Comparison of Learning Management Systems across 40 Australian Universities

The above charts illustrate types of the Learning Management Systems (LMS) used across 40 Australian Universities as of 6 October 2017.  Among the platforms Blackboard is the most popular LMS with 23 Australian Universities using it as their core learning management systems.   12 of these Australian Universities are using Moodle. Three universities (University of Sydney, the university of Canberra, & Carnegie Mellon University) recently moved to Canvas.  The least popular is D2L (Desire2Learn) with only 2 out of 40 Australian Universities using it as their LMS– Deakin University and University of  Tasmania.

Data source: Individual university website (5-6 October 2017).

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Digital Tools for Researchers

Digital Tools for Researchers

In today’s 21 century world, the use of emerging technologies is ever growing, from that in industries to academics and research. Digital tools and applications would assist academics and researchers with organising and analysing their research process, and make sense of the data being collected.

Below are some of the digital tools academics, Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates, and researchers could use to organise and analyse their research data as well as help them visualise data and make sense of the data. I am familiar and used most of these tools during the course of my PhD candidature, or while providing computing skills training, HDR workshops and consultations at the Griffith University as an ICT Literacy Specialist.

  1. Digital tools for organising information and generating ideas


Coggle is an amazing digital tools to create non-linear, hierarchical representations of ideas, words or actions relating to a concepts for mind mapping. Users can access Coggle with a Google account. Multiple users can be invited to work on a single, collaborative mind map, or share them with friends and colleagues to enhance ideas collaboratively. The figure below is a concept map drawn using Coogle.


Padlet is a virtual wall that allows people to express their thoughts on a common topic easily. Add content to brainstorming “wall”. This tool uses a storyboard technique to develop a project. It works like an online sheet of paper where people can put any content (e.g. images, videos, documents, text) anywhere on the page, together with anyone, from any device.

Google Docs

Google Docs is collaborative platform, online version of Word. Users can work in a single document with teammates or people outside their company. See edits as others type, communicate through built-in chat and ask questions through including comments. Google docs is one of the features of Google Apps freely available to users with Google/Gmail account. All the documents are automatically stored in Google drive.

2. Digital tools for capturing and bookmarking


As one of the oldest of its kind, Evernote is a great tool to capture and bookmark web sites (web clipper) take notes, save audio and image files. The tool can be sync across multiple devices, which makes it handy to access information and notes from many devices including smartphones.

Google Keep

Google Keep  is one of the latest features added to Google Apps. Users can add notes, lists, photos and audio with option to set pop-up reminder, and shared with other users. All the contents are stored in Google Drive. Google Keep a web based tool which can be synced with multiple devices and smart devices by installing Google Keep app.

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is a free note-taking software provided by Microsoft, similar to Evernote in functionality.  The main functions include capturing thoughts, ideas and to-do’s, and share with other Microsoft account users for viewing and editing. Users can also copy any web pages to OneNote for later view, snap photos or send them via email to their accounts@onenote to put these information into their notebook.


Wunderlist is a cloud-based task organiser, similar to Google Keep. The tool can be synced with other devices. It allows users to share with other Wunderlist users.


Did you ever miss a particular website or web-based article you read a few days ago? And now you realise that you are after that particular piece of information yet, don’t have a clue where it is? Well, Diigo is an easy-to-use tool that can help you to bookmark the web page and annotate if required. Diigo is a multi-tool for personal knowledge management. It can help to read more effectively with annotation tool, build personal library in the cloud, organise and share information as little or as much as you want. You can also tag webpages so that they are categorise into different tags for easy access.


Despite sending repeated (email) calendar invitations, there was never easy way out to arrange a common time for a team meeting, where possibly include all the team members. Doodle can help to gather such information so that a suitable meeting time can be scheduled which suits most of the team members. Doodle is a free useful easy to use scheduling tool for quickly organising group meetings- use without creating an account- useful for people in and out of the university. Bookings can be synced with Google Calendar and others.

3. Tools for collecting quantitative information and data


LimeSurvey tool is a free, open-source survey platform that allows users to develop and publish surveys, and collect responses. A web link can be sent to participants via email. Although you don’t any programming knowledge, you do need a server to run the application.

Google Form

Google Forms is a free web tool provided by Google that allows users to create collaborative forms, surveys, and questionnaires. All the responses are stored automatically as Google Spreadsheets in Google Drive.  Google form allows you to create and send surveys embed within an email. The recipient on Gmail or Google is able to fill out the form within the email.  The completion rate would be significantly higher because it can save time and the recipients are time-poor and cannot be bothered.


Qualtrics  is online survey software that enables users to do many kinds of online data collection and analysis including market research, customer satisfaction, produce and concept testing, and other feedback.  The user interface is awesome!


SurveyMonkey is one of the oldest online survey platforms ever developed. SurveyMonkey is very easy to use and provides a wide pool of templates. The basic version is free but a paid version is also available for additional features or if need to collect responses from a huge population.

4. Digital tools for text mining, visualising and mapping


TextSTAT (Simple Text Analysis Tool) is a simple programme written in Python for the analysis of texts. It reads plain text files (in different encodings) and HTML files (directly from the internet) and it produces word frequency lists, concordances and keywords in context from these files. It includes a web-spider which reads as many pages as you want from a particular website and puts them in a TextSTAT-corpus. TextSTAT also reads MS Word and OpenOffice files, no conversion needed, just add the files to the corpus and produce awesome testSTAT.


Netlytic is an amazing cloud-based text and social networks analyser that can automatically summarize and discover social networks from online conversations on social media sites. Netlytic can help to understand online conversations. The figure below illustrates analysis of Twitter tweets, using Netlytic tool.

Netlytic network analysis of 1500 tweets showing connections between the twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed and other twitter users (Ahmed is a 14 year boy who was recently arrested for bringing homemade clock to a Texas school)

Netlytic network analysis of 1500 tweets showing connections between the twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed and other twitter users (Ahmed is a 14 year boy who was recently arrested for bringing homemade clock to a Texas school)

Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)

Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)) is a concept mapping software that can integrate with multiple repositories to pull in, organize, and analyse data.

This map was created to demonstrate VUE's packaging capability (source:

This map was created to demonstrate VUE’s packaging capability (source:

VUE provides a flexible visual environment for structuring, presenting and sharing digital information. It includes multiple features for advanced management of digital resources for teaching, learning, and research. VUE is an open source project based at Tufts University.

 Google Fusion Tables

Google Fusion Tables is an experimental data visualization web application to gather, visualize and share data tables. It can filter and summarize across hundreds of thousands of rows (from excel or google spreadsheet) and create chart, map, network graph or custom layout.  It is automatically stored in Google drive and can be shared with others for collaboration. 


Orange  is one of my favorite visualizing tools. It is an open source data visualization and analysis for data mining through visual programming or Python scripting.  It includes components for machine learning; add-ons for bioinformatics and text mining. It also includes sample dataset and other features for data analytics.


Gephi, my favorite visualizing tool, is an open source. It is interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs. It includes features to analyze networks manipulations in real time, reveal the underlying structures of association between objects in networks, create social data connections to map community organizations and networks, and create representing patterns of biological data. 

Gephi has been used in a number of research projects in academia, journalism and elsewhere, for instance in visualizing the global connectivity of New York Times content and examining Twitter network traffic during social unrest along with more traditional network analysis topics.

Bastian M., Heymann S., Jacomy M. (2009). Gephi: an open source software for exploring and manipulating networks. International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. From AAAI.


Wordle is a simple online tool for generating “word clouds” from text.  The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.



CitNetExplorer is a software tool for visualizing and analyzing citation networks of scientific publications. The tool allows citation networks to be imported directly from the Web of Science database. Citation networks can be explored interactively, for instance by drilling down into a network and by identifying clusters of closely related publications.

5. Digital tools for referencing and bibliographies


EndNote is an industry standard referencing software tool for publish and managing bibliographies, citations and references. Users can search online databases, collect full-text articles, synch and store library database online. EndNote can also help to create and generate citations and bibliographies in 6,000 plus styles. Most universities including Griffith University support and provide services on EndNote.


Mendeley is another popular free reference manager and PDF organizer, i.e., annotate and store PDF. It can be synced across PC, Mac, and mobile devices. Mendeley can generate citations and bibliography (compatible with MS Word, LibreOffice, BibTex), and publicly or privately share reading lists, references or full-text articles.


Zotero is another free referencing tool. It is available as a browser plugins for Firefox, chrome, safari, or can be installed as Standalone Application. It can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, and snapshots of web pages, and automatically indexes the full-text content of the library, enabling users to find exactly what they are looking for with just a few keystrokes.


The materials used in this blog are the revised and edited materials from the HDR workshop I have designed, developed and offered at the Griffith University.

How to cite:
Kinley, K. (2015). Digital tools for researchers.   Retrieved from

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EndNote and Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac: Compatibility and Recommendations

Microsoft launched Office 2016 for Mac on 9 July 2015, which is available to Office 365 subscribers.  While the new Office for Mac provides users with some wonderful new functionalities it is not a good news for EndNote users.

EndNote is currently not compatible with office 2016 on Mac. We highly advise EndNote and Mac users not to upgrade to Office 2016 on Mac at this stage while Thomson Reuters is working on a patch for EndNote X7 to fix this compatibility issue. According to their website this free update to EndNote X7 will be ready by the Fall.

However, if users have to use Office 2016 and EndNote on Mac, Thomson Reuters suggest to consider a number of recommendations to create formatted citations and bibliographies in Word documents.

>> Check here for more details

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Digital Privacy: Issues and Challenges in Bhutan

Figure 1: Social Media Stats (Source: Social Media Hat, 2015)

Figure 1: Social Media Stats (Source: Social Media Hat, 2015)

Web based technology is increasingly growing. Internet and Social Media is a great place to share news, connect with friends and do online shopping. The speed of the Internet has led us to be flexible and changing in life style and how we communicate with each other. Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking website. It makes easy for us to connect, share and maintain contacts with family, friends and colleagues. According to the Social Media Hat (2015), Figure 1, there are 1.39 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 1 billion on YouTube, 540 million on Google plus, 300 million on instagram, 284 Million on twitter and 187 million monthly active users on linkedIn.

Privacy issues and Privacy laws

We live in a paradoxical world of privacy. Government agencies, online shopping companies and marketing websites are collecting personal information or personally identifying information about us. Studies have repeatedly shown that users are increasingly concerned about their privacy when they go online (Jensen & Potts, 2004).

Despites rapid growth in web-based technologies and their securities, western and developed countries are more concerned about privacy. Privacy issues and policies are well-debated topics in these countries. Many countries have privacy acts to provide safeguards against invasion of personal privacy either by government agencies, media body or individuals, for example the Privacy Act of 1974 in the United States, Data Protection Act 1998 of UK, the Privacy Act 1988 of Australia. In countries, such as Australia, the penalty for breach of privacy could range from 1 to 5 years in jail.

Privacy laws and related issues in Bhutan

Social Media is increasingly becoming popular among Bhutanese. Users not only use Social Media platforms to connect and communicate with each other but also to share information and breaking news. Our own bBay Facebook group, a Bhutanese version of eBay, has over 40 thousand members. The group page receives over hundred unique posts and over thousand comments within last 24 hours at any given time (excluding posts rejected by the admins). The only concern with the online forum is the privacy and the line drawn between public and private boundaries.

Does Bhutan have a privacy law?

There is a lack of literature as well as policies and guidelines related to privacy in Bhutan. Social Media Strategy and Guideline policy of Bhutan (2011), Bhutan Information and Communications Technology Policy and Strategies (2004) and Bhutan e-Government Master Plan (2014) reflected on Privacy. However, these documents have limited policies, guidelines and standards on privacy issues. This lack of standardization causes more cyber crimes and even makes it more difficult for decision makers.

Bhutan do have defamation law and offences against privacy defined under Sections 317-325 and 468-471 of the Penal Code of Bhutan respectively (2004). However, these laws do not seem to include offences for breach of privacy acts, such as publishing personal information online.

The need for such a law to deal with emerging issues such as cyber security, data protection and privacy issues were reflected in online forums and in several government documents including Bhutan e-Government Master Plan (2014).

Online User Behaviors

In Bhutan, it is not a surprise to find some individuals, media body or organisations posting pictures or personal details of others without a consent from the individual concerned. Some Facebook users often post online private details, such as citizen ID number, and date of birth. Part of the reason for this is a lack of laws and policies in the country. The other reason is the mindset of the individuals, media body or organizations – we tend to take for granted.

As a social media behaviorist and a cyber citizen, I am concerned about privacy and privacy of others.

Did organizations, such as Phelkhil School, or Ap Bokto among hundreds others, seek a consent from the parents to publish their children’s pictures on the website or Facebook page?

Information Systems (websites) and Database in Bhutan

There is no doubt that information and communication technologies (ICT) have high potential value across all sectors, in both public and private enterprises and at multiple levels, in developing countries, such as Bhutan. Information systems and emerging technologies are used in education, industries, and government offices, and more importantly to provide one-stop portal information to its citizens and customers.

Figure 2: The official website of Royal Bhutan Police was hacked in April 2011 (Source: ThimphuTech)

Figure 2: The official website of Royal Bhutan Police was hacked in April 2011 (Source: ThimphuTech)

However, without a strong firewall and Internet security policy, information systems (websites) and database are exposed to external predators such as hackers and spammers. In Bhutan it is not uncommon to find some government official websites being hacked for months if not for weeks (see Figure 2).

Besides a strong firewall with demilitarized zone, it is also significantly important to have a strong user authentication attached with the information systems or database. It has been found that in Bhutan most of the database servers and websites have week user authentication systems. Due to week authentication security measures many online databases and websites in Bhutan are exposed to hackers and astute users. Among many flaws, following are some scenarios:

Bhutan national newspaper Kuensel, Bhutan broadcasting service (BBS) and Bhutan council for school examinations and assessments (BCSEA) publish class X and XII topers with their index numbers. The online website had only one level security check – index number- in order to retrieve data. Someone can easily check a randomly selected candidate’s class X and XII results and details.

Someone post pictures of a bunch of lost and found citizen cards, including personal details, on Facebook. An recruiting agent publishes citizen card number of the selected candidates on their website. It will not take more than 5 minutes for someone to find personal details, including the place of birth, of these people. Astute users may use these personal details for identity theft or other potential compromises.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Google remembers everything. What we publish is widely accessible and could potentially be seen by anyone; now and in the future. It is almost impossible to fully retract content published in social media or websites. The personal information revealed on social media sites also attracts sexual predators. Because of its publicity and ability to go viral, we must be careful of what we publish on Internet and social media.

Organisations, such as Bhutan Information Communication and Media Authority (BICMA), have a crucial role to play not only to frame policies and guidelines for social media strategies but also to promote awareness to the general public. The lack of standards and regulations related to online privacy restrictions make us potentially vulnerable to cyber attacks.

General public and individuals, media body and organisations need to be made aware of privacy issues related to online publications.

They must know where to draw lines between public and private boundaries. Bhutanese, in general, are more generous and care for others. Online users often post and publish lost and found items, such as citizen ID card or driver license.

Figure 3: Personal details published on Facebook (Source: Facebook)

Figure 3: Personal details published on Facebook (Source: Facebook)

However, it is quite not right to post personal details, such as citizen ID number or date of birth, associated with the person. This could be avoided by hiding personal details from the snapshot (see Figure 3). Many smartphones these days have the inbuilt features to edit pictures.

Besides strong firewall, websites and online databases must utilize two or more multi-factor authentication mechanisms to authenticate online parties. This could be achieved by using two types of information from two different sources (e.g. citizen ID number or date of birth and passport number) as user authentication checks. This would not only prevent the system from hackers and scammers but also from impersonation theft of private data.

Advocates and scholars must establish a network of connections to promote and raise awareness to general public and cyber citizens, as well as to provide decision-making tool for the country. In addition, such awareness campaign would offer new information to general population, politicians, parliamentarians and policy makers.


Department of Information and Media. (2011). Social Media Policy of the Royal Government of Bhutan. Thimphu: Department of Information and Media.

Bhutan e-Government Master Plan (2014). Ministry of Information and Communications.

Jensen, C., & Potts, C. (2004). Privacy policies as decision-making tools: an evaluation of online privacy notices. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Bhutan Information and Communications Technology Policy and Strategies (BIPS) (2004).Ministry of Information and Communications.

Royal Court of Justice. (2004). Penal Code of Bhutan Thimphu: Royal Court of Justice Retrieved from CODE.pdf.

The Soical Media Hat. (2015). Social Media Active Users.   Retrieved 20 March 2015, from

 Original edited Article published by Kuensel – National Newspaper of Bhutan on 28 March 2015. 

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Academic domain of Educational Technologies and Non-economic Profitisation

I am glad to have invited on board as one of the 100 co-authors on a joint article on global perspective towards education technologies (ET). This study explores non-economic profitisation of scholarship involved with the academic domain of ET.

Kolb’s Experiential Learning Approach

Kolb’s Experiential Learning Approach

The best part of the article is its innovative study approach – 100 ET scholars across the globe were invited and involved themselves as the study’s subjects by treating their critical reflective narratives as the basis for answering the research question.

I look forward sharing more findings on the study and adopting similar study approach on our future research studies and scholarly papers.

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Cloud-based learning and teaching

Emerging technologies are fast growing. In teaching and learning information and communication technologies (ICT) have advanced the use of video conferencing, search engine databases, cloud and mobile computing, and other technologies in education contexts, with no exception to Social Media as an emerging technology in learning and teaching.

In today’s world, as learning is becoming increasingly digital, access to the learning resources become increasingly important. Amongst the emerging technologies, cloud computing is increasingly becoming popular. There are enormous benefits of using cloud based learning and teaching approach, from cost effectiveness to content sharing and accessing – 24 by 7.

Apparently, there are many companies that provide cloud-based learning management systems such as TalentLMSA, Docebo elearning, Administrate, ELMO elearning, and more, of which is a popular one. Cloud-based Computing is an online education company that helps anyone learn software, technology, creative and business skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, more than four million people have access to the video library of engaging, high-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts. The company also provides German-, French- and Spanish-language content under the video2brain brand name.

Apparently, universities are in search for more efficient and effective ways to take teaching-learning to next level. Over 3000 universities have subscribed to For example, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) library subscribes to as one of the databases; and the students and staff can login to using their QUT username and password. A brief background of is summarized below:

  • Started in 1995
  • 4 million users
  • Publish more than eight hours of content per day
  • Over 90,000 videos
  • 12-acre campus and state-of-the-art production facilities
  • 700 K-12 schools
  • Over 3000 universities
  • Works seamlessly with most mobile initiatives online training tutorials


The courses and videos, offered by cover broad range of topics including 3D animation, audio engineering, business applications, design applications, software development, video editing and much more. may be used to supplement curricula, tract your success, and train everyone within the organization. The resources are online; therefore it is available 24 by 7.Benefits of Lynda

Benefits can be grouped under four main components – supplement curricula, track success, train everyone and easy access.

Supplement Curricula

  • Support the flipped classroom model
  • Resources that are cost-effective and updated more option
  • Cheaper to use made tutorial than to make one

Track Success

  • Run reports to measure adoption, achievement and time spent on the service. Track completed courses
  • All users receive certificates of completion upon finishing a course.

Train Everyone

  • Content for everyone
  • Bridge the digital divide and help workers learn new technologies. They have training for everyone.
  • Extend training to a wide range of users in any administrative or academic settings

Easy Access

  • Integrates with your network for simple access and administration
  • Mobile or smart device access
  • Users can create and share course playlists, which can be mapped to classroom curricula or employee learning paths
  • All students and staff will have access through Griffith sign-on
  • Non-member can watch free sample videos for the courses

One of the main products of is that of LyndaCampus for academic organizations.

Why LyndaCampus?

LyndaCampus provides academic institutions with unlimited, cost-effective, organization-wide access to the vast library of instructional videos. There are enormous benefits of adopting LyndaCampus for academic organizations.

For students

  • Explore hundreds of topics in multimedia, design, web development, and social media
  • Perform independent study
  • Expand a resume and prepare for the workforce
  • Build presentation, time management, and research skills
  • Get immediate answers to technology questions

For faculty

For staff

  • Keep pace with technology
  • Support the daily workflow
  • Reduce help desk calls
  • Explore custom learning paths
  • Get immediate, just-in-time answers to questions

Other benefits and supports

  • Provide members/customers/employees with a virtual helpdesk
  • How to use videos
  • Widely used by over 3000 universities; good customer support review

In general, in today’s fast digitally growing world we are lucky to have the opportunity to use many cheap and freely available e-learning management systems. The bigger problem, however, is to ensure that we choose the best tools that meet our needs.

[Please note that the Author is neither associated with nor employed by] online training tutorials

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Social Media in Education: A Review

Internet and their use in schools, and university settings have become popular with the invention of social media in Education.Social Media

Edudemic [1], an educational website for Education Technology Tips for Students and Teachers, has put up together a bunch of articles on Social Media in Education. Of the two articles, Pulkit [2] discusses about Social media as a key driver and medium of communication. He also discuss about resistance by educators, the need to respect how students of Internet generation use social media, promoting critical thinking and power of reasoning while using social media.

Pulkit reports that many of educators today are resistant to Social Media and fail to adopt to the new method of education, source of education.

In today’s world of fast-growing Internet, there is no way to stop students from using social media. Rather educators should respect them and show them how to use social media effectively. They need to know what their profile and album pictures are acceptable as they create their online print to express himself or herself as individual.

>>Read my blog on Generations and Social Media

Thus, educators have a big role to direct students to right way of using social media effectively. It is like crossing a road. The author advises that we don’t tell our kids not to cross but rather we hold their hand and show them how to cross.

The quality of educational content is no longer be benchmark of quality of education. For example, we don’t ask history students to memorise birthday of Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II or Nelson Mandela; these information are out there on Internet

In their second article on Social Media in Education, Katie [3] reports on how educators can use social media into education to engage with students and empowering them with the freedom to come-up with innovative ways of teaching using social media, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Using social media as a medium of expression is one of the steps that educators need to take. Social media can make education fun, interactive and collaborative.

According to the Erik Qualman [4], we don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.




[2] Pulkit (2014). The Barriers to using Social Media in Education (Part 1 of 2). Retrieved from

[3] Lepi, Katie (2014). How to uuse Social Mdeia in Education (part 2 of 2). Retrieved from

[4] Qualman, Erik (2011), Social Media Video 2013. Retrieved from

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Generations and Social Media

This post highlights how Generation Baby Boomers, X, Y and Z view and live their life with Social Media and Internet in particular and Technology in general.

Baby Boomers Generation

Born: 1946-1964

Baby boomers are people born during the demographic post-wrold war II bay boom. Narcissism and a focus on self-help and skepticism over media and institutions is representative of attitudes of this group.

However,  according to the Social Media Revolution 2014 [1] the fastest growing segment on Facebook (social media) is 55-65 year-old females. About 40 percent of Baby Boomers are on a social media [2].

Generation X

Born: 1966-1976

Coming of Age: 1988-1994

Gen X, sometimes referred to the ‘lost’ generation, are group of people who are without ever turning on the news or tuning into the social issues around them. It is believe that almost every Gen X are on social media. Young adults in Gen X are likely to connect with friends, family and co-workers online as they are in person [3].

Generation Y

Born: 1977-1994

Coming of Age: 1998-2006

William J Schroer [4] reports that Gen Y members are much more racially and ethnically diverse and they are much more segmented as an audience aided by the rapid expansion in Cable TV channels, satellite radio, the Internet, hi5, etc.

Gen Y are less brand loyal and the speed of the Internet has led the Gen Y to be flexible and changing in life  style and how they communicate with each other.

However, unlike their younger generation (Gen Z), they will have tough time keeping up with today’s ever changing technology-driven world.

Generation Z

Born: 1995-2012

(Source: Getty image)

(Source: Getty image)

Coming of Age: 2013-2020

While we don’t know much about Gen Z, we do know a lot about the environment they are growing up in. Gen Zers are the first generation who never have experienced the pre-internet world. They grow up with a highly sophisticated media and computerised environment.

Therefore, they are technology-focused, more Internet savvy and expert than their Gen Y  siblings. Jane Holroyd [5] calls them the iPad generation.  The way they communicate with each other and their life style will be completely different to Gen Y.

Generation Y and Z consider email passé [3]; some universities have stopped distributing email accounts.


[1]   Qualman, Erik (2011), The Social Media Revolution 2014. Retrieved from


[3] Miller, J.D (2013), Social Capital: Networking in Generation X. The Generation X Report.




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Big Data: Analysis of recent NSW bushfires tweets (Oct 2013)

Big Data: Analysis of recent NSW bushfires tweets (Oct 2013)

Recently, I have developed a keen interest in these areas of research and been exploring some of data-mining tools such as R-Studio and CLUTO.

There are oceans of information out there on the net. One of the most interesting things about big data is the generation of new trend and pattern information for solving important or emerging problems. While huge data is available out there in the cloud, processing and mining those data is challenging. Many approaches, data-mining and knowledge-based techniques, computational algorithms and mining tools were developed to analysis these big data.

The purpose of analyzing big data is to discover key and actionable information and gain meaningful insights into the event, for example understand more about latest bush fires in New South Wales in Australia. The goal of such sentiment analysis is to provide real-time information

What is big data? How big is a big data?

Tim [i] defines big data as a scale of data that cannot be managed by conventional means. Internet-scale data has fostered the creation of new architectures and applications that are able to process this new class of data. These architectures are highly scalable and efficiently process data in parallel across a sea of servers.

The popular microblog Twitter sees 218m monthly active users, 3.5m monthly mobile users, 100 m daily users, and over 500m tweets per day, with an average of 5,700 tweets a second.  At one time in Japan (on August 3 2013) during a TV show of Castle in the Skye, people took to Twitter so much of 143,199 tweets per second [ii].

What are people talking about recent NSW bush fires?

Recent bush fires in NSW Australia have drawn media and government attention. Many people took to twitter using various hashtags (#). As part of my concern and support for the affected people and agency services such as NSWRFS, I examined a large number of tweets using various data analysis techniques, including use of R-Studio. The goal of my investigation is understand what people are talking about. This would provide useful insights into cause and effects of the bush fires and what we can do about it.


Figure 1: Cloudtag: Keywords used on tweets about the recent NSW bush fires (retrieved at 1:10 PM 26 Oct 2013 AEST)

Figure 1 illustrates a cloudtag, generated and analysed from over two thousand tweets retrieved at 1:10 PM Saturday, October 26 (AEST) from twitter with these hashtags: #nswfires, #nswbushfire, #nswbushfires ,#nswrfs, #sydneybushfire ,#sydneyfire, #sydneyfires, #sydneybushfires.

These hashtags are most commonly used in the tweets to indicate a discussion on recent bush fires in NSW Australia. Common words and tags, such as ‘today’ and twitter handles, such as @dailytelegraph, were removed.

For now I will leave the interpretation of the cloudtag to prospective readers.


[i] Jones, Tim (2013), Process real-time big data with Twitter Storm: An introduction to streaming big data.


Note: A pdf version can be found here

Kinley, K (2013). Big Data: What does it mean to us? ‎

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PhD Graduation Ceremony at QUT


Receiving PhD award from Chancellor Tim Fairfax AM (right) and Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Carol Dickenson (left)

I would like to share this moment of joy  with my thesis supervisors, family members and friends that I have now officially graduated with a PhD, Information Systems, from the Information Systems School, Science and Engineering Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The graduation ceremony was held at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane on 24 July 2013. I am very proud to be the first student from Bhutan to graduate with a PhD from QUT (I was then the first student from Bhutan to graduate from QUT with a Master degree (master of IT) or long-term degree in December 2005).

Although my family could not join me, I was indeed very happy to see my supervisors and friends attending and joining me on this important occasion in my life. PhD is the highest qualification one can achieve and its graduation ceremony adds value to it.

Thank you to my PhD supervisors Associate Professor Dian Tjondronegoro and Professor Sylvia Edwards, and my work (IT Helpdesk) manager Nicky McCallister for attending my graduation ceremony.  It was great to see you all at the function.  I also like to expresses my gratitude to my friends: Sonam Choki, Sonam Choiden and Namgay Dorji for attending and accompanying me to my graduation ceremony (and rest of the evening). My fellow PhD team friends, Dr Wei Song, Dr Ivan Himawan, Tony Wang, Desmon Koh, and Prithwi Raj, thank you for joining me at the celebration function. It was nice to see you all at the function.

My PhD journey at QUT has been a long journey. I started my study on 9 March 2009 with Professor Amanda Spink as my principal supervisor and Professor Helen Partridge as associate supervisor.  There were ups and downs. Professor Amanda has to leave QUT at the end of 2010. Luckily Associate Professor Dian Tjondronegoro has kindly accepted my request to be my principal supervisor.   Since then I published over 7 scholarly papers in international conferences and journal, including a journal paper for the Journal of American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) in 2013. JASIST, with an ERA ranking of A* (ERA 2010), is a fully refereed journal that publishes reports of research and development in a wide range of subjects and applications in information science and technology.

Currently, there are more than 30 students from Bhutan studying at QUT, of which 18 of them are PhD students that makes the highest current PhD candidates from Bhutan studying in any university in the World. Of the 18 PhD candidates, 9 of them are full time students while the remaining candidates are enrolled on a mixed-mode model where they come to QUT to do research for three months every year and then work from their home university the rest of the year.

I have lots of experience to share to the World and to my fellow PhD candidates. Given the time I look forward to writing a chapter about the journey, including experiences and outcomes, issues and challenges.

Lastly, thank you to my wife Lhamo, family members and friends for your support throughtout my PhD journey. Without your support this moment of joy would not have happended.

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