Higher Education

On Expertise in Higher Ed

I have been thinking a lot about expertise in higher education — especially as more institutions look to a growing number of “experts” to help solve their institutional challenges and issues. No thanks to Martin‘s book suggestion on expertise, my blog rant on this topic will be informed and directed as this text unpacks the challenges that knowledge and expertise holds. In thinking about expertise, Nicols (2017) shares how “…experience helps to separate the credentialed from the incompetent ” (p. 33) and it “distinguish[es] between people who have a passing acquaintance with a subject and people whose knowledge is definitive” (p. 39). This idea of expertise, of course, can be applied to a number of situations or issues in society — but for now, I will stick with the domain I work in, higher education (also, Chapter #3 of this book).

Nicols’ (2017) central premise asserts that our post-secondary institutions are failing to provide students basic knowledge and skills that form expertise, that is, “critical thinking: the ability to examine new information and completing ideas dispassionately, logically, and without emotional or personal preconceptions” (p. 72). He continues to also identify issues in Ameican higher education around the topic of expertise, including the abundance of students and faculty (and institutions), the manufacturing of Ph.D.’s that surpasses the academic job market demands, over-reliance and over credentialing of masters degrees, the influence of the ‘helicopter parent’ on education clientele, social media as a communication equalizer that removes respectful interactions, and over promising what a 4-year degree can offer for today’s employment market — just to name a few ‘highlights’ from the chapter.

I do agree with Nicols that our learners need to be more involved in the learning process. Our students need to be part of their education and doing more than just observing or absorbing information. Where is the debate? How are we engaging inquiry? When do we challenge our students to solve problems or apply learning beyond a course? I would much rather encourage a flock of critical thinkers rather than choosy consumers or relentless criticizers. I think enlightenment and growth should come from the learners, rather than being directed by the instructor. How are we encouraging this type of self-directed learning, higher ed?

That being said solid research on any given topic takes TIME and EFFORT. I agree with Nicols’ (2017) that “…the Internet is actually changing the way we read the way we reason, and even the way we think, and all for the worse” (p. 111). A simple Google Search on a topic is not as it seems, and the accuracy of information is rarely analyzed as we seek the quick response [More about this in @BreakDrink Episode No. 5 with Chris Gilliard]. Digital fluency and information literacy are skills we could ALL tool-up on (including myself) to improve upon our knowledge and move beyond the #FakeNews fallacies. If a research board calls on your expertise to “learn about the current higher ed trends” or a survey has a number of research limitations, then you might not want to put so much emphasis on a whitepaper report or generalizability of these findings [I have experienced both recently]. For those of us who seek to build on empirical work, how often do we cite or refer to a source without taking into consideration the sample size, context, or research methods? Why are we not applying more of these evidence-based methods into our practice? Are we suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect in higher ed, where ignorance is for dummies?

A recent Chronicle article identifies public intellectuals as “experts, often academics, who are well versed and well trained enough to comment on a wide range of issues [that is] professional secondhand dealers in ideas” (Drezner, 2017). Unlike these public intellectuals, we have also have thought leaders who “develop their own singular lens to explain the world, and then proselytize to anyone within earshot.” [This is perhaps why I cringe at being called a thought leader…]  One individual argues about everything that is right about their own idea (thought leaders) or wrong about others’ ideas (public intellectuals). It is easy to see why the thought leader has eclipsed the ideas owned by public intellectuals (Drezner, 2017) — as many of us do not want to hear criticism and would much rather learn about the optimism and great future that lies ahead. Right?

Sigh. It is the best and worst of times to have any expertise or knowledge in a given area. Based on Nichols’ (2017) view, the “public intellectual, that is, people who hold the middle ground” on issues to have their knowledge and ideas put forward. In practice, I think this might be true — take this recent conference session example: I was sharing some of the initial findings of what we are learning from the Networked Communities of Practice study and a couple of the attendees wanted specific answers and guidance on social and digital platforms for professional development for student affairs practitioners.  At the time, I could offer a few insights into uses of platforms and preliminary experiences; however, with this sort of research and SO MUCH DATA TO REVIEW — I could not tell them all they wanted to know.

Maybe this professional has only heard one (positive) perspective or has only heard similar ideas in a small echo chamber from the field on this topic. I was not surprised to learn practitioners and scholars are rarely found saying: “I don’t know” and “I want to know more before I give a definitive statement.”  No one wants to look incompetent or uninformed, right? Just maybe this assumption of expertise or authoritative knowledge, by title, role, or credential in higher ed, actually limits how much we ACTUALLY know and understand on any given topic. Perhaps it’s time for a few more of us from the knowledge working field to claim less expertise and continue to ask more questions. It might bring us somewhere interesting…

References:

Drezner, D. W. (2017, April 6). Triumph of the thought leader… and the eclipse of the public intellectual. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/Triumph-of-the-Thought-Leader/239691

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

#3Wedu, Podcast, wine, women, WomenWhoWine.edu

The #3Wedu Podcast No. 6: Gender Equity Issues

There are differences women encounter in the world of work. Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.”The pay gap has barely budged in a decade. At the current rate, the gap won’t close for more than 100 years” (Hill, 2016). Not only are financial opportunities unequal, so are additional expectations related to roles, presence, appearance and more. How we are valued and compensated are issues we need to address within higher education, and related funding areas (e.g. consulting, grants, etc). Let’s do something about this AAUW 2014 statistic!

79_percent

This Wednesday (6/18) the #3Wedu Podcast we bring up issues and areas faced with gender equity. In particular, equity with physical appearance (e.g. dress, standards, and expectations) and finances (e.g. salary, consulting, and funding opportunities).  We’re looking forward to welcoming our Boxed Wine Rant guest(s): Cali Morrison (@calimorrison) and Megan Raymond (@meraymond) from WCET to share about an upcoming #3Wedu Panel/Mixer event coming to you this fall. Please tune in LIVE for the broadcast tomorrow 3 pm PST // 5 pm CDT // 6pm EST:

Here is the direct Google+ Hangout ON AIR Event page for the live event where you can post comments or ask questions. Per usual, we also offer an open our Google Doc for show notes http://bit.ly/3Wedu6 and to share relevant articles and resources from the show.   

Do you tweet? Be sure to use the podcast hashtag: #3Wedu for those who tweet along the backchannel, and you can now follow the @3Wedu Twitter Account as well!

If you are interested in staying connected to be up-to-date on The #3Wedu Podcast and events — just  let us know!  Complete the #3Wedu Community form here: https://3wedu.wordpress.com/community/

Reference:

Hill, C. (2016, Spring). The simple truth about the gender pay gap. American Association of University Women.  Retrieved from http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

This blog post is cross-posted at the NEW #3Wedu Podcast site!

#3Wedu, Higher Education, Podcast, wine, women, WomenWhoWine.edu

#3Wedu Podcast #3: [Great] Expectations of Women in Higher Ed

If you have not had a chance to tune into our The Women Who Wine in Edu (#3Wedu) podcast for episodes #1 or #2 — then you’re in luck. I hear third time for LIVE #3Wedu podcast viewing is a charm. 🙂

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What’s the #3Wedu Podcast all about ? Well, the #3Wedu hosts with the most [Nori (@nononi28), Jess (@jlknott), Patrice (@Profpatrice), Tanya (@tjoosten), & moi (@laurapasquini)] talk about issues, ideas, challenges, and more for women in higher education. Here’s why we started the #3Wedu podcast this year:

  • to understand the value of women leading innovation in learning
  • to overcome gender barriers women may experience in higher ed
  • to support women doing amazing things from the field
  • to provide better recognition and platform for said things
  • to highlight women in leadership roles through mentoring and coaching
  • to empower women junior and senior in education
  • do all of the above while enjoying a fine glass of wine with a few delightful ladies

Join us for #3Wedu podcast #3 on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 5 pm CST as we talk about [Great] Expectations of Women in Higher Ed.  

What expectations do you have of yourself or women in higher ed? This coming week’s wine edition of #3Wedu we shall dive into the expectations, judgements, image concerns, impressions, and then some for women in higher ed. Do you have something to say about how women in higher education dress, are concerned about the comments on faculty evaluations, or seem to be put through “America’s Got Talent-like” judgement during a campus interview? Well uncork that wine bottle, grab your goblet, and join the gab!

Send a Google+ Event Reminder to your Calendar, and be sure to follow the #3Wedu backchannel on Twitter. Cheers!

#3Wedu, Higher Education, Learning, Professional Development, Reflections

1st Happy Hour Broadcast: Women Who Wine in Education (#3Wedu)

Did you ever have a great conversation at a conference, training event, or networking break about education over a glass of wine? If not, you have missed out. I am grateful that I have a few (of many) ladies who I  share this sort of chat with on a regular basis. Enter the following conspirators — Jess (@jlknott), Tanya (@tjoosten), Nori (@nononi28), and Patrice (@Profpatrice) — who wanted to expand this conversation further into a monthly podcast series for 2016 about higher education over a glass of wine:

Women Who Wine in Education (#3Wedu)

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In planning for a conference proposal, this fine group of ladies discussed a few ideas and issues in higher education that need clarity for the women who work in the field. Collectively, we decided it would be a good idea to discuss these topics further, specifically to:

  • understand the value of women leading innovation in higher ed
  • overcome gender barriers or challenges women may experience in our field
  • enhance the support of women in leadership roles through mentoring and coaching
  • empower women from all levels and disciplines (junior and senior)
  • support women doing amazing things and to provide better recognition for said things

There is no doubt that big ideas often get shared in podcasts. I have been fortunate to be part of a fine podcasting gang in the past [shout out to BreakDrink], and I am looking forward to the future chats with the #3Wedu posse. As Tanya said, we hope to bring forth ideas to banter, share, debate, discuss, and then some on the topics of education over a glass of wine. If you are interested in similar topics, or want to learn what we are sipping out — you should probably join in.  So, grab a beverage of your choice (wine or not), and join the discussion! Our first broadcast is happening here this Wednesday, January 20th from 5 – 6 pm CST as we discuss The Culture of Work* in higher education:


Google+ Hangout event page 
and, of course, join the backchannel conversation:

*Note: Our podcast backchannel notes, tweets, and broadcast will be updated here and on the YouTube channel post-show. Please let us know what you think, and chime into the vino chat. Missing this LIVE version, but want to tune in next month? Save the Date:  Wednesday, February 17th @ 3 pm PST //  5 pm  CDT // 6 pm EST for #3Wedu broadcast #2!

AcAdv, Higher Education

The Future of Advising

This week I am at the NACADA’s International Conference, Melbourne, Australia (#NACADAmelb) with The Global Community for Academic Advising. Today our panel (George, Catherine, Jennifer, and myself) started a conversation around the following prompt: “The Future of Advising: Current and Past Predictions to Shape Our Future.” This panel was designed to poke at the issues and uses of technology in higher education for student support, academic advising, and personal tutoring. Much of the discussion was focussed on the Lowenstein’s chapter, Envisioning the Future (as shared in What’s On the Horizon for Academic Advising? recorded lecture), and Steele’s article, Five Possible Future Work Profiles for Full-time Academic Advisors, specifically to address the following issues with advising:

  1. If advising is teaching, how will technology assist in its delivery?
  2. How will technology shape the role of advising as a profession?
  3. How will current trends such as “big data,” “predictive/learning analytics,” and financial support in higher education impact advising? 

Although this international conference holds a variety of perspectives and definitions for academic advising, students support needs and challenges in our post-secondary institutions are very similar. Regardless of geographic location or educational systems, collaboratively we can benefit from our collective experiences just like the innovators who created the digital revolution (Isaacson, 2014).

Themes emerging from our discussions included student support needs, advising responsibility and workflow, peer tutoring/advising roles and models, change literacy, leadership strategy with change, and cultural considerations. Most often people want to talk about the shiny, bullet (technology) solution, but really there are a number of other considerations for the future of advising and students support in higher ed that go beyond a platform or application.  With this panel discussion, we really wanted to provide a springboard to dive into the issues relevant to advising, beyond technological solutionism.

RobotsJob

Fortunately for us, we had a number of brilliant administrators and faculty at our #NACADAmelb session who asked insightful questions and prompts we should think deeper about. I will leave these questions here for you to ponder as you consider what lies ahead for the future of advising and student support in higher education:

    • Will there be a future?
    • Advising is such a personal, developmental relationship. How can technology – any technology – deliver better than a real person?
    • How do we engage and keep students engaged in online advising?
    • Will academic advising ever be part of a strategic plan?
    • Will advising ever be rewarded like research or teaching?
    • How do we effectively support students?
    • How do we use our data to predict future trends and be more proactive in a digital and physical advising environment?
    • How can technology be used to support student advising?
    • What are the best exemplars in the field?
    • How do we keep the pace with the communication styles and needs for our learners?
    • What are the best tips and tricks for distance education advising?
    • How will the status of advising, as a profession worldwide, be valued?
    • What are the pedagogical and theoretical underpinnings the global community of advising (NACADA) should consider?
    • When will robots be able to do my job? [Find out.]

References

Isaacson, W. (2014). The Innovators. How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. New York: Simon & Shuster.

Lowenstein, M. (2013). Chapter 14: Envisioning the future. In J. K. Drake, P.   Jordan, M. A. Miller(Eds.), Academic advising approaches: Strategies that teach students to make the most of college. (pp. 243-258). San Francisco,  CA: Jossey-Bass

Pasquini, L. A. (2015, February 22). What’s on the horizon for academic advising? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkGgsJrRZMg

Steele, G.E. (2006). Five possible future work profiles for full-time academic advisors, NACADA Journal, 26(2), 48-64.

Book Review, Open Education, OpenAccess

The Battle for the Open [Needs YOU Higher Ed]

If you have not had the chance to read The Battle for the Open by Martin Weller – you should. The battle for all things open in higher education is still being waged. As Martin said,“I’m not sure I believe in revolution in education.” But there is change ahead with openness in post-secondary learning. If you work in post-secondary education, you can not avoid this battle and should probably read on to learn about Martin’s perspective.

[Full disclosure: Martin sent me a copy of the book; however he knows I would give him praise & banter with it as needed. Thanks @mweller!]

BattleOpen

The Battle for the “Open” shares how higher education is moving towards open practice and scholarship. The goal of OPEN is to share openly, use open sourced resources, and consider strategies to include open education resources (OER) for teaching, research, and service scholarship.

Last fall, Martin paid a visit to Texas to talk with the UTA LINK Research Lab, specifically to share how openness is impacting higher education. Martin’s talk focussed on a few key areas he addresses in his book:

@mweller and all the narratives

  1. Open Access – Pathways for free online access to online scholarly works have been created. There are two routes for open access: 1) Gold Route – pay to publish an article; and 2) Green Route – self publication;  often on your own website or institutional repository. There are major policies which mandate publicly funded research to make their findings publicly available – countries are forced to publish open access. For example, 51% of authors have published open access from the Wiley survey. Read more about The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009.
  1. Open Education Resources (OERs) – Initially started in 2001-2002 with the MIT OpenCourseWare project, and has continued with others such as the Open Learn initiative from the Open University and OER Commons. Open textbooks, like OpenStax, sell for the cost of the degree and impact the publication process of textbooks. The OER Research Hub increases access to course materials earlier and even in advance of the course start, with efforts like the #OER Impact Map to understand where open education resources are being developed.
  1. Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) – The big, free, and online courses came out of Canada, initially,…then Google Trends chart the course of the MOOC evolution into higher education. It turned out it was not just the Canadians who were interested in MOOCs. Licenses of developed and were then restricted for each of the edX, Coursera, Udacity, etc. environments. For learners, MOOCs are free to sign up, allow open access of material, and with varied creative common rights for education.  Many of these MOOCs moved into other learning management systems or varied delivery methods. With this education platform, rose issues of support and sustainability for learners. Some say that MOOCs have high-jacked what openness really means, because if you fail at a MOOC, there is a reaffirmation that open/online learning is not really for you. This might not be the case.
  1. Open Scholarship – Martin’s book, The Digital Scholar (and my recap blog post), discusses issues and challenges academics will encounter as they move online and shape their identity in the networks. Scholars are increasingly sharing information, resources, teaching curriculum, commentary, medias, and ideas in digital spaces. The growth of our networks in academia allow researchers to connect, collaborate, and contribute. The social networks also shape our identities and influence us in these spaces. Research opportunities emerge in the open, specifically with the art of guerrilla research (Martin, 2014):
    • Involves 1 or 2 researchers, and does not require a team
    • Relies on open data, information & tools
    • Fairly quick to realize
    • It is disseminated via blogs and social media
    • It does not require permission

It is critical we engage and participate in this open discussion in higher ed. If we don’t, then we will let someone else write this narrative and direct where post-secondary scholarship and learning is directed moving forward. Ultimately the battle for the open is really the battle of ownership –who owns what? Have we lost the ownership of  online learning? Can we restrict research and scholarship? What rights do we have for curriculum and educational resources? Now that “open” is prevalent in higher education, it cannot be avoided. As Martin says, “Openness is not just a peripheral interest now.” How does openness impact your role on campus, and how will you contribute?

 

References:

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury Open Access. DOI: 10.5040/9781849666275

Weller, M. (2014). The battle for open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bam

 

Social Media

The State of Social Media @ #edu14

State of #SocialMedia in Higher Ed (2)

Looks like EDUCAUSE 2014 (#edu14) is just around the corner.

I am heading out to Orlando on Sunday and will be sharing my dissertations research at the #edu14 Virtual Seminar with Tanya Joosten (@tjoosten) on Monday, September 29, 2014. Interested in learning more about it? Sign up (HERE) for the online, half-day seminar to help with your social media planning:

Seminar 2A – The State of Social Media Guidance: Implications of Guidelines, Policies, and Practice in Higher Education (separate registration required)

Higher education institutions are using social media to communicate and engage their campus community; however, very few are examining the impact and implications of social media guidance. From research to practical applications, this seminar will detail the current state of social media guidance in postsecondary education and identify key elements of guiding principles that offer suggestions for student support, teaching, training and development, research, infrastructure, and more.

OUTCOMES
Participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate current higher education social media guidelines and policy document trends, categories, themes, and patterns emerging from research
  2. Identify practical components for effective social media guidelines for campuses
  3. Create meaningful guidelines and policies to positively impact teaching, learning, research, and development at your institution

Since I am only at #edu14 for a short stint,  I plan on making the most of my time. Here is my quick hit list of sessions that are in line with my research agenda:

If I was staying longer at #edu14, I would most likely attend these sessions:

Will you be at EDUCAUSE 2014? What is your focus and objective for attending this year? More importantly, will we be able to have a bit of a chat around these issues. I hope so. See you @ #edu14!