Higher Education, Networked Community, networkedscholar, Reflections, Research

Thinking About My Networked Self & Digital Experiences In Higher Ed

This past summer, I spent a great deal of time talking to colleagues in higher ed to learn how they utilize social media to connect with peers and support one another in online communities. These interviews and conversations have been enlightening to help us understand more about how our digital, networked selves come to work on a university/college campus and contribute to our professional fields. For some, it is becoming increasingly vital to share instruction, scholarship, and practice online.  For others, there are still concerns about being connected to colleagues as our social networks now have context collapse. In the online world, what IS really private vs. public? Which networks are used for personal and/or professional practice?

Open and digital channels help higher ed faculty and stuff in a number of different ways: asking/giving advice, collaboration on projects, free professional development, sharing information/resources, colleagues solicit advice, personal/professional support, and opportunities to learn in digital communities with common interests. Besides developing a digital presence or a “persona” online, higher education staff, administrators and scholars are utilizing social media and digital technologies to support their work, add to their professional development, engage with peers, learn in the collective and publicly in digital spaces and places.

This leads me to ask these questions of my peers working in higher ed:

  • How does being part of a digital learning network support your professional learning and development?
  • How are you shaping your online identity and presence to share your professional values?
  • How can your networked communities expand your knowledge and learning to enhance your role on campus and the work you do?
  • Why might others consider finding networked peers and practitioners to scaffold their own career goals?

Although there are benefits to “working out loud” and online, there are also a number of issues as we repurpose social, digital spaces. The stakes are high, as an increasing number of higher ed professionals participate in online social networks with minimal institutional guidance for sociotechnical support or training (Pasquini & Evangelopoulos, 2017). Social and digital networks are connected, public and scaled — and often not on spaces we own or have control over. Additionally, much of our own data is being collected and reused on these networked platforms. This has me wondering:

  • How are higher ed staff and faculty evaluating their online participation on these social networks?
  • How has their contribution to open, public spaces shifted over the years?
  • What does being online as a higher ed professional look like now?

These are just a few of the questions we are asking in our research study. If you are interested in sharing more about your own experiences as a professional in higher ed, please consider contributing by participating in an interview (more about the study here).

Research Interview Sign Up: http://bit.ly/networkedself

Part of this blog post is cross-posted via my Inside Higher Ed Digital Learning opinion piece.

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#AcDigID, #EdDigID, Learning and Performance, Networked Community, networkedscholar, OLC, Training & Development

Join the #EdDigID Twitter Chat on Friday (9/29) @ 2 pm CT!

Being an open professional or academic might mean showcasing your own work, research, teaching, and practice online. Social networks and digital tools are increasingly offering higher ed professionals an online place for collaboration, learning, and sharing. In the information age, being able to display research and practical work in higher education is the norm and it is critical we are contributing to public knowledge.

There are a great number of benefits for being open and online; however, professional digital identity development does not come without questions or challenges. My last post not only introduced a few issues, challenges, and affordances (+ the #EdDigID workshop); however, we are going to share MORE in a LIVE Twitter Chat this Friday, September 29, 2017 from 2-3 pm CDT (time zone converter, I’m in Dallas, TX, USA). What does it mean to be a connected practitioner? How has being a networked scholar impacted your work? Come chat, in 140 characters or less (or more) with us! All #highered colleagues & peers are welcome for some FREE Twitter PD!

HOW TO: Participate in the #EdDigID Chat on Friday (9/29)

Here’s a quick overview of how to participate in #EdDigID Twitter Chat:

  1. Set up your Twitter Account (HOW TO: Set Up The Twitters).
  2. Follow the #EdDigID hashtag on Twitter for the latest tweets.
  3. Follow @LauraPasquini who will moderate the Q & A for the Twitter Chat, a.k.a. “MOD”
  4. Get ready and excited for Friday’s (9/29) chat by checking out what’s being shared and discussed on the#EdDigID hashtag NOW! BONUS: You might learn what’s happening & being in my workshop. 🙂
  5. JOIN US Friday, September 29th from 12-1 pm PT/1-2 pm MT/2-3 pm CT/3-4 pm ET for the following TOPIC: Being Online as a #HigherEd Professional in 2017

Contribute to the #EdDigID Twitter Chat by:

  • Logging into your Twitter account as the #EdDigID chat will happen ON TWITTER.
  • Follow along in real time during the #EdDigID Twitter chat by following along on the  Twitter hashtag: #EdDigID  or this Tweet Chat Room: http://tweetchat.com/room/EdDigID
  • The MOD (moderator) @LauraPasquini will ask 3-4 questions during the 60-minute chat; please respond with the Q# in your update, e.g. “Q1: Your Answer” or “A1: Your response”
  • Invite your higher education faculty/staff peers to join the conversation – all are welcome to join!
  • Include the #EdDigID hashtag in your tweets and responses (“@”) to others.

To help you prepare, here are a few of the #EdDigID chat questions to ponder IN ADVANCE of our conversation:

  1. What questions should we discuss, with regards to #highered professional presence/identity online + social media?
  2. What are you preferred spaces & places to learn online? This could be social media, digital platforms, etc. Please list!
  3. What are your spaces and places to “be” online as a #highered professional (besides Twitter)? Please share!
  4. What advice do you have for #highered peers who are just starting to develop their digital ID?
  5. What are some of the benefits for developing a digital identity?
  6. What are the possible challenges/issues for being online, on social media or having a professional a digital presence?

UPDATED POST 9/29/17: Here is our #EdDigID conversation archived in @Storify:

#EdDigID Twitter Chat: Being Online as a #HigherEd Pro in 2017 [Transcript]

Learning and Performance, Networked Community, Professional Development, Virtual Communities, Workplace

VOTE for our PanelPicker: #NSFWatSXSW

Employees in today’s workforce have either grown-up balancing their “screen time” or have embraced the power of digital tools to enhance communication, collaboration, and workflow. Social and digital technologies have been at our fingertips for just over a decade in our occupational lives. Exposure to social media or mobile applications does not mean new professionals or veteran employees are digitally savvy at simultaneously negotiating their online and offline self. Our social networks have expanded beyond a collection of family/friends and now branch into industry groups, professional networks, and online communities connected to our career.  The expression “in real life” or “IRL” no longer applies, and what we do inside the screen does impact our working lives. What happens when these digital networks witness behaviors or interactions that are unwanted, inappropriate, hateful, and not suitable for work (NSFW)?

#NSFWatSXSW: Your “Professional” netWORKed Community:

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/77084 

Our digital communities and online networks are witnessing unwanted behaviors and reactions.

“Online communities form for personal enrichment, professional networking, and social learning. How do they help or hurt individuals, organizations, and industry? What challenges and barriers arise for community organizers? When it comes to the workplace, what happens when our online and offline life converge? Implications for both individuals and employers will be discussed.”

Being exposed to these virtual spaces and places does not mean employees or employers know how to simultaneously negotiate what happens when these online interactions impact the offline work environment and potentially impact their career advancement. The WEF Future of Jobs report (Leopold, Ratcheva, & Zahidi, 2016) listed complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity at the top of the essential skills list for work in 2020; however, digital literacy training and preparation in post-secondary has not fully prepared learners to contribute (Alexander et al., 2017) and meet the technology needs of industry.  As we think about the future of jobs and job training needs (Rainie & Anderson, 2017), it is critical we address these networked behaviors and consider the skills required to cultivate a productive digital ecosystem that is able to go to work with our employees.

In our PanelPicker session, we want to share implications and strategies for supporting professionals in a networked space for the INTERACTIVE: Workplace track. We want to discuss how these networked spaces and, perhaps not NSFW online interactions, impact the future of work, by discussing:

  1. Why do networked communities matter for professional practice and industry?
  2. What are the benefits and challenges in these professional networked communities?
  3. How do we (employer’s, employees, or industry) deal with these digital communities or networked professionals in the workplace?

Please join the online community opportunity to VOTE and COMMENT on our idea, and others! The opportunity to source the most creative, innovative and appropriate for the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2018 event is yours for deciding. The community voting will close on Friday, August 25 (11:59 PM CT). Please take a minute to VOTE for OUR PanelPicker!!

#NSFWatSXSW

Your “Professional” netWORKed Community

 http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/77084 

References:

Alexander, B., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., & Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). Digital Literacy in Higher Education, Part II: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.4, August 2017. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Leopold, T. A., Ratcheva, V., & Zahidi, S. (2016, January). The future of jobs: Employment, skills and workforce strategy for the fourth industrial revolution. World Economic Forum.

Rainie, L., & Anderson, J. (2017, May 3). The future of jobs and jobs training. Pew Research Center.

Higher Education, Networked Community, Podcast, Professional Development, Research, StudentAffairs, Training & Development

Where’s Your Digital “Water Cooler” for Professional Development?

Social media has afforded a number of educators (both in higher ed and K-12) a space and place to share, learn, curate, and connect.  If you look online, you will find no shortage of educational hashtags, podcasts, blogs, Twitter chats, online groups, and more. These user-driven, digital communities are thriving as teachers, faculty, staff, and students seek out professional development virtually. It makes sense as social media PD is on-demand, socially integrated, accessible from a variety of devices, portable, and FREE!

Image c/o Killer Infographics (https://vimeo.com/89969554)
Image c/o Killer Infographics https://vimeo.com/89969554

Last week, I shared how our networked communities are a bit like a digital water cool for PD on Vicki Davis’ (@coolcatteacher) 10-Minute Teacher Podcast, episode no. 19: Social Media PD Best Practices #DLDay (or Listen on iTunes). Check out the wealth of resources from Vicki, that definitely spills past K-12 education sphere:

cropped-the-cool-cat-teacher-blog

In looking at these social media spaces, both for research and practice, I am grateful for the learning, support, and care I have received from my peers. I share about the #AcAdv Chat community on this podcast and how it has impacted my practices, with regards to how I support learners in academic advising and instruction. Not only has it been a form of PD, but I am thankful for the connections I have made on a personal level.  I have a number of #AcAdv colleagues have become close friends, and I value them well beyond being a Twitter follower or Facebook reaction in my feed.

These social technologies are connecting professional to help us in the workplace. They allow us to be more fluid to allow for us to search for ideas, share effective practices, offer just-in-time training, and broadcast our daily work experiences online.

to-be-in-a-profession-being-social-is-really-important-and-vital-for-our-practices-to-advance-and-you-dont-do-that-without-learning-from-one-another

These social media “water coolers” are having an impact on how we work in higher ed. It’s not the medium, per se, but we should examine how these platforms impact our social interactions and community development in the field. I believe social media affords us great opportunities for how we share information, curate knowledge, support professional learning, and apply ideas into our practice. That being said, there are challenges and issues we must also consider with regards to professional identity development, being in a networked space to learn, and how these mediums might influence our practice. As we talk with higher ed administrators and staff for our research study, we are beginning to chip away at the motivations for being part of a digital community, how practitioners value online spaces to support the work in highered, what does it mean to be a “public” professional online, and how personal/professional identity is complicated, evolving, and varies based on social media platform or how a community is support.  This research is SO fascinating…

We will share more about our findings soon. That being said, we are still collecting data AND interested in hearing about YOUR networked experience. Where is your digital water cooler on social media? Where do you go online to learn, share, and curate knowledge? How does being online and in these virtual spaces impact your professional (and personal) identity, growth, and career?

SURVEY: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunity

Here s a short, web-based survey that will take 15-20 minutes to complete. You will be asked questions about your online/digital communities of practice, and you will be given the option to share about your digital, online engagement.

INTERVIEW: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunityshare

We are interested in understanding more of your digital, networked self, which might include reviewing your digital presence on social media and other online platforms, and you may potentially be invited for one (1) interview lasting approximately 45-60 minutes in duration. During our interviews, we will ask participants to reflect on networked practices in online digital communities, inquire about your observations of these communities, ask about your interactions and contributions in the network, and discuss issues related to professional identity and professional influence in online spaces.

Networked Community, Professional Development, Research, video, Virtual Communities

What Communities and Hashtags Connect You On Twitter?

Twitter is commonly used for learning & development. We know that hashtags are great ways to link conversations, trends, news, and happenings on this social network. In real time, you can follow a story, participate in a conversation, and contribute to a community by including a hashtag in your tweet. A hashtag community might be formed by an instructor for a specific educational course or program. Or maybe there is a hashtag you are following for a professional learning event or for a specific conference backchannel (I’ve been known to inquire about these before). Hashtags have the power to share learning/knowledge from a conference for participants who are on-site or at a distance.

GotHashtagFor example, Kimmons and Veletsianos (2016) examined the tweets shared during the 2014 and 2015 American Educational Research Associations (AERA) annual conferences by reviewing the #aera14 and #aera15 hashtag. They found that backchannels are a venue for both scholarly and non-scholarly communications. It’s used for more than just promotion — the conference backchannel offers a way to share work, engage in scholarly conversations, and discussion current events or issues relevant to education.  Want to learn more? Watch the Research Shorts video below:


Conference participants gave a nod to other educational communities online, such as #edchat or #edreform, who regularly dialog, share, and interact with one another on Twitter using their group hashtag.

Like a number of educators, I have an affinity to a few Twitter communities online based on the hashtags they share and use. Some of these groups have regular  Twitter chats, and a number of Twitter communities offer support, advice, and guidance within a field or discipline. I’ll give a hat-tip to (one of many) a hashtag that supported my own work as a doctoral researcher active on Twitter => #PhDchat. This informal, online network has been known to support many graduate students work through dissertation/thesis development, swap research methods, and learn about effective academic writing practices (to name a few). emergent, online community is an informal network. Learn more about the #phdchat community from Ford,  Veletsianos, and Resta’s (2014) as they share their examination of this emerging, online network:

As some of you might know, I am working with some stellar researchers to learn more about how these online, informal Twitter communities/hashtags impact professional development.  We are currently gathering hashtags that you connect to for conversation and community on Twitter. If you participate in a regular/semi-regular Twitter chat with other educations — tell us about it! Or is there just a hashtag you follow and use frequently in your tweets? Let us know! Share your hashtags & Twitter chats you have in your discipline, field, or occupation by ADDING  to this OPEN Google doc — SHARE your Twitter Community and/or Hashtag here: http://bit.ly/hashtagcommunity Thank you!

References:

Ford, K., Veletsianos, G., & Resta, P. (2014). The structure and characteristics of #phdchat, an emergent online social network. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 18(1).

Kimmons, R. & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education Scholars’ Evolving Uses of Twitter as a Conference Backchannel and Social Commentary Platform. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445—464.

Want to see more visual research? I suggest you go take a look at Research Shorts on YouTube => Subscribe & Watch NOW: http://bit.ly/researchshorts

Networked Community

#NetworkedCoP: Networked Communities of Practice [RESEARCH STUDY]

The Networked Communities of Practice (#NetworkedCoP) study is created to explore how student affairs and higher education professionals participate in online networked communities. We would like to learn HOW and WHY graduate students, professional staff, senior administrators, and scholar-practitioners in higher ed are engaged with blogging, Facebook group discussion, Twitter chats, creating podcasts, using hashtags and more.

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We see higher education staff using social media to not only network, but also support one another, provide learning opportunities, share knowledge, and contribute back to the field.


 Please consider participating in our study to share with more about your digital practices:

  • What communities you participate and interact with online?
  • Why do you contribute or interact with these networked communities?
  • How does your digital practice impact your professional identity and influence?
  • What type of professional development, networking, and learning have you experienced from these communities?
  • What benefits, challenges, and affordances occur within this networked practice?

To learn more about our study and participate by telling us about your networked community involvement [SURVEY] or more share more about your networked self [INTERVIEW], please visit our research website:

https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/

This research project is being conducted by Dr. Paul Eaton (Sam Houston State University) and Dr. Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas) and has been approved by the SHSU Institutional Review Board (#30423) and the UNT Institutional Review Board (#16-310).