Academia, AcAdv, Learning Community, Professional Development, Reflections, SAchat

Your Digital Self & Online Community: Let’s Twitter Chat About It #SAchat & #AcAdv

In my last blog post, I asked if you have thought about your digital self and what it means to be a “resident” in various spaces and places online.  This is a common question I pose and ponder with higher ed colleagues and friends I work with, connect with online, meet face-to-face, and now as I collaborate on research looking at Networked Communities of Practice. When it comes to digital participation there is no right or wrong. That being said, sometimes I think of this quote from the Sydney MCA as our lives continue to evolve online:

19500948685_f2386f3e10_oLast year, the TED Radio Hour podcast featured TED speakers who dug into what it means to be digital and connected in its two-part episode, Screen Time, Part I and Part 2The segments dive into how the digital version of ourselves are impacting who we are. There is one quote, in particular, that resonated with me from Jon Ronson’s segment in Part 2:

“The way we are defined on social media, on the Internet, and on Google has become more important than who we actually are as people.”

Ronson’s TED talk presents ideas he writes about in his book So You’ve Been Publically Shamed. His segment “How can our real lives be ruined by our digital ones?” discusses how the online self is impacting our offline self. With the recent US election, there are no shortages of examples of tasteless social media shares and volatile toned posts displayed online. The election is not the cause of this behavior; however, these type of actions and interactions within the higher ed community online are disheartening. If you are presenting your actual self online (and not an anonymous profile/account) the expression “in real life” or “IRL” no longer applies. What we do inside the screen does impact our life beyond the screen. What happens digitally and on the Internet IS IN REAL LIFE (exit distance worker soapbox rant for now).

As Inger puts it very well, there are some “academic assholes in the circles of niceness.” If you are on the social web and in higher ed, there is no doubt that you have witnessed more cruelty than kindness from your colleagues and far less empathy or compassion from your fellow practitioners in online communities.  For many of us who live our working life online, I think “our second selves” are impacting who we are.

Maybe it is also time for some reflection and perhaps a candid discussion about our digital self and our online communities. Thanks to two online communities — #SAchat and #AcAdv — we’re going to get real and talk these issues in higher ed in these upcoming Twitter Chats:

#SAchat TOPIC:

Personal and Professional Identity on Social Media & Online

sachat_logo

Thursday, December 1, 2016 for the DAYTIME #SAchat from 12-1 pm CDT; Follow @The_SA_Blog on Twitter

Let’s discuss what it means to “grow up” professionally online and offline in higher education. What motivates you to interact, engage, and share? What social networks and hashtags do you connect with for your work in student affairs and higher ed? Has being online impacted what you do professionally or personally? Share with us about your own digital identity development, specifically how it influences who you are and your work on campus. 

  • MOD for the DAYTIME #SAchat (12/1/6); TOPIC: Personal and Professional Identity on #SocialMedia & Online [Chat Transcript ARCHIVE]

#AcAdv Chat TOPIC:

Learning Online With And From A Community of Peers

acadv_chat

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 for the #AcAdv Chat from 12-1 pm CDT; Follow @AcAdvChat on Twitter

Let’s have a conversation about how online networks and digital spaces support your professional and personal well-being. Where do you learn online? What communities contribute to your work and success in #higher ed? Tell us how these networked communities offer resources, share ideas, and offer care for you, your professional role, and your personal growth.

  • MOD for the #AcAdv Chat (12/6/16); TOPIC: Learning Online With & From A Community of Peers [Chat Transcript ARCHIVE]

If you work in higher education and care about these issues, please join in on one or both discussions on Thursday (12/1) and next Tuesday (12/6). We look forward to hearing what you have to say on the topics…Twitter Chat soon!

Do you have questions about this or our research team, please feel free to contact us or suggest a way you would like to collaborate!

Higher Education, SAchat, StudentAffairs

Digesting the TECH Competency for Student Educators #SAtech

I have been thinking a lot about how we guide and support technology in higher education. Last year, ACPA/NASPA drafted a joint document sharing Professional Competency Areas for Student Educators [PDF], which included a new competency – Technology (TECH). As technology is woven into much the educational practices and student support field work, it is critical for student affairs educators to consider how this competency is guiding their work. Here are the basics about the TECH competency from the report:

TECH Competency Description: Focuses on the use of digital tools, resources, and technologies for the advancement of student learning, development, and success as well as the improved performance of student affairs professionals. Included within this area are knowledge, skills, and dispositions that lead to the generation of digital literacy and digital citizenship within communities of students, student affairs professionals, faculty members, and colleges and universities as a whole.

Professional Development: Professional growth in this competency area is marked by shifts from understanding to application as well as from application to facilitation and leadership. Intermediate and advanced level outcomes also involve a higher degree of innovativeness in the use of technology to engage students and others in learning processes.

TECH (page 33-35) The Technology competency area focuses on the use of digital tools, resources, and technologies for the advancement of student learning, development, and success as well as the improved performance of student affairs professionals. Included within this area are knowledge, skills, and dispositions that lead to the generation of digital literacy and digital citizenship within communities of students, student affairs professionals, faculty members, and colleges and universities.

With the 2016 ACPA Convention (#acpa16) just around the corner, I am looking forward to digging into the TECH competency further in a couple of weeks with Josie, Tony, Paul, Ed, and participants during our the Pre-Conference Workshop: Social and Digital Technology Competency Institute for College Student Educators (March 6th) in Montreal, Canada. I know that we each have some fantastic ideas and tools to share — and we are looking forward to learning from colleagues who will be joining us.

To prepare, I took another look at TECH as a competency earlier today. As a researcher, I naturally started to code these competencies into general themes, to further understand and digest the TECH competencies. Here are the categories I came up with based on themes:

  1. Trends, Research, and Knowledge Development
  2. Leadership, Governance, and Stewardship
  3. Assessment and Implementation for Education and Program Planning
  4. Information Literacy and Management
  5. Applied Skills for Using Technology
  6. Inclusion and Access
  7. Learning and Professional Development
  8. Communication and Collaboration

Many thanks to Brian Bourke for instigating this initial review of the ACPA/NASPA TECH competency last fall with the NASPA TKC Research Group (and kudos for crafting an #SAtech Research Agenda as well!). In returning to the TECH competency for the pre-conference workshop, I thought it would be a good idea to share these broad categories with participants and student affairs. Please take a gander and leave any thoughts/comments in this open google doc of what might need to be adjusted or reconsidered from this first analysis. I welcome comments here (on the blog) or directly in the document.  From this, I hope our student affairs community of inquiry, practitioners and scholars alike, can continue to work together to consider how these competencies can be applied our work with students in higher ed, and measured (as another ACPA/NASPA task force/working group is developing rubrics, etc.) to evaluate the work we do in the field. Google doc: http://bit.ly/SAcompTECH

Professional Development, SAchat, Training

Twitter for Professional Development… Make it Part of Your PD Plan. #SAchallenge

In the field of learning and performance, there are a number of ways to train and develop employees. A number of professional organizations and educational institutions are interested in supporting online learning communities to enhance learning and development for “the workforce of tomorrow.” This often results in going to where the communities are already active online, i.e. social media. A number of social spaces, including blogs, videos, microblogs, and photo sharing websites, have been repurposed for training and development by the community. One of the largest areas for professional development has been on Twitter with users aggregating around a hashtag to form a community. In higher education, a number of Twitter-based communities of practice are emerging as the “combination of improved facility and user flexibility has created an environment in which networks and communities, albeit of a restricted kind, can flourish (Lewis & Rush, 2013).

sachallenge

It is no wonder why we see The #SAChat January Twitter Challenge #SAchallenge appear with the start of the new year. Although I’ve been loosely off the social grid for the holidays, I tuned back in to find January #SAChallenge prompts posted to get connected and involved on Twitter:

During the month of January, we will be tweeting out various challenges and ideas of ways you can engage on Twitter – starting with basic how-tos and moving towards looking at different ways to engage through the medium. Each weekday will bring at least one “challenge” – something you can do to either learn more about using Twitter or to refresh yourself and make you think about using it differently, especially within the #SAChat community. We’ll be posting the challenges here if you miss one and want to catch up.

I applaud the @The_ SA_Blog community managers for facilitating the #sachallenge.  To best support learning and development, The SA Collective L-Team are actively supporting their online subscribers and cultivating the #SAchat hashtag, by utilizing these key community management skills:

  • Listen. It might be a great space to broadcast and disseminate content – but that’s not how you hold a conversation. What do people what to talk about, not just receive? What is the online community engaged in? What are the conversations about online? Take a minute to read and learn from others online.
  • Participate. You need to be a community member, too. Try to join conversations as a peer contributor, not a facilitator. Contribute useful ideas, articles, research, and more. Your online community will want you to be actively sharing online like others in their learning community.
  • Include. Let others help find and create content, guide conversation, start new discussions. It’s a change for many of us in the field who what to “lead” the professional development experience but will pay off in a more vibrant, sustainable community. Encourage members of the community to be the active voice.

I think Twitter is a key component of my own learning and development, and I often encourage others (i.e. students, professionals, faculty, etc) to set up their own Twitter handle [HOW TO: Set Up a Twitter Account], and/or follow along with the community hashtag. I am also more than happy to connect and chat with those of you who reach out to me on Twitter (a.k.a. @laurapasquini), or by any other means if you want to to talk about Twitter or professional development. Although the #SAchat hashtag focusses on the Student Affairs arena there are a number of other higher education and discipline-based Twitter communities to follow.   

Dubbed the Twitter Queen by @hglez9

Photo mashup credit goes out to @hglez9

That being said, I also caution using Twitter as the only means for learning and development. As an avid Twitter user, who has learned a great deal from tweeting over the past few years, I have a healthy skepticism that Twitter is the “best” platform for delivering professional development. Apparently, I am not alone. Audrey Watters recently asked this question in her blog post “Is Twitter the Best Option for Online Professional Development?” and identified both its benefits and challenges. Twitter has created opportunities for conversation, research, collaboration, and support; however I have also witnessed spam bots, self-promoting followers, bullying, disciplinary implications in academia, and other not-so-nice things.  I was reminded by Audrey that “there is a fragility to our ability to connect and share online. Some of that fragility comes when we opt to rely on for-profit companies to run the infrastructure. We do not own the conversations on Twitter. We have limited control over our data and the content we create and share there.” That is not to say you should not participate and engage – but don’t let Twitter be the ONLY only means for your PD.

In my opinion, I think Twitter can augment, not replace, learning and development. Let Twitter be one part of your professional development plan for 2015, and then ask yourself what do you want to learn? Think about what goals you are setting for yourself first, and then consider the spaces you want to engage in this year. Always put your PD goals ahead of the platform, and then go searching for where you want to engage this year. You might also consider searching out training and development opportunities at your institution, at your professional associations, with trade/professional journals, by reading new literature & books, through research projects, signing up for a course/seminar/webinar, by conducting an informational interview, by reaching out to others in your network, and always by discussing your goals with mentors and peers from the field. Perhaps you might even take the time to reflect on these training experiences when you return to/start some “bloggery” (Thanks for the term, Bryan) to process your learning and development. Good luck with your PD goals for 2015! Let me know if or how I can help.

References:

Lewis, B., & Rush, D.  (2013). Experience of developing Twitter-based communities of practice in higher education. Research in Learning Technology, 21. Retrieved from http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/18598 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.18598.

Watters, A. (2014, December 17). Is Twitter the best option for online professional development? Hack Education. Retrieved from http://hackeducation.com/2014/12/17/twitter-professional-development/.

AcAdv, Collaboration, Higher Education, Learning Community, SAchat, StudentAffairs, Virtual Communities

Creating Digital Communities of Practice to Enhance #StudentAffairs & #HigherEd

Last year, I wrote a piece for the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community (TKC) after responding to a post made by the TKC Chair @JedCummins via the TKC Facebook Group. I was just noticing that the Summer 2012 call for submissions is coming up and Osvaldo is looking for submissions (due June 8/12 – see the Facebook Page for further details). Although the TKC publication is geared towards a newsletter format, I think it provides Student Affairs professionals an opportunity to write and share about their technology trials, tribulations, and accomplishments on campus.

Little did I know that my submission would go into the #NASPA12 Knowledge Communities publication (my piece can be found on pages 50 & 51) that was distributed at the conference. Thanks for sharing it beyond and sending me copies via “snail mail,” Jed! I appreciate it.

The overall just of this piece describes how the social web and emerging media is  coevolving with the changes and developments of higher education and the Student Affairs profession. New learning environments and networks allow higher education professionals and faculty to connect, curate, and collaborate beyond on our college campus. It is exciting to see how online networks afford new joiners in the field of student affairs, advising, and MORE to access information, contribute to the conversation, and develop a digital footprint. Whether you call it a PLN, PLE, hangout, community of practice, network, gathering space, or “water cooler” chat — there are great things happening in social, online spaces to enrich the work we do at our institutions with ourselves and our students. I like where this informal learning and development is going. This is probably also why @julieclarsen and I decided to share our “Developing Your Network” presentation one last time at today’s #UNTAdv12 Conference for the advising professionals as well:

There are amazing things that lie ahead for these informal networks in higher education. This is an exciting time. I look forward to participating and learning where these digital communities of practice, including as #SAchat, #SAtech (hoo-ray for the new chat!), #AcAdv Chat and others go. With this fine group of educators and practitioners, I am sure these networks have the potential to move mountains. I would challenge and encourage participants in these communities to use these spaces to think critically, solve problems, create innovative ideas, develop effective practices, share knowledge, and support one another.

CTCX, Professional Development, SAchat

Emerging #SAtech Jobs in the Field of Student Affairs – Skills to Pay The Bills on #CTCX

Join us tonight on the Campus Tech Connection (#CTCX) show LIVE 7-8 pm CST as we discuss skills and opportunities in the growing field of #SAtech with our guest co-host Brad Popiolek. We will be discussing the variety of #SAtech Jobs in the field of Student Affairs and considering the following questions on the podcast:

  • How can SA professionals can gain practical skills and abilities and transfer them into any job?
  • What sort of experiences new #SAtech positions encounter – challenges & benefits
  • How can you position yourself for an #SAtech or technology job beyond student affairs?

The #CTCX posse would love to hear your thoughts, questions & ideas:

  • Listen to the show LIVE & join the conversation in the chat room.
  • Tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #CTCX 
  • Call or Skype during the show: (646) 652-2342 or breakdrink
This blog post is cross-posted at BreakDrink.com
Collaboration, Learning Community, PLE, SAchat, Virtual Communities

Let’s Get Visual with Data

Fizz is one of the many ways to review and analyze online data. I am a visual learner. Naturally, I am intrigued with visual research and data analysis. The 2010 Horizon Report indicated that Visual Data Analysis will be  impacting technology and learning in higher education in the next four to five years:

Visualization tools like Many Eyes, Flowing Data, and Wordle are making statistics and data fun. These representations present actual facts and ideas in visual format to strengthen research and debates. Visualization tools help support learning and engagement for both educators and learners. Besides making meaning and giving access to facts, visualization allows learners to personalize and engage with data. A fellow doc student, Kevin Guidry, shared a great example of how to represent an online community in Twitter with his Visualization of #SAchat Data. Seeing this data allows more people to understand the dynamics of a community and how they connect online.

Another great proponent of visual statistics is Hans Rosling. Hans  is bring sexy back with statistics as he details his love of stats on the one-hour BBC documentary The Joys of Stats and his non-profit project Gapminder. For those of you who think statistics is a dirty word, I encourage you to take a gander at this one. If you are not afraid, I encourage you to get more visual with your research, learning and data. Here are a few resources to get you started – please comment and share more tools that you use & love to visualize data:

Conference, CTCX, Higher Education, Professional Development, SAchat

Stopping by #SxSW

#SxSW has attracted the interactive, film and music fans from around the world to Austin, TX every March. This year @julieclarsen decided to drop into the interactive part – #SxSWi – since we are only 3.5 hours north of the fun.

Although our road trip was short, we managed to soak in all that #SXSW was offering for the interactive time. There are loads of events and happenings for non-registered fans, and it gave us a sample of what we might attend next year – because we’re very interested in playing & engaging with some of the great panel sessions too.

Here are a few #SxSW highlights from the rogue attendees:

  • There’s an app for that! – Many new startups, apps and more begin to shine at #SxSW. We were texting beside the CEO/Founder, Mike, of Hashable & also met the developers from PunchTab who just launched their online reward program 5 days before #SxSWi.
  • FREE! is the name of the game – There are loads of fun things to do & see for the frugal-minded geek. Many happenings were found on the street or at an RSVP gathering within the 4th-6th Street limits.
  • Time to Play Ping pong, Foursquare, Geek Games from Mashable &  frolicking is key for the #SxSWi. Loads of events happening on the street, in a parking lot and around town to enjoy. And there is tonnes of fun being tweeted & broadcasted about what is happening around town.
  • Celebrity Sighting – If you want to see a few stars, they are sure to appear in front of a camera or microphone for an interview near you (on the street). We saw Danny Devito interview for an upcoming film he’s producing, but other friends met Conan O’Brien, Dane Cook, Juno, Mike Tyson and then some.
  • Ideas, Solutions & Blue Skies – There are loads of great panels, talks and discussions about what’s to come in the techie realm.
  • Points to Ponder – This event had my mind spinning for ideas to research, develop, and create. Imagine if I attended more of the convention. Unreal.
  • BEST PART = Meet & Greet – There are loads of people in Austin on the street who are open to chatting & gathering. I recommend a local cafe or watering hole such as South Congress Cafe, Fado, Stubbs BBQ or The Gingerman. It was a great weekend to connect & meet a few #SAChat friends IRL.

Besides meeting @EdCabellon, Julie & I met up with a few #SAChat friends such as @bradpopiolek, @jeffjackson, @SueBecks, @lizgross144@marlenabh, @reyjunco, @stephwint, @PetePereira, @lynnellison & @LauraLambeth (who took some fab photogs from the #SASxSW TweetUp because I was too chatty and less of a photographer :)) at Rudy’s BBQ. We feasted & chatted over some Texas finest BBQ. Our meeting was cut short by my scholastic obligations (who puts a test on Saturday night of Spring Break?), however I do hope to connect and visit with more local & faraway #SAChat friends in the future.

BIG kudos goes out to Brad, our Austin host with the most, and Julie, the ultimate road warrior. Here’s to more gatherings of technology and fun in the future! Learning is best when it’s crowd-sourced & IRL.