#diglit, #NMChz, Digital Literacy, Higher Education, highered, Horizon Report, literacy, postgraduates, publication, report, Research, survey, technology, Training, work, Workplace

The Future of Work: Technology and Robots and Digital Literacy… OH MY!

Q: When will robots be able to do my job?

A: Not yet… (at least not all of it).

I’ve been thinking about how technology is and will impact the world of work. Thanks to NPR’s Planet Money calculator: Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine? and perhaps an empirical search on automation in teaching literature I’ve been reviewing for George … I might have robots on my mind. The calculator says my professional role is not likely to be fully replaced, but I have my doubts.

I can see ways we are already automating instruction, grading, peer review, etc. So career planning for many occupational roles will shift over time as technology is infused into the labor market. As I instruct a career planning course, Personal/Professional Development (#LTEC3010), I am quite concerned with how we are preparing (or not preparing) learners to thrive in an evolving career economy.  To support occupational preparation of the unknown, I have been picking up a few books on the future of work to add to the course– here’s what  on my book #shelfie that I read/reviewed (again) this past summer:

Although robots and technology will not take over ALL jobs in the future, the working economy will need new skill sets and agile employees. We know an increasing number of curricular and co-curricular programs in higher education are striving to include “Nonacademic Skills” and some programs are attempting to prepare learners for jobs that may not even exist yet. We hope the value of a postsecondary degree goes beyond a transcript; however, we have rarely looked ahead to align occupational preparation with the six driving factors and the needs for future work skills 2010 (Davis, Fidler, Gorbis, 2011):

  1. Life longevity: By 2025, the number of Americans older than 60 will increase by 70%.
  2. The rise of smart machines & systems: Technology can augment & extend own capabilities & workplace automation is killing the repetitive job.
  3. Computational world: Increases in sensors & processing makes the world a programmable system; data gives us the ability to see things on a scale.
  4. New media ecology: New communication tools require media literacies beyond text; visual communication media is becoming a new vernacular.
  5. Superstructure organizations: Social technologies drive new forms of production & value creation; social tools allow organizations to work at scale.
  6. Globally connected world: Diversity and adaptability are at the center of operations–US and Europe no longer hold a monopoly on job creation, innovation, and political power.

Based on these changes to the world of work, a degree and employment experience will NOT set anyone apart from the competition in the new job economy. You will have to continue to improve upon your skills, adapt to the changing environment, and plan for ongoing professional development throughout your career. Here are the top 10 skills needed for the workforce of 2020 identified by Davis et al., 2011:

  1. Sensemaking: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed. 
  2. Social intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions. 
  3. Novel and adaptive thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.
  4. Cross-cultural competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings.
  5. Computational thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based. 
  6. Digital literacy and information fluency: The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication. 
  7. Interdisciplinary mindset: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines. 
  8. Design thinking: The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes. 
  9. Cognitive load management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functions. 
  10. Virtual Collaboration: The ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team. 

As I review/edit materials in my courses, I am thinking more about the digital literacies that encourage my learners to PRODUCE, CREATE, and SHARE before they graduate.  Much of HOW we prepare our learners TODAY, will impact how they function in the future job economy.  Are we thinking beyond the requirement of a course? Can we apply learning to occupational environments or non-academic settings? What ways have we been encouraging digital literacy and information fluency at our campuses? What have you required your students to create, produce, and share using different mediums or platforms? These are just a few questions I have been thinking about for course design, and I am pondering even more after drafting the latest New Media Consortium (@NMCorg) survey/report over the summer. Read more here:

2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief  [Download: nmc.org/digilit-impact]

The 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief uncovers the learner’s perspective of how digital literacy training influences work life after graduation. As a complement to the definitions and frameworks outlined in the 2017 strategic brief on digital literacy in higher education, this study examines digital literacy in action as learners enter the workforce. More than 700 recent graduates from 36 institutions responded to an NMC survey that addressed the experiences they gained at colleges and universities, and how their proficiencies or lack thereof have affected their careers. Funding for this independent research endeavor and publication was provided by Adobe.

Reference:

Adams Becker, S., Pasquini, L. A., and Zentner, A. (2017). 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.5, September 2017. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

#AcWri, BreakDrink, Conference, Podcast, publication, Research

The Scholar-Practitioner Paradox for Academic Writing [@BreakDrink Episode No. 8]

I have been thinking about the needs and challenges higher education and student affairs professionals have with regards to evidence-based practices. In higher education, there is no shortage of topics and ideas to explore. I have been fortunate to collaborate with both scholars and practitioners in education to study a number of issues, including scaled-open learning, digital learning strategies, social media policies/guidance, mentoring programs, and networked experiences, just to name a few.  Beyond this short list, there are a number of practitioners who have reached out and we’re in the process of establishing research plans for professional development, mapping competencies to training, and leveraging technology in networked communities. My work partnering and collaborating with scholar-practitioner better informs my research methods and in explaining the findings/implications.

Scholar-practitioners generate new knowledge to improve practice, yet how they prioritize and go about their work varies with where they are on this scholar-practitioner continuum (Wasserman & Kram, 2009). The challenge with this work is there is VERY LITTLE TIME professionals in higher ed have to do scholarly work. When you are working in an educational service role for a 12-month contract, it is a challenge to move through the research process. Wasserman and Kram (2009) observed how competencies, needs, and values align with the competing roles of the scholar-practitioner to match either the work or research interests. Scholarly habits and the writing process requires deep concentration and focus on thinking critically to endure through a research project — from the study design, methodological planning, recruitment of participants, to publication and dissemination of findings.

Although higher education administrators and staff are in the best position to analyze programs, student populations, and services — there is not enough scholarship produced from professionals IN the field.

In their book, A Guide to Becoming a Scholarly Practitioner in Student Affairs, I think Hatfield and Wise (2015, p. 6-8) touch on a few reasons why practitioners do not often contribute to academic writing and publications:

  • Not enough reading – that is, not as knowledgeable of current research in (and out of) the field, theories, and evidence-based practices from academic outlets
  • Not expected of positions and not valued – undervalued and underutilized research skills; some of these skills may have been minimal based on training, education, experience, etc. as it is not required in administrative positions
  • Second-class citizen syndrome – some might not have a terminal degree (Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.) or if they do, little academic scholarship has been completed beyond their dissertation work; also feel on a different level of the faculty at their institution (and often treated that way).
  • Inadequate academic preparation – research, evaluation and assessment training from each graduate program varies and many question skills and competency for research and publishing
  • Silos on campus – little interaction between departments, divisions, functions, and academic departments exist although we are trying to support the whole student.
  • Lack of motivation – when was the last time you saw “scholarship and research” in a practitioner’s job description or expectation to participate in scholarly conferences and publishing?

 

Many of the above items, I think, are describing student service/affairs professionals in the United States — as I have a number of higher ed colleagues who are required to produce research in their staff role. There is no shortage of op-ed pieces often shared among higher education social networks, blogs, podcasts, videos, and more. The issue is we rarely see published conference proceedings, journal articles, or academic outlets producing PEER-REVIEWED pieces from and about practice contributing evidence and understanding from the field.

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking with Jeff Jackson (via our @BreakDrink podcast) about this challenge and what we are witnessing among practitioner peers. The first installment “on academic writing and scholarship” Jeff and I dig into academic writing/scholarship for BreakDrink Episode No. 8, where we discuss the differences of Academic vs. Practitioner Conferences. From the book by Hatfield and Wise (2015), chapter three talks about presenting at professional conferences; however, none of the associations shared offer any published conference proceeding for presentations shared and are not the same as submitting a paper or academic poster for another association that is more scholarly in nature. I think Hatfield and Wise (205) offer a decent introduction to scholarly writing for the novice student affairs professional  — but I think it is lacking in a few areas (as detailed in the podcast and notes below). If you are interested, feel free to read this book review (Delgado & McGill, 2016) and listen to our thoughts via the podcast here:

@BreakDrink Episode No. 8 – Academic vs. Practitioner Conferences [SHOW NOTES]:

Episode No. 8,  might be part 1 of a few series on this topic about “being an academic” or “scholarly work.” Jeff and I have recorded a few meanderings as we think/share on this topic. If you have questions or want to know more about the following items, let us know: mentoring for #AcWri, how to put together a manuscript, proposing a conference paper, data management, or starting a peer-review journal OR being part of an editorial board. Let us know! 

Conferences Run Down in 2017: Scholar vs. Academic Conference

American Educational Research Association (AERA) hosts a research/scholarly conference annually and this year #aera17 conference was in San Antonio, TX with Jeff in attendance. This professional association is HUGE, but thankfully it is broken down into Divisions and  Special Interest Groups (a.k.a. SIGs). Division I is Jeff’s Jam: Education in the Professions as he also attends the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and perhaps Division J may be where some of the doctoral/graduate scholars hang out. Related to this association you will find THE journal, Educational Researcher, that is well-regarded by scholars; however AERA also has AERA Open and other publication outlets.

We just wish we saw more of this at practitioner conferences. Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) also held their annual conference at the same convention center in San Antonio, TX back in March. Both Jeff and I were there, and we attended a session on publishing in the NASPA journals from this association [Sadly the new Technology in Higher Education: Emerging Practice was not represented in this session this year.] It’s not as though sessions at Student Affairs or Practitioner conferences do have a poster session, and I have seen “Research Papers” presented at ACPA Convention and NACADA has offered Research Symposiums at regional conferences.  The conferences mentioned in Chapter 3 of Hatfield and Wise’s (2015) book: ACPA, NACA, NACADA, NASPA, ACUHO-I, NODA, & NIRSA

Academic Conferences We Have Also Attended to Note:

 

Conference Proceedings 101

Conference proceedings are scholarly papers a number of academics/researchers include on their vitae for the tenure and promotion. This is the “carrot” as to why faculty or scholars would attend a conference and allow doctoral researchers grants to travel, beyond the value of networking and discussions with peers. A proceeding could be a short (or long) paper presented at a conference, and sometimes there are even print proceedings published for your conference abstracts/papers (e.g. #SMsociety15 proceedings). All papers typically have a specific format (e.g. AECT’s manuscript requirements) and are submitted for a formal (typically blinded) peer-review process before they are accepted. Typically these are shorter papers or a conference abstract (not a beginning of a journal article abstract format), where you present your completed research projects. A number of social sciences and education conferences have specific formats beyond the APA Style 6th Edition, but that is a good start. If accepted, you will typically present your paper at the conference in a condensed format, such as 10-25 minutes, with a set of other papers in a single session. Each presentation is directed to showcase research by describing a brief literature overview, research methods (data collection, analysis) and findings/implications. This might be moderated by a discussant, moderator, or not at all with a brief (2-5 minutes) for Q&A at the end of your presentation/session time slot.

Other formats typically at scholarly conferences we have seen — but this is not an inclusive list:

  • Conference abstract (1000-2500 words) – how to guide and killer abstract writing
  • Full Papers (up to 8000-10.000 words)
  • Notes  or Work/Research In Progress
  • Poster Sessions (also via a device, e.g. laptop, tablet, etc.)
  • Workshops/Hands-on Sessions (e.g. how to use R-Studio for text mining)
  • Competitions or Expos — challenge/solution program feature to showcase work
  • Plenary/Keynotes
  • Doctoral Colloquium
  • Mentoring Programs

Episode F.A.Q.

  • Q: Is it considered a self-plagiarism to reuse (published) abstracts for talks? A: Yes. You want to avoid text recycling and should NOT but publishing the same work to different publication outlets.
  • Q: Is presenting about my program or an assessment of an initiative at my campus research? Does this count? A: Maybe. Did you get IRB approval from your institution before collecting data? Are you following the scholarly practice of your educational/social science peers? If not — this might be an assessment. Still great — but it could not be submitted as peer-reviewed conference proceeding or journal article.
  • Q: What is this Yellowbook that Jeff referred to during the podcast? A: It was known as a “phone book” and it’s directory of names of people and businesses for you to locate their contact information. You might use the Google or another search engine these days for said things. Apparently, Yellowbook as rebranded to “yb” and now has a website: https://www.yellowpages.com/
  • Q: Why is Tony Parker out for the rest of the NBA season? A: He injured his quadriceps tendon on Wednesday, May 2nd. {tear!}
  • Q: What is Fiesta? A: A 10-day annual party celebrating culture, food, fun, and parades in San Antonio, TX that typically falls at the end of April. More about Fiesta. Best tagline: “A party with a purpose” https://www.fiesta-sa.org/

Our Pro-Tips for Attending Academic Conference:

  1. Prepare for the Conference: Review the conference website to see what research is being presented, who will be attending, and who you should meet (new & friends) while you are both at this event. Are you a fan girl/boy of a particular researcher and you want to chat about their work/your work? Are you hoping to collaborate with other scholars? Do your homework and figure out who will be there. Maybe you want to set up a meeting over a meal/coffee/drinks OR find a particular session where you can be introduced to new peers.
  2. Attend the First Time Attendee Session (if they have one): Get the lay of the conference land and get a good overview/guide to what is going on during the event. Is there a mixer with food and/or drinks? Attend and meet a few people. Prepare to be social and have your own “elevator pitch” about what you are currently studying or working on right now. Think about this before you show up to the conference.

Overall, we think higher education professionals could do better with sharing MORE research-based information at our conferences. Many of these sessions are often hidden within the general program sessions and/or found in a poster session — that is often not well-attended. Hatfield and Wise (2015, p. 8) challenge practitioners to research by asking:

If you could give voice to those who were marginalized, if you could change the field of student affairs through your voice, if you could create better collaborations across campus with our academic colleagues, and if you could share your insights with parents, students, and other invested stakeholders so that they will know what we contribute to student learning and development, why wouldn’t you?”

Why are we not encouraging more scholar-practitioner collaborations? And what incentives could you offer early career researchers and senior scholars to attend these conferences? These are ponderings we are thinking about from reading this book (Hatfield & Wise, 2015) on SA scholarship. We think it’s a decent starting guide to getting into academic writing. Sharing evidence-based initiatives are required to be relevant in higher education. This value needs to be showcased more by and with student affairs, student services, and those not on an academic track to offer others insight to the work we are doing.

@BreakDrink Podcast ShoutOuts

 

If you have a thought or two, please share it with us via one of these channels. We’d love to hear from you on any one or all of following the “BreakDrink” podcast channels:

We welcome comments, questions, and more! If you happen to listen to Apple Podcasts a.k.a. iTunes, please consider leaving us a rating and review. Thanks!

References:

Delgado, A., & McGill, C. M. (2016). A Guide to Becoming a Scholarly Practitioner in Student Affairs by Lisa J. Hatfield and Vicki L. Wise (review). Journal of College Student Development57(7), 898-900.

Hatfield, L. J., & Wise, V. L. (2015). A guide to becoming a scholarly practitioner in student affairs. Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Wasserman, I. C., & Kram, K. E. (2009). Enacting the scholar—practitioner role: An exploration of narrativesThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science45(1), 12-38.

MOOC, Online Learning, publication, Research

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