UOSM 2008 Portfolio Assessment

For perhaps the first time in my education have I felt that a course has challenged me, but also equipped me for the future like UOSM2008.

I came into this module with some level of apprehension, as my usage of the web was little more than what I now know as being indicative of the actions of a “digital visitor”. I would simply delve into known areas of the web, take what I required and leave, usually for work purposes, but after taking part in this module, my understanding of how I can both get more out of the web, but also give back to it, has increased greatly.

The first step I have taken into increasing my profile online, and making my actions coherent, clear and visible was connecting my profiles. I now have an about.me profile, acting as a hub to all my professional and social interactions online, with even my emails now including a link to this hub.

From here one can find my newly created linkedin, which I have connected to friends and family, but have also established connections with old NHS colleagues, and have in fact through these new connections online managed to get a position to work in data analysis, starting this summer, thereby outlining the benefits of the web in a professional sense more than I could with words!

Twitter was another challenge for myself, as I had no previous experience prior to this module, yet after a little bit of tinkering, I now have a twitter feed connecting me to constant professional and social interests, whilst also allowing me to receive updates more fluidly than ever before, and to contact high profile individuals in a more direct way.

Also linking from this hub we can find my UOSM2008 blog, which I found that ingenuously both acted as a platform from which to complete fortnightly assignments, but actually in itself was a practice in our uses of the web and data collection. Writing this blog has made me realise that it can both act as a social pastime, but also a feather in the cap of my CV for potential employers to view, or even a career in its own right, as I am now considering the possibility of a future in journalism for the first time, also.

Partaking in this module has also equipped me with a plethora of additional skills, and other vital knowledge which I have picked up along the way, much during the process of writing blog posts themselves. Among these are a more critical approach to the quality and validity of articles I read, how to incorporate media to strengthen an article, and whilst I go about any work I now use a VPN to protect my right to anonymity, and to be able to use the web as it was intended, without external influence.

Taking this knowledge forward, I want to carry on keeping to a schedule of blog posts, incorporating my interests to a professional context, whilst fleshing out my linkedin profile and connections further.

Words: 509

Ayn Rand Quote photograph:
Wikimedia commons

Self-test document:
Click here for online doc

I’d also just like to say a big thank you to Lisa Harris for helping me get onto this course in the first place, given the last minute scramble, and to Olja for helping me with any queries I had, during the course of the module.

Also a big thank you to everyone who took the time to read my blog and/or make comments, it has been an excellent experience, and without the peers I have on this course, I may not have asked all the questions of myself that needed answering.

UOSM 2008 Portfolio Assessment

Topic 5: Reflection on Open Access

This week the topic shifted slightly in its outlook from how we work and integrate ourselves into using the web, to ethical dilemmas faced by grad students and the education system worldwide in regards to open access information online, with the web once again acting as a gateway to giving possible solutions.

Reading the posts of others on the subject drew my attention to different sides of this debate. Namat’s blog made me consider the ethics of health related papers not being available to the general public, and that even within the debate between having papers open access or not, whether papers that could have an immediate beneficial impact in the field of healthcare should follow a different set of rules than a more general theoretical paper. Furthermore this made me consider why we could not implement a system whereby individuals were able to read all papers online, but it was only if they wished to draw on those papers and reference them, that they should need to possibly compensate the original article author or not. While it is far from being complete, a system such as IDEA’s (1) (click on citations) where papers’ citations are clearly and publicly shown could already give us a framework for such a system, which if implemented perhaps in a Wikipedia-esque manner, albeit with more controls, could create a hub for scientific papers and interaction worldwide.

Tatiana’s post, meanwhile made me consider how we are rapidly facing a different landscape on the web where once free content is finding ways to integrate paid elements into their respective systems. One could even consider this an effective business model whereby one initially reached the largest audience possible, who made using your product a part of their daily routine, only to later introduce paid aspects. In this way you already have a large user base, and therefore may in fact receive more paying customers than if in that period you had been providing a paid good all along…

The restriction to papers and resources online could also cause an overlap of ideas and work, where two separate researchers were unable to access each others paid articles therefore rendering one paper in part or totally obsolete, further pointing to open access to theoretical work online being a priority as the field of education moves forward.

Words: 386


(1) IDEAS: https://ideas.repec.org/p/kie/kieliw/1622.html

Topic 5: Reflection on Open Access

Topic 5 – The Open Access Dilemma


Please click here for presentation: http://tinyurl.com/l6h7vry

In the 3rd century BC, the Library of Alexandria was constructed, seeking to collect literature and papers of the world to act as a center for learning, drawing many of the time’s most notable scholars to its halls.

Today, with the ability to share knowledge so freely with only a computer and internet connection required, one would have thought this concept could have been reproduced on a worldwide scale, yet still as per Shockey and Eisen (1), prices of scientific Journals continue to rise in price in proportion to interest rates year on year, making them less accessible to students and libraries. The issue that arises is that scientists need to be able to make their work as available as possible, whilst still being compensated for their work.

While platforms such as Elsevier seek to combine papers from multiple Journals, aggregating them and selling complete access to universities, you may still only access this material if you belong to an establishment that subscribes to the content. The importance of universal education, however, lies in the assumption that the personal returns to education are in fact less than that gained by society, affirmed by Moretti (2). This spillover effect contributes to the belief that universally accessible information and education may in fact be more beneficial when supplied as a public good (3) than being privately profited from by Journals.

Open access, whilst making content free for end users, must come at a cost to someone. As Geib (4) writes, this often comes down to the author themselves to cover their research or by way of a grant. However as the government provides funding for universities for research already, there exists the possibility to cut out the middle-man, in the form of private Journals, meaning that the state can both fund and publish the work of its students.

While this may seem beneficial to authors and society, it remains the case that papers must be reviewed by the quality of their content before publication, and while projects such as Wikipedia itself have shown that a free access source of information may be successful in providing high quality content, university papers will remain more complex and therefore more difficult to screen for quality issues when submitted in large quantities.

If a sufficient peer-review system can be put in place, universal Open Access may yet become a reality.

Words: 394

(1) Open Access Explained! – Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics)

(2) Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data – Enrico Moretti
(3) Public Good – Wikipedia
(4)Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access – Adam Geib

Topic 5 – The Open Access Dilemma

Reflection on Topic 4: Ethics Online

Entering into topic four of the course I feel we were perhaps given one of the biggest opportunities to leave our own personal stamp on our blogs. As we were allowed to choose “any” topic pertaining to social media and ethics that we found significant, the issue may have been daunting in its scope, had we not had the experience of the previous weeks to build upon our appreciation of how living and working on the web coincide.

While I personally took pleasure in watching the insightful TED Talk speech by Glenn Greenwald [1], I also felt it opened my eyes to how previous topics highlighting surveillance of users online may have changed the way I and many others use and view the web forever. To myself the huge psychosocial impact of this panopticon-type situation caused me to perhaps view web-users and employees as being exploited, and their privacy too openly dissected.

Bartosz’ post [2] served to only reaffirm these beliefs to some extent, and highlighted the inequality of the situation, both in how companies may sell data to a user’s benefit (if this data reflects favourably on themselves) or detriment (if it acts as a deterrant). This in a way seems to be defeating the very purpose of what universal education stands for, in that it should be, if anything, a great equalizer. However I did conclude that if users were made clearly aware of such practices before signing up to these programs, that at least each user could weigh up the pro’s and con’s of such a system themselves.

Leigh’s post meanwhile made me question the motive’s of tweets made by sponsored figureheads in our society, but her assurance that:

“the UK’s consumer protection and competition authority is looking to deepen its understanding of the way businesses use online reviews and endorsements, after concerns were raised about their ‘trustworthiness’ and ‘impartiality’”

Did give me some hope that situations were evolving with the times, especially as consumers cannot be expected to research all sponsorship deals linked to celebrities and their opinions online.

Finally, however a post by Hayley on my own blog drew my attention more to the fact that businesses may be attempting to protect their employees as much as anything else, which in conjunction with the law giving further protection against employees, and abuse of an employers power to sack them allowed me to see that perhaps, if legal constructs continue to recognise the growing importance of the links between the web and workplace, that there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

Words: 367


1. Glenn Greenwald – Why privacy matters

2. Bartosz blog post:


Reflection on Topic 4: Ethics Online

Business, privacy, social media: Can’t we just all get along?


If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place
-Google CEO Eric Schmidt [1]

Over the past weeks we have inspected and dissected our actions on the web, both social and professional, separately and combined but with the overbearing implicit theme that the walls between aspects of our life are slowly starting to crumble. This can at times be beneficial, giving thousands of people more opportunities than ever to become employed [2] or, ironically, cause people to lose their jobs  [3].

The ethical issues that arise here can be whittled down to those of web denizens understanding their rights to privacy and freedom of speech, whilst also being aware of their limits, while for businesses maybe there should be stricter enforcement on how much information they are allowed to gain online to influence their decision on hiring someone or not.

Taking our initial quote from Eric Schmidt, and by extension a corporate view of the web, for example, we should consider that 83% of people use the internet for information on medical conditions [4], and while a company can’t assess your medical history at source by law, they may use search history to come to their own conclusions. This logic can be applied to a host of actions that humans need privacy to undertake and as Bruce Schneier explains:

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable. [5]
– Bruce Schneier

From an Economics stance, a corporation always wants to have as full information about those who it hires as possible, and as cost-efficiently as possible, but this can create one of two situations for web users:

One is that the web user is aware of possible surveillance of their actions online, creating a Panopticon [6] type situation, where this fear that they could be being watched is enough to constrain their freedom and actions to fit the wants of a firm.

The other aspect is a user who is unaware of potential surveillance, where they may be more free to post their opinions online, but without a good knowledge of the limits of the law, they could find themselves being punished without being any the wiser.

I believe if we are to continue integrating various aspects of our lives on the web that users must have it made clear to them, not buried within reams of text in a Terms & Conditions agreement, what their rights are. The law should also recognise the incentive for firms to abuse this system also, and seek to make the web an even playing field that can be benefited from by all.

399 Words (Sans quotes and source numbers)


Featured Image:

1. Eric Schmidt:

2.Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey


3.New York Times – How one stupid tweet ruined Justine Sacco’s life


4.Health on the net foundation – Evolution of Internet use for health purposes


5.The Eternal Value of Privacy – Bruce Schneier


6.The Internet, a tool for Art? – Karen Eliot


Not directly referenced, but hugely inspired by Glenn Greenwald’s TED speech, ‘Why Privacy Matters’ (do watch it if you haven’t yet!):

Business, privacy, social media: Can’t we just all get along?

Topic 3 Reflection: Building an authentic online professional profile

This week’s topic gave the group not only an opportunity into discovering how we could market ourselves successfully online but also what a necessity it is to create a streamlined professional personal representation whilst avoiding any tarnishing of that image, or ‘brand’.

Tamara Manton’s blog initially made me consider the title of the post more clearly in terms of how our actions must be ‘authentic’. Therefore more than ever, if we do wish to connect online profiles together to be professional representations of ourselves, we must ensure that our actions, unlike Justine Sacco’s are in line with our work ‘persona’. However if this is to be mixed with your social life, it should be done carefully, and with taste.

Following on from this idea however, reading Tatiana Sieff’s blog post made me start to further question how this authenticity could be closer or further from the truth, depending on the individual, and therefore whether this newer approach of hiring individuals based on their online actions should be necessarily always a move in the right direction.
This, of course, comes from the introduction of bias, which may be avoided in certain methods of hiring potential candidates. This personally interests me from the aspect of Labour Economics, where maximizing social equality of opportunities no matter race, gender or sexuality is key. The issue may not be hugely endemic in hiring for positions, but must be considered when trying to both empower people through usage of the web, whilst protecting them from its misuse.

Despite the possible shortfalls of the system, I  personally, will look to ignore elements of processes I have no control over, therefore strengthening my business profile online, so that my employers are able to get a vital second opinion on my work ethic outside a simple CV.

Words: 298

Tamara Manton:

Tatiana Sieff:

Justine Sacco’s tweet, news article:

Topic 3 Reflection: Building an authentic online professional profile

Digitally Portraying the Professional within

Photo by Steven Depolo. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/6228420376/in/photostream/

Now that personal statements and CV’s are relatively short and limited in scope, employers are constantly looking for new avenues to single out that a candidate is truly passionate about their work, whilst also being a well-rounded human being! With the advent of digital and real-life personas becoming one and the same with platforms such as linkedin, it is quickly becoming a necessity to have such a presence if you wish to stand a chance at all:

“If you haven’t started [making a digital profile] then you’re already late to the game” – Michael Weiss (1)

And the statistics back this up; according to the Social Recruiting Survey results for 2014, over 90% of recruiters use Linkedin as an aid in recruitment ((2) page 8), whilst they have also recruited applicants through social sites such as Facebook (26%), Twitter (14%) and even candidate’s blogs (7%)!

In light of this you should aim to:

1.Spread your professional profile as widely as possible: Zadi Diaz (3) recommends keeping all your maintained social web pages linked, and consistent with your ‘brand’,with a clear image of yourself as an avatar. This creates a “one-stop-shop” that points back to yourself and allows for recruiters to see your professional profile in the most efficient manner possible and what you represent.

2.Connectivity/Networks: As mentioned by Lisa Harris (4), it is important to follow important figures and corporations in fields you are interested in to both show your interest whilst also keeping you up to date on the latest news and job openings in all these fields. Connecting yourself to aspects of your Company, College or Colleagues (5) can associate yourself with strong brands, thereby elevating your own.

3.Make your voice heard: whether it’s through a blog, or twitter, or even comments, your voice can spread fast online. As Justine Sacco (6) found out, her tweet to 170 followers became the No.1 trend on twitter within 24 hours. All you have to ensure is that it’s for the right reasons. If someone with a large online profile endorses you or even retweets you, it could be the spark which blows up your blog!

4. Narrative: As Shama Hyder states (5), if your fields of interest are varied, try to find unifying themes which will allow your branding to remain strong whilst making your varied interests able to complement one another, strengthening your image further.

Now all that remains is for you to start creating a brand people will happily invest in!


1. BBC, quote by Michael Weiss

2. Jobvite


3. 7 Steps to building your online identity


4.Using social media in your job search – Lisa Harris


5.7 Things You Can Do To Build An Awesome Personal Brand – Forbes (Shama Hyder)


6.How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life – New York Times Magazine (Jon Ronson)


Digitally Portraying the Professional within