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

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

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

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

cropped-the-cool-cat-teacher-blog

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

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

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

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

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

SURVEY: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunity

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

INTERVIEW: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunityshare

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

The #3Wedu Podcast, No. 14: Gender Matters

As our institutions welcome new faculty and onboard staff members, higher learning organizations often experience either (or both) salary compression and salary inversion. Why raise the salary of tenured professors or administrative staff, if this talent can be replaced by recruiting new professionals or faculty for substantially less? Or just focus on one or two impact hires that bargain a salary much higher than their counterparts already on campus?  In previous #3Wedu podcasts (listen to episode no. 6 and no. 7), we have certainly discussed the glass ceiling for women in the workforce. Although these #3Wedu chats dig into the issues and opportunities for advancement in higher education; we have not even touched what it means for women who want to pursue senior leadership roles at the administrative level?

One of the most measured issues of inconsistency is the salary and pay gap between women and men. In administrative roles at our colleges and universities, women have only moved from $0.77 to $.80 on the dollar between 2001 to 2016, when compared to their male counterparts. But with this fact being shared, there are even more concerns about the gender gap those who hold faculty rank in a department or across a discipline AND the pathways/pipelines women have to administrative leadership in higher ed.

presidents statistics in higher ed
Image c/o Higher Ed Spotlight: Pipelines, Pathways, and Institutional Leadership [REPORT]

To dig into this issue further, I’m looking forward to welcoming  Ann Marie Klotz and Rich Whitney to share a bit around their narrative research inquiry for the impacts gender has in our university settings, specifically with regards to presidential leadership. [To Read: Ann Marie’s doctoral research will give you further insight on this topic as well]. Does gender matter for leadership in higher education? How do women presidents impact university leadership? What is their experience like? We will dig into these findings, specifically with a recent manuscript publication they completed, from their abstract:

“In spite of the increased enrollment numbers for women students, and that the demographic is enrolling and graduating at faster rates than their male counterparts, there are very few women in the highest level of leadership within a university. Several reasons for this phenomena include historical inequalities, stereotypical notions about women’s leadership styles, the presence of a chilly climate on college campuses, and the male-dominated history of academia. All of these impact the speed of advancement and professional options for women. This is a narrative inquiry study is part of a larger study that examines the role of gender and meaning-making for women in leadership within higher education, specifically at the level of the university presidency.

Join us TODAY (2/22) to discuss the impact and influence of gender on campus. Of course, we will always have dedicated time check-in with the #3Wedu ladies, who have been busy leading in research and conference happenings since January.  

Visualizing Research and Work

Do you ever doodle to figure out an idea? Do you sketch out a concept to make sense of it? Have you every created a Post-It Note wall montage on a wall to map out a project? Is there a whiteboard where you have a series of equations or problems you are working through? If so, then visualizing research and related works might be for you!

art

For the last workshop I facilitated, I opted to go low-tech to in order allow for reflection and discussion about our digital spaces and places. Sometimes analog processing with markers provides instigates creativity or creates an opportunity for deeper thinking. Drawing or concept mapping is a process I often use to plan programs/events, design websites, draft course curriculum, and more. I find these visualizations helpful for gathering thoughts, linking concepts ,and facilitating group/team processes.

emo_draw  course_design_posts  concept_maps_for_uunderstanding

Much to my surprise, my research role with The Digital Learning and Social Media Research Group has moved beyond your typical scholarly practice, such as literature review, data collection, data analysis, and academic writing, to include a visual design to share research. I thank/blame George for the opportunity to dig into valuable research to identify findings and implications by creating a short script and putting these audio narrations to animated format on the Research Shorts YouTube Channel [If you’re not subscribed, you should!].

storyboarding_research   research_shorts_video

In a recent Research Shorts video, we scripted and produced Hilton’s (2016) recent article review of OER and college textbooks choices (highlighted in George’s post). Although this is an open access publication, we hope this video visualization extends beyond the typical scholarly audience and reaches other campus stakeholders in higher education who are thinking about these learning resources. You can view this video here:

For the Research Shorts video creation process, I have been scripting and storyboarding academic articles (of mine and others) to explain the implications and applications of these studies in a few short minutes. This work has made me think more about how I include visuals in my own scholarly practice, specifically to identify the “so what” or key points for my own initiatives. I typically map out works-in-progress, lesson plans, course designs, and meetings I will be facilitating or hosting by using a visual map or plan. From my experiences, visualizations for research and work projects have helped myself and my research collaborators:

  • Ideate and brainstorm for developments/project planning
  • Filter and itemize relevant results for literature reviews
  • Map out concept for a research plan and work initiatives
  • Connect the dots between theories and relevant published research
  • Organize a research pipeline and project workflows for effective project management
  • Provide “in plain English” about your research findings
  • Highlight key implications based on research results
  • Develop better images or visuals for conference presentations and/or posters
  • Showcase information through a new communication method or medium
  • Can lead to new insights for yourself and your audience/stakeholders — offer access to publications or complex work designs
  • Capture the “what’s the point” for organizational leaders for published reports
  • Pitch research implications/findings as an executive summary in meetings

Beyond creating a video to share visual research on YouTube, I am also considering what images or graphs I put into my own academic publications. Our written text can tell the story of our research; however, diagrams, images, or graphs can create meaning to our academic manuscripts, reports, and planning documents. What does the aesthetics of science look for you?  Have you put much thought into how you visualize traditional research publications, like conference proceedings or journal articles? What support your academic writing beyond the text? Do you give much consideration to these in your writing? If so, please share.

Reference:

Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-18.

How Do Online Learners Overcome Challenges in MOOCs? [New Publication]

In analyzing recent MOOC research, a number of studies explore the vast amount of data collected by digital learning platforms to understand learning behaviors in these scaled classes. What we don’t know much about is:

  • How online learners resolve the problems
  • How students online persist in a course
  • The strategies MOOC students use to overcome challenges

In a new publication, The Life Between Big Data Log Events: Learners’ Strategies to Overcome Challenges in MOOCs, George Veletsianos, Justin Reich, and I share what we learned from talking to 92 MOOC students ages 21 to 81 enrolled in 4 different courses from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The whole paper is free and available for your reading pleasure at the new open access education journal, AERA Open, and check out the research findings presented in this short video summary created by moi:

During these interviews, we learned that there is so much more going on beyond the screen, tracking logs, and platform learning analytics. Learners shared how they engaging in the online course and activities in three domains:

  1. Describing their designated workstations and study methods for learning
  2. Utilizing online and outside resources beyond the learning platform
  3. Engaging with social networks both inside and outside the online course

Read more here:

Veletsianos, G., Reich, J., & Pasquini, L. A. (2016). The life between big data log events: Learners’ strategies to overcome challenges in MOOCs. AERA Open, 2(3); 1–10. doi: 10.1177/2332858416657002

#AcWriSummer Week 3: Arguments and Reviewing the Literature

It’s week 3 of writing and accountability. This week and next, we’ve bumped up our #AcWriSummer accountability group meeting to Tuesdays (6/21 and 6/21). With my #acwri co-conspirators — Patrice, CatherineCaroline, & Elvira —  are continuing to work through the Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks book. This week we focused on directing our manuscripts we are working on and consider how to read/reflect on the relevant literature. Here are some highlights for what we will be discussing this week:

 Advancing Your Argument (Week 3)

This chapter details a number of reasons why articles are rejected, specifically around an article argument being too narrow, too broad, off topic, too defensive, not sufficiently original, poor structure, not significant, theoretically or methodologically flawed, and too many misspellings and/or grammatical errors. It is important to review the direction of your paper as you prepare your manuscript for journal publication. Belcher (2009) encourages readers to identify if the current manuscript has problems and to consider how to revise the following issues:

  • Focus: contextualization, audience aim, proper length, and giving pertinent examples related to the argument;
  • Topic appropriate for journal selected: subject matter, methods, scope, etc. ;
  • Scholarliness: meticulous about documentation, reference multiple sources, cite recent and relevant literature, reference debates in the field, use discipline-related expertise, provide a critical framework and evidence;
  • Defensiveness: avoid extensive quotations, excessive documenting, monotonous accounts of others work, jargon, and dogmatism;
  • Originality: read literature in your field, focus on what’s new, argue what is, claim your ideas, and develop a voice for your research;
  • Structure: Present your structure clearly, stick to your point, delete the redundant or irrelevant, link article evidence to support argument, and state findings at the beginning of the article;
  • Problems with Significance: did you articulate how this research fills a gap or adds to the topic, and did you target this manuscript for the appropriate journal;
  • Theory or Method Issues: have your work peer reviewed for feedback, detail and describe your methods, avoid imbalance in writing, and review the analysis of your data or interpretations
  • Spelling and Grammer: improve your paper for these issues, run a spelling and grammar check, ask a peer for review before submission, get help in a writing group, hire an editor, and follow the submission’s guidelines for author.

Homework: Find an Article (or a few) to Model Your Article’s Argument
Find “model” articles for your manuscript that might be:

  • part of your literature review search
  • from the target journal(s) you selected (from Week 4)
  • outside your discipline or topic area
  • the way you will structure the presentation of your article’s argument

BONUS WORK: Abstract Revisions: Abstract examples on pp. 86-87 will help you in revising of your  abstract; consider how you to present  entire topic and findings in short form.

Reviewing the Related Literature (Week 5)

This chapter shared strategies for reading literature directed towards your articles focus. I like how it suggested setting up your electronic software or platforms first. This is critical — here are a few I have used or currently use myself with a quick “about” the platform:

references_phdcomics

I really appreciated Belcher’s (2009) suggestions on refining and targeting the literature review by reading materials that specifically contribute to the central argument of your manuscript. Here are a few categories to limit how you collect relevant literature:

  • Set a time limit:  i.e. read nothing written over 10 years ago or five or two depending on your field of scholarship/topic of research
  • Language: read articles in English or designated other languages
  • Questionable or not recommended publishing outlets e.g. trade journals, non-peer reviewed, some conference proceedings not always suitable (find a journal publication)
  • Journal outside your discipline (if not interdisciplinary work)
  • Certain kinds of authors (established vs. early career?)
  • Different geographical areas (by author country of origin)
  • Different time periods (related to your genre — this might apply to humanities more)
  • Different kinds of experiments (by your methods of study/research)
  • Different kinds of participants (by research sample type, size, etc)
  • Different variables (e.g. gender, age, etc.)
  • Without your keywords in the title or abstract – focus your search for these items
  • Non-electronic formats – if you can’t access the research from home/library resources

Homework: Share How You Review Literature
-Explain methods of how you search, find, read, review, and select your literature
-Outline strategies for effective ways to approach this part of the research process

Here are a few of my suggestions and approaches for how I read & review literature:

  • Make reading/review social – find others to collaborate and add them into your Mendeley (or another software program) group to add and review publications
  • Scopus Search (ALL.THE.PUBS) and Track: I record the different search strings, track what I find, and set an alert to receive any updates — this is relevant in my field as technology, methods, and research continue to build. Here’s a screenshot of one of recent Google spreadsheets for search with a colleague: Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 1.15.32 PM
  • Search for Publications Beyond Reach: articles I don’t have access to in my own library databases I tweet #iCanHazPDF [in action #icanhazpdf], ask a friend on Twitter, or email the author
  • Take fewer notes: Tag articles in the software,  group articles into specific folders, skim abstracts to code/organize, and identify literature for easy recall and use later
  • Don’t wait to write: Create annotations about publications as you would write it
  • Create an annotated bib for focused/small literature collections: include the APA 6th edition citation + a quick line or two making note about the study, methods, findings + personal thoughts on articles/methods
  • Google Scholar search the “Cited by ###” section of the site: this is to identify other relevant paper on topic or learn more about this research thread, i.e. a discovery search for missing literature
  •  Use Backward & forward referencing search method: for collecting and reviewing publications to be inclusive of empirical literature
  • Concept mapping the Literature: Check out the great post from Pat Thomson on “spaces between the literature” for reviewing research; a.k.a. bushwhacking
  • Key Searching Suggestions from Doing a Literature Review (Hart, 1998) was blogged about in my Book Review post.

Here’s our continued #AcWriSummer 2016 Plan schedule for the remaining 5 weeks:

  • 27th June WEEK 4: Chapter 6:  Strengthen structure =>Article outline (Meeting Tuesday, June 28th)
  • 4th July WEEK 5: Chapter 7 & 8:Presenting evidence & Opening/Concluding =>Draft article (Meeting Friday, July 8th)
  • 11th July WEEK 6: Chapter 9 & 10: Give/get/use feedback & Edit sentences => Give feedback on manuscripts (Meeting Friday, July 15th)
  • 18th July WEEK 7: Chap 11 & 12 (Wrapping up & Sending article!) => Final article (Meeting Friday, July 22nd)
  • 25th July WEEK 8: X & Other (Meeting Friday, July 29th)

If you’re following along or want to join, we’ll be meeting here from 9-10 am CT June 21st:

References:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. Sage.

#AcWriSummer for #AcWri Accountability Summer 2016

I’ve heard the mantra “publish or perish” in academia from a number of scholars, but what we don’t talk about is the true comradery of academic research and writing. I have been fortunate to be part of a few collaborative research and writing groups and pairs (Shout out to: The Center for Knowledge Solutions, my work with Dr. Nick, The Digital Learning & Social Media Research Group, #edusocmedia research team, the Mentoring Research Team, and the UNT Faculty Writing Group). I am proud to say that research and writing need not be a solo process.  This I know to be true.

In reading the @ProfHacker blog post, Academic Through Accountability, I was prompted to think about my own summer research and writing projects ahead. One quote stood out the most: “Finding the motivation to persevere through lengthy tasks with no end or reward in sight is a major part of being an academic.” The analogy of running and training alongside others for the long haul struck a chord with me. As a marathon runner, and one dedicated to long-term “training” for other sports — I am ready to part of another team to account for my writing habit and keep my #acwri practice productive this summer. And… I learned I am not alone.

Over the next couple of months, Patrice (a.k.a. @ProfPatrice) and I have committed to being #acwri writing partners-in-crime. In doing so we are going to work through the Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, by Wendy Laura Belcher, in maybe 10 weeks this summer. Thanks to the UNT Writing Faculty Group for this resource, the time I have this summer to work through this book over the summer, and to Patrice for joining me in this #acwri journey process. 12 weeks If you want to join us on this #AcWriSummer journey (there’s a few of us using this hashtag on Twitter),  you can get your own book or read my weekly blog posts, and join our #acwri summer productivity group. There are only two rules:

  1. You have to COMMIT to the #acwri process EVERY WEEK. This means following the chapter curriculum (I’ll try to post the chapter themes on a Monday/Tuesday of each week), check in during our weekly meetings, and following through with goals and objectives set each week for your writing process.
  2. Be sure to #SaveTheDate and JOIN US each Friday (in June and July) from 9-10 am CT via the GoToMeeting link to “check in” to discuss your #AcWri progress:

#AcWri Summer Accountability Group 2016

Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/648338213

You can also dial in using your phone: United States +1 (408) 650-3123; Access Code: 648-338-213

Week 1: Designing Your Plan for Writing

  • Understanding your feelings about writing
  • Keys to positive writing experiences
  • Designing a plan for submitting your article in twelve weeks (or less)
  • Selecting a paper or projects for revision/writing
  • Choosing Your Writing Site
  • Organizing your writing Schedule
  • Anticipating and overturning writing obstacles

It’s time to clean off that #AcWri white board of mine and put a few goals up… more to be updated soon! See y’all on Friday (6/10) at 9 am CT if you want to join the fun. Blogging, Instagramming, or tweeting about your academic writing progress? Feel free to use #AcWriSummer to share your updates. Write on!

Reference:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Thank Your Mentor Day!

Happy THANK YOUR MENTOR Day! January, with January 17, 2016 being International Mentoring Day, was proclaimed National Mentoring Month by President Obama. This mentoring campaign is targeted at supporting youth and mentoring IRL (#MentoringIRL).

miyagi_mentor

Although my youth is behind me, I can definitely say a number of people helped to get me where I am today. A mentor can listen, teach, guide, and coach. Can you think about the mentor(s) in your life? Where would you be today had it not been for their support?

Here are a few simple ways the National Mentor Campaign suggests to THANK your mentor:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Express your gratitude on social media; (#MentorIRL)
  3. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  4. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
  5. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.

You can download a Thank you card from the Campaign Marketing Materials page.

As a thank you to all the mentors who have supported me and the mentees I have learned from, it would be only fitting to introduce this research study on this topic; however now I am interested learning how mentoring supports professionals and the field they work in:

Exploring Mentoring Programs in Professional Learning Organizations

Have you been part of a mentoring experience? Tell us about it. I am grateful for the informal and formal mentoring experiences, and I would not be interested in this study if it weren’t for the formal mentoring programs I have been a part of (shout out to ACPAgrow & NACADA ELP).  If you have any formal or informal mentoring experiences, please take a few minutes to share by filling out this survey:

http://bit.ly/ExploringMentoring

More about the research study: https://techknowtools.wordpress.com/mentoring/