Reflections

My State of Create 2018

It’s the end of the year as we know it … and I feel fine.

Well, I feel pretty good, or I do now that I’ve spent some time wrapping up projects and a few tasks this last week. I have been thinking back to the goals, projects, and initiatives I’ve been working on personally and professionally in 2018. Last week, the #HEdigID chat offered a space for reflection and review of 2018 goals and things we still might need to work on in 2019.  Taking time to pause and take stock is important. I like to do this at the end of each academic semester (e.g. student grades/data, course evaluations, and my own feedback forms for learning), and also to figure out what has been my priority over the course of the year as well.

For 2018, I thought it would be fun to compile some of my statistics of things I have been making, producing, and creating — that may or may not “count” for what I’ve accomplished. I know that some websites and platforms offer insights into the number of posts, comments on blogs, image likes, and more – but I wanted to figure out what I have been working on in a variety of communities, digital spaces, and efforts across a variety of spaces and places (both online and offline). It can’t be all photo collages of inspiration, selfies, and achievements — per my #bestnine2018 of Instagram. There are so many other things that go beyond the typical data metric of a social media “like” or favorite, so I thought it was time I collected and reviewed this information as well. Here’s a slice of what I’ve been making and creating this year in this infographic:

I think some of the doodles, edits, revisions, and reads don’t always get noted in a typical performance review — but it helps to give me some perspective as to where I have been spending my time outside of my role, research projects, and design work to understand what has been my focus and priority this year for creativity. It was interesting to see what has been my focus and it gives me an idea of what I can look back at if I decide to reflect again on these items in 2019. How has 2018 been creative for you? What sort of maker stats would you collect to share your innovations, ideas, and initiatives that are more creative? Let me know!

#HEdigID, Reflections

#HEdigID Chat No. 11: 2018 – A Year In Review & Reflection

The end of the year (and semester for higher ed professionals) is nigh. This time of year can often bring closure, wrap-up of projects, and a time for reflection on what has happened in the last 12 months. There are no shortage of “best of” lists that circulate online to share media, music, and more. I can’t believe 2018 is over — time flies when you’re in the work grind. Over the next week or two, I am going to take pause to think about what has happened, what I’ve accomplished, and where life might take me next before I start 2019. It’s easy to just let the end of year pass by and even to hibernate until 2019, but I think it’s time to take stock of connections, contributions, creations, and more.

To kick things off, I’m going to moderate the LAST monthly Higher Ed Digital Identity (#HEdigID) chat  in 2018 with a similar theme. How did this past year go for you? What happened? Or, maybe even, where did the year go? Let’s review and reflect together! Prompted by my doodles I reflect with and my monthly #GetToWorkBook goal progress notes, I thought I’d see who might be interested in a collective conversation about their own year-in-review collectively.

Let’s talk it out and share how the goals from our professional and/or digital lives, specifically:

  • The 2018 Wins: Share your accomplishments, accolades, highlights, awards, and points of professional pride. #HumbleBrags
  • What’s In-Progress: Goals, projects, designs, and developments you are still working on now (or over the winter break). #GitRDun
  • The Let It Go! List: Goals, projects, tasks, & maybe even digital activities or workflows you plan to leave behind with 2018.
  • The 2019 “TO DO” List: What are you looking forward to in 2019? Are you planning to start a new projects Collaborate/Conspire with a colleague? Revitalize an old goal? Learn something new? Take on a new challenge? What’s on the horizon for your work and digital self in the new year?
  • #TreatYoSelf: How will you take a break, find self-care, and reward yourself for the efforts from 2018?

To get things started, I opened up a Twitter poll for #HEdigID Question 1 the other day. The voting for this poll is still open — if you’d like to cast your vote. Let me know how you are feeling about 2018. Where’s your head at? What’s your initial thoughts about how the past year has personally, professionally, and/or digitally for you?

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

To prepare for this conversation around open ed practices, here is a bit more information to review before the upcoming #HEdigID Chat:

#HEdigID Chat TOPIC: 2018: A Year in Review & Reflection

This SLOW chat can be found on Twitter AND in an open Google doc. You can tweet your response to questions with the hashtag #HEdigID. OR even ask a few of your own to share how you’re starting to think about 2018 in review. Join us for this DAY-LONG reflection and sharing on FRIDAY, December 14th (in all global time zones).  Also, you can respond, ask questions, and add resources to this OPEN Google doc for the chat RIGHT NOW: http://bit.ly/hedigid11

Here are a few QUESTIONS to get you thinking about your own year in review for this #HEdigID ALL-DAY discussion:

  1. In thinking about your “2018: Year in Review,” how are you currently feeling? Just taking a pulse here for Friday’s (Dec. 14) #HEdigID chat: VOTE on Twitter https://twitter.com/laurapasquini/status/1072938007332818944
  2. List Your 2018 Wins: What are a few of your highlights from this past year? Boast to share your accomplishments, memories, new connections, or collaborative projects you were involved with in 2018.
  3. Still In Progress (Or Time To Let Go): What goals or projects might have sat “on the back burner” in your professional life that you did not get to in 2018? Also, what goals/projects are still “in development” or stalled that perhaps it’s time to let them go?
  4. Made You Think: What is one (1) game changer (e.g. unexpected event, information, or experience) that has shifted your priorities for how you think about your digital, professional self in #highered for 2019? This might be a change in habit, move on/off a platform, or way you share online.
  5. Taking Pause: How will you unwind, unplug or digitally detox to take a break during the holiday season and/or #highered winter break? Share how you will reset & regroup for self-care or to #TreatYoSelf
  6. The 2019 “To Do” List: What are you looking forward to in 2019? Are you planning to start a new projects Collaborate/Conspire with a colleague? Revitalize an old goal? Learn something new? Take on a new challenge? What’s on the horizon for your work and digital self in the new year?

Join the discussion and share your year in review & reflections:

  • Answering the questions by tweeting your response with the hashtag: #HEdigID

  • Responding anonymously or with your own name in IN this OPEN Google Doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid11

  • Use any of these questions to draft your own personal reflection and response (e.g. blog post, video, audio, drawing or offline discussion)

#HEdigID, Higher Education, highered, Learning Community, Networked Community, networkedscholar, PLN, Reflections

#HEdigID Chat No. 3: Privacy and Personal Data in Networked Spaces

If you are online and networked, your data and personal information is out there and it does not necessarily belong to you anymore. A number of us have signed up for a service, an application, or even a network under the assumption that it is “free.” What harm is there in answering a few personal questions to join an app, network, or online service?  Who would really be interested in my personal information I used when I completed that form or online agreement on that website? With a number of higher education colleagues living and working in networked spaces, we need to talk about how we have all (myself included) given away LOADS OF DATA to support our networked practices.

An introduction to the world of data online: Take a listen to Mozilla’s IRL (Online Life is Real Life) Podcast Episode 1: All Your Data Are Belong To Us.

“While you may think it’s no big deal to give away your personal data in exchange for free online services, how can you know that what you get for what you give is a fair trade?”

~Veronica Belmont, IRL Podcast: irlpodcast.org

Many of us have exchanged personal information for a “free” service, tool, technology platform, app, or network. This is common practice and almost a necessity to collaborate and communicate with others. How else can we stay in touch, share information, and participate in our personal and professional networks? Until the last few years, we have not thought much about the platforms or digital rights we have given away within these networked and digital spaces. We have witnessed a number of data breaches on popular platforms (e.g. LinkedIn and Dropbox) and we are currently gaining more insights into how scaled social networks, like Facebook, share our data with 3rd party providers (like Cambridge Analytica) and makes money off our individual profile contributions and participation in this platform.

I have been thinking about how we guide and support postsecondary stakeholders on social media and in digital networks for quite some time [see: socialmediaguidance.wordpress.com].  As social media permeates our personal and professional lives, a growing number of higher ed colleagues (like me) have been questioning the “privacy” (a.k.a. data) policies that exist on networked platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. [e.g. listen to @BreakDrink podcast episode, no. 10].

I am not sure the answer is to delete or leave a networked space. As our personal information and data is already out there, and a number of us are reliant on some of these tools to do our work and lead our lives. I don’t think these networked platforms are broken, disrupted, or that we need to even save social media. I just think we need to have a frank and open conversation about the things higher ed (as a whole) have been ignoring about these network spaces and platforms. Social media is no longer viewed as a trends or a passing fad. In the past, social and digital networks, were viewed as being on the periphery of the college/university experience. As these platforms have scaled and been embraced in our society, we are witnessing real impacts and implications within our campus communities.

It’s about time we have some REAL talk about individual privacy and personal data on social networks and digital platforms used by and among higher ed professionals. This month’s Higher Ed Digital Identity Chat on Friday, April 13th will be discussing the following TOPIC: “Privacy and Personal Data in Networked Spaces.”

Here are few QUESTIONS that will roll out on Twitter and are posted in the open Google doc for the #HEdigID Friday (April 13th) ALL-DAY digital conversation. In previous #HEdigID conversations we have talked about the affordances and challenges, but we have not touched upon our own personal data and privacy after we agree to an app or platforms terms of service. We need to discuss ways to support staff, faculty, and students using social media in higher ed, specifically in asking:

  1. As a networked higher education professional, what issues, topics, and questions SHOULD we be talking about with regards to our own privacy and personal data?
  2. What are your ultimate “Terms of Service” for sharing your personal data, updating your information, and putting yourself on digital/networked platforms? Share your philosophy or approach. [What are the things you are willing to give up when you sign up, log in, or share in networked spaces?]
  3. How does your higher ed institution or professional organizations educate and/or train yourself and colleagues about personal data and privacy online? Please share.
  4. How does your college/university guide or support community standards (e.g. policy, protocols, etc.) related to individual privacy or personal data in networked & digital spaces?
  5. For those who want to learn more about personal data, privacy, & security in #highered, what RESOURCES do you suggest? Please list & share (e.g. articles, websites, books, training, etc.).

What questions, issues, or challenges should we be discussing with our peers in networked spaces? How are we thinking about data and the use of data with our learners online? Are there ways to support engaged networked learning without compromising privacy or our personal data?  Feel free to answer any of the questions above as these are shared today (my Thursday, April 12th afternoon) until the afternoon of April 13, 2018 (in my timezone, Central Standard Time). This SLOW style Twitter chat is designed to allow more higher ed colleagues and friends to join in the conversation to account for different geographic regions, multiple time zones, busy schedules, and more

Join us on Friday, April 13, 2018 to discuss these questions and more! You can participate by:

  • Tweeting a response using this hashtag on Twitter: #HEdigID

  • Draft a longer response in the open OPEN Google Doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid3

  • Take any (or all) of these questions to create your OWN response in any media or format, you want: journal, blog post, video/audio reflection, drawing, or offline discussion. 🙂

I am open to YOUR suggestions. What QUESTIONS or ISSUES should we consider for this chat? Please share in the Google doc above or comments below. I’m looking forward to the conversation and contribution in Twitter and in the Google doc.
Reflections

Mind the Space

Mindfulness is “the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to content and perspective. It’s the essence of engagement” (Langer, 2014, p. 4). It seems simple, right? But did you know that most of us spend nearly 47% of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we’re doing (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010)? I was concerned I might fall into this percentile, so I decided to take a look at what I was actually minding on a daily basis. With the help of a few reads and an app, I decided to set out on my own inward journey to see what my own mind was up to these days. It’s been almost three months of this mindful journey, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far.

With the amount of information and media I consume on a regular basis, I thought it was about time I inserted some mental workouts into my mind. Apparently, a wandering mind is not a happy mind, and the following benefits Goleman (2017b) share for being more mindful:

  • stronger focus
  • better concentration
  • staying calmer under stress
  • better memory
  • cultivates an attitude of kindness

I have been thinking about what consumes my mental space and how my work is changing the way I process things. I try space my work into chunks and take time away from a screen or project deadlines to process in an analog way (e.g. run, read a real book, walk my pup, doodle/draw, or play ukulele). I am wondering how much my response or reaction to things is being molded by the devices I use or the work that I do, so it was helpful to learn how mindfulness and a meditation practice might curb this shifting response of my own thoughts, emotions, and reactions. In the HBR Mindfulness book, Goleman (2017a) also shared that mindfulness has the potential to help us:

  • pay attention to accomplishments
  • enhance creativity
  • less evaluative
  • develop charisma
  • improve productivity
  • be fully present
  • appreciate/understand why people behave the way they do
  • make moments in life matter
  • focus on what is important
  • hear the signals in the noise
  • recognize patterns
  • label/accept own thoughts and emotions
  • act on values
  • practice empathy

Sign me up! I think we could all use a bit more of the above list — so let’s give this meditation thing a go and improve how we think about things. Our brains need a bit of a workout or even rest, right? Goleman (2011) describes the ability to build resilience either by talking to yourself or retraining your brain. I decided to opt for the latter, as I typically talk out loud to process ideas. I figured it might be time to look at my inward dialog to examine what I am thinking about as the cogs of my brain turn. For a mindful practice, Goleman (2011) shares these simple instructions:

  1. Find a quiet, private place where you can be undistracted for a few minutes — for instance, close your office door and mute your phone.
  2. Sit comfortably, with your back straight but relaxed.
  3. Focus your awareness on your breath, staying attentive to the sensations of the inhalation and exhalation, and start again on the next breath.
  4. Do not judge your breathing or try to change it in any way.
  5. See anything else that comes to mind as a distraction — thoughts, sounds, whatever — let them go and return your attention to your breath.

We can reprogram our brain to be more rational and less emotional for how we react, make decisions, and deal with life situations. “Mindfulness is being present and aware, moment by moment, regardless of circumstances” (Gonzalez, 2014). The process of leaning into emotions or dealing with difficult times through meditation has an acronym for coping:  R.A.I.N. = Recognize, Accept, Investigate, and Non-Identifications. This is how to deal with overwhelming situations, stress, or to connect to the situation better by leaning into these feelings.

That being said, I have never meditated. Sure – I enjoy my Shavasana pose at the end of a yoga class – but I have never really tried this meditation thing. I’m too busy for that! Or I get what I need for my mind from taking a walk, going for a run, or yoga, right? (Is what I thought.)  This is probably why I appreciated reading Dan Harris’ (2017) book and advice for fidgety skeptics who was to meditate. Harris is a journalist who started meditation after having a panic attack live on the air and I heard about this book from an episode of Note To Self (Thanks, @manoushz!). Here are a few simple steps he offers  for anyone who is just starting a meditation practice (Harris, 2017):

  1. Approach the establishing of a meditation habit as an experiment.
  2. Be willing to fail – it might not work every day or always, but that’s okay.
  3. Start small – don’t take on too much too soon. Even 1 minute of meditation each day counts.
  4. Try attaching medication to a preexisting habit, for example, I meditate after I brush my teeth in the morning.
  5. Stay on the lookout for the life benefits, let them pull you forward.

More resources from @danbharris at http://www.10percenthappier.com/ & The Consciousness Explorer’s Club

That being said, I do have to thank Andy Puddicombe for his 10 mindful minutes TED Talk where he shares WHY we should mediate. I had heard this before and replayed it after reading a few of these books on meditation. Additionally, I had tried out (10-days are free) his meditation app, Headspace (https://www.headspace.com/) last year — but never moved forward with this practice. This year, I make the purchase to commit to trying meditation for a longer period of time (at least one year, per the investment).  Also, I decided to designate a space in my house, get a meditation cushion, and anchor my morning practice to something I typically do when I wake up in the morning (anchor action: brush my teeth, start the coffee, and then sit to meditate). Adding this app and anchoring my meditation practice to the regular routine has become part of my morning ritual before I start my day to work, write, or something else.

So… here’s my progress report: I am almost 3 months into this meditation practice and being present in my own (head) space is going alright. I am not going to say it has been easy or that I want to do it all the time, but I am finding that this regular practice to pause in the morning (and at other times throughout the day) is helping me to chill when I’m stressed and be more present with those around me (I think). Like any new training routine, it’s not an overnight thing — it does take time and continual practice. So onward with the mindful journey, I go!

Do you have a meditation practice? What grounds your mindful practice? Tell me about it, and I welcome suggestions as a newbie to the practices. Please feel free to share in the comments below.

References:

Goleman, D. (2011). Resilience for the rest of us. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2011/04/resilience-for-the-rest-of-us

Goleman, D. (2017a). Mindfulness (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review.

Goleman, D. (2017b, September 28). Here’s What Mindfulness Is (and Isn’t) Good For. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/09/heres-what-mindfulness-is-and-isnt-good-for

Gonzalez, M. (2014, March 31). Mindfulness for People Who Are Too Busy to Meditate. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2014/03/mindfulness-for-people-who-are-too-busy-to-meditate

Harris, D.  (2017). Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book. New York City, NY: Penguin Random House LLC

Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science330(6006), 932-932.

Langer, E. J. (2014). Mindfulness, 25th-anniversary edition. Boston, MA: DeCapo Press.

#AcWri, Reflections

On Slow Writing #AcWri

Louise DeSalvo (2014) offers writers a number of tidbits about the art of writer’s craft in her book, The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity. I’m grateful for hearing about this book on a recent episode of You’ve Got This podcast (Thanks, Katie!), as it has helped me think about how to best set up my own writing this year. I have quite a bit of data and projects on the go, so this book helped me frame how I’ll be both “Labor and Management,” identify the need to keep a “Ship’s Log” for my writing accountability, and to maintain the critical check ins I have set with my “Writing Partners” for support. Although this text offers bits and pieces of advice for and from fictional writers, I think this advice can be applied for those of us writing scholarly papers and publications as well.

One section of the book, DeSalvo shares how her son picks up skills in a way that is like a self-created, self-directed apprenticeships. I think I do a bit of this as well to “self-improve” or learn more about the HOW TO do a task in academia. As you can see, I am reading this book to support my own craft of writing and discipline to produce publications. This snippet of Savlo’s book gave me pause for reflection and reminded me to persist onward for the long, slow work ahead — so I thought I share for others who are grinding out their own writing projects:

“Expect to fail for a long time. Be patient. Read widely in your field and learn about antecedents and contemporaries so you’re not working in a vacuum Seek out the finest examples and learn from them. Find out how other people in other fields create and make a habit of learning something you can apply to your work or your process from each encounter. Seek out and talk to writers. Learn how books are made – learn about publishing and self-publishing. Learn how long it takes to become proficient, how long it takes to write a book and get it published, so you don’t have false expectations. If you choose to, and can afford to, find the best teachers and listen when they critique your work, though this isn’t essential – many successful writers never had formal training in their craft. Join a community of practitioners and give back – pass on what you know. And finally, echoing Ira Glass, don’t give up too soon” (Salvo, 2014, pp. 79-80).

Writing IS A PROCESS. This process IS SLOW, and it continues to push on in a steady pace.  Great pieces of work don’t always get accomplished overnight, and it does require some dedication and determination to get to that writing finish line (+revisions, of course). Hang in there fellow, #AcWri friends. Now, let’s get back to work and #ShutUpAndWrite. #GoScholarsGo

Reference:

DeSalvo, L. (2014). The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.