Twitter to let me know about a project students at NYU are doing this semester. It looks really interesting and the students' "response/analysis will be posted as a response to Writing About Literature in the Digital Age (Silvester, Nelson & Rutter, 2011) and will be patterned after their chapters." How cool is that? This just emphasizes the importance of learning and sharing in today's digital culture. It's also fun to know people are actually benefiting from our efforts, check it out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Download the free eBook here!

Writing About Literature in the Digital Age is now up and ready to be downloaded. Go here and check it out!

Learning Outcomes of English 295

The 3 C's... what are they? Did we meet them? 

This semester has been spent trying out the new tools of the digital age. To consume the required texts I wanted to use a variety of mediums. I read Vinge's Rainbows End the old-fashioned way, a nice new paperback book. I tackled Darnton's The Case for Books via audiobook and for Card's Ender's Game I used a mix of both the physical book and the audiobook. I came to really appreciate the audiobook format and now I listen to them everyday at work. 

I also learned useful tools for researching in the digital age. I discovered we are not limited to scholarly databases to find useful information about literary texts. Goodreads, Diigo, and Twitter played a key role in my research. Those websites provided great starting points for finding even more information. 

The create learning outcome was essential to this class. Each of us was required to create a blog and produce daily blog posts. I struggled a little with this requirement. I really like blogging but it has been hard for me to get past the mindset of having to compose perfectly crafted pieces of writing before putting it online for everyone to see. I discovered that if I let myself write, spend a few minutes tweaking it here and there and quickly click the "publish" button I can produce relatively interesting content without much stress. 

While blogging is less formal than a traditional research paper it is still very possible to create content that is meaningful and insightful. When the blogging medium is used for more academic purposes the content being created is more likely to be read by a larger audience because of its accessibility. The blogger has to catch your attention quickly before the reader has a chance to click away. Learning to write in this style has been very rewarding.

Connecting with others interested in the work we are doing turned out to be easier than I thought. I am a pretty reserved person so when Dr. Burton told us about this section of the learning outcomes I was a little apprehensive. As the semester went on I discovered how fun it is comment on other people's blogs and how exciting it is to look at the stats of your blog and see who is viewing it and from where.

Connecting to people through marketing our (now complete!) eBook has been a lot of fun. I felt a little bit like an explorer when I was searching for  people who would be interested in what we have to say. When I sent out invitations and got a few responses from people saying they planned to attend, I saw just how important it is to connect with others. What is the point of creating something if it will never reach a audience? It is nice to know that our eBook is accessible to all right now and will continue to be there in the future. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Navigating the Ways of Marketing

Our eBook is finally ready to be brought to the world!

If I had been told I would be involved in producing an eBook in under 3 weeks I never would have believed it. This has been quite an adventure.

I was part of the marketing team. I really wanted to search for real people who I thought would care about our book and the topics it deals with. I got really lucky when I attended the webinar with Troy Hicks and found Anna Smith. Her website led me to people who's work she is following, as well as people who are following her. I sifted through all of them and came up with a pretty good list of contacts. I sent out an email earlier today and also contacted a few people via Twitter.

Can I just say how great Twitter is? I got a Twitter account a few years ago but never really did anything with it. I'm glad I found out what a wonderful marketing tool it can be! For example, I contacted Ryan Rish through Twitter and he quickly answered with a promising response:
When I thought about our webinar I saw such potential but also thought it would only be attended by our friends and family, which is nice, but not as impactful as I was hoping. But contacting people and sending out emails has given me hope. Even with our brief advertising campaign it looks like we are getting the word out.

I'm very excited for our webinar and the launch of our eBook.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Webinars and Marketing

My plan for today was to go to class, to work, then to the BYU CEO Club to get a free J-Dawg. I wasn't really expecting to enjoy myself at the club meeting but I figured it would be worth it for the J-Dawg.

While I was at the club meeting I also attended the Classroom 2.0 webinar with Troy Hicks. Attending a webinar was a first for me so I didn't know what to expect. I liked the format. It was interesting, and at times, challenging to both listen to the speaker and read the chat stream generated by the other attendees. I thought the chat stream was a great way for people to connect instantly with others about the things that were being said. Many people contributed to the chat with links to other sites that they thought others would find interesting.  Overall I really enjoyed it. It was pretty cool to see the moderators take notice of what was being said in the chat window, then address it with their next comments. It showed they were actually engaged with their audience and they cared about what the audience thought.

I think conducting a webinar would be a worthwhile use of our time and would definitely spread the word about our eBook. From some of the comments at the webinar, I got the feeling that teachers are very interested in engaging in the digital tools available but are not sure if those tools are considered scholarly enough for some of their purposes. If we hold a webinar to showcase our eBook and the things we have written concerning that issue we can help convince them of its legitimacy.

At the end of the webinar one of the participants, Anna Smith, gave her twitter name so people could continue the discussion. I checked it out and also discovered she had a website that is a companion to a "soon-to-be-published" book, Developing Writers: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. She sounds like someone who would be very interested in our eBook. We should keep her in mind and reach out to her and see if she has other contacts who would also be interested.

After the webinar, one of the speakers at the CEO club was talking about how to find people to market a product to. It seemed like fate that I had decided to attend. The speaker said the trick to marketing is to find one source and then "explode it." He said you just have to go at it with all you have until the source knows exactly what you're offering and gets onboard. We should look into his advice and focus on very specific markets then explode them with information about our eBook.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Online Identity - Ready to be Edited?

Here's the link to the final draft of my chapter.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Possible Teaser Pictures?

here are a few I like:

Flickr - grafikspam
(creative commons licensed)

Flickr - Marcin Wichary
(creative commons licensed)
Identity with a scifi flair

Flickr - JD Hancock
(creative commons licensed)

I think I like this one the best. It gives off the vibe I'm going for: science fiction mixed with creating an identity to showcase your personality

I don't know, any suggestions?