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

Social Scholarship: Being a Digital Academic #AcDigID

In thinking about scholarship today, I can certainly see how the web has influenced and impacted an academic’s professional life. Greenhow and Gleason (2014) outline the impacts of social scholarship using Boyer’s (1990) four dimensions of scholarship: discovery, integration, teaching, and application. In the social media age of academics, there are a couple of key questions that still need to be examined (Greenhow & Gleason, 2014, p. 1):

  • What is scholarship reconsidered in the age of social media?

  • How ought we to conceptualize social scholarship —a new set of practices being discussed in various disciplines?

Whether faculty are reluctant or embrace social media in their work life, it is apparent our institutions are not directing these online initiatives. Both policies and programs to support graduate students, researchers, and scholars have not met the needs of this growing social scholarship integration (Greenhow & Gleason, 2014). Social and digital spaces are thriving in academia. Academic social networks are on the rise and there are a number of reasons why scholars use social media and digital resources (Van Noorden, 2014). In thinking about how scholars interact and participate on social media, there are increasing considerations and questions faculty have about engaging/being online. Although I wish there was an “app for that” as an easy solution for an academic (see below), I think it takes some thought and intentionality for identifying and developing social/digital scholarship.

phd113016s

Image: Handy Academic Apps by PhD Comics

In the upcoming, Developing Your Social Media and Digital Presence for Faculty, Researchers, and Scholars (#AcDigID) online workshop, I hope to dig into digital identity development, discuss open and shared practices on social media, and share challenges and affordance being a networked academic. Whether you are a faculty who teaches online, face-to-face, or in blended learning environments, an early career scholar, or seasoned researcher — this workshop might be for you if you are interested in crafting your digital identity and interested in being part of a networked community of academics online. [Note: Future iterations of this OLC online workshop in 2017 will be targeted towards practitioners and administrators in higher education.]

OVERVIEW OF THE WORKSHOP: 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 scholarship. Besides developing an online presence and utilizing social media for professional development, faculty, researchers, and early career scholars are actively utilizing open and digital channels to enhance their instruction, share research findings, and find support in a community of connected scholars. Scholars are using online networks to share syllabi, ask questions for research needs, solicit support for peer review, and be part of the sharing economy for research impacts. In this workshop, we will explore meaningful ways to craft an active, online persona that includes using social media and other digital resources for teaching, service, and research in academia.

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate social media and digital platforms for faculty development, connected scholarship, and to enhance research impact.
  • Establish effective strategies for developing an online digital identity within the open, networked community online.
  • Outline the benefits and challenges of open and digital scholarship, specifically with regards to social media and other networked platforms.

This is an asynchronous, week-long online workshop which will begin on a Monday (1/23) and end on the following Sunday (1/29).  If you want a look at the #AcDigID workshop agenda, here is the outline for short-course:

  • 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, Academia.edu, ResearchGate, etc.
  • Openness in Academia: Benefits & Challenges
    • Working “in the open”  and the tension between benefits & challenges of online
  • Building Your Social and Digital Presence Online
    • Creating your own space and place for scholarship
  • Developing Your Digital Academic Identity
    • Bonus: Ways to aggregate and showcase your digital academic self

Dates Offered: January 23-29, 2017; Registration Page (to sign up)

To prepare for the workshop ahead, I am adding articles, resources, and suggestions. If you are an academic who is/was on social media, academic networking sites, or just online – please consider sharing your #AcDigID ADVICE and KNOWLEGE below:

  • ADD TO THE TWITTER LIST: Are you on the“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.
  • USE the #AcDigID Workshop HASHTAG this week to introduce yourself, say hello, share resources, or offer advice. I am encouraging learners to follow, read, and use this same hashtag during the week of January 23-29, 2017.
  • TELL YOUR #AcDigID STORY: Interested in coming to talk about your #AcDigID development? How did you become a networked academic? 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, January 25, 2017 from 12-1 pm CST. [Drop me a DM on Twitter: @laurapasquini]
  • PARTICIPATE & TWEET during the #AcDigID Twitter Chat: Join us for the LIVE Twitter chat on Saturday, January 28, 2017  from 10-11 am CST.  Using the workshop hashtag, #AcDigID, I will moderate a Q&A 60-minute chat digging into the questions, challenges, and ideas/suggestions for being a networked scholar.

I look forward to seeing some of you in the OLC workshop, and others joining the #AcDigID online meeting (1/25), Twitter Chat (1/28) and contributing to the conversation using the #AcDigID workshop hashtag soon!

References:

Greenhow, C., & Gleason, B. (2014). Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(3), 392-402.

Van Noorden, R. (2014). Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature, 512(7513), 126-129.

EdTech, Learning Technologies

Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

With so many possibilities for digital learning, selecting media and technologies for appropriate course instruction is a very complex process. Although there are a wide range of options in the ed tech realm, pedagogical considerations should always come first. Instructors should reflect on the learning objective and desired outcomes for their subject matter before identifying identifying technological applications for the course.

The SECTIONS model, developed by Tony Bates (2015), is a pedagogical framework for determining what technology, specifically how this technology will be appropriate for instructional approaches. This might include identifying and determining pedagogical characteristics of text, audio, video, computing, and social media. With this framework, Bates (2015) asks five critical questions for teaching and learning for technology and media selection:

  1. Who are the learners?
  2. What are the desired learning outcomes from the teaching?
  3. What instructional strategies will be employed to facilitate the learning outcomes?
  4. What are the unique educational characteristics of each medium/technology, and how well do these match the learning and teaching requirements?
  5. What resources are available?

In thinking about the interplay of technology and learning, higher education courses will need to consider how this design process is developed. In this book chapter, Bates shared an alternative approach to the ADDIE model for instructional design – Learning + Technology Development Process Model (Hibbitts & Travin, 2015).

Learning + Technology Development Process Model (Hibbitts & Travin, 2015)

Regardless of the model for learning design, it will be important to assess how technology will impact the pedagogy. The SECTIONS model is an effective framework to best inform instructors when deciding what media or technology to use for face-to-face, online or blended learning courses:

  • Students
  • Ease of use
  • Costs
  • Teaching functions (including the affordances of different media)
  • Interaction
  • Organizational issues
  • Networking
  • Security and privacy

I would encourage you to utilize Bate’s (2015) Questions to Guide Media Selection and Use, to support your learning design when consider technology adoption for teaching. This open, shared educational resource will provide you with a broader reflection on issues and considerations for your digital pedagogy. Here is an abbreviated checklist for selecting technologies for learning I adopted for a learning module. It was developed for faculty who would like to consider the broader issues for teaching with technology, and how to navigate this course planning process for digital/media inclusions.

Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

STUDENTS

___Review accessibility mandate or policy of your institution, department or program.

___Determine demographics of the students and appropriateness of technology.

___Consider student access to technologies, both off campus and on campus.

___Determine digital skills and digital readiness of your students with learning expectations.

___Justify students’ purchases of a new technology component (if needed) for learning.

___Assess prior learning approaches & how technology can support student learning.

EASE OF USE

____Select the technology for ease of use by instructor and students.

____Identify technology that is reliable for teaching and learning.

____Verify the technology set up, maintenance and upgrade is simple.

____Confirm the technology provider/company is stable to support hardware or software use

____Outline strategies to secure any digital teaching materials you create should the organization providing the software or service cease to exist.

____Locate technical & professional support, both in terms of the technology and with respect to the design of materials.

____Determine technologies to best support edits and updates of learning materials.

____Outline how the new technology will change teaching with to get better results

____Assess risks and potential challenges for using this technology for teaching and learning.

COST & YOUR TIME

____Consider media selection by the length of time and ease of use during course development.

____Factor the time it takes to prepare lectures, and determine if development of digital learning materials will save time and encourage interaction with students (online and/or face-to-face)

____ Investigate if there is extra funding for innovative teaching or technology applications; if so, determine how to best use that funding for learning technologies.

____Assess the local support from your institution from instructional designers and media professionals for media design and development

____Identify open educational resources for the course, e.g. an open textbook, online videos, library page of articles, or other potential OERs.

TEACHING & EDUCATIONAL FACTORS

___Determine the desired learning outcomes from the teaching in terms of content and skills.

___Design instructional strategies to facilitate the learning outcomes.

___Outline unique pedagogical characteristics appropriate for this course, in terms of content presentation and skill development, specifically for:

____Textbook, readings, or other online text materials;

____Audio, such as podcasts, streaming audio from news, etc.;

____ Video, such as slide presentations, lectures, tutorials, and screencasts; and

____Social media, such as blogs, wikis, microblogs, photo sharing, curation, etc.

____Plan learning aspects that must be face-to-face (in-person or online).

INTERACTION

___Identify the skills for development and interactions that are most to determine the best type of media or technology to facilitate this learning.

___Determine the kinds of kinds of interaction to produce a good balance between student comprehension and student skills development.

___Estimate the amount of time the instructor will be interacting personally or online with students, and the type of medium for this interaction. 

ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES

____Determine institutional support in choosing and using media or technology for teaching.

____Identify if the institutional support is easily accessible, helpful, and will meet the needs for the learning technologies for the course.

____Determine if there is funding available to ‘buy me out’ for a semester and/or to fund a teaching assistant so I can concentrate on designing a new course or revising an existing course.

____Locate institutional funding or resources for any learning technology or media production.

____Review the ‘standard’ technologies, practices and procedures for teaching and learning, to verify requirements for utilizing institutional technology resources, i.e. the learning management system, lecture capture system, etc.

____Determine if the institution will support trying a new technological approach to learning, and will support innovative media or digital design.

NETWORKING

____Outline the importance for learners to network beyond a course, i.e. with subject specialists, professionals in the field, and relevant people in the community

____Identify how the course or student learning can benefit from networking and learning from external connections.

____Determine the appropriate network and/or social media space to integrate for your learners to network with each other and connect with external community members.

____Integrate these networking mediums with standard course technology.

____Delegate responsibility for its design and/or administration to students or learners. 

SECURITY AND PRIVACY

___Determine the student information you are obliged to keep private and secure.

___Identify the institutional policies for security and privacy for teaching & learning.

___Outline potential risks and challenges of using a particular technology where institutional policies concerning privacy could easily be breached.

___Identify who at your institution could best advise you on security and privacy concerns, with regards to learning and teaching technologies.

___Itemize the areas of teaching and learning, if any, available only to students registered in the course.

___Identify the types of technologies to best restrict or limit access to course materials (if any) for my registered students.

 

Interested in reviewing your own learning design further? DOWNLOAD the Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

Reference:

Bates, A. W. (2015). Chapter 8: Choosing and using media in education: The SECTIONS model. From Teaching in a Digital Age. A Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Hibbitts, P. D., & Travin, M. T. (2015). Learning + technology development process model.

EdTech, Higher Education, Online Learning

Online Education in the US [2014 Report]

As I am on my way to the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI & #eli2015), specifically to attend the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) Summit, I figured it was critical to review the 2014 Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States just released from the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG):

“The study’s findings point to a competitive marketplace, in which traditional institutions are gaining ground on the for-profits in online and distance education,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “While the rapid pace of online learning growth has moderated, it still accounts for nearly three-quarters of all US higher education’s enrollment increases last year.”

It is clear that online learning is on the rise in America – yet there is a vast difference between how administration and faculty view it. A majority of post-secondary education leaders (70.8%)  indicated that online learning is “critical to their long-term strategy;” however these leaders may struggle with online adoption as only 28% of their faculty find “value” and view online education as “legitimate.” A number of findings in this report show opposing views for online education. For example, these two factions of higher differ  by their awareness of open education resources (OER).

OER_FutureHE

There is much more of this narrative to tease out; and I would like to go through this report further (on the plane) and learn what others in the field have to say. For now I will leave you with some of the ‘quick facts’ shared, and encourage you to download and read through the FULL REPORT if you are in the online learning sphere:

Key report findings include:

  • The number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 %t from the previous year.
  • The year-to-year 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students is the lowest recorded over the 13 years of this report series.
  • Public and private nonprofit institutions recorded distance enrollment growth, but these were offset by a decrease among for-profit institutions.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face remained unchanged at 74.1%.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy reached a new high of 70.8%.
  • Only 28.0% of academic leaders say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”
  • The adoption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is reaching a plateau, only 8.0% of higher education institutions currently offer one, another 5.6% report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • The proportion of academic leaders who believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses dropped to 16.3%.

Update:

A couple areas to note, and for further discussion this week at #eli2015 and the #DETAsummit (Follow @UWMDETA):

Pgs. 43-44: Discuss the undercount and overcount of distance education, i.e. for “fully online” enrollments – this seems to be hazy, as it might be as learning design for enrollment varies by student population type and course design delivery.

Pg. 44 – “The definition of ‘distance education’ is causing confusion”

There was an interesting segment in this report that struggled with the term “distance education.” This report takes into account distance education, when looking at “fully online” higher education programs. This part of the report reminded me about the Twitter debate of online learning, online education, distance education, and then some when trying to name an update to an edited book. Check out “The State of ______ Learning” thread on Storify to learn what was discussed. What terminology is best? How can we describe/define education that is delivered from a distance/online/on the web/virtually? Please advise.

Academia, Reflections

Top Ten List for Being a Better Faculty Member

Just when I thought I was done with orientation sessions at UNT… I attended my OWN “new faculty” orientation.

welcome new faculty

{UPDATE: For those who are not aware, I finished my PhD this summer, graduated, and accepted a 9-month faculty appointment with the UNT College of Information as a Lecturer for the Department of Learning Technologies. Yay!}

During the day, information about the campus, expectations and advice was shared by a number of administrative leaders from the campus.

ten

One talk, from Dr. Warren Burggren, the Top 10 List for Being a Better Faculty Member, provided some sound advice, so I thought I would share this with you. I think it applies to new faculty, returning faculty, and others starting a new job in higher education.

10. Get to know the lay of the land. Beyond your office or workspace, get to know other locations on campus. Walk around and explore your college/university. Find out where buildings and resources are located.

9. Meet and greet in your department. Get to know fellow faculty members. Introduce yourself. Starting a new position is a great time to network and meet others in your department, on your campus, and in your discipline.

8. Know the rules… or ask about them. There are a lot of rules at every institution. Be sure to be informed, or know where to go for help or who to ask questions. Don’t be overwhelmed – just be smart.

7. Talk frequently to your chair. They are an ally and confident. Your chair will be there to support and guide your development within the department and your discipline. Set regular meetings/check-ins with your chair as their schedule allows.

6. Most of your frame of reference is still as a graduate student. Make the full transition to full time faculty. Please don’t feel like you need to socialize with your students – rather get social with your peer group. Get involved in faculty networking and social groups. Inappropriate interactions with students is something administration has to deal with, and they would prefer not to manage this.

5. Get a life. Even though you are working hard during your first faculty appointment, don’t forget to play hard as well. Take care of yourself. Find time to do things for you. #TreatYoSelf

4. Stay OR get organized. Don’t over commit. Manage your time effectively. Learn the ability to say no, and feel free to borrow the following phrase when asked to do something: “I would love to do ____ however; I don’t think I am being the best faculty member I can be.”

3. Teach and teach well. Focus on excellence in the classroom. Include solid bookends in your semester, i.e. the first and last lecture. Find something to talk to your students about during both classes. Make it experiential. Engage the students in the first lecture and final lecture. Be dynamic and encourage learners to want more.

2. Take pride in your university and community. Be part of the activities around the campus and city. There are a number of ways to be involved in the community and engage in school spirit. #GoMeanGreen.

1. Keep a sense of humor. The university is a complex hierarchical organization. You will want to take all things in stride. Be sure to laugh, and let things role off you.

Others offer advice for entering into academia here, herehere, here, and HERE. What advice would you give a to a new faculty member? Please share.

Impact Factor, Job Search

What’s Your Research Impact? #ImpactFactor

For those of you who track on me in social spaces, you know that I just completed my tenure as an academic advisor and counselor as of TODAY! This does not mean I will drop off from the advising world entirely, as I serving my term on the NACADA Council, I am a fan of the #AcAdv Chat community, and I involuntarily advise a number of students, colleagues, friends, and family, about academic and career matters on a regular basis. 🙂

syllabus Job Update: I’m Off the Market

I accepted a full-time faculty position with the UNT College of Information, as a Lecturer for the Department of Learning Technologies. YAY! My teaching responsibilities start in mid-August, so I will be sure to share more about this down the road. I will say that my work in both student affairs and academic advising helped contribute to my hire. {Remind me to post about the job search, interview, etc. process later.} All that I have learned about student development and support will DEFINITELY be applied to the online classes I’m instructing this Fall. Thanks #AcAdv & #SAchat!

 

So what am I doing  this summer?

Taking a hiatus from 8-5 office life on campus, to work on a few projects. One of these projects is an EPIC road trip adventure and… RESEARCH! I am contributing to a grant with @drjeffallen to compile a comprehensive literature review, platform information, metric indexes, social spaces, and general research on scholarly impact in the digital age. So far, I have been collaborating with a few researchers to assess and review individual research impact, specifically with regards to open and online scholarship, citation indexing, and altmetrics.

impactstory

Personally, I have been interested in learning more about this topic as an early career researcher who is a fan of digital scholarship and identity. I was recently added to the Impactstory advisor posse, so now I have some swag to give to fellow research collaborators, who share a similar research impact philosophy. See – I’m still an advisor!

 

Are you interested in research impact? Do you want to talk about how digital scholarship can influence research, writing, and publication? Let me know. Let’s chat! Follow along this blog, as I am sure to share some ideas, findings, and insights, and I will be tweeting using  #ImpactFactor as my hashtag of choice.

#phdchat, Book Review, Higher Education, PhD

I’m “On the [Job] Market”: The Application Process

As academic job postings and other employment opportunities are becoming available, I decided it was time to prepare my own application materials and announce that I’m ON THE JOB MARKET. It should be no surprise to many as I am ABD (not a title), and I have been diligently working on my dissertation— so there is really no better time for a job search.

Well I was going to save this for holiday reading...but it looks like I'm On The Market NOW #phdchat I’ll be honest. I’m quite accustomed to the thrill of the job hunt (I am in my 3rd position of employment, since I have moved to Texas 5 years ago); however the academic job search has upped the ante. My future career planning involves a potential re-location (either in the US or abroad) and new career beginnings (either as a junior faculty member, research or other), which means this job search and application process is being treated like a job itself.

To prepare for my job search and career planning…

I have been talking to many researchers in the field, administrators in higher education, companies who seek my support, current faculty (off and on campus), mentors, and peers over the past year [Thank you for these discussions and talks – you know who you are]. More than not, many are quite open to offer advice, share professional experiences, edit my application materials, provide a reference, or send potential job postings my way (hint, hint). In my spare time, I have been reading Barnes’ (2007) “On the Market: Strategies for a Successful Academic Job Search,” specifically,  Chapter 4: The Application Process. This section of the book includes great questions to ask and think about before the application process, and examples of deciphering what academic job postings mean to decide what I want. Here are some current, pre-application questions I am currently pondering:

  • What type of position am I most interested in?
  • What sort of institution or organization do I want to work for?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • Do I want to apply for administrative or faculty track positions?
  • Who will write my reference letters?
  • Will my academic search focus on research or teaching institutions?
  • What is my best academic “fit” for department?
  • Do I want to look beyond higher education & academia?
  • Who will I connect to discussion the application process?
  • What is my timeline and schedule for applications?
  • How will I best organize a joint career search with my partner in crime?

Fortunately, most of my academic application requirements are “works in progress” from my doctoral program and portfolio requirements (Thanks #untLT department!) these past few years. My current objectives are to edit and prepare materials I have for my academic job search and application, including:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Curriculum Vita
  3. Letters of Recommendation
  4. Writing Samples and Other Supporting Documents
  5. Teaching Portfolio (Dossier)
  6. Social Media Spaces & Places
  7. Application Schedule – to track applications & submissions

This chapter also includes helpful templates for CV’s and cover letter formats. I plan on re-tooling and modifying my current application materials based on position type and job description, so a review of these examples were helpful. Here are a few suggestions for cover letter writing items to include – 17 elements for the academic cover letter:

17 elements of the academic cover letter. #phdchat

Do you have academic job search advice? Tips on the application process? Considerations for the academic research and faculty positions? Potential openings I might be interested at your institution? Let me know. Academic job search advice is welcome.

 

Reference:

Barnes, S. L. (2007). On the market: Strategies for a successful academic job search. Lynne Rienner Publishers.