Collaboration, Learning Community, Virtual Communities, virtual teaming

HOW TO: Virtually Team and Facilitate Meetings

Did you know you can meet and share with your colleagues and peers beyond an event, campus, or meeting? Perhaps you find a shared research project idea or a group of you had an idea sparked while at a conference to continue working on or you have a great colleague from afar you want to work with – then virtual teaming might help you stay connected and allow for collaboration. Through effective management of a remote team and hosting semi-regular virtual meetings, you can to provide updates, share ideas, and seek support for these new projects/initiatives. Regular meetings allow members of your community to connect and communicate beyond emails or the listserv.

Synchronous meetings allow you to deliver information, encourage discussion, and involve your communities or teams in a dynamic way! A remote/online meeting is more dynamic, structured way to connect beyond a  listserv or any social media channel. It is recommended to make these type of group meetings effective by having defined objectives and outcomes, an agenda, and a facilitator. To avoid “The Conference Call in Real Life” situation, here are a few suggestions to plan and organize the facilitation of a remote/online meeting. Or maybe you are Rethinking Office Hours in a distance/online way to meet the needs of your students, staff, and faculty — the possibilities are endless!

To work with your team from afar, you will not only have to consider meeting but also manage your work. Whether you are collaborating on research, developing a presentation, organizing a program or planning a conference — you should consider how you are going to virtually manage your team’s time and tasks. This #acpa16 Genius Lab resource will introduce you to tools and strategies to effectively share information and outline a few project management basics to help you collaborate more effectively.

The “HOW TO” Steps

  1. Planning a viable agenda or series of agendas. Identify your purpose of the meeting, what you will discuss & the agenda structure, e.g. information, open discussion, updates.
  2. Effective use of technology. Try out and experiment with your technological applications and platforms in advance, so you are familiar with how they work & troubleshooting. Be sure to include any instructions to your community members on how they will have to log in or access your meeting space and materials.
  3. Preparing participants and pre-work or pre-meeting information. By sending information in advance helps to prepare your participants for the meeting by letting them read materials, review the agenda, and prepare items to talk about or ask questions on. Emailing a reminder with this information makes for a more functional remote/online meeting.
  4. Keeping participants focused and engaged. During your remote/online meeting, think about adding in a poll or survey question, provide a space for open discussion, consider other ways participants can “talk” at the meeting, e.g. Instant Message, chat functions, within the open, shared Google Doc, etc. Consider assigning roles during the meeting, such as meeting minutes, rotating chair/timekeeper, point-person or project leads, etc.
  5. Building trust and social capital. Establish a rapport with your team or group members at meetings during the in-person meeting (if possible) or through ongoing communication between meetings on the listserv or a social media platform. Get to know your members, and allow them to get to know you! Continue this beyond the face-to-face (F2F) time to build rapport.Remember to include introductions and/or an icebreaker during your meeting. Suggestions included the References (Ericksen, 2012).
  6. Maintaining momentum between meetings. The discussion and development within your community do not have to end at the close of a meeting. Encourage meetings to plan projects (webinar, research, writing, etc.) during the in-between times & leave space on the next agenda to report in & for progress updates.
    • Encourage members to follow up or reach out to you with ideas or suggestions after the meeting as well.
    • If there are multiple projects within your community, you might want to utilize a shared space like Dropbox and/or a wiki to keep all the information and developments in one central location for an easy leadership transition.

*NOTE: Consider the remote/online conferencing tools and meeting resources in advance. How you will facilitate interaction and dialogue before, during, and after your online/remote meeting? How you will engage your participants? When can they comment, give feedback or ask questions? Think about the types of interaction and needs for your meeting when deciding on your Meeting Collaboration Tools. Also, consider options you might have available at your own institution for meeting platforms and applications – ask and learn!

BONUS: Check out the Why We Collaborate NPR TED Radio Hour for MORE ideas about collaborating with your virtual team.

A Few Meeting Collaboration Tools & Resources:

References

Chavanu, B. (2013, July 6). Online meeting guide: Software and strategy. Make Use Of. Retrieved from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/online-meeting-guide-software-and-strategy/

Craemer, M. (2014, March 2). 7 tips for effective conference calls. Seattle PI. Retrieved from http://blog.seattlepi.com/workplacewrangler/2014/03/02/7-tips-for-effective-conference-calls/

Ericksen, C. (2012, May 2). Eight great ice-breakers for online meetings. Cisco Blog. Retrieved from http://blogs.cisco.com/home/eight-great-icebreakers-for-online-meetings

Fried, J. (2010, October). Why work doesn’t happen at work. TEXxMidwest https://www.ted.com/talks/jason_fried_why_work_doesn_t_happen_at_work

Hogan, J. (2015, March 15). 25 ways educators across the country are using Google Hangouts. The Compelled Educator. Retrieved from http://thecompellededucator.blogspot.com/2015/03/24-ways-educators-across-country-are.html

Schindler, E. (2008, February 15). Running an effective teleconference or virtual meeting. CIO. Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/article/2437139/collaboration/running-an-effective-teleconference-or-virtual-meeting.html

Thomas, F. (2010, December 20). 5 tips for conducting a virtual meeting. Inc. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/12/5-tips-for-conducting-a-virtual-meeting.html

Wolf, L. (2010, October 13). How to host an effective virtual meeting. California Digital Library INFO News. Retrieved from http://www.cdlib.org/cdlinfo/2010/10/13/how-to-host-an-effective-virtual-meeting/

Young, J. (2009). Six critical success factors for running a successful virtual meeting. Facilitate.com Retrieved from https://www.facilitate.com/support/facilitator-toolkit/docs/Six-Critical-Success-Factors-for-Successful-Virtual-Meetings.pdf

Professional Development, web 2.0

Q: Should I Start Blogging? A: Maybe.

A common question I field from teachers, faculty, graduate students, higher education professionals, and researchers these days:

Q: Should I start blogging?

My response:

A: Maybe.

write-your-own-blog

Image c/o Blogiau

Blogging and maintaining a blog is not for everyone. I often ask a follow up question to this inquiry to learn more about the motivating factors for the blog:

  • Why do you want to start blogging? [purpose, goal, sharing, reflection, etc.]
  • Do you enjoy writing? i.e. beyond 140-characters & comprehensively
  • What format do you want your blog to be? Written or other, i.e. video, photo-sharing, podcasting?
  • Do you want to express and share your ideas in a public, online forum?
  • What focus will your blog take – work, education, learning, research, or all of the above?
  • Who is your audience? Professional group affiliation? Research discipline? Just for yourself?
  • What platform are you thinking about? Blogger, WordPress or other?
  • Do you have an idea about how often you want to post to your blog?
  • Where will you be getting ideas for your writing? [Content IS king.]
  • How will this contribute to your learning, professional development, etc.? [depending on the person]
  • When will you post to you blog? Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

Everyone has different reasons for the WHY they blog, or even how they started blogging. Some use blogging as a forum to connect to a professional or academic community. Others use their blog to share resources and ideas. Bloggers often present concepts and challenge the status quo in their field. Then there are other bloggers who use it for shameless self-promotion and self-marketing. The main point is – you should blog because you WANT TO BLOG.

My blogging tale started back in 2006 when I initially took up blogging to share my travel adventures and general life happenings on, Souvenirs of Canada, for family and friends who wanted to stay in touch. In 2008, I created TechKNOW Tools as a professional development space for an academic advising technology seminar for NACADA, and after that I continued to use this space to discuss my own work experiences, research projects, and share what I have been learning.

blogging requires passion and authority

Image c/o Gaping Void

There are a number of reasons WHY I blog.  Thanks to a researcher reviewing educational bloggers, I audited my own blogging experience, and I have considered what [really] prompts me to blog and continue to blog. For me, blogging and writing about my progress is very reflective and I enjoy documenting, sharing, critiquing, and writing about what is going on in my professional (and sometimes personal) sphere. I appreciate the community of research and educational bloggers who play in this blog sandbox. I like their comments, questions, challenges, and support — and at the end of the day I LIKE BLOGGING — otherwise I would not blog. Really.

If it sounds blogging might be just space for you to share your interests and express your ideas — go get your BLOG ON! Here’s a quick “HOW TO” Set Up a WordPress Blog I created for my learners, with a few helpful resources posted at the bottom to get you fired up for your blog writing. Want some more ideas? Here you go:

Do you have resources for the beginning blogger out there? Any advice or comments for new or potential bloggers? Post it in the comments, and also be sure to say HOW LONG and WHY you blog. Blog on, my friends. Blog on.

#AcWri, #phdchat, LPQ

The @LPQuarterly Workshop No. 1 – HOW TO: Effectively Review, Submit & Publish Your Academic Manuscript

To support our graduate students and junior scholars at UNT, with their academic writing development, the Learning and Performance Quarterly hosted its first workshop this past Friday, March 1st.

The purpose of this session was to introduce graduate students to the Learning and Performance Quarterly journal, and engage in a discussion about scholarly peer-review, academic editing, and the publication process. Dr. Kim Nimon & Dr. Jeff Allen shared their experiences and thoughts on the publication process, and what it takes to submit an academic manuscript.

We discussed the steps from submission preparation, through correspondence, and all the way to publication, including:

  • Understanding Academic Journal Types: A, B, & C Level
  • Considering the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) for journal levels
  • Using Google Scholar Citations & being critical with Google Scholar
  • Filtering with the UNT Libraries Search – Summon
  • Researching Academic Journals: Cabell’s Directory (hard copy in library)
  • Scholarly Publication Process – how it helps your academic writing improve
  • Effective Peer Reviewing – comments, feedback & effective suggestions
  • Expectations & Considerations – the typical process is 9-12 months
  • Developing Publishing Relationships – between reviewers & editors AND the editor & author; it’s a human process
  • Attending Conference Sessions with the Editor – bring your manuscript, learn if they need papers, build a rapport
  • key rejection reasons – format, grammar, APA, and theoretical frameworks
  • How to get involved in the academic reviewing & writing process
  • Using a plagiarism checker to review your manuscript before submission
  • Communication with the editor & being timely with your peer reviews

During the session Dr. Nimon shared her own publishing experiences, provided the group with  peer-reviewing and editor correspondence, and talked about what she looks for in academic manuscripts as an editor. 

Although many asked to record the workshop; I decided not to as the open discussion, and Q & A format was really best served in person, and I think the conversation was more candid without the recording.  You can thank the LPQ Assistant Editor, Tekeisha, for compiling notes from this session – here is the summary of what we discussed:

Besides encouraging our attendees to write, we also placed value in joining the peer-review and editing process. We suggested to sign up to review articles for the LP Quarterly AND other journals in their field. Being a peer-reviewer helps junior scholars gain experience in the publishing process, build a rapport with editors, learn about acceptable journal submissions, and hone their own academic writing craft. I suggested reading Rocco and Hatcher’s (2011) book, specifically “Chapter 2 – Publishing in Peer-Reviewed and Non Refereed Journals” to get their feet wet with starting the academic submission process, preparing a manuscript, deciding where to publish, and how to best work with editors.

Although I have seen this session before – I know that I left the workshop with some great takeaways from Dr. Nimon, and helpful ideas shared by scholars who have been through the full academic writing experience from submission to publication. A huge thanks to Dr. Nimon for her time and sharing, Dr. Allen for donating the book giveaways (who doesn’t LOVE winning the Rocco & Hatcher text or APA 6th edition book?), and, most importantly, thank you to those of you who joined us on a Friday night. I appreciate it. 

In our efforts to be more developmental, the Leaning and Performance Quarterly would like to offer more in-person and online workshops on researching, writing, editing, reviewing, and publishing. It was great to see representation from other departments and disciplines across campus the other evening. We welcome others to join us for future LPQ Workshops as we consider other topics, including:

  • Managing Your Writing Projects
  • Forming Agraphia (Writing) Groups
  • Writing Literature Reviews
  • Drafting Conceptual Articles
  • Secondary Data Analysis

If you have any topic suggestions or would be interested in participating – let me know. Feel free to write suggestions in the comments OR send a message to the LPQ Editors: LPQuarterly [at] gmail [dot] com.

FYI: The NEXT Call for Submissions is on Monday, March 11th at 11:59 pm CDT. Do you have your academic manuscript ready? Submit TODAY!

Reference:

Rocco, T.S. & Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

#AcWri, #phdchat

Reasons to #AcWri and Writing Considerations

For tonight’s class (yay for Fridays!) I will be sharing the basic concepts from Rocco and Hatcher’s (2011) publication – The Handbook of Scholarly Writing and Publication – as I outline chapter 1. This book was part of my #summerreading list. I picked it up to read advance for ATTD 6480: Research Methods class, and consider how to hone my own writing and publishing practice.

Much of this book offers basic ideas and structure for suggested scholarly writing practices. Stay tuned, as I am sure that I will share a few other nuggets of #AcWri tips from time to
time.

Here are some basic writing tips from Chapter 1:

  • Make projects from opportunities
  • Meet deadlines – yours and others
  • Keep your commitments
  • Organize & prioritize your projects => To Do lists & Tracking of Your Work
  • Write down ideas – ALWAYS
  • Outline your writing projects in progress
  • Take notes when you read/research
  • Identify at least ONE journal to submit to
  • Review journal articles where you want to submit
  • Learn the style & preferred manuscript structure
  • Rejection = helpful review comments & suggestions

 

Reference:

Rocco, T.S. & Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.