Networked Community, Networked Practice

What Does the #SApro Facebook Group Actually Talk About?

Wow. It’s the end of June. It’s been pretty quiet on this blog, and really on most of my social streams. I have intentionally turn off, deactivated, and ignored my social media channels to really dig into understanding more about networked practices in higher education. June has been filled with a many research and writing tasks: reviewing up interview transcripts, editing a couple of manuscripts for journals, reading even MORE literature, and cleaning/organizing extant data (e.g. digital archives, online community spaces, etc.). Sounds like fun, right?

To take a break, I’m emerging from my #ShutUpAndWrite hiding location to give an update on one community we examined. At the end of May, a few of us (Paul, Adam, Josie, & I) discussed how and why we researched the Student Affairs Professional Facebook Group on the Higher Ed Live episode: “Researching Student Affairs Professional’s Digital Communities.” In listening to this broadcast, I thought this conversation with Tony was helpful to open up about our process and explain more about this type of research. Although we presented this study during #ACPA18 and we currently have an article “under review,” I thought I’d offer some highlights from our conversation for graduate students and professionals in Student Affairs.

In combing through the empirical literature on Facebook groups, there are a number of industries and a variety of professionals who utilize this platform for their occupation. What is unique about the Facebook groups we looked at, in comparison, it was rare to have a community be actively sustained for such a long length of time (since 2009) and to find one as as scaled in membership (30, 866 members as of today).

The community members of the Student Affairs Professionals Facebook group share a significant amount of data (information that something happened) and knowledge (information about why something happened) via this social media platform (a digital infrastructure that enables two or more groups to interact (Srnicek, 2017). There are so many assumptions, observations, and anecdotes for this group; however very little evidence has been gathered using data to inform what is being shared within the conversations of this digital space — so we guided our study with these research questions:

RQ1. What topics and issues do member of the Student Affairs Professional Facebook group discuss over 14-month period of time?

RQ2. What topics and issues gain the most shares, comments, reactions, and interactions?

To learn more about the process for data collection, analysis, and our preliminary findings, watch the archived @HigherEdLive episode here:

Here are just a few of the questions Tony asked with the relevant response after this time stamp:

  1. Introductions and about the topic [Start]
  2. [6:42] You decided to study the Student Affairs Professionals  Facebook Group. Why did you think this group in particular was important to study?
  3. [9:05] How did you collect the data you analyzed?
  4. [15:23] There has been a lot of talk about privacy issues related to Facebook and other social media lately. How did you protect people’s privacy and why is this important for researchers doing social media research?
  5. [17:25] What types of analyses did you conduct and why were these the analytical approaches you decided to employ?
  6. [20:10] What are some of the ways professionals are using this space, based on your analyses?
  7. [27:42] Which posts garnered the most engagement? What might this say about our profession and the ways that professionals are using groups such as the Student Affairs Professionals Facebook group?

When solicited for advice or resources for digital communities our panel offered a few helpful suggestions. Thanks for asking the questions and having us talk about our research process out loud, Tony. Here are our parting thoughts that closed the conversation [57:12]:

  • Josie: Instead of a resource, find people to look to “lurking and learning” and watch how they use these social and digital platforms. Pay attention to behaviors, reach out to chat with them, and ask questions – find a mentor to discussion your professional digital self with. Seek out people, and not just paper. Find others to learn and grow from within your network.
  • Adam: Look beyond the field and engage with communities beyond the field of Student Affairs and outside higher education; think with an interdisciplinary spirit about your own practice to encourage a diversity of thought to your own campus.
  • Paul: We need more experience and exposure to learn how to research in the field about the field in these digital spaces. A few suggested books: Methods – Sage Handbook of Social Media Methods; Conducting Qualitative Inquiry of Learning in Online Spaces; Digital Tools for Qualitative Research and Journals: Social Media & Society; Computers in Human Behavior; Internet and Higher Education
  • Laura: “Study problems, not things.” by @veletsianos Forget the technology or the tools. What is the question or issue you want to explore? We need more practitioners to be part of this research and be part of this process in understanding how and why we engage in digital communities and spaces. We need more people to find evidence and share the work we do.

Suggested Reads:

Helpful Resources for Community Moderators:

  • Are you a moderator or admin of a Facebook group? You might want to use https://sociograph.io/ This can help you understand more about your community and group as the Administrator; this needs to be an open group to use the tool. This can be a good starting point to learn about your community.
  • Need to gather a hashtag to archive your Twitter community conversation and interactions? TAGS is a free Google Sheet template which lets you setup and run automated collection of search results from Twitter: https://tags.hawksey.info/ [Thanks, Martin Hawksey!]

If you’re interested and want to learn more about the larger research project OR perhaps even get involved with research in this area — please reach out! To learn more the about networked practices in higher education and student affairs study, that is, general updates, publications, and presentations can be found here:  https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/

Reference:

Srnicek, N. (2017). Platform capitalism. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
#HEdigID

#HEdigID Chat No. 1: Being A Higher Ed Professional Online

Friday, February 9, 2018 — is the FIRST of a series of conversations on Twitter I hope to instigate, support, and contribute to this year: Higher Education Digital Identity (a.k.a. #HEdigID) Chat.  As I’ve previously blogged, I think it’s about time to properly discuss the impacts and ramifications of being a higher education professional (e.g. staff, faculty, graduate students, etc.) online. Over the last decade, I’ve seen my postsecondary peers  “grow up” digitally, e.g. on social networks, linked platforms, and media spaces. There are a number of connected communities and brilliant friends who I’ve met online first that I’ve had the opportunity to chat, collaborate, conspire, and create with over the years. That being said, being digitally engaged does not come without challenges, issues, or considerations for being on social/digital platforms (I’m looking directly at YOU, data, privacy, and surveillance monsters).

I’ll be the moderator (MOD) for today’s (Feb. 9th) #HEdigID Chat to initiate this conversation and identify SPECIFIC TOPICS and ISSUES we might want to dig into further over the next few months. I’ll pose a few prompts and questions using the hashtag #HEdigID (with the images) to stir the chat pot, but I welcome any and all campus colleagues to add their own to the discussion.

If you can’t be on Twitter TODAY (2/9), no need to fear. We will connect on the SECOND FRIDAY of EACH month this year to have an open conversation about being a higher ed professional who is connected, networked and/or digitally engaged. Here’s the #HEdigID schedule, if you would like to #SaveTheDates:

March 9, 2018 August 10, 2018
April 13, 2018 September 14, 2018
May 11, 2018 October 9, 2018
June 8, 2018 November 9, 2018
July 13, 2018 December 14, 2018

Any and all post-secondary faculty, staff, professionals, scholars, practitioners, administrators, graduate students, and leaders (really anyone in higher ed) are encouraged to JOIN and CONTRIBUTE to the Twitter conversation. There will be a TOPIC, THEME, and PROMPTS to guide the Twitter Chat over the course of the day. This “SLOW” Twitter Chat (all day) is designed to encourage and allow our colleagues from across the pond, time zones, and busy work schedules to join in the dialogue.

I will moderate (MOD) the first one or two #HEdigID chats; however, I am also quite open to others who want to MOD and/or contribute an IDEA or TOPIC we should dig into online. I plan to tap a few shoulders of other colleagues who are involved in teaching, research, and service scholarship in the area of networked scholarship/practice and online digital identity and presence to lead a future #HEdigID Chat TOPIC.Are you interested in being a MOD? Let me know — DM me on the Twitters, comment below, or find my email on the “about” page. Chat with y’all soon via #HEdigID!

UPDATED — here is the TRANSCRIPT Archive of the conversation and sharing from the first discussion via the hashtag #HEdigID in an open Google spreadsheet:

#HEdigID Chat Transcript, No. 1: On Being Online in Higher Ed (February 9, 2018)

Thank you

 

#AcDigID, #EdDigID, #HEdigID

#HEdigID Twitter Chat: Let’s Talk About Our Networked, Digital Life, Higher Ed.

For the last couple of  years, I have been talking, researching and engaging with colleagues to figure out what it means to be a networked practitioner and/or scholar in higher ed. Based on a recent workshop and Twitter conversation (#acdigid chat), it is clear that being online feels different in 2018 than it did back in 2008 when I first started to really connect to other professionals in digital, social networks.  In an editorial I wrote for Inside Higher Ed last year, I ask questions about what it means to have a digital persona in academia, specifically these ones (slightly modified):

  • How does being part of a digital learning network support learning and development for higher ed professionals?
  • How are faculty and staff shaping their online identity and presence to share professional values, work, etc.?
  • How can does a networked community expand knowledge to enhance our roles on campus and the work we do?
  • Why might others higher ed professionals want to network with peers to scaffold their own career goals?

As these digital networks have scaled past the “social-media-is-just-a-fad” stage and they now influence more of our society in our daily lives. That being said, I think educators are considering how to be more thoughtful and consider HOW, WHERE, and IF, they should “be” in these public and open spaces. A number of college/university practitioners, scholars, and administrators have seen benefits to “working out loud” and being public intellectual in postsecondary. That being said, the repurposing of social media and digital platforms, has come with minimal institutional guidance and limited sociotechnical support (Pasquini & Evangelopoulos, 2017) and does appear to have ramifications for our personal/professional lives. A number of interviews with higher ed colleagues have just begun to identify the benefits, challenges, and future considerations for higher ed networked practices. And, of course, in talking to researchers, student affairs educators, early career researchers, academic advisors, senior administration, instructional designers, and other colleagues — it seems that we have even more questions and the need to continue these conversations among ourselves.

In a recent Twitter poll I put out this month, I tossed out the idea to host a SLOW (all day) Twitter chat ONE DAY per month for 2018. It seems like a few of you (at least 15) in higher ed, are interested in discussing your digital identity and “being online” or connected as a professional:

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

So, let me introduce to you the…

Higher Ed Digital Identity Chat (#HEdigID)

We will connect on the SECOND FRIDAY of each month this year to have an open, honest conversation about being a higher ed professional who is connected and digitally engaged. Here’s the schedule, if you would like to #SaveTheDate:

February 9, 2018

August 10, 2018

March 9, 2018

September 14, 2018

April 13, 2018

October 9, 2018

May 11, 2018

November 9, 2018

June 8, 2018

December 14, 2018

July 13, 2018

Any and all post-secondary faculty, staff, professionals, scholars, practitioners, administrators, graduate students, and leaders (really anyone in higher ed) are encouraged to JOIN and CONTRIBUTE to the Twitter conversation. There will be a TOPIC, THEME, and PROMPTS to guide the Twitter Chat over the course of the day. This “SLOW” Twitter Chat (all day) is designed to encourage and allow our colleagues from across the pond, time zones, and busy work schedules to join in the dialogue. I am happy to moderate (MOD) the first few #HEdigID chats; however, I am also quite open to others who want to MOD and/or contribute an IDEA or TOPIC we should dig into online. Let me know!

#AcDigID, #EdDigID, networkedscholar, Training & Development

Being “Professional” Online… Whatever That Means. #EdDigID #AcDigID

I just started reading the new book, The Digital Academic (Lupton, Mewburn, & Thomson, 2018), and I was reminded of the debate in The Guardian on being or not being a “serious academic.”  These two articles argue the merit of how scholars participate (or should not) on social media and digital networks. The two sides see involvement on social networks as either public discourse and knowledge sharing or as a complete waste of time only used for personal reputation management. Not surprising, this how networked practice is mirrored among the administrative staff I have been interviewing. Often postsecondary educators express the need to “be professional online.” Depending on the campus culture, professionals are either encouraged or discouraged from actively engaging online on social media. Most staff expressed uncertainty of any policies, expectations, politics, and implications of their own social media use. And commonly, social media and digital technologies are not often guided by academic institutions or via the professional organizations/associations. What is exciting about this edited collection (that I’ve read so far), is it unpacks these binary perceptions and dichotomous narratives. There is so much more to discuss than just good vs. bad for these social, online contexts. Just like our social identities, our online selves are so much more complex and things get complicated when we interact on certain platforms, connect with particular communities, and experience “being” within social networks. Just like our social identities, our online selves are so much more complex and vary in certain contexts. Things tend to get complicated when we interact on certain platforms, connect with specific communities, and experience “being” within particular professional online networks. Online identity is more fluid and less compartmentalized than ever before. Sure we share our practices and offer praise; however, there seem to be escalating issues and challenges we need to talk about in these online environments.

Sure, I can reflect back to the early days of participating in open, digital channels to ask for advice, share resources, support one another, and really have a bit of a chat (and banter) with loads of colleagues in #highered. I have definitely benefited from the offering of professional development via Twitter, open sharing of learning on blogs, and wealth of knowledge being shared by videos, open documents, and curated resources via my personal learning network. Although I still experience benefits to “working out loud” and participating in these online social networks, I believe “being online” in higher ed looks today looks different from when I first started, plus I recognize my own points of social privilege I have in these spaces. Our networks have grown up and with this scaled new look comes concerns about privacy, data collection, and reputation management. Additionally, there are a number of unwritten rules and informal sanctions facing higher ed faculty and staff in these social, digital places. “Academic work and academic selfhood in the increasingly digitised realm of higher education are fraught with complexities and ambivalences” (Lupton et al., 2018, pp. 15-16). So much is left unanswered:

  • What happens when our personal and professional online networks intersect and come to campus?
  • What behaviours and use of social media are acceptable for your role, discipline, and institution?
  • How do we work online and offline, when the boundaries are poorly defined and perhaps even seamless?
  • What implications are there for being online and connected in 2017?
  • How does being active on social media or in networked spaces impact career development and advancement?
  • What are we not learning about networked practice in higher ed we should know more about?

These are the questions I am asking (in my research and for my practice), and they are why I developed an OLC online workshop:#EdDigID: Developing Your Social & Digital Presence in Higher Ed (#AcDigID)

Next week (September 25-October 1, 2017) is the last offering of this workshop for 2017. [Update: I’m teaching the #AcDigID version January 8-14, 2018 for academic faculty and researchers.] This 7-day short course is like an expanded, self-pace webinar to understand and identify what it means to be networked as a higher education professional. This course was created 1st targeted only at networked scholars (#AcDigID), and it has evolved to discuss the affordances and challenges faced by both academic and administrative staff in higher ed who are digitally engaged. Although this workshop was pitched to me as a “how to” develop your online presence on social media, I think it would be a disservice to postsecondary practitioners if we did not discuss the blurred lines of our occupational selves, including private vs. public, online vs. offline, and context collapse between our personal and professional networks.

Here are the learning goals for the workshop:

  1. Evaluate social media and digital platforms for professional development and connected learning in the field;
  2. Establish effective strategies for developing/creating/improving your  digital identity for open, networked practice; and
  3. Outline the benefits and challenges of open and digital practice, especially when considering what it means for higher education staff and faculty are active on social media and in networked spaces.

For those who join this course, we will dig deeper into to help YOU consider HOW and WHERE you want to present (or not present) online.  SIGN UP HERE! If you are not able to formally join the #EdDigID workshop next week, no need to fear! I have created a few ways YOU can get involved, perhaps contribute, and potentially drop into this learning party/conversation:

  • TWITTER:
    • TWEET: Share resources around digital identity, networked experiences, and how you learn online and on social media using the workshop hashtag: #EdDigID
    • SHARE HASHTAGS: What hashtags do you track on or who do you follow on Twitter? What hashtags are YOU interested for colleagues in higher ed? #EdDigID
    • TW-LISTED: I have been curating Twitter lists for quite some time that includes peers in higher ed, academia, academic advising, librarians, and MORE! Do I need to add you to one of my Twitter lists? Please advise (on Twitter or in the comments below).
    • JOIN the#EdDigID TWITTER CHAT: Join us for the live, synchronous Twitter chat on Friday, September 29th from 2-3 pm CDT on the Twitters. We’ll be hanging out in this TweetChat Room and I will moderate this chat here: http://tweetchat.com/room/EdDigID
  • LINKEDIN: 
    • CALL FOR CONTRIBUTION: Are you using closed/private groups and networks on social media platforms? Are you forming communities to share in digitally closed spaces, e.g. Private/Secret Facebook Groups, Slack, Mastodon, etc.? Let me know! I will be hosting a synchronous meeting online next Wednesday (9/27) from 1-2 pm CST and I would LOVE if you could JOIN THE CONVERSATION if you’re interested/available.

Reference:

Lupton, D., Mewburn, I., & Thomson, P. (2018). The digital academic: Critical perspectives on digital technology in higher education. New York, NY: Routledge

 

Higher Education, Networked Community, Podcast, Professional Development, Research, StudentAffairs, Training & Development

Where’s Your Digital “Water Cooler” for Professional Development?

Social media has afforded a number of educators (both in higher ed and K-12) a space and place to share, learn, curate, and connect.  If you look online, you will find no shortage of educational hashtags, podcasts, blogs, Twitter chats, online groups, and more. These user-driven, digital communities are thriving as teachers, faculty, staff, and students seek out professional development virtually. It makes sense as social media PD is on-demand, socially integrated, accessible from a variety of devices, portable, and FREE!

Image c/o Killer Infographics (https://vimeo.com/89969554)
Image c/o Killer Infographics https://vimeo.com/89969554

Last week, I shared how our networked communities are a bit like a digital water cool for PD on Vicki Davis’ (@coolcatteacher) 10-Minute Teacher Podcast, episode no. 19: Social Media PD Best Practices #DLDay (or Listen on iTunes). Check out the wealth of resources from Vicki, that definitely spills past K-12 education sphere:

cropped-the-cool-cat-teacher-blog

In looking at these social media spaces, both for research and practice, I am grateful for the learning, support, and care I have received from my peers. I share about the #AcAdv Chat community on this podcast and how it has impacted my practices, with regards to how I support learners in academic advising and instruction. Not only has it been a form of PD, but I am thankful for the connections I have made on a personal level.  I have a number of #AcAdv colleagues have become close friends, and I value them well beyond being a Twitter follower or Facebook reaction in my feed.

These social technologies are connecting professional to help us in the workplace. They allow us to be more fluid to allow for us to search for ideas, share effective practices, offer just-in-time training, and broadcast our daily work experiences online.

to-be-in-a-profession-being-social-is-really-important-and-vital-for-our-practices-to-advance-and-you-dont-do-that-without-learning-from-one-another

These social media “water coolers” are having an impact on how we work in higher ed. It’s not the medium, per se, but we should examine how these platforms impact our social interactions and community development in the field. I believe social media affords us great opportunities for how we share information, curate knowledge, support professional learning, and apply ideas into our practice. That being said, there are challenges and issues we must also consider with regards to professional identity development, being in a networked space to learn, and how these mediums might influence our practice. As we talk with higher ed administrators and staff for our research study, we are beginning to chip away at the motivations for being part of a digital community, how practitioners value online spaces to support the work in highered, what does it mean to be a “public” professional online, and how personal/professional identity is complicated, evolving, and varies based on social media platform or how a community is support.  This research is SO fascinating…

We will share more about our findings soon. That being said, we are still collecting data AND interested in hearing about YOUR networked experience. Where is your digital water cooler on social media? Where do you go online to learn, share, and curate knowledge? How does being online and in these virtual spaces impact your professional (and personal) identity, growth, and career?

SURVEY: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunity

Here s a short, web-based survey that will take 15-20 minutes to complete. You will be asked questions about your online/digital communities of practice, and you will be given the option to share about your digital, online engagement.

INTERVIEW: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunityshare

We are interested in understanding more of your digital, networked self, which might include reviewing your digital presence on social media and other online platforms, and you may potentially be invited for one (1) interview lasting approximately 45-60 minutes in duration. During our interviews, we will ask participants to reflect on networked practices in online digital communities, inquire about your observations of these communities, ask about your interactions and contributions in the network, and discuss issues related to professional identity and professional influence in online spaces.

Networked Community

#NetworkedCoP: Networked Communities of Practice [RESEARCH STUDY]

The Networked Communities of Practice (#NetworkedCoP) study is created to explore how student affairs and higher education professionals participate in online networked communities. We would like to learn HOW and WHY graduate students, professional staff, senior administrators, and scholar-practitioners in higher ed are engaged with blogging, Facebook group discussion, Twitter chats, creating podcasts, using hashtags and more.

play-stone-1237457_1920

We see higher education staff using social media to not only network, but also support one another, provide learning opportunities, share knowledge, and contribute back to the field.


 Please consider participating in our study to share with more about your digital practices:

  • What communities you participate and interact with online?
  • Why do you contribute or interact with these networked communities?
  • How does your digital practice impact your professional identity and influence?
  • What type of professional development, networking, and learning have you experienced from these communities?
  • What benefits, challenges, and affordances occur within this networked practice?

To learn more about our study and participate by telling us about your networked community involvement [SURVEY] or more share more about your networked self [INTERVIEW], please visit our research website:

https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/

This research project is being conducted by Dr. Paul Eaton (Sam Houston State University) and Dr. Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas) and has been approved by the SHSU Institutional Review Board (#30423) and the UNT Institutional Review Board (#16-310).

Higher Education, Professional Development, Reflections, Uncategorized

Digesting #dLRN15: Making Sense of Higher Ed

In the midst of the death of higher ed headlines,the  disruption of HE,  and all the higher ed is broken rhetoric tossed out, a few of us took a pause last week to discuss how to deal with the issues and challenges facing the post-secondary education sector at #dLRN15. I felt fortunate to be able to connect with a number of colleagues to talk behind the buzzwords, and dig into a the real issues challenges our colleges and universities face. It’s time and there is a need to take time for making change in higher education (thanks for the prompt post, @KateMfD). I am not sure that “change” was made, but I am proud to be part of the discussion and momentum that will move some of it forward.

pre-con Qa

Many thanks to the conference organizers for bringing a few smart kids around the table to discuss the following issues:

  • Ethics of collaboration
  • Individualized learning
  • Systemic impacts
  • Innovation and work
  • Sociocultural implications

The panels, sessions, and keynotes left me with more questions than answers – and that is a good thing. Beyond the formal program, the sidebar chats over coffee/snacks/pints were not to be dismissed As Mike Caufield said, I will need to process discussions had at #dLRN15 for weeks. There were some deep discussions into complex issues that could not be dealt with in just two days.

In our pre-conference meeting, each group picked a question/issue based on the themes the conference was focused on (see above). One the groups developed a question that resonated with me the most:

keyquestion

We always want to push forward with big change and innovative ideas in higher ed, but really do we sometimes forget to recognize the incremental changes occurring within our institutions? How do we acknowledge the slow movements and progress we make in HE or that it is an on-going process of change? There are many micro-movements occurring within our learning spaces to help us evolve. I know there are a number of amazing things happening within our colleges and universities — sometimes it’s these slow contributions that make the difference and we often fail to recognize this gradual progress. Slow and steady does win the race.

FinalPanel

Ethics of Collaboration & Closing Remarks: Random Dude, Mike, Barbara & George

Fast-forward to the end of the conference, after a number of thoughtful conversations, this final panel reminded all of us of the call to action => to provide evidence for higher ed to shift. George Siemens asked us to utilize research to fuel the fight around the issues raised. Beyond collaboration, what are we really going to do with what we’ve talked about now? It’s great to hear that we are not alone in our discussions however we need empirical evidence to support the change ahead in higher education. I appreciated how this panel spoke about getting beyond the dichotomies and encouraged us to think about research in collaboration with our students and work. We really need to listen to our students and amplify their story/voice in the research we do. It’s easier to move and change when there is already momentum for systemic change, and perhaps #dLRN15 titled the scale for a few. There are a number of challenges and questions from #dLRN15 to consider with our research in higher education, including:

  • What were the foundational assumptions and purpose we thought about at the #dlrn15 ?
  • How do the threads of the conference fit together in a framework to support advancing higher ed? 
  • What does it mean to have a US-centric focus in higher education? How does it impact HE on a global scale? Does it?
  • Was there enough systems-level research or research on systems change at #dLRN15?
  • Is there a need for systematic-change at all levels to advert change in higher ed?
  • How can higher ed research impact practitioner-based work?
  • Is research is the lever for change for us? And does empirical evidence have the potential to change the higher ed system?
  • How can we create a true design jam process — where research is reviewed and reflected?
  • Why should we trust the researchers?
  • We are able to get learners to the institution, but just not to get them through
  • economics of higher education — and the future of higher ed
  • Do we have enough divergent thoughts or ideas shared? Is this an echo chamber or do we need to invite others into the room/discussion for HE? 

This conversation (thankfully) is not over. Here’s a snapshot of my #dLRN15 Reading List with reflections and then some. Let’s keep this conversation and momentum going.