Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

Twitter to Enhance Learning & Performance

Twitter provides the opportunity to have micro-conversations in 140 characters or less. This social media platform has been repurposed by a number of educators for workplace learning. Twitter is not the only form of professional development available and you do not have to tweet to learn.  That being said, an increasing number of educators have repurposed and remixed Twitter for work learning and performance. You would be surprised what 140 characters can do to create community and interaction online. A number of grassroots initiatives have developed for educators to consider Twitter as part of their professional development plans for informal learning, scholarly development, and shared practices. For me, the last seven years spent on Twitter has been invaluable. This platform continues to provide an open, informal learning space to collaborate and banter with a community of educators. Thanks for that, Larry.

Twitter Bird in the Lattice

Flickr photo c/o Brian Kopp

Twitter is really the “water-cooler” for educators to share news, post reports/trends, read the news, review research, ask questions, gather information, and curate knowledge. Educators are increasingly expressing ideas and links to relevant websites, videos, articles, images, etc. related the workforce.  This commentary and resources were shared for my own learners and other training participants who want to “get started” with workplace learning and performance – so I welcome your shared suggestions for helpful Twitter resources and tips in the comments below.

The Twitter Basics:

Hashtags & Backchannels

GotHashtag

Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a Tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted on Twitter. Besides a current event or pop culture reference, Twitter has been an essential part of the conference tool kit to support sharing on the backchannel. You no longer have to be in-person to engage in the workshops, presented talks, or round table discussions via the live experience. There’s now a full stream of activity created around single hashtags for professional development and workplace learning events.

Here are just a few Hashtags to SEARCH and Follow:  

  • #AcWri (academic writing)
  • #highered
  • #digped
  • #edtech and #onlinelearning
  • #phdchat and #gradchat and #SAdoc
  • #Open and #OER and #openaccess
  • #acadv (academic advising)
  • #StudentAffairs and #sachat
  • And MORE!
  • P.D. hashtags related to your field and conferences, e.g. 2015 Education and Ed Tech Conferences [Psssst… you can add to it if  I’m missing any!]

What Is a Twitter Chat and How to Make the Most of ItTwitter chats are threaded discussions using a hashtag to dialogue about a specific subject.Twitter chats are linked conversations via a single hashtag that participants can search, follow, and include in their own Tweet as they respond during the Twitter chat time. Twitter chats are similar to online chats, forums, or discussion boards; however, they are often synchronous and active during a designated date and time. The hashtag for many chats continues past the “live” event on Twitter for others who want to share and engage. Some Twitter chats guide the discussion or have open topics central theme, while others Twitter chats are moderated in a structured question-response format. E.g. Edu Chat Calendar http://bit.ly/educhatcalendar and the Twitter Directory from IHE. 

Other Twitter Tips & Resources:

Higher Education, Learning Technologies, Professional Development

Using Google Apps in Higher Ed #ACPA15

Join me today (3/7) at 9 AM for my  #ACPA15 Genius Labs session on Google Apps for Education (1st Floor West Side of Tampa CC) where I’ll share how I use a few applications to make my workflow more productive and how I’ve used a few of these applications for my educational curriculum and developmental programs on campus. Blog-Post-Image-Google-Apps-Admin-Best-Practices-1024x372 About: Many universities/colleges are turning to Google Apps for Education as a solution, and it isn’t just for email. This 20-minute session will introduce applications provided by Google Apps, and will illustrate easy-to-implement practices for everyday problems. Google Apps to Explore & Use

Examples for Google Docs & Forms

Google Video – YouTube & Hangouts On Air

3 Google Apps to Check Out More Often

  • Google Scholar What it is: Academic search engine for publications of scholarly research Why It’s useful: Search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles. Pro tip: Identify articles available from your institutional library on campus. Also able to search & preview millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide in Google Books.
  • YouTube Trends Dashboard What it is: A handy tool to figure out what’s trending on YouTube. Why it’s useful: What are your students watching on campus? What is being shared most often near you? With the Trends Dashboard, you can tap into the zeitgeist quickly and easily. Pro tip: Compare the “Most Shared” (across Facebook and Twitter) with “Most Viewed” to get a sense of what content gets viewed often but shared infrequently. To see what was trending in the past, check out
  • Google Trends. Use the optional forecast checkbox to anticipate whether interest in a particular topic is expected to rise over time. Google Keep What it is: Lets you easily jot down whatever’s on your mind via a beautiful, simple interface. Why it’s useful: Share any one individual note with a collaborator, create to-do lists, drop an image into notes as needed, and organize notes using eight color options. Pro tip: Don’t want to forget to do something? No problem: You can easily turn any note into a date or location-activated reminder.

Resources

How do you use Google Apps for education? Please feel free to share links and resources here: http://bit.ly/acpa15google

EdTech, Higher Education, Online Learning

Online Education in the US [2014 Report]

As I am on my way to the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI & #eli2015), specifically to attend the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) Summit, I figured it was critical to review the 2014 Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States just released from the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG):

“The study’s findings point to a competitive marketplace, in which traditional institutions are gaining ground on the for-profits in online and distance education,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “While the rapid pace of online learning growth has moderated, it still accounts for nearly three-quarters of all US higher education’s enrollment increases last year.”

It is clear that online learning is on the rise in America – yet there is a vast difference between how administration and faculty view it. A majority of post-secondary education leaders (70.8%)  indicated that online learning is “critical to their long-term strategy;” however these leaders may struggle with online adoption as only 28% of their faculty find “value” and view online education as “legitimate.” A number of findings in this report show opposing views for online education. For example, these two factions of higher differ  by their awareness of open education resources (OER).

OER_FutureHE

There is much more of this narrative to tease out; and I would like to go through this report further (on the plane) and learn what others in the field have to say. For now I will leave you with some of the ‘quick facts’ shared, and encourage you to download and read through the FULL REPORT if you are in the online learning sphere:

Key report findings include:

  • The number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 % from the previous year.
  • The year-to-year 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students is the lowest recorded over the 13 years of this report series.
  • Public and private nonprofit institutions recorded distance enrollment growth, but these were offset by a decrease among for-profit institutions.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face remained unchanged at 74.1%.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy reached a new high of 70.8%.
  • Only 28.0% of academic leaders say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”
  • The adoption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is reaching a plateau, only 8.0% of higher education institutions currently offer one, another 5.6% report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • The proportion of academic leaders who believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses dropped to 16.3%.

Update:

A couple areas to note, and for further discussion this week at #eli2015 and the #DETAsummit (Follow @UWMDETA):

Pgs. 43-44: Discuss the under count and over count of distance education, i.e. for “fully online” enrollments – this seems to be hazy, as it might be as learning design for enrollment varies by student population type and course design delivery.

Pg. 44 – “The definition of ‘distance education is causing confusion”

There was an interesting segment in this report that struggled with the term “distance education.” This report takes into account distance education, when looking at “fully online” higher education programs. This part of the report reminded me about the Twitter debate of online learning, online education, distance education, and then some when trying to name an update to an edited book. What terminology is best? How can we describe/define education that is delivered from a distance/online/on the web/virtually? Please advise.

Professional Development, Reflections, Training

Supporting Student Success at #UFTL13

UFTL13

I was able Last week UNT hosted the annual University Forum on Teaching & Learning:

UNT’s University Forum on Teaching & Learning (UFTL) is a one-day annual event that enables faculty, graduate teaching fellows, and staff involved in supporting teaching and learning to share ideas and practices that motivate learners, promote critical thinking skills, engage in real-world problems, and better prepare students for life and work in the 21st century.

This year’s #UFTL13 focus,  “Supporting Student Success,” helped initiate the conversation and help our campus understand how to support our students. It also shed some light on what success is and what it REALLY looks like for our learners.  In moving beyond the dirty R-word (retention),  it is critical to think how the meaning of the word success varies for our students. Our planning of “good” teaching and learning practices may need to extend beyond a course credit, a classroom setting, or a syllabus requirement for our students to be truly successful.

During the morning round table discussions, we chatted about reaching students beyond our state mandates or the general push to graduation, and thought more about how to connect with our learners to better understand their needs and purpose for being at the university. It was clear that success means many things to many different people. Our small group identified different things that signify success (in general) including promotion, failure, self-discovery, overcoming challenges, and such. The key issue we had in talking about “success” for learning is the divergent goals that formal education require specifically in terms of assessment, evaluation formats, and individual competency reviews.

Later in the morning Dr. Cassandre G. Alvarado, from UT Austin, asked “What is student success really?” in her keynote address. In Dr. Alvarado’s opening statements, she shared how higher education is broken with the “universal problem” being = too many students are not successful. [I will get into the “broken higher education” discussion in a future blog post- note this for now].

First we talked about the definition of success, brainstormed a few ideas, and chatted about how we might need to redefine success in our classroom and on our campus. Here is what success meant to our small group and from the speaker’s point of view:

  • effecting people in a positive way
  • being an inspiration
  • impacting others around you
  • having a goal, working hard & making sacrifices to work towards that goal
  • passion for what you are doing or how you are working with others

BIG IDEA: Success is more than content knowledge.

enjoy-your-success

 Key Goals for Success & to Be Successful shared by Dr. Alvarado in her keynote:

1. Perseverance  “Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That’s not the place to be discouraged.” ~ Thomas Edison

  • We need to share with our students our struggle so they can learn
  • Model for our students our own struggles
  • Reward effort as well as correctness, e.g. rewarding effort on homework and tests, using innovative assessment methods produced almost triple gains

2. Community –  “My model for business is the Beatles. Total is the sum of the parts… Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” ~ Steve Jobs, 2003

  • Community happens inside and outside of the classroom
  • Is about understanding our role
  • Is more than just friends, e.g. Creation of learning communities increase ention through Drop, Fail & Withdrawal rates stayed the same; cluster of courses

3. Imagination – “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Thomas Edison

  • Discovery is imagination
  • Ask students to solve problems that don’t yet exist not ones that have already been solved
  • “See yourself on the other side.” Dr. Marcy Haag’s mantra 4 breaking a board in a Taekwondo class and she shares this for learning/perseverance

Finally, I was asked to join a student, staff, and faculty panel (I fit a couple of these roles) to talk more about student success at UNT. Here are the questions posed to the #UFTL13 panel:

  • How do you define student success? Can you share an example of or tell a story about student success at UNT. (This could be a personal story, one of a colleague, classmate, friend, etc.)
  • From your perspective, what do students need to experience success at UNT?  Do you have any examples to share?
  • What types of partnerships make student success a reality at UNT?  Do you have any personal experience with partnerships?
  • From your perspective, what can staff/instructors/students do to enhance student success?

Of course, I took a few notes and tweeted during the panel, so here are a few themes that emerged from the our responses:

#UFTL13 Student Success Panel Responses

How do you define student success on your campus? What student success stories can you share? Think about it, and let me know.

PhD, Reflections

#sxswEDU: Thoughts, Reflections & Then Some…

Time sure flies when you’re conferencing, volunteering and travelling… so my thoughts on South By South West Edu (#sxswEDU), are delayed by exactly 2 weeks. My bad.

Due to my love of Austin and enjoyment of SXSW, I thought SXSW Edu would be a great conference to engage with other educators and expand professionally. There were a number of things I liked – such as being on public transit, new perspectives on learning, and connecting with tweeps (Shout out to: @tjoosten, @gsiemens, @veletsianos@audreywatters & more #iamEDU friends!). I also appreciated the lively banter our Social Media in Higher Ed (#smHE) panel had on the topic, and the great follow up conversations with other instructors, practitioners, and researchers. 

Essentially, I got what I wanted out of the #sxswEDu conference – connect, social, interact and learn. I sort of expected something else from this conference, specifically with regards to the education (K-12 and Higher Ed) involvement. I was a bit disappointed to see that the Panel Picker selected more sessions with industry, rather than any educators. It was odd. I was not alone in noticing the tensions were felt between the industry and educationWhy were the instructors, teachers, principals, faculty, higher education professionals, and educational administrators not sitting in these #sxswEDU seats?

Let's get ready to MOOC-off! Where art thou @gsiemens?

Although the education presence was not the “sage on the stage” approach, I am glad I was present to listen to what industry and technology leaders think the “future of learning” will be. I know that many of these sessions were challenged and talked about outside the formal #sxswEDU program, and I was curious as to how other educators interpreted the conference message(s). 

One thing that was very noticeable = the repetitive rhetoric being shared from room to room. To mix it up I, jokingly, initiated the  #SXSWedu Terms to Know, Use, Love & Hate Google doc to note the key words, terms or phrases I heard at the conference. Some might say I was being jaded (*cough* Siemens *cough*), but really I was just having fun with the common language of the conference. After curating this list, I decided to create a game (…which had multiple players, I might add): 

#sxswEDU BINGO Card #3

Note: Another suggestion was to draft a blog post with the complete list of terms. I decided to respectfully decline said challenge; however I will stay alert to the language and context of these words. It’s not a bad idea to keep your ears open and listen every once in a while… Thanks for reminding me of that #sxswEDU.