Week 1- How do I get started?

The purpose of this practiceis to complete the weekly practice in order.

Guiding Principle

If you are clear about how to practice, you will improve as you practice.


Learners who practice in order seek to understand things naturally and critically.


The more learners practice in order the more they learn.

Practice Order

I. Absorb Set

Course Website
Read/view weekly course content

Take a 12 hour break (min.)

II. Do Set

Learner Blogs
Complete course activities on your personal course blog.

Due by Saturday 11:59 pm

Take a 12 hour break (min.)

III. Connect Set

Google Classroom

  • Complete providing feedback
Due by Monday 11:59 pm

Take a 12 hour break (min.)

IV. Reflect Set

Google Classroom

Grades- Complete self- assessment

Due by Tuesday 11:59 pm

The key organizing idea behind this course, Introduction to Social Media, is “connection”. Connection is the guiding concept underlying everything you will learn in this course. In this course we will focus on thinking critically in reading, writing, and evaluating to create positive connections using social media. The purpose for thinking about connection is that the way we think and interact with each other affects everything. Our brains work by making connections. From connecting ideas new ideas emerge. 

To think critically we will use reasoning by asking questions, gathering information, making inferences and assumptions to come to conclusions about how to create positive connections using social media.

If we understand the concept of connection as the underlying concept of social media, we study social media in a certain way. We realize that all other concepts about social media are related to the basic idea behind social media; that a social network creates a connection when users electronically share generated experiences, needs and desires.

Social networks are familiar to all who study primates, from baboon troops and gorilla and chimpanzee groups to human societies of all levels of cultural development.

Common markers of social networking’s success and social status have long been marked by ownership of material goods, such as cars, houses, and the number and type of friends that one possesses.

Eric Clemons, Wharton School of Business.

Social media messages create connections that have different audiences, understandings, points of view and assumptions that shape our perceptions of reality. Power influences these connections.

Social media influencers have established credibility with large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach. Social media ownership influences connection by the social media we can or cannot view and by what we can share and say online.

This influence as “power” is an important concept in social media. The key to understanding the power of social media influence is through thinking about connection.

How do I get started?

The meaning of sadhana.

Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity. Sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural experience.

Natural experience opens your connection to understanding and wisdom as it naturally comes and goes in the give and take of the river of life.

Sadhguru & T.Y. Pang

The meaning of true education.

True education should wake up the Innate Humanity inside of you. When you reach a higher level of practice and understanding, you learn to harmonize yourself inside, then you become able to harmonize with other people, and with outside situations.

T.Y. Pang

The Promise

It is up to you to make the time for practice; the more you practice the more you will learn.

Time is a created thing. To say I don’t have time,’ is like saying, I don’t want to.

― Lao Tzu

I. Absorb Set
Practice in order

Let’s Begin

First, please complete the sadhana practice. Second, click on each question and review each answer. Third, take a break!

1. Complete your sadhana practice.

Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity, sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural learning.

The purpose of this sadhana is to help you get started opening to the flow of natural experience .

Center yourself.

Click Here
This weeks centering thought

Close your eyes and quietly sit straight and upright head and spine straight, concentrating only on your breath for 2 minutes. Sit in an erect position, shoulders relaxed, palms flat on thighs. Center your focus on your midsection. Breath in and out deeply through your nose.

Pay attention to your spine.

Your spine is where you will feel the flow of energy. Notice which parts of the spine feel warm and where there are no feelings or numbness. This information will indicate where your energy is flowing and where it is not. Your energy originates in the spine and flows out through the body.

straight and upright
When thoughts come up, let them go gently.

Don’t beat yourself up. That brings more thought. Gently let them go. Use the RAIN tool below to help you gently let go.

  • Recognize your thoughts.
  • Allow your thoughts to be just as they are.
  • Investigate your thoughts with kindness.
  • Natural awareness will come from not identifying with your thoughts.

Throughout the week, keep reminding yourself why you do sadhana.

Otherwise, your thoughts, your emotions, your physicality will get entangled with your runaway mind.

Practice tapping into your awareness to open your mind and take your thinking apart.
2. What type of online learner are you?

Most online learners choose one of three broad approaches to their learning. Their choice directly impacts their success in an online course. What type of online learner are you?

  1. Superficial Learners 
    intentions are to survive. They want to jump through the course hoops as fast as possible. They often resort to what they think will be easy.
  2. Strategic Learners 
    are driven by a desire for recognition, good grades. They learn for the reward of a high grade. Strategic learners tend not to take risks (don’t mess up the grade) or to learn conceptually. They learn the art of procedural hoop jumping, how to get the right number in a formula, or the right words in an essay.
  3. Deep Learners 
    grapple with ideas, concepts, and the implications and applications of those ideas and concepts. Deep learners undergo transformations in the concepts they hold. Their learning has a sustained and substantial influence on the way they will subsequently think, act, and feel.

Deep and broad learning is about practice: how to find, evaluate, analyze, and apply information within a specific knowledge domain (area).

Deep and broad learning is about critical thinking: assessing reasoning for clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logicalness, significance and fairness.

3. Are you open or closed?
Culture moves in two ways
Open and closed

Make a choice, a choice that will alter how you work with others and the investments you make in our culture and your future:

  • Do you benefit from a population that’s smarter, faster and more connected than it used to be?
  • Do you prefer transparency?
  • Either you’re riding the tide or pushing against it.
  • Are you hoping that those you serve become more informed or less informed?
  • Are you working to give people more autonomy or less?
  • Do you want them to work to seek the truth, or to be clouded in disbelief and confusion?
  • Is it better if they’re connected to one another or disconnected?
  • More confidence or more fear?
  • Outspoken in the face of injustice or silent?
  • More independent or less?
  • Difficult to control or easier?
  • More science or more obedience?

It’s pretty clear that there are forces on both sides, individuals and organizations that are working for open and those that seek to keep things closed instead.

4. What is a URL or webpage address?
5. How do you copy and paste a URL or webpage address?
6. What is a blog?
What’s a Blog?

From: Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Blogs and the New Web

A BLOG is just a web page, but a web page with some clever formatting software behind it so that anyone (including you) can build it and update it with no technical know how. The key elements that make a web page a blog (other than the blogging software) seem to be: 

  1. time-stamped snippets 
  2. posted in reverse chronological order 

A blog unfolds over time, with the most recent posts first. Blogs often, but don’t always, include comments from readers, a blogroll to other blogs, a way to search the archives and past posts and a bio of the blogger. Until recently, it was unusual for a blog to be written by anyone other than a single individual. Today, though, it’s not unusual to find team blogs (like the www.huffingtonpost.com) and blogs written by organizations that aren’t journalists

Blogs work when they are based on: 1. Candor 2. Urgency 3. Timeliness 4. Pithiness and 5. Controversy

Yes, I know there are two kinds of people in the world—those that believe that there are two kinds of people and those that don’t. But there really and truly are three kinds of blogs.

CAT BLOGS are blogs for and by and about the person blogging. A cat blog is about your cat and your dating travails and your boss and whatever you feel like sharing in your public diary. The vast majority of people with a cat blog don’t need or want strangers to read it. If you’ve got a cat blog, you should embrace that fact and stop wondering where all your traffic is. Alas, this ebook is almost completely useless to you. You already have what you want! 

BOSS BLOGS are blogs used to communicate to a defined circle of people. A boss blog is a fantastic communications tool. I used one when I produced the fourth grade musical. It made it easy for me to keep the parents who cared about our project up to date… and it gave them an easy-to-follow archive of what had already happened. If you don’t have a boss blog for most of your projects and activities, I think you should think about giving it a try. Boss bloggers don’t need this ebook either, because you already know who should be reading your blog and you have the means to contact and motivate this audience to join you. 

The third kind of blog is the kind most people imagine when they talk about blogs. These are blogs like instapundit and Scoblelizer and Joi Ito’s. Some of these blogs are for individuals (call them citizen journalists or op-ed pages) and others are for organizations trying to share their ideas and agendas. These are the blogs that spread ideas. 

VIRAL BLOGS. They’re viral blogs because the goal of the blog is to spread ideas. The blogger is investing time and energy in order to get her ideas out there. Why? Lots of reasons—to get consulting work, to change the outcome of an election, to find new customers for a business or to make it easier for existing customers to feel good about staying. The math behind viral blogs is astonishing. One person, $20 a month and an audience of several hundred thousand people! Even better, a viral blog stuffed with good ideas is going to influence millions of people who never even read the original. For example, Chris Anderson posted his “Long Tail” idea on a blog. There are now 1,040,000 Google matches for the expression he invented. 

If you’re writing for strangers, that means you’re building a viral blog. 

The first principle is to make your entries shorter. Use images and tone and design and interface to make your point. Teach people gradually. On the other hand, if you’re writing for colleagues, you’ve got a boss blog. That means you can make your entries more robust. 

  • Be specific. 
  • Be clear. 
  • Be intellectually rigorous and leave no wiggle room. 

Takeaway: the stuff you’re putting in your blog is too long. Too much inside baseball. Too many unasked questions getting answered too soon. 

Blogs work best when people read them over time. 

One frame of a movie isn’t enough to win an Academy Award, and one post on a blog isn’t enough to make a huge difference. My friend Jerry calls this drip marketing. Like an ancient water torture, one drop at a time, building until it has an impact. A blog is a chance to talk to people who want to listen, to aggregate an audience that wants to listen to you, to spread your ideas and to talk back to you.

7. What is blogging?
Blogging is the New Persuasive Essay

by Shelley Wright

As an English teacher, I’ve had numerous conversations with college professors who lament the writing skills of their first year students. But not all writing. Most students are capable of solid expository writing. It’s their skill with persuasive writing that’s the problem. Specifically, they’re weak at writing a thesis statement that can be argued.

I spend three years teaching my high school students how to write a persuasive essay. For many students, it takes that long. (And I’m lucky to have them that long in my school.)

Part of the problem is that our current school systems — and not just in Canada — aren’t great at producing independent thinkers.  Without this ability, it’s hard to create a great thesis statement, anticipate the arguments against it, and then compose your own argument in light of what you understand about the pros and cons of an issue.

So for three years, I write for them, and with them. We talk about opening paragraphs, and they learn how to write them with their thesis statement either as the first or last sentence. (The latter requires more skill.) They learn to use transition words, embed quotations to support their argument, consider the advantages of active vs. passive voice, vary their sentences, and many other skills, all in the hope of creating a strong argument.

The truth is lately I’ve come to question the point of much of this. Does the average person, once they leave school, spend a lot of time composing academic essays? Is this the best way for our students to show their learning?  In some places, the academic 5 paragraph essay is hailed as the Holy Grail of non-fiction writing achievement. Yet even if a student can become a great persuasive essay writer, they’re still only semi-literate, at least according to the definition of 21st Century Literacies.

Blogging is a different beast

While traditional essay writing may not help alleviate this situation, I think blogging can. Here’s the problem; Blogging is an entirely different beast. And one of the things I’ve learned about my students is that they don’t necessarily transfer a skill they’ve learned in one area to another without difficulty, or even prompting.

For one, the paragraphing is different.  The large, solid paragraphs of prose that can be found in a typical persuasive essay, can feel arduous and cumbersome to all but the most determined reader.

Instead, blog paragraphs tend to be shorter. It allows the piece to feel fluid and speeds up the rate at which your reader reads (often through the glare of a computer monitor or on a phone or tablet screen). And while the effective blogger still uses transition words, as many aren’t necessary to provide the piece with a feeling of fluidity and coherence.

Sometimes a paragraph is one simple sentence, used for emphasis.

Another thing is the thesis statement. Its placement, in a blog, is up for grabs. Did you catch where mine is? Actually, I haven’t written it yet. Huh?!

Double-dog daringly different

Blogging also requires a different voice. The way I blog isn’t quite how I talk, but it’s no where close to how I write a formal essay.  Furthermore, the voice used in blogging needs to be rich, sharp and distinct, to gain an audience. And while some may argue that academic writing could stand to have a bit more colour and flair, I’m not sure that’s currently the accepted norm (although I wish it was).

In a formal essay, I would never use a sentence fragment. Ever. In a blog, it provides emphasis. Nor would I use slang in an essay.  But here? Yep. In one of my posts, I double-dog dared my readers.  Could you imagine double-dog daring anyone in an academic essay? If you try it, let me know the result.

Another thing that changes is providing your reader with evidence to support your points.  In teaching the typical formal essay, I show my students how to quote directly, indirectly, and using individual words. Blogs still use direct quotes, but an indirect quote can be as simple as a vague mention and a link.

We discover my thesis statement…

I think blogging is the new persuasive essay-my thesis, finally.

Truth is, I love writing essays. There’s something satisfying about rendering the chaos of thoughts into an elegant form. But I love blogging more. It feels like playing.

I also find it more useful. While our students will need to know how to write essays to get through university, many won’t use it after that, unless they remain in academia. I think writing and persuasive thinking skills are important. However, I question the current products we require of students as proof of their learning. Most of the essays written by our students likely end up in the garbage or the computer trash can. And most are for an audience of one.

Blogging has the potential to reach and influence many. Furthermore, it has greater potential for being a life-long skill. And isn’t that our goal in education? People from all walks and professions blog for the purpose of teaching, creating, and informing. A number of my recent Masters courses didn’t require papers; instead, they required blogging. Why?

Because blogging is the new persuasive essay.

If we’re trying to prepare our students to think critically and argue well, they need to be able to blog. It allows for interaction. It allows for ideas to be tested. And the best posts anywhere in cyberspace tend to have a point that can be argued.

I think blogging across the curriculum, not just in Language Arts, allows for both formative and summative assessment. Blogs allow us to see the progression in the development of both thinking and writing. It may actually take more talent and skill to create an interesting persuasive post (or series of posts) on the French Revolution than a traditional essay.

We need to teach blogging as a skill

The solution? Blogging needs to start earlier, much earlier. I read recently of a kindergarten teacher who blogs with her students. Great idea. There’s a teacher in my division who does amazing things with her grade one class.

I’m not proposing that you need to do things radically different. Teach whatever you teach for Language Arts, or other subjects, but include a blog component.  So if you’re teaching sentence structure, teach your students to create complete sentences while blogging. Blogs, like traditional writing, need great structure.  If you’re focusing on capitalization or punctuation, transfer this skill to blog writing as well.

If you’re teaching paragraph structure, teach students the paragraph structure required for traditional essays and that for blogs.  They’re different.  Explain why. It’s likely they won’t be good at it at first.  But there is merit to the quote, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.”

A middle years teacher at my school used to stress out when we talked about student writing. She wanted to know if she was teaching them enough. My reply: “All  I need them to do is write solid paragraphs. If they can do that, I can teach them all kinds of things.” Really, everything I teach is either an addition to, or a subtraction from, a solid paragraph. My work builds on her work. I don’t need her to teach what I teach.  That’s my job.  But without her previous work, mine becomes much more difficult.

The same is true with blogging.  Starting from scratch with blogging in grade 10 isn’t impossible. But we could do so much more if they already had the basics. In order to write well, you need to write a lot.

If you don’t currently teach your students to blog, please start. Our students need you to. And if you already teach your students to blog, keep it up. Because blogging is an important 21st century skill. It’s the new persuasive essay.

8. Are the blogs on the Internet?

Yes. Don’t worry there is a lot of stuff out there and it’s hard to find what you are sharing unless someone’s knows where it is.

Yes, sharing in public is harder. People can see your mistakes. People can see you try things you’re not comfortable with. It’s hard, and it’s sometimes embarrassing. But it’s also big fun if you do it right. in this course you will learn how to to share. 

It’s so much better learning in the open. You’ll try harder. You’ll think more about what you’re doing. And you’ll get a greater reward – people will see what you’ve created and connect on it. Sometimes critically, but often (much more often) with support, help and praise.

People really appreciate it when you share. After all, what you’re doing when you share is to create material that other people can learn from. Your sharing creates more content for this course.

Learner’s appreciate that, and you will probably appreciate the content other people in the course share with you.

9. Why is it important to choose your words wisely?
Why You Should Choose Your Words Wisely


You are what you speak. Your words come together to write the story of your life, so you must choose your words wisely. The words you think, the words you write, the words you sing, the words you dream. In many creation stories, “the word” is considered the origin of all life. The word is the catalyst, the intention, the incantation to manifest what was previously only imagined. As if when something is first spoken, it only then becomes real.

Words truly are magic. Remember every stage magician’s reveal? That word we all associate with magic? It is abracadabra. With the flick of a wrist or the twist of the wand, something appears or disappears.

The word abracadabra is said to have come from an Aramaic word which means “I create as I speak,” or, “It came to pass as it was spoken….”

Through  widely-accepted research in neuroscience, we do know now that our choice of words has a direct and immediate effect on our emotional response and makes our brains inclined to respond in specific ways. This is true whether we are reacting to spoken words delivered by someone else, or to the inner self-talk that we hear ourselves “saying” inside our heads.

Jeff Brown said, “Words – so powerful. They can crush a heart or heal it. They can shame a soul or liberate it. They can shatter dreams or energize them. They can obstruct connection or invite it. They can create defenses or melt them. We have to use words wisely.”

At the end of World War II the Allies sent a message to the Japanese demanding surrender. The Japanese responded with the word mokusatsu, which translates as either “to ignore” or “to withhold comment.”

It is said that the Japanese meant that they wished to withhold comment, to discuss and then decide. The Allies translated mokusatsu as the Japanese deciding to ignore the demand for surrender. The Allies therefore ended the war by dropping the atomic bomb and transforming the world we live in forever.

“A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

What words will you choose to live by today? How will you define yourself?

What power do you carry with a single word?

Use your words wisely
10. How does making connections help me?
11. How can I successfully connect with others?

The human spirit must prevail over technology

Albert Einstein

 It may surprise you to discover that the human spirit connects social media and this is really nothing new at all. At its heart, it’s all about sharing and caring.

Listening and responding. Getting to know others and getting yourself known. Those are all things that people have delighted in doing.

If you can wrap your heart around that rather than seeing it strictly as a technology device, you’ll find social media gets a whole lot less intimidating and a lot more, well, social.

And successful… for you and those you want to reach.

Take the Valuable Intellectual Virtues Survey

Watch the video & take the survey

Break and Slow Walk
Practice in order

Take a break for 12 hours (min)
To help your awareness flow, go outside for a slow walk.

II. Do Set
Practice in order

All Do Set activities are completed on your personal course blog.
To find your course blog click on the Learner Blogs link on the menu bar at the top of this page.