#AcDigID, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, Social Media, SocioTech

Re-Evaluating My Digital Self

Over the past year (or longer), I continue to think more about my digital self. This should be no surprise, as I am currently researching higher ed’s networked practice and I facilitate a workshop a couple times year about what it means to be an academic and professional online in postsecondary education [Note: The NEXT #AcDigID Workshop Offering for grad students, early career scholars, academics, faculty & researchers is January 8-14, 2018 if your 2018 New Year’s resolution is to sort this out for yourself, please join in!]. Typically, at the end of the calendar year, some people like to look back at 2017, “in review.” You might read/write end of year blog posts with a top ____ list of highlights/happenings. Or perhaps you’ve joined in on the Instagram “best9” of 2017 photo montage posting. This year, I am doing something different. Thanks to conversations I’ve had with JeffPaul, Katie, Chris, and others both offline and recorded [on the @BreakDrink podcast check out episodes 5, 7, 10 & 13] in 2017 — I will be setting aside some of my winter break to examine what it means to be present and connected online for ME. My personal review might be less merry or bright as I examine what I’ve shared or exposed to data/information in digital life. Festive? I know. 🙂

It has to be done. I need to really take a hard look at my digital self. This personal online audit will help to clean up and prevent potential hacks; however, this time I am including bigger questions beyond use/activity — as I plan review platforms terms of service, digital rights, data access, digital security, data extraction, and, ultimately, outlining if there is a purpose/need for “being” in any of these virtual locations. As net neutrality rules are killed and social (+ other) media continue to scale, I have a lot more questions I need to think about for my own work, learning, and life. The last few years there has been a reckoning for social media — more than anyone once thought over a decade ago. “Facebook is just a college thing” and “Twitter is just a fad,” were some of the things once said. Who thought these social networks would impact how we learn, work, vote, share, and more?

My digital self “under review” is not only a result of my distrust in sharing over media, the Russian hack of social media during the US election or even my aversion to having any “smart speaker” in our home that records and gathers data each day. Nor is it the fact that I live with a cybersecurity professional or that Black Mirror‘s sociotechnical sci-fi drama offers an eerie foreshadow to what lies ahead of us in the not-so-distant future. I embraced online and a connect being for over a decade now, so there’s no wonder why my digital footprint has me grappling with issues of digital security, personal wellness, individual safety, and the privacy paradox of living/working in a connected world.Image c/o The WIRED Guide to Digital Security

That being said, the free and open collection of knowledge on social media cannot offer regular fact-checking or verified expertise. This is critical for those who are a part of this shared, collective community online. The future of knowledge can be misleading if we are letting these platforms guide us by the information we share and the interactions within the network. As Tim Berners-Lee stated in his open letter written about the internet, he is concerned we have lost control of our personal data, misinformation is easily spread on the Web, and online transparency and understanding are needed in political advertising [as well as other spheres online].

Lately, I have been struggling with how our society is entrenched and relies on technological platforms. My true concern for self-auditing my digital life is to understand more about the impact and influence I have let technology and platforms invade my everyday way of living. As a reminder, platforms are:

“digital infrastructures that enable two or more groups to interact… [and] bring together different users… with a series of tools that enable their users to build their own products, services, and marketplaces” (Srnicek, 2017, p. 43).

The reliance on online networks and digital platforms might be more problematic than we think. There seems to be much power owned by these digital platforms. For example, the digital curation website, Storify, plans to shut down and delete data by May 2018. Like a few of my peers, I too am questioning the use of services and accounts we don’t own or control. I understand why a growing number of higher ed and ed tech colleagues are thinking the same was as they trim their digital contribution on Twitter, close down their accounts on major social media platforms, like Facebook, and take by control of the web by creating a domain of one’s own.

For me, this virtual audit exercise will include and go beyond social networks and connected sites to also examine WHERE, WHY, and HOW I live/work digitally. I think it’s a critical time to reevaluate the platforms and technologies we are using, in general. Where the data is stored? Who has access to what? Who owns the rights to my created or uploaded content? Am I utilizing appropriate _____ platform/technology for my personal/professional life? Are there other means that are not “free” I should be considering? It’s not like I have not done this activity before — but this time it might mean that I took “break up” with a platform or connected sites. For 2018, I want to be more diligent with my personal data, private information and online “being,” to limit surveillance/tracking online and to align my own values and ethics with networks and platforms I use.

Reference

Srnicek, N. (2017). Platform capitalism. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

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Conference, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, StudentAffairs

Have You Thought About Your Digital Self Lately?

While working on today’s workshop for the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL), I was listening to the recent Higher Ed Live broadcast with Ed & Josie talking “Engaging the Digital Generation” (an NDSS book they edited, and I contributed to — I promise to follow up on a blog post on this topic later). I was not surprised, but often wondered why student affairs (SA) and higher ed folks often go directly to technology:

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Why do practitioners in higher education, student affairs, and students services always go to the “tool” question first? Why do we want to know what’s “hot” with the digital, social technologies? Is it easier to think about a specific app, device, or platform? Why don’t we ask about the challenges or issues the technology is solving?  A wise supervisor once told me: Study problems, not things. The “thing” I’m thinking about are technology tools and platforms.

I am more interested how our campus stakeholders engage and interact with social and digital tools. What is their motivation and how are these online networks being utilized? Perhaps we should challenge professionals in higher education to start thinking about their own presence. I think it’s a good idea to reflect on our own contributions and social traces we are leaving in digital spaces and places [Hence why Paul & I are are studying just that: https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/] .  I really like the Visitors & Residents Continuum (White & Le Cornu, 2011) concept, which is also shared by Dave White (and colleagues from OCLC & Jisc) via a few resources and videos. Visitors tend to leave no social traces in the digital world. If you are Resident you are visible, active, and leave a part of you online in many spaces and places. If you have not heard of this concept, here’s a quick overview of the mapping process for visitor and resident in a personal and institutional (professional) context:

I think more thought and reflection into HOW and WHY we use these online networks and digital apps are needed. Here’s a start of my own visualization of my visitor and resident spaces & places — more will be added this afternoon during my NCSL Professional Workshop:

v_r_map_pasquini

Have you mapped your own V-R continuum lately? It’s an interesting process to think about and visualize. If so — please share and/or blog about it! To further this idea, what are the digital skills we need to hone within higher education? Here are a few suggestions organized on a metro map around digital skills:

digitalskillsframework

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This digital skills framework map was a solid start, but it definitely needs to be added to – what are your thoughts on this topic? How are you engaging and interacting with these spaces and places? What do we need to learn and bring to campus when it comes to digital understandings of self? How are you thinking about your resident vs. visitor self online? Show and share!

Reference:

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Book Review, edusocmedia, Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

#BookReview: The New Social Learning, 2nd Edition #NewSocialLearning

The first edition of this book, The New Social Learning, was published 5 years ago. I read and have a copy of it on my bookshelf; however, we know that emerging and connected technologies have continued to flourish and influence our organizations. The social technology landscape has changed since 2010. There are a number of new platforms, additional functionalities and communication channels, an increase of utilization and adoption by our organizations, and a much greater acceptance of social media being applied for learning and development. Marcia Conner and Tony Bingham have recently published an updated version of this book with The New Social Learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work, 2nd Ed.* The latest edition provides a number of excellent case studies for how social media is being implemented in workplace learning, development, and performance.

SocialLearning

Bingham and Conner (2015, p. 8) define social learning as the “joining with others to make sense of and create new ideas…[it] is augmented with social media tools that bridge distance and time, enabling people to easily interact across workplace, passion, curiosity, skill or need. It benefits from a diversity in types of intelligence and in the experiences of those learning.” What is really “new” about this type of social learning with emerging technologies is the impact these platforms and tools have to the experience. “Social tools leave a digital audit trail, documenting our journey – often an unfolding story – and provide a path for others to learn from” (Bingham & Conner, 2015, p. 9). Social media facilitates the empowerment of learning among your networked peers beyond the limitations of geography or time.  I appreciate how the authors identify what is NOT the new social learning (e.g. informal, e-learning, MOOCs, just for knowledge workers, in contrast to formal learning/education), and how this type of learning is meant to augment, not replace, training, knowledge management, and communication practices in our organizations. As technology has accelerated change in the workplace, Bingham and Conner (2015, p. 18-19) see the opportunity to implement a new social learning strategy based on these changes in work:

  • The accelerated pace of change requires agility. Consider agile values for the workplace.
  • Our technologies go where we go without any boundaries. Not all can be controlled, contained, or developed from within an organization.
  • Our shifting workplace demographics change expectations, with regards to generations, gender, culture.
  • People desire personal connection to communicate, collaborate, and share.

Although the authors share a number of success stories about individuals and organizations who are engaged in social media to enhance learning, they do offer potential critiques and considerations for governance of social tools. By including applied examples and practice to social learning theory, this book identifies suggested approaches and considerations for implementation of a new social learning program as outlined by its table of contents (TOC):

  1. Reach Out and Connect – Introduction to the book topic and focus (download the TOC and part of Chapter 1 here: http://www.thenewsociallearning.com/)
  2. Embark on the Journey – Setting goals and planning for the “new social learning”
  3. Transition and Engage – Strategic steps for implementation of social media for learning
  4. Never Give Up – Reminders, challenges, suggestions, and issues to consider
  5. Analyze Insights and Returns – Suggested methods and areas to evaluate and measure
  6. In-Person Learning Reimagined – Opportunity to engage in F2F social learning from the springboard of social tools
  7. Appendix: Social Media Governance – Examples of a few corporate policies and guidelines to consider for your organization

Chapter 5 provided excellent considerations on how to analyze and understand stakeholders when considering a social (media) learning approach. This section outlines this lightweight analysis to help quantify social and digital tool adoption. As I tend to work with non-profits, K-12, higher education, and professional/trade associations, I modified the descriptions and questions from this section of Bingham and Conner’s (2015, pp. 206-252) book to focus the analysis for learning and development organizations:

  • Analysis 1 – Perspective: Do you have a sense of how people in your organization feel about the company/institution, each other, their clients, etc.? What if you could better map the perspective of your stakeholders? What is your priority with a new social learning approach? It will be critical to analyze patterns of attitudes, feelings, conversation tone, and individual voices in your organization by reviewing the unstructured data created by social and digital platforms.
  • Analysis 2 – Engagement: How important is it to have a large majority of your organization fully engaged in their work and/or learning? Are your stakeholders aware of the organization’s vision, mission, and purpose? What does it mean to have engaged educators and/or learners in your organization, with regards to online participation, generative production, and choices for collaboration?
  • Analysis 3 – Connectedness:  How do you want individuals in your organization to know each other or, at least, have a method by which they can get to know what skills and knowledge everyone brings to the table? Have you conducted an organizational network analysis yet? Do you have a method for sharing information, managing knowledge, and directing your organizational stakeholders to resources and/or other people?
  • Analysis 4 – Fiscal Fitness: Are you concerned that social (media) will be of little value to your organization? Are you afraid there is no way to measure the value many assure you is there with social media for learning? What is the ROI for social learning? Sometimes there might not be direct counts; however benchmarking our own performance indicators will help with identifying new opportunities to balance the reward-risk ratio. Outcomes of social learning might be noticed in the side effects, i.e., increased employee morale, a decline in sick days, or a growth in collaborative team projects.
  • Analysis 5 – Impact: How do you know what you are doing is actually making an impact to your organization? How have social (media) tools improved or supported your own learning and development? Is there a change in behavior, opinions, attitudes, and experiences of your stakeholders? Do you notice an increase in productivity or improved learning outcomes?
  • Analysis 6 – Influence: Do you know how collaboration and communication change measures of authority and the effect it has on who is “seen” to provide real value? Influence can come from a position of authority; however, it might also is socially and informally created with our digital, network tools. Involving all stakeholders to participate and identifying impactful messaging from leadership will be critical for open communication. You might not realize how pluralistic ignorance can impede social change in your organization.
  • Analysis 7 – Attention: Do you know how your own stakeholders can dramatically multiply the value of their own and their colleagues’ knowledge? Are your stakeholders paying attention to key messages and less attention to distracting noise? What are the key trends and movements in your organization on these social channels? Do you have a pulse of the conversation and needs on these platforms? Believe it or not, there is life without email.
  • Analysis 8 – Capacity: How do you want to expand the social learning methods and platforms you use to understand and maintain the critical skills needed for your organization? How can you analyze and foster leadership, interests, knowledge, content, or geographic distribution, for your social learning approach?
  • Analysis 9 – Change: How can you best understand your organization’s culture and the impact social approaches will have on transforming learning and development? How will you conduct a learning culture audit that includes the assessment of social media platforms for learning? How will you communication the transformation of your learning approach to the organization?
  • Analysis 10 – Fill the Holes:  How can you help others in your organization imagine a future and stimulate exploration of topics and ideas that might not fit into an existing structure? Can you conduct a personal network assessment to identify who in your organization might help to “fill in the missing holes” for your social learning approach? How might you analyze and review the real-time experience on your social media platforms?

Reference:

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

*Full disclosure: The @NewSocialLearn book was sent to me by @ATD Press to read and post a review on my blog. Thank you for the read – it was enjoyed. 

edusocmedia, Social Media

How is social media being researched to support student development/success in higher education beyond the “classroom”?

I recently curated a  reading list of literature/research on social media and technology use, specifically outside the higher ed “classroom” for a colleague at Niagara University, Dr. John Sauter. For his Sociology of Higher Education course, John wanted to share readings that demonstrate how social media and technology are being utilized outside formalized learning, and provide more information beyond the Social Media Resources [from the WNY Advising group] the practical guides/strategies. A recent prompt from my #edusocmedia friend Ove, made me think that this short list should be shared and hopefully expanded upon – enter this blog post.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 12.02.04 PMImage c/o mkhmarketing on Flickr

In searching online, you will find that there are no shortage of “how to” and “social media strategy” publications – which often bridge the marketing, communications, education, business, and student affair disciplines. A growing number of  bloggers also share suggestions for social media use, community development, and campus engagement; however  my focus was to find recent RESEARCH in post-secondary education that examined how social media and emerging technologies are impacting student life, support, and success outside the “classroom” (face-to-face, online & blended learning) environments.

To consider social media perceptions and use outside of formal learning environments, it is important to gain insight from recent studies around learning in higher education with technologies, including:

Junco, R., Heiberger, G., & Loken, E. (2011). The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of computer assisted learning, 27(2), 119-132.

Junco, R. (2012). Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance.Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 187-198.

Junco, R., Elavsky, C. M., & Heiberger, G. (2013). PuttingTwitter to the test: Assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and successBritish Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2), 273-287.

Junco, R. (2015). Student class standing, Facebook use, and academic performance. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 36, 18-29.

Muñoz, C. L., & Towner, T. (2011). Back to the “wall”: How to use Facebook in the college classroom. First Monday, 16(12).

Roblyer, M. D., McDaniel, M., Webb, M., Herman, J., & Witty, J. V. (2010). Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites. Internet and Higher Education, 13(3), 134-140.

Rodriguez, J. E. (2011). Social media use in higher education: Key areas to consider for educators. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(4).

Silius, K., Kailanto, M., & Tervakari, A-M. (2011). Evaluating the quality of social media in an educational context. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 6(3), 21-27.

Wakefield, J. S., Warren, S. J., Alsobrook, M., & Knight, K. A. (2013). What do they really think? Higher education students’ perceptions of using Facebook and Twitter in formal higher education learning. International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments1(4), 330-354.

**Shout out to Josie Ahlquist for also sharing a wealth of resources on her Reference List page related to this topic as well and more related to student development theory and youth culture in media!**

My focus for this class reading list, was to find recent (2011 forward) peer-reviewed publications that share implications and findings from research on how social media impacts support/success in higher ed beyond the instructional context. Yes. Student affairs, academic advisors, and the like, in student support areas of higher ed, ARE educators – however social media/technology use for learning without the weight of the grade “carrot” does impact and influence adoption/use. In looking around, I found a number of recent literature reviews and compilations that look at social media in higher education – here are a select few I thought I would share:

Davis III, C. H., Deil-Amen, R., Rios-Aguilar, C., & Gonzalez Canche, M. S. (2012). Social Media in Higher Education: A literature review and research directions.

Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47-64.

Lewis, B., & Rush, D. (2013). Experience of developing Twitter-based communities of practice in higher education. Research in Learning Technology21.

Rios-Aguilar, C., Canché, G., Sacramento, M., Deil-Amen, R., & Davis III, C. H. (2012). The role of social media in community colleges.

Tarantino, K., McDonough, J., & Hua, M. (2013). Effects of student engagement with social media on student learning: A review of literature. The Journal of Technology in Student Affairs.

Tess, P. A. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual)–A literature reviewComputers in Human Behavior29(5), A60-A68.

For my own interest, I decided to conduct a preliminary literature search to determine “How is social media being researched to support student development/success in higher education beyond the “classroom”?  This is NOT a comprehensive list, but more of a primer to initiate a more comprehensive search for recent (2011 forward) scholarly publications involving research on this topic:

Al-Harrasi, A. S., & Al-Badi, A. H. (2014). The Impact Of Social Networking: A Study Of The Influence Of Smartphones On College Students. Contemporary Issues in Education Research (CIER), 7(2), 129-136.

Birnbaum, M. G. (2013). The fronts students use: Facebook and the standardization of self-presentations. Journal of College Student Development54(2), 155-171.

Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating instructional strategies for using social media in formal and informal learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 87-104.

Cheung, C. M., Chiu, P. Y., & Lee, M. K. (2011). Online social networks: Why do students use Facebook? Computers in Human Behavior, 27(4), 1337-1343.

DeAndrea, D. C., Ellison, N. B., LaRose, R., Steinfield, C., & Fiore, A. (2011). Serious social media: On the use of social media for improving students’ adjustment. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 15-23.

Fuller, M., & Pittarese, T. (2012, June). Effectively communicating with university students using social media: a study of social media usage patterns. In 45th Annual Conference June 10-14, 2012 (p. 46).

Graham, M. (2014). Social Media as a tool for increased student participation and engagement outside the classroom in higher education. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 2(3).

Jacobsen, W. C., & Forste, R. (2011). The wired generation: Academic and social outcomes of electronic media use among university studentsCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(5), 275-280.

Lin, M. F. G., Hoffman, E. S., & Borengasser, C. (2013). Is social media too social for class? A case study of Twitter use. TechTrends, 57(2), 39-45.

Lou, L. L., Yan, Z., Nickerson, A., & McMorris, R. (2012). An examination of the reciprocal relationship of loneliness and Facebook use among first-year college students. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 46(1), 105-117.

Joosten, T., Pasquini, L. A., & Harness, L. (2013). Guiding social media in our institutions. Planning for Higher Education – Society for College and University Planners. 41(2), 1-11.

Mastrodicasa, J., & Metellus, P. (2013). The impact of social media on college students. Journal of College & Character, 14(1), 21-29.

O’Brien, O., & Glowatz, M. (2013). Utilising a social networking site as an academic tool in an academic environment: student development from information-sharing to collaboration and innovation (ICI). AISHE-J: The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 5(3).

Pettijohn, T. F., LaPiene, K. E., & Horting, A. L. (2012). Relationships between Facebook intensity, friendship contingent self-esteem, and personality in US college students. Cyberpsychology, 6(1), 1-7.

Ternes, J. A. (2013). Using social media to engage students in campus life. (Doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University).

Sponcil, M., & Gitimu, P. (2013). Use of social media by college students: relationship to communication and self-concept.  Journal of Technology Research, 4, 1-13.

Wang, Z., Tcherneve, J. M., & Solloway, T.  (2012).  A dynamic longitudinal examination of social media use, needs, and gratifications among college students.  Computers in Human Beheavior, 28(5), 1829-1839.

If you have published any articles and/or have contributions for research in this area – please add to the list! Post any publication references in the comments or reach out to me to discuss further.  I suspect this quest will continue, and it will also need a few collaborators to be successful. Are you interested in digging into the research to learn more about HOW we are SUPPORTING students in higher education using social media beyond formalized learning structures?  Let’s talk – so we can move forward in understanding the research lay of the land.