Your COM125 Study Guide (wiki)

February 27, 2007

COM125 Study Guide (Wiki)
[Original photo by Mariani Chen]

UPDATE: Get cracking on this so we can use it for the exam review.

Instead of a blog assignment this week, you’ll be building an exam study guide together as a class:

  1. Go to
  2. Sign-up for a user account if you haven’t (might require my approval).
  3. Once logged in, explore the topics for the exam.
  4. Add and/or Edit key definitions and possible questions for class.
  5. Check back often as other may improve on what you’ve added (Wiki’s RSS feed).

It’s rather sparse for now, but if everyone contributes, it should be pretty neat. The sign-up is rather painless as some of you have already registered.

For most of you, it’s probably the first time you’re working on a wiki, so I’ve found Wikispaces to be the easiest to use since it works similar to your blog (WYSIWYG), without the need to learn CamelCase (a wiki formatting language).

A study guide used to be something some of you would do on your own, but with a wiki, everyone can collaborate and help one another out. We did this as graduate students and loved it, but we’ll have to see if you guys find it useful as well.

Ironically (or intentionally) , by contributing to this wiki, you’ll be practicing what you’ve learnt on gift economies, creative commons and online identity. It is hoped that you’ll not only benefit for your exam, but experience what it would be like to be a contributor to larger public wikis such as Wikipedia.

Additional thoughts:

  • I’m looking for a few volunteers to be given “organizer” status, where you have more control over the wiki than a regular user. I’m letting you power-users own the space while I’ll be riding shotgun. Let me know in the comments.
  • If good points are posted, I might just use some of it as exam questions.
  • Oh, and I might drop some exam hints in there… it pays to check back (or subscribe to the wiki’s RSS feed).
  • Feel free to ask questions in the comments. Students who can help answer questions are also welcomed. 🙂

The Penalty for Lateness

February 25, 2007

As agreed: The sign-in sheet will be removed 5 mins into class. Come early to sign in.

Too many of you have been coming in late to class, especially for both your classmates’ presentations as well as on guest speaker days. While some of you have made it a habit, some mentioned how earlier classes ran over their times.

From now onwards, I will no longer accept any excuse whatsoever for lateness. As adults, you are expected to do everything in your power to reach class punctually (including leaving the earlier class on time!). Coming in late constitutes disrespect for your peers and ruins the learning experience for everyone.

As mentioned before, I will now institute phase one of the lock-down protocol:

  1. The class sign-in sheet accounts for your participation points.
  2. Class will start 5 minutes after official time as agreed.
  3. Sign-in sheet will be removed when class begins.

If things fail to improve, phase two will include locking of the doors, upon which there is no hope left for the human race.

Finally, class will be at LT4.13 as usual, unless I state otherwise.

Please follow your timetable instead.

QotW5: Online Identity, Reputation, Deception

February 13, 2007

An online identity is a social identity that network users establish in online communities. Although some people prefer to use their real names online, most Internet users prefer to identify themselves by means of pseudonyms, which reveal varying amounts of personally identifiable information. In some online contexts, including Internet forums, MUDs, IRC, instant messaging, and massively multiplayer online games, users can represent themselves visually by choosing an avatar, an icon-sized graphic image. As other users interact with an established online identity, it acquires a reputation, which enables them to decide whether the identity is worthy of trust. (“Online Identity”, 2007).

Here’s the Question of the Week (QotW):

  1. After reading “Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community” by Judith Donath (1996), identify an online identity you own or are familiar with, show where it is virtually situated (e.g. email, blogs, forums, IM, IRC, MMORPG), and how this chosen identity establishes reputation (i.e. via what kind of interactions). Finally, show how someone else could possibly assume this chosen online identity. (i.e. identity theft)
  2. Cite facts from the Donath article (1996), including at least two additional sources from this week’s readings or from external peer-reviewed sources.
  3. Make a concise argument in 500 words or more (proper written English), supported with at least three APA-style citations.
  4. Start the title of your blog post as “QotW5: _____”
  5. Drop a comment here with a permalink to your blog post.

Holiday extension till 23th Feb, Friday, 5pm
(Warning: Late work will not be graded)

What is “identity” in a computer mediated environment, especially since a new email address is often all that is required to create a new virtual persona? We’ll be exploring this and more…



Identity Theft

Guest Speaker: Ian Loe // Wed // 1030hrs // LT4.13

February 12, 2007

Ian LoeAs mentioned earlier in our COM125 class, we’ll be having an Internet security expert from IBM talk to us this Wednesday, from 10.30 to 11.30am, at LT4.13.

His talk is entitled “Phishing, Pharming, and the latest potholes on the Information Highway“, which should appeal to the hidden hacker in you. Do take notes at his talk as it spans several of our weeks’ topics, including online identity and virtual communities.

Mr. Ian Loe is a Senior IT Architect and a member of the IBM worldwide Enterprise Integration Solutions team, the IBM Software Group worldwide SOA team.

In that role, he is a Senior IT Architect for EIS supporting the Asia-Pacific South region and his responsibilities include technical responsibility for EIS/SOA engagements and contributing to thought leadership in the region.

His background covers activities including consulting, enterprise architecture, IT governance, solution architecture, application development, systems integration, and information security.

Ian has 13 years of Information Technology experience. His Masters is in Information Systems, focusing on SOA. He has introduced formal architecture practices and processes to a Fortune 500 company and conducted workshops on architecture and design issues.

Here’s a preview as well as the actual download for his Internet security presentation (1.7MB Powerpoint).

QotW4: Internet Economies and You…

February 6, 2007

The Gift by Lewis Hyde

A gift economy is an economic system in which the prevalent mode of exchange is for goods and services to be given without explicit agreement upon a quid pro quo (the Latin term for the concept of “a favor for a favor”). Typically, this occurs in a cultural context where there is an expectation either of reciprocation—in the form of goods or services of comparable value, or of political support, general loyalty, honor to the giver, etc.—or of the gift being passed on in some other manner. This can be considered a form of reciprocal altruism. In other cases, gifting is done without implicit expectation of reciprocation (“Gift Economy“, 2007).

Here’s the Question of the Week (QotW):

  1. After reading “The Economies of Online Cooperation” by Kollack (1999), identify an “economy” that you participate in (or with which you are at least familiar), and show that it is a gift economy. Examples include: Photographic Societies, Anime Groups, Car Tuning Enthusiasts, Sports Fan Clubs, Open Source Projects and so much more!
  2. Cite facts from the Kollack article (1999), including at least two additional sources from this week’s readings or from external peer-reviewed sources.
  3. Make a specific argument in 700 words (proper written English), supported with at least three APA-style citations.
  4. Start the title of your blog post as “QotW4: _____”
  5. Drop a comment here with a permalink to your blog post.

Extended to 10th Feb, Saturday, 5pm
(Warning: Late work will not be graded)

A gift economy is an economic system in which goods and services are given, rather than traded. For our present generation, the Internet has naturally allowed for the development of several gift economies.

Gift Economies

Many kinds of Gift Economies, this is an example:
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)


Creative Commons

This Week: Copyright & Creative Commons…

February 5, 2007

Tags derived from COM125 Copyright Blog Assignment

Just thought I’d share a visual way in which I could see which solutions were more popular over others. The bigger tags mean higher frequencies in your blog posts. As visible above, the top alternatives to copyright alone included:

  1. Creative Commons (CC)
  2. Public Education on Copyright
  3. Encouraging User Ethics
  4. Commercializing P2P file-sharing networks
  5. Lowering prices of media content (affordability)
  6. Digital Rights Management (DRM as a technical regulation)
  7. iTunes (represents convenience over illegal downloading)

For those interested in how I did this, I used

Now, for this week’s class…

Mashups as Creative Culture

What is Copyright?

Creative Commons: A granular version of Copyright?

Real Life applications of Creative Commons

The Future of Content Creation

On the fear of competition…

February 3, 2007

saving face As we read about copyright and the paradox of public goods, we face another paradox in education: the fear of competition. More so in the Asian context, it’s all too common for students to “save face” by being careful not to outshine their fellow classmates.

I’d like to remind everyone that for students who produce exceptional work, they will NOT affect the way I grade the rest of you. I’m generous with the grades so long as you’ve met assignment requirements.

Work that exhibit exceptional effort are what I term as going “beyond the call of duty”. This is why I instituted the medal policy… to give commendations where academic grades cannot.

I’m a firm believer that you should let nothing stop you from pursuing your interests to the fullest, and that your blogs are one way of being recognized for your aspirations.

Work hard and you’ll earn the grade.
Work harder and you’ll earn respect.