Library Science

Introduction to Digital Libraries

This summer I’m enrolled in a couple of courses in the UNT Information Science department as part of the Digital Curation and Data Management certificate. For those of you who know me as a “secret librarian,” I am now diving into some of the practices, techniques, tools, and concepts in library sciences. Introduction to digital libraries is the first course I am in, and this introduction reminds me how much of the internet has emerged from how we organize, collect, and represent objects for users to access online. I hope to share some of my course work and learning experiences (by blog, of course), and perhaps even put out a few visual examples or request for the new platforms and spaces I am experimenting/creating with this term (e.g. GIMP, Omeka, etc.).

Although information can be gathered and curated online, this does not make it a digital library. Library and information scholars have been thinking about the theoretical foundations, technical infrastructures, digital objects, online collections, and organization/representation of information long before the existence of the web. Today, it might be a simple click to find information online; however, these search engines are built on some of these procedures and considerations involved in digitizing objects and planning for access of these items, services, and systems online.

“Consider a future device … in which an individual stores all his[/her/their] books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his [her/their] memory” (Bush, 1945).

The Digital Library Initiative (DLI) I and II were heavily influenced by a number of computer science and STEM organizations, specifically National Science Foundation (NSF), continued work with the ARPANET with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with ARPANET, and progress of information retrieval systems between 1965 and 1990 from computer/information scientists. The DLI in 1994 launched what digital libraries are today, which also represents the following terms: electronic library, virtual library, hybrid library, and library without walls (Calhoun, 2014). These digital library initiatives were based on the information science infrastructure development to support technical issues for operating these systems on computer networks to include “interoperability, portability, data exchange, scalability, federation, extensibility and open network architectures” (Borgman, 1999, p. 236). The move toward automation and digitization of library institutions and services (e.g. libraries, museums, and archives) could not have been completed without these advancements in computing and development of interfaces to interact with networked technologies.

The Digital Library (DL) offer digital services and distributed knowledge to meet the needs of users in electronic format. Early DL initiatives were initiated within developing nations to offer access and meet the needs of organizations (Isah, Mushewa, Serema, & Kenosi, 2014).  Digital libraries (DLs) provide open systems and services to advance
knowledge and culture; organize collections of digital content and objects; and use an architecture that supports a repository accessible by search with services to connect users to resources through user-friendly interfaces (Calhoun, 2014). DLs will curate items within a set scope and have specific requirements for items they include within a collection.

One example of a DL is the Digital Public Library of America (https://dp.la/) that hosts a wealth of information, archives, government documents, and primary source sets online. A recent addition to their online collection is the Mueller Report, which is available for all to access digitally. Typically, DLs provide electronic resources that are constructed, collected, and organized by and for a community of users (Borgman, 1999). Based on suggestions from Candela et al. (2007), here are a few of the attributes of a DL:

  • Virtual organization of electronic resources
  • Organization of digital library collections
  • Preservation and management rich digital content
  • Specialized community support for digital objects/collections
  • Digitization of library objects in digital format for books, journals, music, art, museum collections, etc.
  • Access to library resources over a distributed network
  1. World Digital Library. A source for manuscripts, rare books, films, maps and more in multilingual format.
  2. Universal Digital Library. A collection of one million books.
  3. Project Gutenberg. More than 33,000 e-books to read and download.
  4. Bartleby. An immense collection of books for consultation, including fiction, essay and poetry.
  5. ibiblio. E-books, magazines, academic essays, software, music and radio.
  6. Google Books. More than 100,000 books for consultation, download or on-line purchase.
  7. Internet Archive: The largest digital library for downloading e-books and audio-books for free.
  8. Open Library: More than one million e-books of classic literature to download.

A library collection is defined as “an accumulation of information resources developed by information professionals intended for a user community or a set of communities” Lee, 2000, p. 1106). A major function of a traditional library collection is to facilitate information seeking by providing its users with convenient access to relevant information resources (Buckland, Gorman, & Gorman, 1992). These resources might be books, reference documents, serials, rare books, government files, special collections/artifacts, and/or media objects. A collection is the complete accumulation of books, materials, objects (physical and digital), that are accessible within the library.

To preserve items within library collections, archives, and museums it is necessary to reformat these objects through digitization, that is, to create digital objects. The 1990s saw the emergence of this digitization standards, principles, and practices for how to digitally reformat texts, books, pictorial images, collections, and other projects and the field of digitization specialization has expanded beyond libraries and into cultural heritage organizations/communities. To ensure a set of principles for the digital libraries’ preservation role, managed collections require that digital objects selected are accessible and available for long-term resource needs (Deegan & Tanner, 2002, p. 22).

Digital objects now broaden this term, as tangibility and ownership offer the opportunity to provide digital collections for library users. Now information and items are directly accessible in electronic format, so the term collections now apply to digital collections. Lee (2000, p. 1106) believes the function of collections needs a fresh examination to determine the access means in context to the user’s point of view to further understand and better support how collections facilitate information seeking. These digital collections are often a set of digital and multimedia resources that can be owned, accessed, curated, and/or shared within a digital library, that have organized digital object using metadata to describe the individual objects and the overall collection details. Based on technological advancement and possibilities with digital collections, a library collection often reflects the characteristics and interconnectivity of the information world to ensure information-seeking as contextual and interactive with a user-centered design approach (Lee, 2000, p. 1111).

Collections in Digital Libraries: these are a set of digital and multimedia information resources which are building blocks that consist of an organized assembly of digital information objects, metadata describing those objects, and metadata describing the overall collection. These group of objects that are not necessarily physically owned and sustained by the library in a collection; however, they have “a group of information resources, a defined user community, a collection development policy statement, and an integrated retrieval system” (Lee, 2000, p. 111). The digital collections are a balance of the user and institutional interests that typically reflect the priorities and impact these collections might have for sustainability over time (Miller, 2015). To build a good digital collection with purpose, you need to provide an overview of the major components and activities; identify existing resources that support the development of practices; and encourage community participation for ongoing development to build the collection (NISO, 2007, p. 1).

Here are a few of the “library” listed books I am reading or I recommend to read:

  • Biblio TECH by John Plafrey
  • The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know
  • Ways of Curating by Hans Ulrich Obrist
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

What books about the library or library/information science recommendations do you have for me? Please share!

BONUS LISTEN: from a recent 99% Invisible podcast, Episode No. 354: Weeding is Fundamental, I recently about Collection Management: “Collection size and scope, as determined by holdings counts, particular strengths, and unique materials, were formerly understood in relation to institutional mission and programs” (Horava, 2010, p.142). Johnson (2009) notes how collection management was designed to include the development practices and support for collections, specifically with regards to the decisions about reviewing, retention, and evaluation of a collection e.g. weeding, cancelling serials, storage, and preservation.

References:

Borgman, C. L. (1999). What are digital libraries? Competing visions. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/7c55m1xf

Buckland, M. K., Gorman, M., & Gorman, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: a manifesto (Vol. 19). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Bush, V. (1945, July). As we may think. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1945/07/as-we-may-think/303881/

Calhoun, K. (2014). Emergence and definitions of digital libraries. In Exploring Digital Libraries: Foundations, Practice, Prospects. ALA Neal-Schuman.

Candela, L., Castelli, Y. I., Ross, S., Thanos, C., Pagano, P., Koutrika, G., … & Schuldt, H. (2007). Setting the foundations of digital libraries. D-Lib Magazine, 13(3/4), 1082-9873.

Harmon, E. (2015, October 19). When you work in the open, everyone can be a collaborator. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/10/when-you-work-open-everyone-can-be-collaborator

Horava, T. (2010). Challenges and possibilities for collection management in a digital age. Library Resources & Technical Services, 54(3), 142-152.

Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of collection development and management, 1st Edition. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Isah, A., Mushewa, A., Serema, B., & Kenosi, L. (2015). Analyzing digital library initiatives: 5S theory perspective. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 21(1), 68-82.

Lee, H. (2000). What is a collection? Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 51(12), 1106-1113. doi: 10.1002/1097-4571

Mills, A. (2015). User impact on selection, digitization, and the development of digital special collections. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 21(2), 160-169.

Higher Education, Learning, Learning and Performance, Library, Online Learning, Professional Development

Why Can’t Learning in the Analog and Digital Just Get Along?

It’s the end of the academic term (well, almost, I’m still wrapping up my grading), but I have been thinking a great deal about learning, how we learn, and the modes of learning for both my students and professionals this semester. Back in March, Joshua Kim posed a series of questions related to the higher education conference learning that goes on, and questioning how we might need to rethink our own professional development for learning:

  • What if the way we think about professional development for learning professionals is actually holding back the learning profession?
  • What if what we really need is to create new knowledge?
  • What if what the learning profession really needs is original scholarship?
  • What if the resources, time and energy we devote to attending large professional conferences would be better spent in small-scale convenings, where the goals of scholarly productivity are foregrounded above all others?

These questions resonated with me, my friends/colleagues often ask if I will be attending an upcoming conference or event so we can meet up. As a professional with minimal funds for travel and also little interest in attending conferences during the academic term (I teach A LOT of learners during the two long semesters – Fall and Spring), many are surprised to hear I am not going to be at these events as I value professional learning. In the last few years, I have notices that I am not learning very much at conferences on site at these events. To clarify — I DO participate in valuable discussions, debates, and banter with peers at these events, but I’m not sure the format of a typical 2-3 day conference with keynotes, workshops, lecture presentations, academic papers/posters, etc. in a 2-3 day format is not how I WANT to learn.

Sure. I miss the connections and socialization within the profession at these conference events, but really, my learning and development is on-going and more tailored to what I need and want to learn about. These days, I think there are SO many ways to engage with professionals and gain the knowledge I am looking about — that I have not been interested in figuring out how to build a budget for one event. Sometimes I follow and read through a conference backchannel if I can’t physically attend; however, lately, I’m not sure I’m really missing out on anything. I think the biggest loss of not attending might not actually be the learning, but the networking and professional socialization that comes with the analog format of most conferences.  Also what is often lost in these large learning events, is the knowledge creation and sharing beyond a time, location, and date to a broader audience — that comes with “the common is a faith in the power of convening. And, in particular, a faith in the power of convening at scale” (Kim, 2019).

I think there are SO many ways professional to learn, develop, and gain knowledge in higher education. I typically find ways to learn from my peers and gain insights into my field through:

  • Books I borrow from the public & university library – I read A LOT!
  • Hashtags I search/follow/chat with on Twitter based on topics I’m interested in
  • Peers and colleagues work I follow — especially those who tweet, podcast, blog, and share in open access ways online
  • Journal articles and conference proceedings (ones that are publish)
  • PODCASTS! Like books, I listen to and learn from a wide variety of episodes, including the growing number of higher ed-focused podcasts, available on-demand, for download, and/or streaming. I guess I also create a couple to learn from as well e.g. @BreakDrink & @InVinoFab
  • LIVE/ARCHIVED web stuff: Webinars, web-events, broadcasts, YouTube live, Virtually Connecting sessions, etc.
  • Local events and happenings around DFW — at my campus, at other campuses, and general MeetUps or events. This even includes things posted on my local neighborhood network, NextDoor.
  • Subscriptions to learning, like this yearly membership I have to MasterClass.com
  • Open educational resources (OER) — e.g. MOOCs offered by FutureLearn, Coursera or edX and other OER repositories
  • Listservs and Google Groups — yeah, I still learn news, information, and find opportunities on these emailed spaces.
  • Library or research workshops at UNT Library like Software Carpentry for R and Python to tool up on a skills, platform, or research method.
  • Formal university courses. I take advantage of that staff/faculty discount at my own institution to take a non-degree course (I’m working on this certificate now).
  • Friends, colleague, and peer suggestions for learning and training — they just know I like learning, and what might peak my interest, in general. So I welcome referrals and suggestions for any of the above — and I get these often.

Beyond professional learning conferences, this sentiment also present with the work I do in the online teaching/learning domain. At our colleges and universities (at least in the US), there seems to be more value placed on the analog vs. the digital work we do on campus. If I am not physically “present” somewhere, how can the work I be doing the same as my colleague? What does a lecturer do who does not actually lecture? Good question, let me tease this out a bit as a couple of recent reads around digital minimalism and revenge of the analog has peaked these thoughts.

Over the past five years, as a full-time non-tenure track faculty member, I have been involved in a great deal of teaching/learning as a lecturer (who might not actually lecture). My work involves instructing face-to-face (F2F), online, and blended learning university courses and also designing learning/training on digital platforms AND within new physical teaching spaces. This has been fun, as I try to apply what I’m learning and discovering in my own research/learning (see list above) to re-tool how to best design these educational experiences digitally (like others who move to online teaching). That being said, when talking to some colleagues, I do notice the embedded bias for the “traditional” teaching methods (e.g. sage on the stage, chalk n’ talk, talking-head expert, etc.) for what it means to be present on a campus as a faculty or staff employee.

Looking back, I suppose most of my own experience as a learner involved F2F means of instruction, student support, and interactions. Before finishing my PhD, I had a number of F2F and blended courses I taught or had been enrolled in myself. Part of the assumption of online teaching comes with the culture on campus and the expectations of what an online course will entail for the learner. For F2F courses, I think there is less pressure to have your entire curriculum prepared, available, and online at the start of each semester. A professor or instructor can just show up and talk (on or off topic) based on what might be loosely included in the course syllabus or schedule that day, often without any concern for lecture capturing, archiving, and transcribing media (audio or video) of their presentation. As a F2F instructor who teaches on campus, there is no need to be explicit in detail for assignments, or itemization of instruction on projects, tasks, or activities for learning. Students attending these courses on site can ask immediate follow up questions before, during or after scheduled class time. Additionally, students feel a rapport or social presence with the in-class instructor that is different those educators they might have online (not always, but it often it is so). These interactions to learn with peers or through impromptu discussions in class, does not require a script, plan, or set outline of pedagogy when comparing it to the defined structures of an online course.  Then there are other F2F learning experiences when faculty stick to the scripted presentation/lecture with minimal interaction or engagement.

Since my faculty role has primarily involved designing and delivering online learning, I have been a fortunate to lecture and capture lessons on video/audio, augment how I offer student support in office hours, create useful learning materials beyond a textbook, create social presence for myself and learners in these courses, and be mindful of making my educational resources accessible in a variety of different formats considerations for multiple formats. This reflection of my teaching online is constant and helps me to improve how to make concepts and learning relevant for my students.

For learning, it does not have to be a THIS or THAT debate. When it comes to the digital or analog practices, I think there is value in both. Like making a mix tape of music or playing a vinyl record, I take the skills of searching, listening, finding, and curating my music on Spotify playlists digitally. I don’t think I could do one well without the other. The skills for learning design offline apply to how I think about my online curriculum. Both should exist — it’s not an either or when it comes to the analog and digital experience for learning. Our college/university campuses and our professional associations could use a healthy smattering of both. We need educators, administrators, instructional designers, and student support services that are versatile in both digital and analog practices. I think teaching online, over the past few years, better informs my pedagogical preparation and considerations for how I design and deliver learning. Whether it is an in-person conference workshop or an online week webinar, I think the pedagogical experiences help to merge my digital and analog practices. It’s marriage of both skills sets to reach a variety of ways to gain knowledge and learn.

We will never change how we create and share knowledge, or learn new ways to do things, unless we change our professional practices. The model of conference learning is fine to socialize and network with the select few who can afford to attend the conference; however, I would challenge the number of professional associations I am/have been a member of to think about how to BETTER share and TRULY scale knowledge in a manageable way, specifically:

  • How are these learning artifacts archived beyond the dates and locations of these events?
  • Are there ways to share knowledge and learning that we need to start modeling for professional learning, training, and development of our own?
  • How are professionals who do not attend engaged and encouraged to understand the value-add of these learning experience or resources shared from the in-person meetings?
  • What was can data be managed and learning objects be curated to organize what was shared, learned, and presented at these events?

I don’t have the answers to these, but I think this is worthy of further discussion and consideration. I know I would be willing to support and work with professional associations/organizations who would like to consider how to effectively organize their own digital libraries for learning, knowledge sharing, and advancement of the field. Let’s chat.

Career, Job Search

Engineer Your Career Passion

Most people want to be satisfied and fulfilled by their work. What we do for work and thinking about our career is a central focus for most of my learners, colleagues, friends, and family. And why not? Our jobs take up our time, focus our priorities, or at least have our attention — as we spend  an average of 13 years of our life at work. Asking individuals to find their “career callings” is a stressful task. How can you find great work you love, when really you need a job to be functional, realistic, and something you can obtain? Finding a “job you love” may not pay the bills, support your needs, and be something you can do at the moment. Work can be fun, but not all work is. And, sometimes a job is just a job — it might be a job to support yourself and family, that is in the right geographic location, be the first step in your career, or just something you’re doing right now while you try to figure out the next steps to take in your professional life.

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That being said, many people seek meaning and purpose in their world of work. Which might be something that may never happen. Maybe we’re putting too much emphasis on this job fulfillment. Whether it is millennial burnout or workism as our professional identity, there seems to be no shortage of folks discussing and writing about the topic careers and work life these days. I appreciated how Elizabeth Gilbert breaks down how we think about our careers in a Hello Monday interview, specifically how we might confuse these four aspects of our life when it comes to reflecting on our work life:

  1. Hobby: Is something you do because you enjoy it and you don’t need anything back for it. It’s fun and you delight in it.
  2. Job: A thing you have because everyone has to have one. It doesn’t need to fulfill your emotional needs because it’s there to pay the bills and you have a life outside your job that is more interesting (e.g. family, hobbies, pursuits, etc.)
  3. Career: Should be something you are passionate about (mostly). A career is a job that you deeply care about.
  4. Vocation: A sacred calling of something that is very holy to you that is the center of your life that can never be taken away from you no matter what.

This framework presents ideas around careers vs. callings, specifically outlining what you do and how you do. In the span of your work life, you might find yourself in anyone or all four of these areas to find fulfillment OR to support your career planning.  Listen to the full podcast episode HERE.

Sometimes how we craft our work and leisure time leaves many professional unsatisfied by not answering their career callings and leading to professional regret (Berg, Grant, & Johnson, 2010). This synopsis by Gilbert is not entirely wrong. Our job attitudes and meaning-making at work is highly predictive of how individuals thrive and contribute to their organizations of employment (Wrzesniewski, 2003), specifically when job crafting in service of purpose is encouraged and supports the well-being of the employee (Tims, Bakker, & Derks, 2013). Each semester I teach a course in personal/professional development, where my learners go through modules to figure out their own trajectory for their academic and career path. Some are first-generation, first time in college students; whereas others have years of experience in their profession and are looking to finish a 4-year degree to advance, transition to a new career, and more. I know that identifying career callings and directions are challenging. So I typically do NOT give the traditional advice to “find your passion.” I think passions are often developed and created as we gain employment experience, learn more about ourselves, and find opportunities for discovery in the wold of work.

I know that I am not alone in this thinking

Listen to the recent WorkLife with Adam Grant podcast: The Perils of Following your Career Passion that shares how the “do what you love” is often terrible career advice.

What will your future work self look like? Do you know what you want to be doing? What can you do now to get you there? Your first job might not make you happy or your next career move might not be your “dream job” — but what will help you learn, grow and enhance YOU for the next step in your professional life? How can you develop your talents and build upon your skills, interest, and abilities? These are the questions I pose to my learners each semester. That is, to really think about what drives you into action and to identify how to these interests to individual skills and talents for work.

In studying unconventional career paths of “dark horses,” Rose and Ogas (2018) found that the pursuit of fulfillment requires work:

“Following your passion takes little effort. Engineering your passion, on the other hand, is a more serious undertaking. It requires that you diligently pursue a deeper understanding of yourself. Engineering passion is hard work-but the benefits are enormous” (pp. 76-77).

I think we all could put more effort into designing and building the career we want. Passion might be part of it, or we might decide this passion is something we do alongside our work life. There is no one standard formula for how our hobby, job, career, and calling exist with one another. Here are a few big questions to consider if you want to start engineering your career passion to create a fulfilling work experience and to support your future work self:

  • Legacy:
    • Where do you want to make a difference in the world?
    • What do you want to leave behind?
    • How can you start moving towards these goals?
    • Would your 10-year-old self be proud of what you are doing?
  • Mastery:
    • What sort of actions/skills put you into a state of flow?
    • What is something you can focus on for hours?. e.g. you might forget to eat, lose sleep, etc.
    • What knowledge, skills, or abilities do you want to learn?
    • What ways are you challenging yourself to actively improve, practice, or develop?
  • Action:
    • What are you doing (or not doing) today to move your career goals forward?
    • How are you honing your optimal skills and talents for the next job or career transition?
    • What ways are you making time to grow and develop your future work self now?
    • Who might you reach out to to support/advise/mentor with your career development in your organization, industry, and/or professional field?

References:

Berg, J. M., Grant, A. M., & Johnson, V. (2010). When callings are calling: Crafting work and leisure in pursuit of unanswered occupational callings. Organization Science, 21(5), 973-994.
Rose, T., & Ogas, O. (2018). Dark horse: Achieving success through the pursuit of fulfillment. HarperOne.
Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2013). The impact of job crafting on job demands, job resources, and well-being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(2), 230-240.
Wrzesniewski, A. (2003). Finding positive meaning in work. In K. Cameron & J. Dutton (eds.) Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, pp. 296-308.
highered, Podcast, Research

The State of Higher Ed Podcasts in 2019

Over the last couple of years, I have been looking at the landscape of podcasting within higher education. Today podcast and audio listening now has 50% of the US ear (The Infinite Dial 2019 report), as we witness some exodus from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  With the options of audio streaming platforms and increased ownership of smart speakers, I was not surprised to see the increase in weekly audio online listening:

As someone who listens to, creates, hosts, and enjoy podcasts, I have been following how my college and university colleagues have been involved in developing their own podcasts for the past couple of years: https://higheredpodcasts.wordpress.com/ Thanks to iTunes U, universities found a way to share their audio and video lectures, lessons, and student-produced podcasts. Now, we have innovative colleagues willing to share about their scholarship, offer suggestions for teaching, and tell more about their own practice on campus. I have shared shared some of this research and training materials in a previous blog post: Pod Save Higher Ed: Resources for Podcasting.  Over the Spring Break, I completed a review and update of the podcasts my peers are making. There are a number of additions, updates and archives, especially as more higher ed professionals are finding accessible ways to create and stream their audio productions.

For the purpose of my research, I am investigating podcasts that share about the higher education professional (graduate students, staff, and faculty) experience. These specific types of podcasts may offer a new way to learn, offer professional development, share a story, and/or improve to our practice in teaching, research or service. My review is to look at the genres, topics, audiences, issues, and ideas being shared in the higher ed podcast land. Here is the list of podcasts I’ve curated and I am currently examining in 2019 [also shared http://bit.ly/higheredpodcasts]:

If you have a podcast I should include in this review of podcasts in 2019, please let me know! Here is how I am defining a “higher ed podcast” for the purpose of this study:

  • the podcast content is created and shared to support professional development, learning, and/or information distribution
  • the podcast has a target audience which might include graduate learners (e.g. masters or doctoral researchers), professional school students (e.g. social work, medicine, etc.), staff/administration, and/or faculty in higher education
  • the podcast is in an audio and/or video format that can be subscribed, downloaded, and/or streamed from an electronic device (e.g. computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile)
  • the podcast is a program, show, broadcast, and/or episodes with a specific purpose or topic focused on the higher education domain
  • the podcast includes original content development intention: it was designed for a podcast, e.g. recorded college/university lectures, conference panels/presentations, professional learning webinars, recorded meeting, etc. (unless it was edited to fit into a podcast)
  • the podcast can be active or archived (no production since 2017)
Podcast, Professional Development, Training & Development

Pod Save Higher Ed: Resources For Podcasting

This month, I have found myself sharing more and more about how we can think about social, digital tools to tell our stories in higher ed. There are many ways to share our experiences and highlight the amazing things students, staff, and faculty are working on at and beyond our institutions. I have found podcast hosting/producing to be a very rewarding experience to support my own learning and development. There is no shortage of knowledge I have not learned from podcast guests, the research of topics, and the notes for each episode  I have hosted – thanks @BreakDrink & #InVinoFab podcast!

Digital storytelling has the potential to cultivate agile learning and kick start creativity in our college/university pedagogical practices and research projects. With a growing population tuning into podcasts (at least 44% have listened to a podcast, and 26% are monthly listeners in the US in 2018), this storytelling medium is on the rise. Podcast creation and listening has increased for a variety of reasons: access and portability to listen on a variety of devices, a way to fill the daily/work commute, the growth of smart speakers, and the increasing mention of new and interesting fiction and nonfiction series that have reinvigorated podcast listening (thanks, Serial, Season 1).

Podcasts offer both information and entertainment outlets for listeners to tune in anywhere, anytime they want. This on-demand, audio content allows the media to be streamed or downloaded, and offers listeners a way to participate in the slow web movement.  Instead of a quick like, comment, or post we typically experience on social media or online, podcasts provide a longer form, intimate experience and connection with the hosts and ideas shared. This longer media format often offers deeper insights, showcases personality and personal styles, and helps to interpret current projects and experiences from this audio narrative. With a wide variety of creative formats (e.g. interviews, commentary, panels, storytelling, etc.), podcast episodes can vary in time, style, and approach. The audio medium of the podcast lets you decide the frequency, distribution, and how you will produce the topic. Additionally, you can include resources for listeners to access further information through episode details, resources, show notes, and transcripts.

I think MORE of my college and university colleagues should consider exploring podcast creation to share personal stories, thoughts, and reflections on the work we do. For higher ed, the podcast medium allows for hosts/producers to extend knowledge to a campus community, academic discipline, and practitioners who want to engage deeply on specific topics, ideas, trends, and/or issues. To plant the podcast production seed, I thought I’d share a few podcast planning/development resources I’ve been curating from a recent workshop I facilitated, called Pod Save Higher Ed. Here is the podcast planning and brainstorm resource guide to be downloaded (as a PDF file) shared under a Creative Commons license:

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7228223.v1

I wish I had a quick “how to,” accessible guide to for higher ed podcast hosting and producing when I first started in 2010 (as Jeff and I lamented about in a past BreakDrink episode). This is a quick OVERVIEW of useful curated podcast resources, tools, tutorials, and suggestions I hope will help you if you are currently podcasting and/or considering to start your own podcast:

http://bit.ly/podsavehighered

There are SO many ways to produce a podcast these days. This open document is a space to SHARE and LEARN about HOW higher education professionals create, make, produce, and host their own podcasts:

http://bit.ly/behindthepodcast

Take a LISTEN to podcasts for and created by higher education professionals who want to share resources, ideas, and aspects about their own work:

http://bit.ly/higheredpodcasts

The time for higher ed professionals, practitioners, graduate students, researchers, instructors, administrators, and more to gain a share of the podcast ear. Higher ed hosts and producers, it’s time to raise our mics and let our tales be told through podcasts. Go ahead and launch the podcast you have always dreamed of creating now! I hope to listen to your pod story soon, @LauraPasquini

p.s. Be sure to share your podcasting story and let others know how/why you started your own podcasts OR how podcasts help you in your professional life in higher ed: #PodSaveHigherEd

Reference:

Pasquini, L. A. (2018). Pod Save Higher Ed: A Resource Guide To Inspire Storytelling & Podcast Making in Higher Education. figshare. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7228223.v1 and http://bit.ly/podsavehighered

#AcDigID, #EdDigID, #HEdigID

Being a Higher Ed Professional Online (#HEdigID) Is Complicated: Join the Conversation?

A growing number of practitioners, professionals, and administrators in higher education engage and share their professional practice in digital spaces. There is no surprise that these educators are social, networked, and keen to learn from one another online. These non-traditional spaces offer ways to share resources, access professional development, and learn from other professionals beyond their institution or even functional area of work.  Other higher ed professionals also seek out spaces for personal support, issues on campus, and communities that connect to their social identities, values, and/or beliefs.

This week I’m facilitating the Online Learning Consortium online workshop: Developing Your Social Media and Digital Presence for Higher Ed Professionals (#HEdigID). This 7-day, workshop was originally created to help faculty and staff in higher education craft an online presence; however, there are more issues about “being” online in today’s digital network. The goal was to introduce digital and social ways to connect, learn, and present yourself and work in online spaces. With the shift and scale of a number of social networks and online platforms, I’m not so sure everyone needs to be everywhere online. Some might need an academic persona … whereas other college/university staff may not or might be struggling with their digital, professional lives. Being a higher ed professional online is quite complicated. Asking and learning about professionals digital selves unpacks the complexity of living our individual networked experiences. Being a digital professional might differ based on the culture of the institution, support (or lack there of) from peers and/or a supervisor, ability to participate (or not) based on geographic location, and the social identities that travel with professionals via online platforms. The decision to “be” a professional online is not a simple or straightforward “how to” guide. And, I think it’s something that often gets overlooked or not really talked about it among higher ed faculty and staff — so let’s change that. Let’s talk about it!

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate social media and digital platforms for professional development and connected learning.
  • Establish effective strategies for developing an online digital identity within the open, networked higher ed community online.
  • Outline the benefits and challenges of open and digital practice in higher education, specifically with regards to social media and other networked platforms.

Workshop Schedule

This is an asynchronous, week-long online workshop which will begin on a Monday (May 14th) and end on the following Sunday (May 20th). If you want a look at the #HEdigID workshop agenda, here is the outline for short-course:

  • Why Does Social & Digital Identity Matter in Higher Ed?
    • Getting started, digital identity development, and state of postsecondary practitioners and administrators online
  • The Tools of the Digital Professional Trade: Social Media
    • Twitter, hashtags, blogging, podcasting, LinkedIn, and more for creating and sharing online.
  • Being a Connected and Digital Practitioner
    • Digital research impact and influence: Slack, websites, YouTube Live, ORCID iD, ResearchGate, etc.
  • Openness in Academia: Benefits & Challenges
    • Working “in the open” and the tension between benefits & challenges of digitally engaging.
  • Building Your Social and Digital Presence Online
    • Creating your own space and place for your professional work and sharing among practitioners.
  • Developing Your Digital Academic Identity
    • Bonus: Ways to aggregate and showcase your digital, professional self and the work you’re doing on campus.

Dates Offered: May 14-20, 2018; Registration Page (to sign up)

Join the Conversation?

If you can join us in the actual course — great! If you are not able to commit to this short course — but you’re interested in this TOPIC and DISCUSSION, here are a few ways you can engage in the Higher Ed Digital Identity (#hedigid) Workshop this week:

  • ADD TO THE TWITTER LIST: Are you on the“Academics Who Tweet” Twitter list? I would like to get a variety of folks from academia from all disciplines and functional work areas in higher education. Let me know (comments or directly on Twitter) if YOU or someone else should be added.
  • USE the #HEdigID Workshop HASHTAG this week to introduce yourself, say hello, share resources, or offer advice. I am encouraging learners to follow, read, and use this same hashtag during the week of May 14-20, 2018.
  • PARTICIPATE & TWEET during the #HEdigID Twitter Chat: Join us for the Twitter chat on Friday, May 18th for the ALL DAY conversation. Using the workshop hashtag, #HEdigID, I will moderate a chat over the course of the day to dig into the questions, challenges, and ideas/suggestions for being a networked professionals. I will be posting the questions and reminding y’all about the chat in a couple of days BEFORE Friday. Learn more about the #HEdigID chat here and how YOU can sign up to moderate a future conversations online: https://techknowtools.com/twitter-chats/hedigid/
  • TELL YOUR #HEdigID STORY: Interested in joining an online, synchronous conversation to share about your own #HEdigID experience? Want to tell a story about how being a networked scholar/practitioner impacts your work in higher ed?  Want to tell the workshop participants about a connected community you are a part of in these networked spaces? Let me know – happy to have you join during our #HEdigID Online, Synchronous Meeting this FRIDAY, May 18, 2018 from 12-12:40 pm EST. [Drop me a DM on Twitter: @laurapasquini or a comment]

Being online and living in the network impacts our personal and professional lives. What it was to be connected or sharing in the network looks and feels much different in 2018. What does it mean to be a networked professional now to you? How has your participation changed, shifted, or grown in these social networks? What questions or considerations are you making about your online self to preserve your digital identity? Join the conversation to reflect and discuss what it means to be a higher ed professional in digitally connected spaces.

Collaboration, Higher Education, Horizon Report, K-12, Learning, report, Research

#FOECast: Ideation Week for the Future of Education

What project should we create to grasp the future of education and technology?

This is a big, bold question that is being explored and discussed in facilitated conversations via Bryan Alexander this week for:

Future of Education & Everything Community (#FOECast) IDEATION WEEK: February 26-March 2, 2018 

For those of you who know me (or are just getting to be acquainted), I am all for a grassroots initiative to discuss and dig into problems by and for a community. The idea of this week is to encourage “ideation” in an open, accessible way to explore how we’ll investigate/understand the future of learning, education, technology, and probably more. This is an exciting endeavor instigated by Bryan (and more!) to crowdsource where the Horizon report might go — or even expand into areas it did not reach. The goal (or dream) is: “to create something bold and new, a project drawing on the middle of the 21st century. This is a public and open process, through which we hope to get as broad and diverse a set of perspectives as possible.”

 

JOIN the LIVE Online Sessions to CONTRIBUTE!

During the online, synchronous meetings, these will be the four questions/prompts to guide the conversation:

  1. What needs did the Horizon report meet?

  2. What forecasting methods should we consider?

  3. What shape should a new effort take?

  4. What scope should this cover?

If you are not able to make a time/meeting, please feel free to participate in this organic and growing discussion. You can comment by tweeting and follow the #FOECast hashtag. Add your comments and responses to this open Google doc that continues to grow and be annotated (love it?).  Join and contribute to the ongoing Slack channel (find the direct URL here: https://beyondthehorizongroup.slack.com/). Additionally, you can post your own thoughts/ideas to the four questions (above) on your own blog, video, or other digital media of your choice. I have no doubt the community of futurists, instigators, designers, and then some would welcome all contributions … well, maybe not smoke signals (yet).

I expressed my sentiments about the NMC Horizon Report and the value it offered in the doc:

1) What needs did the Horizon Report meet?

I think the horizon report helps to bring together multiple stakeholders have contributed to the different entities in education come together (K-12, higher ed, and libraries) and the professional organizations/affiliations of practitioners and researchers. The horizon reports offered information, knowledge sharing, exemplars/examples, and practical experiences collected in one hub. Related to that, we started to bridge into other geographic areas and branch into the needs of industry. This cross-section of representation started to pollinate ideas and encourage people to move beyond a role or institutional focus into what is possible for the future of education. Does the horizon report need to be exclusive to technology? Should we be focused on the education landscape as a whole? This could be the changes in demographics for learners, educators, practitioners, and organizational trends/needs.

I’m stilling chewing on these questions… and thinking out loud (out blog?). I hope to join the conversations and be part of this collaborative discussion and threads on the interwebs. If you too care about the future of learning and have a thought of two — do join in. This is important and we need ideas from all around the education/learning table. What do you think about the future of learning, education, and technology?

 

An UPDATE on March 4, 2018:

After participating in a couple of conversations, watching the online discourse, and critical contributions in the shared doc/slack spaces, I thought I should finish up my own contributions to all that is shared and where this #FOEcast conversation might go. Here are my responses to the last 3 questions posed for the week:

2) What forecasting methods should we consider?

I am not sure about forecasting methods; however, I am not sure we do a decent job actually aggregating the data, research, and current practices in a comprehensive manner. There are a number interesting and creative pedagogical practices that rarely get reviewed or researched. Additionally, there is rarely many findings or research implications that are shared well with practitioners for teaching/learning/training. I would be more interesting in considering how we bring these information sources we currently have to understand the broader landscape. Perhaps this involves bringing different entities, stakeholders, organizations, etc. together to process and review learning practices in a few different pockets and industries. With criticisms of integrity withing the educational technology research and critiques of past NMC briefs, I am not sure how the past reports were developed always expressed the trends of teaching/learning/training around the globe. Who gets included or excluded with a Delphi panel? Why is there a focus on technologies and tools, rather than solving problems? How can future trend reporting truly reach and cover a broad spectrum of how learning and development is evolving with “innovative” or forward thinking pedagogical practice? Those would be the questions I would want answered for predictions and pathways forward for research methods to develop a new report.

3) What shape should a new effort take?

Perhaps going from the original Delphi model of “ask the expert” + community to curate a report of the “state of learning” (or training or development — per Stephen Downes above) to tease out the original PDF report and present it in multiple ways that interests and engages multiple audiences (e.g. educators, researchers, designers, admin, training, L&D, etc.). A digital showcase of applications beyond a webinar or webcast could include bit-sized examples of testing and experimenting with learning design, a technology in application for learning, or other via a podcast+show notes, video demonstration, testing exemplar of a concept, team blog of experimentation in progress, or a “behind the curtains” look for how to apply pedagogical practices. There is no shortage of how to share knowledge that allows it to cross into different industries, learning/educational areas, and could engage multiple professionals (not just K-12, higher ed, workplace learning, library, etc.) — this could be shared with those who are willing to test/try/experiment in learning. Perhaps focusing on the issues, concepts, and problems will help bring a broader audience and interest to the findings in these future of learning reports AND help us to connect the nodes between professions, practitioners, and a variety of industries. Let’s start encouraging play in other professional sandboxes!

4) What scope should this cover?

I think FOECast has the potential to go beyond the original Horizon Report. It could be more than a function of educational sectors or even geographic locations discussing the trends for technology + {Library, K-12 education, Higher Ed, etc.}. The new version looking at the future of education (or learning/development/training), could provide a pathway to discuss critical issues, contemplative ideas, and thoughtful pedagogical practices. Some of these trends may include technology; however, the focus could be on the issues or problems the collective wants to solve in teaching/learning/development. I would hope these reports (or open ideation events or whatever shape this takes) continues to involve an integrated community of practice to engage, question, think critically, contribute, and challenge one another to do better work (teaching, researching, designing, etc.). What are the questions we should be asking? What are the practices we could be testing or piloting? What are the nuances for teaching/learning?

I am a big fan of how Kay Oddone shared this diagram below and reflected how connected learning principles emerged out of the FOEcast week of brainstorming/ideation:

Project_FOECast_through_the_lens_of_Connected_Learning

I agree with this, and further push this idea to embrace how connected learning often drives professionals to contribute to a networked community of practice. The FOEcast week reminded me how an organic group of people can support and contribute to moving an idea forward. The community is vested in a common purpose and many want to not just talk, but also contribute to how we can shape our future practices, with regards to formal and informal learning. With formal education institutions (K-12, higher education, etc.) and professional associations/organizations there seems to be a tension of how to balance innovative ideas and approach future-oriented projects due to structural barriers or workforce constraints. This process allows for more freedom and willingness to connect the nodes to share knowledge and involve those who might be interested in a problem/issue or topic. What is great about this designed experience is the potential to move this conversation (and future actions) beyond a particular professional role/title/function, across institutional/organizational boundaries, and involve others who have not contributed their voice yet. This is critical, as sharing at the intersections of what we do in learning/training/development will help to truly advance our pedagogical practices.

There was so much thoughtful discussion and critical thinking shared on the live chats, hashtag and open Google doc (go see for yourself). Thanks for instigating this needed conversation, Bryan, and to all the contributors — it has been a real delight to read your ideas and hear your thoughts in this open dialogue.  I hope this process of thinking, talking, and doing something for the future of everything continues. I’m interested… count me in! This might be the wrap up blog post for the #FOEcast week, Final push: Create!, however; this conversation and community contribution seems to be just the beginning: https://www.foecast.net/