Major Project

Your task in for the project will be to collaboratively create a reflective resource as you build a professional PLN in a particular social media platform. We will add to the project week-by-week and will act as each others’ peer reviewers as we go so that the final result after the next 6 weeks is a user-friendly resource for others seeking information on particular social media platforms.

Sign up for a Social Media Platform

The first thing we need to do is to have each Learning Pod ‘sign up’ to a particular social media platform. This will be the platform that you use as the basis for your Final Project. The structure of the project is such that we can only have one group working on a particular social media platform, so it will be first-come-first-served for the sign up. GitHub will track the specific time that issues are added and will display the issues in reverse chronological order on the issues page.

✨ Follow These Steps…

✔️ Create an new issue in the Course Repository (not a learner profile, you’ll have to click the ‘Open a blank issue’ link) and add:
✔️ each of your Learning Pod members as assignees
✔️ me as an assignee
✔️ your Learning Pod label
✔️ a new label identifying the social media platform you are signing up for (make sure it isn’t already taken).
✔️ the ‘EDCI338 Major Project’ project. Looks like I will have to do that bit.

There are obviously many social network platforms to choose from, some of which are more popular than others. If another pod claims a platform that your pod was hoping to claim, in addition to adding a new label for your second-choice platform, add a comment in your issue and a link to the issue that has already claimed your first-choice platform. We might be able to differentiate your projects enough to allow two groups to explore a single platform. No promises.

Create Personas

Now that you have chosen a social media platform, it’s time to get organized. The issue that you created in step 1 will become the main home for conversations about your project. Please edit your issue and add the following checklist to the ‘Description’ section…

- [ ] Personas  
- [ ] Demographic Information  
- [ ] Digital Identity  
- [ ] Privacy and Surveillance  
- [ ] Access and Inclusion  
- [ ] Trust and Misinformation  
- [ ] Public Discourse  
- [ ] Education  
- [ ] Media Literacy  
- [ ] Reflections  

You first task is to create as many Personas as there are members in your Learning Pod.

The reason for this is to allow everyone the opportunity to create accounts on your platform of choice from behind the curtain of an imagined persona. There are some people who cannot and should not be public on the web, and this is a way to provide some anonymity. You need not engage in research of a typical user on your chosen platform, but simply imagine the characteristics of someone who might want to engage on the platform. I encourage you to imagine a diversity of personas with various characteristics and backgrounds. You can certainly draw from your own experiences as inspiration for your personas, but you are not required to do so. You are welcome to use to create your personas, but other tools like may be useful as well.

You can use an image from, which generates face images through AI, meaning you don’t have to worry about having to ask someone for permission to use their photo.

✔️ Upload your personas as images to a folder with the name of your social media platform inside the ‘assets’ folder in the course book.
✔️ Embed your persona images on your platform page in the course book.


At this point, you should have ONE person in your learning pod who has forked the course repository and the other members of your learning pod who have been added as collaborators to that fork.

GitHub Fork Set-up for each Learning Pod

Each Learning Pod will first contribute to their fork of the course repository owned by one of the pod members. Once you have enough content drafted and you’d like to share with the rest of the class, you can open a ‘Pull Request’ in GitHub to send your contributions over to the main course repo. I will be automatically notified and will need to approve these pull requests, so maybe aim for 1 pull request per learning pod per week (we can see how this goes and adjust if necessary)?

Make sure you only edit on your own .Rmd page to avoid conflicts in the GitHub content.

Your content will show in the course book after it has been merged and I build the book again.

Add the following information to your page in the course book.

Describe your chosen platform in significant detail, including, as available (Wikipedia may be a good source for some of this info):
✔️ target audience (age, demographics, political leaning, interests, hobbies, etc)
✔️ can non-users browse or search content?
✔️ how are users connected (e.g., on some platforms, you request a connection which needs to be accepted, but on others, you can follow anyone without them reciprocating)
✔️ can content be shared privately?
✔️ how is content shared?
✔️ how does content go viral?
✔️ is the parent company public or private?
✔️ who are the major investors?
✔️ how does the company generate revenue?
✔️ any other pertinent information…

Privacy and Surveillance

Download a copy of the platform’s Terms of Service (ToS) and Privacy Policy and, as a learning pod, see what you can find out about how the platform uses your data and/or tracks your movements. This will not be the most fun you’ve had. Here are some resources to help you comb through the documents:

✔️ I read the Terms of Service, so that you don’t have to
✔️ Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

Add the following to your platform’s page in the course book:

✔️ a link to your platform’s ToS and Privacy Policy
✔️ your key takeaways from your examination of your platform’s ToS and Privacy Policy

Social Media and your PLN in Education

In Week Nine, you were instructed to follow some educational accounts in your chosen social media platform. You are encouraged to find a mix of more formal accounts of teachers and administrators in K-12 and faculty and instructors in higher ed (you might also find many accounts of instructional designers and people who work in faculty development), and less formal accounts of people who are sharing their knowledge on the platform outside of formal accredited educational systems. You are also encouraged to set up accounts using the characteristics of the personas that you created a few weeks ago (if you are allowed to create such accounts), and to set up your own accounts to see how different personas ‘experience’ social media differently. Feel free to interact with the educators you follow, either directly or indirectly (each platform will look different).

Add the following to your platform’s page in your Learning Pod’s repo:

✔️ Describe how people are able to interact in your platform. Can people leave comments on content? Is there a quick and easy way to ‘Like’ or ‘favourite’ something? Who sees that ‘like?’ Do creators generally respond to comments on their content?
✔️ How do educators use the platform? What kinds of content are they teaching? Who is their audience? Do they respond to comments or questions? Are they using the platform as a PLN, or are they only creating content?
✔️ In your Learning Pod, plan and publish more than one *SHORT educational ‘post’ (whatever that looks like on your platform). Don’t put huge amounts of effort into your post. A simple ‘ProTip’ or ‘LifeHack’ type of post, or a ‘Did you know…[something you know about…].’ Publish your posts on a few of your Learning Pod’s accounts. How do people respond to your post? Do they respond to the same post differently depending on the persona of the account?
✔️ Are there any concerns that educators should be aware of regarding your platform (privacy, age-inappropriate content, disinformation, misinformation, offensive or illegal content)?
✔️ Make note of other things you notice that a curious educator might want to know about your platform.
✔️ By the end of the week, you should have enough content to create a pull request to send your work over to the main course blog, where I will set up some peer reviews (not for grades).

Balancing your PLN and Public Discourse

In Week Ten you read about Jody Vance and her experience as a high profile woman on social media. Based on her account of her experiences on Twitter, explore your platform for individuals who have high profiles outside your platform. For example, this means Learning Pod 1 should find a few high profile people on TikTok who aren’t just ‘TikTok famous,’ but who have a high profile elsewhere. An example might be a musical artist who happens to be on TikTok, or a politician, etc.

Here are some questions to guide your reflections to be added to your Major Project page (you don’t necessarily need to address all of these questions):

Add the following to your platform’s page in your Learning Pod’s repo:

✔️ How do notable, high-profile individuals use social media?
✔️ What are the benefits to being in the public eye and having a PLN?
✔️ Building community with online tools provided by an employer can be limiting, what are some possible restrictions and benefits?
✔️ Delivering information in a connected society requires verifiable resources, how can you ensure that you build a PLN you can rely on?
✔️ How do those who are veteran story tellers minimize the risk of sharing misinformation?

GitHub ProTip

It is easy in GitHub to include footnotes in your work to cite sources. Please follow the instructions below to create footnotes.

✔️ If you are creating a footnote to reference google, it would be ^[[](].
✔️ If you are citing an article, it would be ^[Hirst, M. (2018). The Political Economy of Fake News. In Navigating Social Journalism: A Handbook for Media Literacy and Citizen Journalism (1st ed.). Routledge. [DOI](]
✔️ If it is just a comment, then ^[This is a comment.]

Note that all footnotes from all pages will be published, in order, on the References page in the course book.

Digital Identity, Access and Inclusion, and Media Literacy (including Trust and Disinformation)

This is the last section for your Major Project and you can determine within your group how to divide the work.

Please add a reflection for each of the remaining topics in the checklist:

✔️ Digital Identity How do you present yourself in social media? Do you have separate identities for personal and work or school use? Do you integrate your personal and professional identities? Do you use different platforms for different purposes?
✔️ Access and Inclusion How does the platform you chose for the Major Project incorporate accessibility and inclusion principles. How are disabled people treated on the platform? Are there multiple ways people can consume or produce content to meet accessibility needs? How do you include those who might otherwise be excluded?
✔️ Media Literacy, Trust, and Disinformation Does your chosen platform have content moderation policies? Does it flag disinformation, or provide links to trusted resources? How do you ensure that you don’t spread disinformation as misinformation? (Hint: this last question might require you to do a bit of legwork to learn about Media Literacy. This resource should help - but don’t try to read the whole thing!)

You are encouraged to use your Wow and Wonder posts in these reflections.