Visualizing Research and Work

Do you ever doodle to figure out an idea? Do you sketch out a concept to make sense of it? Have you every created a Post-It Note wall montage on a wall to map out a project? Is there a whiteboard where you have a series of equations or problems you are working through? If so, then visualizing research and related works might be for you!

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For the last workshop I facilitated, I opted to go low-tech to in order allow for reflection and discussion about our digital spaces and places. Sometimes analog processing with markers provides instigates creativity or creates an opportunity for deeper thinking. Drawing or concept mapping is a process I often use to plan programs/events, design websites, draft course curriculum, and more. I find these visualizations helpful for gathering thoughts, linking concepts ,and facilitating group/team processes.

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Much to my surprise, my research role with The Digital Learning and Social Media Research Group has moved beyond your typical scholarly practice, such as literature review, data collection, data analysis, and academic writing, to include a visual design to share research. I thank/blame George for the opportunity to dig into valuable research to identify findings and implications by creating a short script and putting these audio narrations to animated format on the Research Shorts YouTube Channel [If you’re not subscribed, you should!].

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In a recent Research Shorts video, we scripted and produced Hilton’s (2016) recent article review of OER and college textbooks choices (highlighted in George’s post). Although this is an open access publication, we hope this video visualization extends beyond the typical scholarly audience and reaches other campus stakeholders in higher education who are thinking about these learning resources. You can view this video here:

For the Research Shorts video creation process, I have been scripting and storyboarding academic articles (of mine and others) to explain the implications and applications of these studies in a few short minutes. This work has made me think more about how I include visuals in my own scholarly practice, specifically to identify the “so what” or key points for my own initiatives. I typically map out works-in-progress, lesson plans, course designs, and meetings I will be facilitating or hosting by using a visual map or plan. From my experiences, visualizations for research and work projects have helped myself and my research collaborators:

  • Ideate and brainstorm for developments/project planning
  • Filter and itemize relevant results for literature reviews
  • Map out concept for a research plan and work initiatives
  • Connect the dots between theories and relevant published research
  • Organize a research pipeline and project workflows for effective project management
  • Provide “in plain English” about your research findings
  • Highlight key implications based on research results
  • Develop better images or visuals for conference presentations and/or posters
  • Showcase information through a new communication method or medium
  • Can lead to new insights for yourself and your audience/stakeholders — offer access to publications or complex work designs
  • Capture the “what’s the point” for organizational leaders for published reports
  • Pitch research implications/findings as an executive summary in meetings

Beyond creating a video to share visual research on YouTube, I am also considering what images or graphs I put into my own academic publications. Our written text can tell the story of our research; however, diagrams, images, or graphs can create meaning to our academic manuscripts, reports, and planning documents. What does the aesthetics of science look for you?  Have you put much thought into how you visualize traditional research publications, like conference proceedings or journal articles? What support your academic writing beyond the text? Do you give much consideration to these in your writing? If so, please share.

Reference:

Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-18.

Your Digital Self & Online Community: Let’s Twitter Chat About It #SAchat & #AcAdv

In my last blog post, I asked if you have thought about your digital self and what it means to be a “resident” in various spaces and places online.  This is a common question I pose and ponder with higher ed colleagues and friends I work with, connect with online, meet face-to-face, and now as I collaborate on research looking at Networked Communities of Practice. When it comes to digital participation there is no right or wrong. That being said, sometimes I think of this quote from the Sydney MCA as our lives continue to evolve online:

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Last year, the TED Radio Hour podcast featured TED speakers who dug into what it means to be digital and connected in its two-part episode, Screen Time, Part I and Part 2The segments dive into how the digital version of ourselves are impacting who we are. There is one quote, in particular, that resonated with me from Jon Ronson’s segment in Part 2:

“The way we are defined on social media, on the Internet, and on Google has become more important than who we actually are as people.”

Ronson’s TED talk presents ideas he writes about in his book So You’ve Been Publically Shamed. His segment “How can our real lives be ruined by our digital ones?” discusses how the online self is impacting our offline self. With the recent US election, there are no shortages of examples of tasteless social media shares and volatile toned posts displayed online. The election is not the cause of this behavior; however, these type of actions and interactions within the higher ed community online are disheartening. If you are presenting your actual self online (and not an anonymous profile/account) the expression “in real life” or “IRL” no longer applies. What we do inside the screen does impact our life beyond the screen. What happens digitally and on the Internet IS IN REAL LIFE (exit distance worker soapbox rant for now).

As Inger puts it very well, there are some “academic assholes in the circles of niceness.” If you are on the social web and in higher ed, there is no doubt that you have witnessed more cruelty than kindness from your colleagues and far less empathy or compassion from your fellow practitioners in online communities.  For many of us who live our working life online, I think “our second selves” are impacting who we are.

Maybe it is also time for some reflection and perhaps a candid discussion about our digital self and our online communities. Thanks to two online communities — #SAchat and #AcAdv — we’re going to get real and talk these issues in higher ed in these upcoming Twitter Chats:

#SAchat TOPIC:

Personal and Professional Identity on Social Media & Online

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Thursday, December 1, 2016 for the DAYTIME #SAchat from 12-1 pm CDT; Follow @The_SA_Blog on Twitter

Let’s discuss what it means to “grow up” professionally online and offline in higher education. What motivates you to interact, engage, and share? What social networks and hashtags do you connect with for your work in student affairs and higher ed? Has being online impacted what you do professionally or personally? Share with us about your own digital identity development, specifically how it influences who you are and your work on campus. 

#AcAdv Chat TOPIC:

Learning Online With And From A Community of Peers

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016 for the #AcAdv Chat from 12-1 pm CDT; Follow @AcAdvChat on Twitter

Let’s have a conversation about how online networks and digital spaces support your professional and personal well-being. Where do you learn online? What communities contribute to your work and success in #higher ed? Tell us how these networked communities offer resources, share ideas, and offer care for you, your professional role, and your personal growth.

If you work in higher education and care about these issues, please join in on one or both discussions on Thursday (12/1) and next Tuesday (12/6). We look forward to hearing what you have to say on the topics…Twitter Chat soon!

Do you have questions about this or our research team, please feel free to contact us or suggest a way you would like to collaborate!

Have You Thought About Your Digital Self Lately?

While working on today’s workshop for the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL), I was listening to the recent Higher Ed Live broadcast with Ed & Josie talking “Engaging the Digital Generation” (an NDSS book they edited, and I contributed to — I promise to follow up on a blog post on this topic later). I was not surprised, but often wondered why student affairs (SA) and higher ed folks often go directly to technology:

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Why do practitioners in higher education, student affairs, and students services always go to the “tool” question first? Why do we want to know what’s “hot” with the digital, social technologies? Is it easier to think about a specific app, device, or platform? Why don’t we ask about the challenges or issues the technology is solving?  A wise supervisor once told me: Study problems, not things. The “thing” I’m thinking about are technology tools and platforms.

I am more interested how our campus stakeholders engage and interact with social and digital tools. What is their motivation and how are these online networks being utilized? Perhaps we should challenge professionals in higher education to start thinking about their own presence. I think it’s a good idea to reflect on our own contributions and social traces we are leaving in digital spaces and places [Hence why Paul & I are are studying just that: https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/] .  I really like the Visitors & Residents Continuum (White & Le Cornu, 2011) concept, which is also shared by Dave White (and colleagues from OCLC & Jisc) via a few resources and videos. Visitors tend to leave no social traces in the digital world. If you are Resident you are visible, active, and leave a part of you online in many spaces and places. If you have not heard of this concept, here’s a quick overview of the mapping process for visitor and resident in a personal and institutional (professional) context:

I think more thought and reflection into HOW and WHY we use these online networks and digital apps are needed. Here’s a start of my own visualization of my visitor and resident spaces & places — more will be added this afternoon during my NCSL Professional Workshop:

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Have you mapped your own V-R continuum lately? It’s an interesting process to think about and visualize. If so — please share and/or blog about it! To further this idea, what are the digital skills we need to hone within higher education? Here are a few suggestions organized on a metro map around digital skills:

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This digital skills framework map was a solid start, but it definitely needs to be added to – what are your thoughts on this topic? How are you engaging and interacting with these spaces and places? What do we need to learn and bring to campus when it comes to digital understandings of self? How are you thinking about your resident vs. visitor self online? Show and share!

Reference:

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

The #3Wedu Podcast No. 11: Women Advancing the Future of IT in Higher Ed

Every individual has a responsibility in an organization to enhance the understanding of the value of women leading, create structures to help women overcome gender barriers they may experience, and identify strategies to support women’s progress along their leadership path. Women bring heterogeneity that can benefit the workplace. To avoid groupthink and bring more diversity to our organizations, we need to consider putting more women into leadership roles to improve performance and productivity. Each of our higher education institutions has an organization culture that can empower or limit women’s ability to lead at various levels. These cultures consist of assumptions and values (see Schein’s model of organizational culture) that are sometimes decades old. Many times organizational structures have been developed by men and their actions potentially inhibiting women leading in various ways.

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The #3Wedu: Women Who Wine in Education will be trying a new format and location as we join host our podcast and keynote panel today (November 7th) from 3:25-4:55 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln IT Leadership Conference. In an effort to share our panel discussion we hope to stream this session via YouTube LIVE and, of course, we will do our best to keep the Twitter backchannel banter going here: #3wedu.

Opportunity that Scales:

WOMEN ADVANCING THE FUTURE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY  IN HIGHER EDUCATION

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Tune in LIVE between 3:25-4:55 pm CT as we will stream our keynote panel TODAY, November 7, 2016 here:

Through changing our behaviors, activities, communication, and environments, we can potentially alter the culture with these micro level modifications. Implementing practices to facilitate the growth of women leaders while creating an embracing culture that is pertinent for leadership development. Let’s talk about it. This isn’t a women’s issue; this is everyone’s issue.

A version of this blog post is cross-posted at The #3Wedu Podcast website.

Research Shorts In Plain English: Time, Tone, and Value

I have always been a fan of the Common Craft “In Plain English” series of videos that explain concepts like Social Media (circa 2008) or Wikis.Often these videos demonstrate, outline, or explain a complex/novel idea. The concept of explaining ideas or video “how to’s” is not a novel idea, and these are perpetuated today as we see explainer videos on Personalized Learning and Augmented Reality for education.

In thinking about the research and scholarship we do, how often do we share our ideas openly and “in plain English” for others to digest? I have always been a fan of the lol my thesis; however, I am more impressed by by those who can meet the Three Minute Thesis challenge or have contributed to the Research in Plain English blog posts in the #phdchat community. One reason I am a fan of all of the above is pure and simple – knowledge sharing. These acts/events require scholars to summarize the “so what” of their research and it requires scholars to engage with an unfamiliar audience, who might not read it in an academic publication. The sharing of research goes beyond the SPARC and open access rights (self/paid  publications) and open dissertations from our early career scholars (Thanks for the post, Bon). We also need to think about others beyond our discipline, research area, and ask — what are the practical applications of our research we need to outline from our journal articles or conference proceedings?

A couple of months ago George Veletsianos shared a Profhacker blog post about how we are Using Video and Audio to Share Our Scholarship with The Social Media and Digital Research Group. I think we are trying to provide access, share information, and put the word out about our findings and implications. How else can some of these evidence-based ideas get put into practice? Right? The issue is — some of this “beyond the academic publication” does take a bit of work.

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As I have been tasked with developing a these “Research Shorts” on our YouTube channel, I thought I would share my experiences in what I have learned from scripting and visualizing publications. Also, I promised Ian a response to his comment [so sorry for the delay — it’s been a busy semester for me]:

Awesome post. Really a lot to think about! I have nothing to add in terms of interesting ideas on how to share the research – yours are really interesting and inspiring! However, I did start to wonder about time and tone.
In terms of time – how much does all this take you? And is it valued by your institution? For those of us more junior and precarious than yourself it’s really hard to strike the balance between getting our research heard, and getting permanent jobs.
In terms of tone – your research fits animation wonderfully. I wonder how different type of research might manage to use video or audio styles, e.g. sociology that deals with sensitive issues. Then you’d need to be a master animator – or be able to pay someone who was – not to come across as crass.

Time: It does take some time. I am the dedicated person to put together most of the scripts for the videos you see on the YouTube Channel. This has been my task since tJune 2016.  Forget the time put in for data collection, coding/analysis, and academic writing for the journal publication, showcasing your work in this way does take a bit of effort. I do have a full-time faculty appointment and projects of my own beyond this task, so I did my best to fit in these 8 videos and another 4 “in editing” where I could. There are other things to consider — review of the script and edits, visualizations to collect (images, edits, and then some), waiting for audio narration by an author, and then final edits and uploads. Once in the groove of developing the scripts, getting the audio narration, and visualizing in the Audioscribe tool we use, the average time equation goes like this for one single video:

  • 1-2 hour for scripting (key points and findings for the article) +
  • 30-60 minutes for narration and setting up CC licensed music +
  • 5-6 hours putting the animations/drawings to the narration (this may vary) +
  • 1-2hour reviewing/editing +
  • 1-2hour rendering to YouTube & adding the closed captions from the script
  • = 12-15 hours total per article [May vary per article, i.e. if I helped to research/author]

Tone: Thanks for the compliments for the animation to audio — I appreciate it! (This is why this part takes the most time). This step varies by article topic. I used to draw storyboards in the beginning of this process, but once I became familiar with the VideoScribe platform functionality and repository of visuals — I just designed animations via the script. There are animations and images for different disciplines, including business, political science, journalism, natural sciences, etc. That being said, the free images are limited and you might have to search for other Creative Commons resources to add into the video. There are a number of drawings or animations available for free — no hiring of artist needed! It will require some solid search skills and a dash of creativity for “HOW” you want your audio narrative to be visualized.

Value: You asked about institutional value. Good question. The above does take some additional time and effort. I believe this dissemination of visualized research was actually written into a grant and/or our research project (George can verify). This premise is to widely share these research findings and evidence-based strategies to the scholarly community and practitioners in education. Sharing on YouTube offers additional optimization for reach, SEO, and tracking for views/shares + embedding into websites and blog posts. Also, the visual and narrated audio contextualizes the research, outlines the research questions, shares the study findings, and provides implications in a rich, multi-media format beyond the traditional text.

In drafting a short narrative for each academic journal article, I have put some thought into what goes into my script writing. Condensing a long-form publication into a 2-4 minute script is a fun and challenging task. It has forced me to think about my own research questions, identifying specific goals for implications, and to consider how I present “academic speak” or work to a broader audience. I want to make sure my research is understood, accessible, and applied. This video/audio/scripting practice has made me think about my  how I disseminate research while I’m in the thick of data collection, drafting articles, and sharing final products/findings.  I have used this summary format within my own research teams and I continue to support other early career scholars (in class or on a dissertation committee) about finding “the point” for empirical literature.

What would it take for you to offer a “research short” video, image, or snapshot of your scholarly work? If you practice this activity, please share!

 

The #3Wedu Podcast: Episode No. 10: Express Yourself!

My father always said, “it’s what’s in your head and not on your head.” This expression was often used as he saw myself or my siblings getting ready for school, and, perhaps, spending a ridiculous amount of getting ready to go out the door. Although, I know this statement to be true — I can’t help but think how much the external self really does impact how we are perceived in the world of work.  There is no shortage of “how to dress for work & success” advice columns, personal blog posts, or media articles. We often get suggestions or passing comments on our wardrobe from our peers, whether we like it or not. And despite credentials, intelligence, or knowledge, our image is the first impression we provide to our campus stakeholders and colleagues. Fashion and how women dress in higher education will continue to be a topic of frustration, debate, and conversation. So let’s talk about it, #3Wedu

This Wednesday, October 19th join us for The #3Wedu Podcast, as we talk about putting our fashionista selves forward during the “Express Yourself!” episode #10. From past podcasts, we have shared about how our outward self really does impact our work in education. We know that what we wear and how we dress sends messages to our colleagues, students, and peers. Our appearance and dress offers insights to our personality and often impacts first impressions.

3wedu_no_10To step up our a-game for the battle of the dress, this week’s #3Wedu banter will be about putting our best foot forward (literally and figuratively) as we consider strategies to “dress to impress” on campus, in the boardroom, and for conference travel.

Here are just a few real and relevant questions, I’ve overheard from our #3Wedu conversations:

  • What do you think your personal image says about you?
  • What influences your own style when you’re shopping for new duds?
  • How can you update your own wardrobe on a budget?
  • Where do you go for no hassle clothing options? Stores and online?
  • What do Converse kicks pair best with for business casual?
  • What is your “go to” clothing item or accessory you often bring when you travel to a conference or academic meeting?

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BONUS: We will share about the recent conversations at the 28th WCET Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, specifically with regards to the great discussions we hosted at The #3Wedu Conversation: Redefining Higher Ed to Support Women session. Feel free to read the Google doc notes here: http://bit.ly/wcet163wedu Thank you for sharing and also being part of this connected community!

We’re looking forward to you joining us this week for the #3Wedu podcast for Episode no. 10: Express Yourself. Be sure to tune in LOVE to YouTube  & tweet your little hearts out with the #3Wedu hashtag THIS Wednesday (10/19) at 3 PM PT//6 pm CT // 6 PM ET:

Blogged and cross-posted at the #3Wedu Podcast site.

#AcDigID Workshop: Developing Your Social & Digital Self

Next week I will be facilitating another edition of the @OLCToday workshop on “Developing Your Social Media and Digital Presenceor the #AcDigID workshop (for hashtag & nickname). This 7-day, asynchronous, online workshop is designed to support digital identity development for faculty and staff in higher education.worditout-word-cloud-1870260

Developing Your Social Media and Digital Presence

Workshop Description: What does your online identity look like today? Have you Googled yourself lately? In academia, it is becoming increasingly vital to publish and share your teaching, service, and research knowledge. Besides developing an online presence and utilizing social media for professional development, faculty and staff are actively utilizing open and digital channels to support, learn, and contribute a thriving network of connected scholars. In this workshop, you will explore meaningful ways to craft an active, online persona, learn about strategies to effectively include social media and digital resources for your professional development, and understand how an online community of practice can enhance the work you do.

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate social media and digital platforms for faculty professional development, connected learning, and research impact.
  • Establish effective strategies for developing an online digital identity for open, networked scholarship.
  • Outline the benefits & challenges of open and digital scholarship while using social

Dates Offered: September 26-October 2, 2016; Registration Page (to sign up)

 

Here’s the outline for the #AcDigID workshop this coming week:

  • Why Does Social & Digital Identity Matter in Academia?
    • Getting started, digital identity development, and state of scholars online
  • The Tools of the Digital Academic Trade: Social Media
    • Twitter, hashtags, blogging, podcasting, LinkedIn, and more!
  • Being a Connected and Digital Scholar
    • Digital research impact and influence, ORCID iD, academic social networks designed for scholars, and measuring impact.
  • Openness in Academia: Benefits & Challenges
    • Being open in higher education, the tension between challenges and affordances of online, and experiences from networked scholars.
  • Building Your Social and Digital Presence Online
    • Creating your own space and place for scholarship (at least 3 platforms)
  • Developing Your Digital Academic Identity
    • Bonus: ways to aggregate and showcase your digital/social profiles

In the  #AcDigID workshop, we will share ideas for online identity development, discuss open and shared practices on social media, and dig into the challenges and affordance of  networked participatory scholarship (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012).  I learned a great deal in the last workshop held in May, and I continue to learn what it means to “be online” in higher ed. I alway welcome any and all suggestions, experiences, and stories you have for academic digital identity development. If you are or have been a higher education faculty OR staff member who is/was on social media, academic networking sites, or just online – please consider giving some advice to my #AcDigID workshop participants — here’s how YOU can contribute your #AcDigID ADVICE and KNOWLEGE for this learning experience:

  • ADD TO THE LIST: to my “Academics Who Tweet” Twitter list? I would like to get a variety of scholars from all disciplines and areas in higher education. Let me know if YOU or someone else should be added.
  • TELL YOUR #AcDigID STORY: Interested in coming to talk about your #AcDigID development? How did you become a networked scholar? Why do you participate in networked, online communities higher ed? Let me know – happy to have you join during our #AcDigID Online, Synchronous Meeting on Wednesday, September 28, 201fromrm 12-1 pm EST.
  • JOIN THE #AcDigID TWITTER CHAT: Join us for the LIVE Twitter chat on Friday, September 30 from 1-2 pm EST – We will, of course, use the #AcDigID to ask questions and discuss the issues, challenges, and affordances of being a networked scholar or higher ed professional online.
  • USE the #AcDigID HASHTAG this week to introduce yourself, say hello, share resources, or offer advice.

Reference:

Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked Participatory Scholarship: Emergent Techno-Cultural Pressures Toward Open and Digital Scholarship in Online Networks. Computers & Education, 58(2), 766-774.