SHEEN Sharing

A Project of the Scottish Employability Co-ordinators' Network

Next phase under way: a community ECN site plus a lovely resource sharing tool

SHEEN Sharing to date: many tools, little time
Since we kicked off in January this year, SHEEN Sharing has shown Scotland’s employability co-ordinators a lot of Web 2.0 stuff, possibly to the point of overwhelm at times. This phase has been necessary just to make sure folk start getting a glimpse of what’s out there; you can’t elicit decent requirements from people if they don’t know what’s possible. We’ve also been doing a lot of listening to the ECN’s priorities, and thinking hard about ways to meet them in the short time available. We’re now ready to recommend a couple of tools, only one of which the ECN will need to “learn”.

Priority One: sharing and recommending employability resources
While our plan to work with small groups of co-ordinators and other stakeholders in trialling different social media and other Web 2.0 tools is still burbling away in the background, the most important priority is the one that brought this project into being in the first place. The Employability Coordinators’ Network want a way to share, discuss and recommend good quality employability resources, and a way to make sure those resources (and discussion on their quality and use) can be made available to current and future stakeholders. We knew we didn’t have the resource for a formal, sustainable repository, so we’ve been investigating the freely available tools out there currently which make resource sharing and recommending, and community building, easy.

A one-stop shop for employability resources: Netvibes
We’ve now established that Netvibes will let us set up a project site for free, which will allow a place for the ECN and other stakeholders to come and find resources that the ECN has shared and discussed. Netvibes does this without us having to build a website; it pulls in stuff from anywhere on the Web using newsfeeds and widgets, and presents them in any structure you like. It can also have a public face (for stuff you want to push out to different stakeholders) and a private face (just for those with logins).

I can set up the Netvibes page; we don’t need ECN folks to do anything but feed back on how that’s looking.

A place for a community to share and discuss resources, and build a wider network of interested people
We’ve also found the wonderful social bookmarking site Diigo, which does a lot more than store your bookmarks. It meets most of our requirements, for both private and public group activities around sharing, discussing, recommending and commenting on resources.

I can set up Netvibes to make public the results of this resource sharing and discussion on Diigo (only those bits we want to be public of course!). This can be done in as fine-grained a way or as broad a way as possible. For instance, we can have a section on our Netvibes pages just for “anything related to employability”, and one on some narrow topic of interest, such as PDP for international post-grads. We could have a feed out of Diigo, appearing in the Netvibes page, just for our own group discussions on third-sector voluntary placements, alongside a feed listing everything being discussed around the world on Diigo by anyone on this topic, and some individual feeds from prominent blogs and websites in this domain. The possibilities are many and varied.

Both Cherie and I have been playing with Diigo’s numerous features in the past few weeks, and we’ve both used the words “falling in love” to describe our reaction to this very cool free tool. And don’t worry: as previously mentioned, if you are already using Delicious for your Web-based social bookmarking, it couldn’t be easier to use them both with no extra effort, or to swap over to Diigo.

The next ECN meeting
We’d like to use our slot at the next ECN meeting on June 1st to show you Netvibes and Diigo properly, with some prototype stuff set up so you can get a feel for them. We’ll be taking feedback and suggestions at this point.

Training on Diigo
From there, if folk are happy with the approach we are recommending, and with the support of the SHEEN Sharing Development Group, we’d like to set up some training sessions to get folk started on using Diigo to share, recommend and discuss resources. Our hope is that this wonderful site will take over from the ECN JISCmail list as the place to go when discussing and sharing resources with other employability co-ordinators. And of course, finding resources again that you’ve previously heard about or saved.

Finally, Cherie has noted to me that one of the things she finds exciting about Diigo is the way it allows you to find other resources out there that you hadn’t previously known of, and indeed to come across other networks of people with similar interests who may be of use to you in your work.

So, ECN members: see you on June 1st! And don’t forget to drop into one of our weekly Wednesday SHEEN Sharing webinars if you’d like a preview, a taster, or any other help with anything SHEEN Sharing related!

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Bookmarking, Group Spaces Online, Resource sharing sites, SHEEN Project Dissemination, SHEEN Project Events & Meetings, Social Networking | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diigo: a match made in SHEEN Sharing heaven?

I spent some time this week digging deeper into Diigo, to see if it is as close a fit to SHEEN Sharing requirements as it looked at first.  It’s certainly very promising, and I’d like to show it to the ECN in detail soon and recommend it as the way forward for the core work of the SHEEN Sharing project.

Diigo is like a next generation Delicious: it’s social bookmarking with the ability to also append comments and discussions on resources to the resources links, and to highlight and comment on sections of resources you’ve linked to.  Being a Web2.0 tool, you can then expose these resources, comments, discussions and highlights to other applications using feeds and widgets.  This means that the ECN can use Diigo to share resources and their experiences with them in one common place, but the results of this can be picked up and exposed in any site or repository.

This post goes into a bit more detail about how all this actually works, with special reference to how SHEEN Sharing might use it.

Web-based social bookmarking

Delicious is the widely used tool for this: instead of saving your favourites or bookmarks in your browser, you save them to your account on the website; this way, it doesn’t matter what computer you are on, you can always access them.  You can import your browser bookmarks into Delicious when you start.

  • You can save bookmarks as private, or public.
  • You can add descriptions/comments to them.
  • You can tag them with different keywords to help you and others find them.
  • You can make newsfeeds of your public bookmarks available elsewhere, for instance in your Facebook page, your Netvibes site, or on your blog.
  • You can share them with your network of Delicious contacts.
  • You can create feeds based on particular tags, for instance, you can make a feed of everything tagged “employability” by anyone using Delicious, or a feed just of resources you have tagged “employability”.

Some examples of Delicious feeds can be seen on this blog, in the far right-hand column.  We decided at the start of the project, as an experiment, to tag anything useful we knew of on the web about employability with the tag “sheensharing”.  We then put a feed from Delicious pulling all resources tagged “sheensharing” into the blog.  This was just done as an example, to show how social bookmarking and tagging can be used.

Diigo is a next-generation social bookmarking site.  It includes features for sharing and exposing annotations of, discussions around, and highlighted portions from resources, as well as really useful group features, allowing groups with specific interests to discuss and share resources.

Diigo: highlighting, rating and discussing resources

  • You can highlight a portion of text on a website and bookmark this.  Here’s an example: I’ve highlighted a portion of a job ad relating to employability in the Guardian: http://www.diigo.com/05×64.  Follow the link and see the highlighted portion.
  • You can add a comment to a resource.  This one is a different job ad in the Guardian, with a comment appended: http://www.diigo.com/05×67.  Click on “comments” in the Diigolet bar at the top.
  • You can comment on a highlighted portion of text, or add a “sticky note”.
  • You can expose these comments and discussions about resources publicly using newsfeeds.

Diigo lists

Diigo groups

  • You can create groups within Diigo, and belong to any number.
  • You can create feeds and widgets exposing groups’ shared bookmarks, including comments and discussions on the resources.
  • Groups have forums for general discussions, and these forums can be exposed via feeds and widgets, or be kept private.
  • Groups can be set up to auto-post to a blog: see the previous post here for an example, using a trial group I set up called “Employability”.
  • You can set up a Group Tag Dictionary which recommends tags to group members, making it easier to create feeds based on tags you’ve all agreed to use for various topics.
  • You can have a private group, where noone but group members can see forum discussions, comments and annotations on resources; you can also belong to public groups; when you save a bookmark with annotations you get to choose which group you are saving the comment and bookmark to, and you can edit this later.  So discussion can take place in a private group, but if you want to share something publicly you can do that too.
  • Within groups, you can vote for resources (it’s a basic “thumbs up”, not star ratings, and you can’t expose these votes externally yet).

Diigo and Delicious

  • You can import your browser bookmarks or favourites into Diigo.
  • You can import your Delicious bookmarks into Diigo.
  • You can set up Diigo so that when you save, describe and tag a bookmark in Diigo, it is automatically saved, described and tagged in your Delicious account too.  This means any existing feeds or widgets you have set up in Delicious will still work.  It also means you have an effortless belts and braces approach- if anything stops working in Diigo, it will still work in Delicious, and vice versa.

Diigo and Netvibes

We’re trialling using Netvibes as a central gathering and dissemination point for resources shared and recommended via the ECN.  Netvibes lets you put any number of “blocks” or widgets into it so it’s a one-stop-shop with little windows into feeds and pages and tools from other sites.

  • You can put a block in Netvibes from a Diigo group; you’ll see resources shared publicly within that group, along with tags, descriptions, comments, discussions, and highlighted portions of those resources.
  • For each resource you can either view all the Diigo commentary on the resource, or view the resource directly (you can toggle easily between these in Netvibes).
  • You can link straight from that block by tag, by user, by group, and by resource, and go straight into the relevant place in Diigo.
  • You can have a block in Netvibes showing a public group’s  forum discussions.
  • You can have a block in Netvibes showing your resource list slideshow.
  • You can have blocks in Netvibes based on feeds for specific tags, e.g. a block showing everything tagged “employability”.  This means you can have a fairly fine-grained structure within Netvibes, making it easier for visitors to the Netvibes page to find things on the main topics of interest.

Things to note

  • You can’t (yet) set up feeds for groups by tag within the group into Netvibes (or anywhere much).  They are working on this, but it being a free service, no telling when it might come.
  • All group activities are either public or private according to the public or private setting of the individual group so you have to make sure you set things up properly and folk understand what they are doing when they bookmark and discuss resources.
  • Diigo doesn’t allow you to upload resources, it’s for link-sharing only; for those creating their own resources and wanting to share those, they would have to use another method of making the resources available online, then bookmarking them in Diigo.  Alternatively, all resources of this nature can be shared via groups on other services, and feeds and widgets from these services can also be exposed via Netvibes.
  • Examples of how all this looks in Netvibes will be made available very soon.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Bookmarking, Group Spaces Online, Resource sharing sites, Tagging, Using Newsfeeds | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s easy to write posts here via email now!

For anyone who wants to post occasionally to this SHEEN Sharing blog, you can do that now by simply sending an email.  I’m sending this post by email: I’m just writing it as an email and sending it to my special blog email address, which I got from the blog dashboard.  So, to get set up, you still have to join WordPress and get a login to this blog, but once you’ve done that you don’t need to go through the dashboard again.

And guess what, you can send an image as well and it will appear in the blog post (but not other formats).  For example, I’ve attached a photo to this email (see below), chosen only because it has a bit of a sheen to it (get it- SHEEN? Because I can’t think of any employability-related pictures 🙂  ).

So, if you want to be able to do this, log into WordPress (use the login link in the near right column), click on Dashboard, then My Blogs, then activate post-by-email next to SHEEN Sharing.  You’ll get a unique email address which is the one you send to, in order to post.

For a super super simple blogging software that just allows you to set up and post everything via email, perfect for those not wanting to learn anything too new but wanting a blog, I’ll write a post re Posterous soon.

photo0041

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Blogging | , , , | Leave a comment

Universities’ Careers Services using Twitter

Added to post from comment below, 6 May 2009 from Helen Curry at University of London Careers Group: Helen has a page on her blog listing Careers Services she knows of with Twitter accounts; she is keeping this list up-to-date: http://helencurry.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/careers-services-on-twitter-uk-he/.

Now that we have a SHEEN Sharing Twitter account for you to follow (@sheensharing), we’ve very quickly come across university careers services using Twitter for dissemination.

For instance, Keele University Careers Service tweets as @KeeleCareers.  Here’s a sample posting (with URL removed for their privacy’s sake):

Wonder what skills employers look for? Go to ‘Stand Out To Employers’ May 6, 1pm, K2. Book a place: [URL]

Then, @KeeleCareers “re-tweeted” (passed on a tweet they had received to their own followers, including us) a message from the University of London’s Careers Group, who tweet as @CareersGroup, which both alerted us to the the UoL’s Twitter account and sent us to their own blog post on some relevant student blogs:

blogging: Desperately seeking graduate jobs: top student-led blogs http://tinyurl.com/cy2apt

So, in a few minutes we are networked into some sources of resources. We can immediately click a button to follow these Twitter accounts, see their news quickly when we want to, read new items and pass them on in a jiffy.

How did I find @KeeleCareers in the first place? I did a search of Twitter (in the search box in the right-hand column) for “employability” just to see what came up. Very worth setting up targeted searches by the way; this can be done very simply within Twitter’s webpage, or in a more advanced way using a tool like TweetDeck). And there was a tweet from @KeeleCareers; being familiar with Keele University I immediately noticed it.

Running that “employablity” search again today, I see tweets from @jobs_manchester, @NorthEastTweets and @SkillsWork. I haven’t even investigated who these accounts belong to yet but I can already see another rich vein opening up.

Last week, I found @sheensharing was being followed by someone with the odd username of @idid_better. Thought it was a spammer at first but followed their link and discovered an organisation interested in:

“developing and promoting international learning experiences such as internships abroad”

.. so we followed them back to see what comes up there.

Interested? Get yourself a Twitter account soon and start following @sheensharing – we’ll re-tweet stuff to you and let you know what’s coming up of interest. Also, you can start following other ECN folk, as well as other people and organisations of specific interest to you. Conversations can be had quickly and information shared easily. Maybe you’ll even decide your own department (careers or otherwise) should start Twittering to reach students and teachers?

For information on using Twitter, see the earlier posting here.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | Microblogging, SHEEN Project Dissemination, Social Networking | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Information on the employability of international students

I have received a request today for information on the employability of international students. This has come from a student doing a project in the area.

Can anyone provide some useful examples; articles or resources I could signpost her to?

If any of the resources relate to websites or the like, don’t forget you can bookmark them in delicious and tag them as Sheensharing so we can incorporate them on the netvibes page.

Thanks

Cherie 1 May 2009

May 1, 2009 Posted by | SHEEN Sharing Project | Leave a comment