EdTech, Higher Education

Digital Literacy and Information Fluency in Higher Ed

Consuming information online is no more than a click, scroll, or swipe these days. All searches are not created equal and rarely do we think about fact checking what we find on the Internet. I am not alone in thinking about how “…the Internet is actually changing the way we read the way we reason, and even the way we think, and all for the worse” (The Death of Expertise, Nicols, 2017, p. 111). In higher education, I think it is imperative we teach our learners and colleagues about what it means to participate and interact in digital spaces and places. How can our institutions help students, staff, and faculty “be” online and consider how both information and digital environments impact knowledge sharing and learning?

CC BY-NC via Intersection Consulting

Definition: Digital Literacy and Information Fluency

Digital literacy is multifaceted. The New Media Consortium provided a Digital Literacy Strategic Brief (Alexander, Adams Becker, & Cummins, 2016) to identify the role policy, practice, and curriculum can have on all facets of our campus. Alexander et al. (2016, p.1) defines digital literacy as “not just understanding how a tool works but also why it is useful in the real world and when to use it.” To improve our practices for improving this literacy we need to think broadly about strategic planning and the creation of standards at our campus. There are new opportunities to encourage learners to become content and media producers, identify technical competencies for the workforce with industry-education partnerships, and develop smart collaborations within the community entities, such as governments, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations. This report offers insights across universal literacy, creative literacy, and literacy across disciplines by offering exemplars in practice at institutions that include digital literacy in program and curriculum design.

Beyond digital competencies, we need to develop media and information fluency in higher education. The Association of College and Research Libraries (2016) has updated their literacy competency standards by developing a Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to offer guidance “to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” Scholarly inquiry requires analyzing information for credibility and understanding if an online resource is primary, secondary or irrelevant. Information is constructed in context to digital environments and is often created as a process of knowing, reflection, editing, and production online. Beyond this, the Institute of Museum and Library Services are offering suggestions for data information literacy to help us understand how we manage, curate, and design curriculum around data and information. To encourage both digital prowess and information awareness online, we need to develop skills around: outline critical thinking for research, encourage digital teaming, and identify privacy, security and data issues online.

Critical Thinking and Online Research

Much of what we want our students, and perhaps colleagues, to develop is a technical competency with information management in the digital realm. Digital literacy and information fluency help us improve our understanding and acquisition of knowledge to move beyond the #FakeNews fallacies and make meaning of what we are learning. In seeing how fast information travels with inaccurate content, I often wonder if my learners understand how the Internet works? Part of our responsibility, as educators, is to teach effective search processes online, to investigate databases, and examine scholarly repositories with our students and co-authors.

Additionally, as we encourage learners and peers to share presentations or develop projects it is critical to encourage citing and attribution of resources. Beyond using APA 6th edition format for referencing scholarly work, we also need to scaffold content curation and sharing, specifically with regards to copyright, fair use, and creative commons licensing. Work can be contributed to course materials (e.g. LTEC 4000 Course Wiki), textbook development (e.g. PM4ID), or perhaps even contributing to general knowledge on the Internet (e.g. Wiki Edu). Applying search skills in a course will help to hone and develop expertise beyond their degree and put into practice in their work and personal life. Here are a few examples of Information Literacy Activities or Resources you might include or apply in your course or program on campus.

Virtual Teaming: Collaboration & Problem-Solving

Part of being a member of a college or university community is the opportunity for discussion and discourse among peers. Scholarly inquiry and debate cannot and should not happen in a vacuum. Learning experiences should offer ways to evaluate information and to participate in civic online reasoning helps our learners beyond course discussions, class activities, and assigned projects. With the advent of the social web and networked communication platforms, there is an increasing opportunity to gather virtual teams or to support distributed group work. How can you enhance distributed collaboration for learners and support your peers online?

The new social learning helps us “join with others to make sense of and create new ideas…[it] is augmented with social media tools that bridge distance and time, enabling people to easily interact across the workplace, passion, curiosity, skill or need. It benefits from a diversity in types of intelligence and in the experiences of those learning” (Bingham & Connor, 2015, p.8). These digital environments need to be woven into our pedagogical considerations learning design and considered in context to support virtual teaming among scholars. Much of the creative problem solving, production development, and final products for learners can be self-directed via peers online. Some examples, I have used in practice and for instruction include shared documents for education, planning virtual group meetings, supporting hashtags for learning, and offering on-demand, online office hours. There are many ways to learn and work from a distance – decide what your purpose or goal is first, and then explore what digital platforms to use.

Digital Privacy, Security, and Data

To further this notion, we need to consider how we thrive in the digital age and this should start at our colleges and universities. The US Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity put out a Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy. As human behavior and technology are intertwined, it will be vital to secure our technologies, processes, and products online. As we “live” online and continue to get hacked online, we need to identify how we will operate in digital spaces and also prepare cybersecurity workforce capabilities online as outlined in this report. Higher education IT colleagues are continually thinking about ways to respond to cybersecurity attacks; however, prevention and awareness among campus stakeholders should be priorities at our institutions. I often have my students and peers think deeper about their privacy and security online by introducing them to ideas shared by WNYC’s Note To Self: Privacy Paradox 5-part series and the Privacy Paradox tip sheet, specifically to have all understand how to protect personal information and perhaps to take control back of their shared personal  data online. Beyond this short course, I often encourage colleagues and students to read recent news reports, or listen to podcasts, such as CBC Spark and Reply-All, to prompt discussions about current issues and events that apply to their own digital life to ask more about their own Terms of Service.

References

Alexander, B., Adams Becker, S., & Cummins, M. (2016). Digital Literacy: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.3, October 2016. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016, January 11). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2015). The new social learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work., 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

Hardin, G. (2016). White Paper: University of North Texas, Information Fluency Initiative. UNT Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc944367/

Nichols, T. (2017). The death of expertise: The campaign against established knowledge and why it matters. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

An edited version of this blog post was cross-posted on the Ed Tech Magazine: Focus on Higher Ed website. 

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BreakDrink, EdTech, Higher Education, Podcast

@BreakDrink Podcast, Episode No. 5: Digital Redlining with @hypervisible

In @BreakDrink episode no. 5, we chatted about LOADS of things related to our assumptions about access, policies, and practices in have higher education, specifically with regards to technology and learning. Last year for 2016 #OLCInnovate, I invited Chris Gilliard to share his work on Digital Redlining for a short “Ignite-like” talk. Why do we assume everyone has access to the Internet? Or a device? Or access to the same digital learning resources? What do we know or care about privacy and our data? Thanks for joining us to podcast on the topic, Chris. We suspect you’ll be back to chat more with us sometime about similar issues… and anime, of course

Here are a few show notes, ideas, and resources shared in @BreakDrink episode no. 5 with Chris:

Information Literacy, Filtering & Access

Online Access & Web Architecture

Do you KNOW what limitations to your search or access to your knowledge is like at your institution? Understanding Google Search Algorithms & SEO

Journal Access & Journal Databases: What are your resources or limitations? What can you not find that is not accessible on Google Scholar?

  1. Scholar Buddy Search – Find a friend at a larger university/college + ask them to search a topic (or borrow a password) to compare search results
  2. #icanhazpdf hashtag – Ask a friend on Twitter to email you the closed or pay-for-play publication
  3. Alternative creative ways to search: Find a romantic partner at a larger institution; academic citizenship acquisition? Or other ways to search for journal articles and here.

Searching Online & Information Literacy

The process of how information is shared needs to be explained. There are issues with walling-off information, the privatization of knowledge, and those who are moving towards a blockchain in higher ed. – explain what this means for limitations to information/knowledge.Do we teach our students to go beyond the first page hits on the Google search page? Do you know How Google Search Works? Much of our civic online literacy skills could be developed in order to hold ed tech & technology companies more accountable

Technologies in higher ed have many inequalities and technology is not neutral. Want to get more political for higher ed & #edtech? I’ll let Audrey Watters take this one: The Politics of Ed Tech Issues in higher ed are real for all of our campus stakeholders — students, staff, and faculty. These issues are around privacy, cyberbullying, trolling data security, and more. We need to be asking more about the technologies to learn what is ethically right and the limitations to these platforms, applications, and digital resources.

For a start, why don’t we learn more about privacy. Perhaps, it’s time we take a “short course” on privacy and what it means to be online, connected now. Check out the Privacy Paradox created by Note To Self. There are 5 podcasts and actions you do to take back your privacy & data. BONUS LISTEN: Privacy, Data Survivalism and a New Tech Ethics

We Need To Ask More About…

  • Do we really care about privacy online? Are we putting thoughts into the spaces and places online we are working with our learners?
  • Pew Research – State of Privacy in America  & Online Privacy & Safety articles
  • Do we know how our learners access educational materials and resources at our colleges/universities?
  • Cell-phone dependent students: the learners’ main access for Internet is their mobile device which is problematic as this is their main way to complete coursework, assignments, projects, etc.. (e.g. Educause 2015 mobile study & Case Study from Australia)
  • Do we think about the digital divide when considering our practices in higher ed for teaching, service & support?
  • Are we thinking about the platforms & apps we’re requiring our learners to use and how these technologies might be “sucking up their data”? We should.

@BreakDrink Books for Recommended Reading:

Here’s how to connect with Chris Gilliard to learn more about his work and this topic:

@BreakDrink Podcasts Shoutouts/Recommendations:

If you have comments, questions, or feedback about this podcast episode, please feel free to post a comment below, or follow us on the following the “BreakDrink” podcast channels:

We welcome banter & comments there. If y’all listen to the podcast via iTunes, please consider leaving us a rating and review.

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

Conference, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, StudentAffairs

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:

v_r_map_pasquini

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:

digitalskillsframework

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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).

ACPAdigital, StudentAffairs

ACPA Digital Task Force: Report and Higher Ed Live Discussion

Last year I was invited to join the ACPA Digital Task Force – so you might have read a few blogs (here, here, here, & here) about my involvement or tweeting about the issues we were working on using the hashtag #ACPAdigital

The Role of Digital Technology in Higher Education.
Direct Video Link http://videos.myacpa.org/the-role-of-digital-technology-in-higher-education

The former ACPA President, Kent Porterfield, in conjunction with the ACPA Board of Governors and International Office established the ACPA Digital Task Force (#ACPAdigital). The #ACPAdigital group, led by Ed Cabellon and Tony Doody, was charged with “understanding how to advance the application of digital technology in higher education, informed by student affairs scholarship and practice, to further enhance ACPA’s influence and its role as a leader in higher education in the information age.

taskforce_draft

Last week ACPA shared the Draft Report and Recommendations document, which included our contributions made over the last nine months. Each sub-group of the taskforce researched and/or worked on various projects to provide insights for student affairs educators in the follow areas:

  • Scholarship and Research
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Organization Infrastructure of ACPA

Here are the emergent themes from the#ACPAdigital report:

  1. Integrate digital technologies that advance teaching and learning within higher education.
  2. Design training and development opportunities to enhance college student educators’ use of digital technologies.
  3. Invest in the creation and dissemination of research and scholarship in digital technologies.
  4. Develop the infrastructure and resources appropriate to ensure sustainability and relevance in digital technologies.
  5. Establish and grow strategic collaborations and partnerships to capitalize on existing resources for higher education.
  6. Ensure equal opportunity to the resources necessary for full engagement with digital technologies.

Please read and review the FULL REPORT, and provide any comments you have to Tony or Ed. We would love to get your feedback, questions, and thoughts on the draft.

UPDATED (April 1, 2015):

Learn more about this report from the Higher Ed Live show (4/1/15) as the #ACPAdigital Task Force chairs discuss our work, the draft report, and how digital will impact student affairs educators on The Future of Digital Education show. Please follow @HigherEdLive & all the tweets from #HigherEdLive and #ACPAdigital. READ: The show “Notes” (tweets) on Storify. Or WATCH the recording here:

Conference, Higher Education, StudentAffairs

Technological Advancements & Considerations for Student Affairs at #ACPA15

This week I will be in Tampa, FL for the 2015 ACPA Convention (Follow #ACPA15 chat on Twitter). Besides getting a chance to warm up from the chilly winter weather, I am looking forward to connecting with a number of student affairs (SA) professionals and faculty who will be attending. This year’s convention holds a number of informative and interactive sessions in the program to support professional development and scholarly research for SA educators. I have a few meetings (#ACPAdigital and #ACPA16, I’m looking at you!); however I am really looking forward to catching up with a number of colleagues who will be in attendance. I suspect a number of hugs and high fives will happen soon.

ACPA Tampa 2015

Part of my time in the next couple of days will be spent with the fine folks I have been fortunate to work with on the ACPA Digital Task Force (#ACPAdigital).

digital_report

The association established #ACPAdigital to make recommendations on how student affair educators can best advance the application of digital technology in higher education, specifically through informed scholarship and practice. Being charged with reviewing how ACPA will be a leader in the field, this task force was divided into four working subgroups:

  • Proven Practices
  • Knowledge and Skills
  • Research and Scholarship
  • Informed and Responsible Engagement with Social Technology

While serving on the #ACPAdigital task force this year, I can personally say, the efforts made to evaluate and assess  and how current educators shape student development for digital learning has been impressive. As I review the 49-page report we are sharing with the ACPA leadership this week, I am looking forward to the conversations we will have about our findings, recommendations, questions and proposed research agenda. It is critical that student affairs and learner support entities in post-secondary education consider how technological advancements will impact the work we do with students in face-to-face, blended, and online learning environments. This groups needs to be at the table for discussions on distance education and workforce preparation considerations. I am excited to be part of the discussion and push to move in this direction with student affairs. To learn more about this report and #ACPAdigital’s work, be sure to review the task force website:  http://digitaltaskforce.myacpa.org/

As a member of the Informed and Responsible Engagement with Social Technology (IREST) group, I was part of the collaborative author team who contributed to updating Erik Qualman’s What Happens in Vegas Goes on YouTube. The last few months of swapping ideas, sharing resources, discussing issues, and making edits with Paul, Jason, Courtney, and Erik has been great – and we’re so pleased that we are able to share our efforts this week at #ACPA15:

campus book launch ad.003

The ACPA co-branded book, What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube, is designed to have your students reflect on their digital identity, with regards to their college experience and future personal/professional development. For #ACPA15, early release copies of book will be available for sale ($11.99) and the official launch on Amazon/public sale will be in April 2015. If you want to get a sneak peek of the book before everyone else, get your copy at the ACPA Booth in the Expo Hall or join our #SAreads event happening on Saturday (3/7) from 12:30-1:30 pm at the #ACPATrendingNow roundtables in the Marketplace with Courtney and myself. If you are interested in bulk orders for your curriculum or campus, please be sure to reach out to Courtney O’Connell so she can discuss options best for your institutional needs.

Will you be found at the harbor front this week for #ACPA15? Let me know – I would love to have a chat and catch up. See you soon!