Thing 1: About 23 Things

poweron23 Things for Research is a self-directed course that aims to expose you to a range of digital tools that could help you in your personal and professional development as a researcher, academic, or related role. The goal is for you to spend a little time each week trying out online applications and social media tools, and reflecting on how they might support teaching and research activity.

The 23 Things format has been run in universities worldwide. This course is based on the 23 Things for Research course from Oxford University and the 23 Research Things course from the University of Melbourne but has been revised and/or altered in places to suit the University of Auckland’s context.

Each week, we’ll focus on a handful of the tools from the 23 Things programme. You can see the full programme here:

23 Things for Research – 2015 programme

While we will introduce a few new Things each week, you can move through the course at your own pace. We hope that the programme presents a realistic challenge and will fit into your schedule. Some of the 23 Things features are only available to registered participants – these are all hosted on the University of Auckland’s new LMS, Canvas:

23 Things for Research on Canvas

Who is it for?

The programme is open to all staff and doctoral students of the University of Auckland. If you’re already an accomplished social media and digital tool user, don’t worry! The Things cater for different levels of experience, from beginner through to guru. We also focus on interesting ways to use the tools in class and in your research, so we hope that everyone can learn something from this course.

How does it work?

To take part, you’ll need to set up your own “practice” blog (don’t worry -€“ we’ll cover that in Thing 3). You can then register your blog with us (we’ll explain that too) and use it to post reflections on the Things and your participation. If you already have a blog, you a€™re welcome to use that to participate instead. We’ll add the URL of your blog to this course so that others can engage with you (and vice versa).

Do I have to set up a blog? What happens to it after the programme?

Reflective, open blogging is a core part of the course. It is the medium for reflection and for creating the community of participants. It is also used to demonstrate that you have completed the course (which will put you into the draw for prizes!).

You might be worried about privacy of your personal data, or of your online professional persona. You can use a throwaway email account and pseudonym for your blog (and many of the other tools you register for) if you wish to remain publicly anonymous. You are not required to keep your blog after the programme, although we encourage you to continue blogging as a medium for reflective development or professional self-promotion.

How long do I have to complete the programme?

The programme kicks off July 6 and officially wraps up October 12. However, we encourage you to participate even if you need to start or finish later.

What if I need help?

Please ask! We’ll link through to the best online how-to guides for each Thing, but feel free to ask us questions if you’d like more support:

try-this-iconTry this

Each Thing comes with an activity to complete under the heading “€œTry this.” Usually the activity will involve signing up for some online tool, experimenting with it, and then writing a short blog post to reflect on the tool, its opportunities, and its drawbacks.

Everyone who completes an activity in the first week it is available (and who hasn’t already won one) will go into the draw for a coffee / tea / hot chocolate voucher from Olaf’s Café in Mt. Eden Village – or local equivalent, for those of you outside Epsom Campus.

If you have completed every activity in the course by October 12, you’ll go into the draw for an iPad.

In this first Thing, the activity is short. We’d like to know a little bit about your experience with social media, Web 2.0, and mobile tools so that we can make sure that the course meets your needs. Complete this two-question survey and you have completed Thing 1:

  • Thing 1 survey [login required – email us if you do not have access]

explore-further-iconExplore further

Each Thing includes a section on how the tools can be used in teaching and research. The links in this Thing, for example, explore how social media in general is useful to academics.

The sources in blue are direct links; the other sources are available from the university library databases.

“insights into the sophisticated and strategic ways in which some academics are using social media and the many benefits they have experienced for their academic work”
Feeling better connected: Academics’ use of social media

“Social media can change the way in which you undertake research, and can also open up new forms of communication and dissemination.”
Social media: A guide for researchers

“what is needed is wide-scale demystification of it all, and systems to help academics dovetail a few choice tools to help bring how they work into a modern setting”
Social media is a ticking time bomb for universities with an outdated web presence

The university has some guidelines for staff using social media in a professional capacity
University of Auckland social media guidelines

“social networking is a relatively recent arrival, and researchers have now begun in earnest a thoughtful research agenda” Tess, P. A. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual): A literature review. Computers and human behavior, 29, A60-68.


This course is the creation of the CreATE team at the Faculty of Education and Social Work: Steve Leichtweis, Damon Ellis, Nicoletta Rata, Chris Swanwick, Sue Tickner, and Adrienne Moyle.

We have adapted this course from various 23 Things posts under a Creative Commons Share-Alike licence. (What’s that? We’ll be covering Creative Commons in Thing 15.) The specific posts are identified at the end of each Thing.

Parts of this Thing were adapted from 23 Things for Research Oxford / CC By-NC-SA 3.0

Header image: User:Colin / Wikimedia CommonsCC By-SA 4.0 Icons: Everaldo Coelho and YellowIcon / GNU Lesser General Public License

This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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