Being an open professional or academic might mean showcasing your own work, research, teaching, and practice online. Social networks and digital tools are increasingly offering higher ed professionals an online place for collaboration, learning, and sharing. In the information age, being able to display research and practical work in higher education is the norm and it is critical we are contributing to public knowledge.
There are a great number of benefits for being open and online; however, professional digital identity development does not come without questions or challenges. My last post not only introduced a few issues, challenges, and affordances (+ the #EdDigID workshop); however, we are going to share MORE in a LIVE Twitter Chat this Friday, September 29, 2017 from 2-3 pm CDT (time zone converter, I’m in Dallas, TX, USA). What does it mean to be a connected practitioner? How has being a networked scholar impacted your work? Come chat, in 140 characters or less (or more) with us! All #highered colleagues & peers are welcome for some FREE Twitter PD!
HOW TO: Participate in the #EdDigID Chat on Friday (9/29)
Here’s a quick overview of how to participate in#EdDigIDTwitterChat:
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:
Evaluate social media and digital platforms for professional development and connected learning in the field;
Establish effective strategies for developing/creating/improving your digital identity for open, networked practice; and
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:
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#EdDigIDTWITTER 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
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.
Employees in today’s workforce have either grown-up balancing their “screen time” or have embraced the power of digital tools to enhance communication, collaboration, and workflow. Social and digital technologies have been at our fingertips for just over a decade in our occupational lives. Exposure to social media or mobile applications does not mean new professionals or veteran employees are digitally savvy at simultaneously negotiating their online and offline self. Our social networks have expanded beyond a collection of family/friends and now branch into industry groups, professional networks, and online communities connected to our career. The expression “in real life” or “IRL” no longer applies, and what we do inside the screen does impact our working lives. What happens when these digital networks witness behaviors or interactions that are unwanted, inappropriate, hateful, and not suitable for work (NSFW)?
#NSFWatSXSW: Your “Professional” netWORKed Community:
Our digital communities and online networks are witnessing unwanted behaviors and reactions.
“Online communities form for personal enrichment, professional networking, and social learning. How do they help or hurt individuals, organizations, and industry? What challenges and barriers arise for community organizers? When it comes to the workplace, what happens when our online and offline life converge? Implications for both individuals and employers will be discussed.”
Being exposed to these virtual spaces and places does not mean employees or employers know how to simultaneously negotiate what happens when these online interactions impact the offline work environment and potentially impact their career advancement. The WEF Future of Jobs report (Leopold, Ratcheva, & Zahidi, 2016) listed complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity at the top of the essential skills list for work in 2020; however, digital literacy training and preparation in post-secondary has not fully prepared learners to contribute (Alexander et al., 2017) and meet the technology needs of industry. As we think about the future of jobs and job training needs (Rainie & Anderson, 2017), it is critical we address these networked behaviors and consider the skills required to cultivate a productive digital ecosystem that is able to go to work with our employees.
In our PanelPicker session, we want to share implications and strategies for supporting professionals in a networked space for the INTERACTIVE: Workplace track. We want to discuss how these networked spaces and, perhaps not NSFW online interactions, impact the future of work, by discussing:
Why do networked communities matter for professional practice and industry?
What are the benefits and challenges in these professional networked communities?
How do we (employer’s, employees, or industry) deal with these digital communities or networked professionals in the workplace?
Please join the online community opportunity to VOTE and COMMENT on our idea, and others! The opportunity to source the most creative, innovative and appropriate for the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2018 event is yours for deciding. The community voting will close on Friday, August 25 (11:59 PM CT). Please take a minute to VOTE for OUR PanelPicker!!
Did you know you can meet and share with your colleagues and peers beyond an event, campus, or meeting? Perhaps you find a shared research project idea or a group of you had an idea sparked while at a conference to continue working on or you have a great colleague from afar you want to work with – then virtual teaming might help you stay connected and allow for collaboration. Through effective management of a remote team and hosting semi-regular virtual meetings, you can to provide updates, share ideas, and seek support for these new projects/initiatives. Regular meetings allow members of your community to connect and communicate beyond emails or the listserv.
Synchronous meetings allow you to deliver information, encourage discussion, and involve your communities or teams in a dynamic way! A remote/online meeting is more dynamic, structured way to connect beyond a listserv or any social media channel. It is recommended to make these type of group meetings effective by having defined objectives and outcomes, an agenda, and a facilitator. To avoid “The Conference Call in Real Life” situation, here are a few suggestions to plan and organize the facilitation of a remote/online meeting. Or maybe you are Rethinking Office Hours in a distance/online way to meet the needs of your students, staff, and faculty — the possibilities are endless!
To work with your team from afar, you will not only have to consider meeting but also manage your work. Whether you are collaborating on research, developing a presentation, organizing a program or planning a conference — you should consider how you are going to virtually manage your team’s time and tasks. This #acpa16 Genius Lab resource will introduce you to tools and strategies to effectively share information and outline a few project management basics to help you collaborate more effectively.
The “HOW TO” Steps
Planning a viable agendaor series of agendas. Identify your purpose of the meeting, what you will discuss & the agenda structure, e.g. information, open discussion, updates.
Effective use of technology. Try out and experiment with your technological applications and platforms in advance, so you are familiar with how they work & troubleshooting. Be sure to include any instructions to your community members on how they will have to log in or access your meeting space and materials.
Preparing participants and pre-work or pre-meeting information. By sending information in advance helps to prepare your participants for the meeting by letting them read materials, review the agenda, and prepare items to talk about or ask questions on. Emailing a reminder with this information makes for a more functional remote/online meeting.
Keeping participants focused and engaged. During your remote/online meeting, think about adding in a poll or survey question, provide a space for open discussion, consider other ways participants can “talk” at the meeting, e.g. Instant Message, chat functions, within the open, shared Google Doc, etc. Consider assigning roles during the meeting, such as meeting minutes, rotating chair/timekeeper, point-person or project leads, etc.
Building trust and social capital. Establish a rapport with your team or group members at meetings during the in-person meeting (if possible) or through ongoing communication between meetings on the listserv or a social media platform. Get to know your members, and allow them to get to know you! Continue this beyond the face-to-face (F2F) time to build rapport.Remember to include introductions and/or an icebreaker during your meeting. Suggestions included the References (Ericksen, 2012).
Maintaining momentum between meetings.The discussion and development within your community do not have to end at the close of a meeting. Encourage meetings to plan projects (webinar, research, writing, etc.) during the in-between times & leave space on the next agenda to report in & for progress updates.
Encourage members to follow up or reach out to you with ideas or suggestions after the meeting as well.
If there are multiple projects within your community, you might want to utilize a shared space like Dropbox and/or a wiki to keep all the information and developments in one central location for an easy leadership transition.
*NOTE: Consider the remote/online conferencing tools and meeting resources in advance. How you will facilitate interaction and dialogue before, during, and after your online/remote meeting? How you will engage your participants? When can they comment, give feedback or ask questions? Think about the types of interaction and needs for your meeting when deciding on your Meeting Collaboration Tools. Also, consider options you might have available at your own institution for meeting platforms and applications – ask and learn!
BONUS: Check out the Why We Collaborate NPR TED Radio Hour for MORE ideas about collaborating with your virtual team.
It’s time we defend the free and open Internet we know and love!
This Wednesday, July 12, 2017you may witness what the future of the Internet will be like if the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) kills net neutrality. You will see a variety of online providers contribute to the BattleForTheInternet.com by showing what a lack of neutrality online would be like uploading websites slowly, blocking domains, and requiring you to “pay to play” for access to certain areas of the web.
The fight to maintain “Title II” of the Communications Act and save net neutrality is NOT A TECHNOLOGY or WEB-ONLY protest. This is about access to information, free exchange of knowledge, and fair interactions online. Web neutrality impacts our civil rights and without this, we might see the “haves” and the “have-nots” in our online society as well. We need to protect these voices, spaces, and digital places for all.
“The Internet has thrived precisely because of net neutrality. It’s what makes it so vibrant and innovative—a place for creativity, free expression, and exchange of ideas. Without net neutrality, the Internet will become more like Cable TV, where the content you see is what your provider puts in front of you.”
If you are just coming out from under the Internet cloud and want to learn more about WHY and HOW net neutrality can impact you and others in our society, here are a few quick guides and explainers:
The first deadline for public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to kill net neutrality rules IS on July 17, 2017. These rules protect us from internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon from throttling, censoring, blocking, and charging extra fees online.
Net neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet. It protects our free speech in the digital age. Members of Congress must reject Chairman Pai’s plan to kill net neutrality because it will allow ISPs like Comcast and Verizon to control what we see and do online.
Title II is the legal foundation for net neutrality protections. It prevents companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from forcing sites to pay special fees for access to a “fast” lane, while slowing down everyone who can’t or won’t pay.
Cable Companies are pouring money into misleading lobbying efforts to convince the public that net neutrality is some kind of “government takeover of the Internet.” That’s an outright lie. Net neutrality protects our Internet freedom from corporations AND governments. No one wants politicians— or corporate monopolies— deciding what they can see and do on the internet.
Net neutrality gives more people a voice than ever before. It’s what has made the Internet such a powerful platform for anyone who wasn’t given a voice or fair treatment by mainstream media.
Visit battleforthenet.com to submit a comment to the FCC and your member of Congress in defense of net neutrality! Your voice on this petition, email, phone call, letter, and more MATTER. DO IT NOW!
Consuming information online is no more than a click, scroll, or swipe these days. All searches are not created equal and rarely do we think about fact checking what we find on the Internet. I am not alone in thinking about how “…the Internet is actually changing the way we read the way we reason, and even the way we think, and all for the worse” (The Death of Expertise, Nicols, 2017, p. 111). In higher education, I think it is imperative we teach our learners and colleagues about what it means to participate and interact in digital spaces and places. How can our institutions help students, staff, and faculty “be” online and consider how both information and digital environments impact knowledge sharing and learning?
Definition: Digital Literacy and Information Fluency
Digital literacy is multifaceted. The New Media Consortium provided a Digital Literacy Strategic Brief (Alexander, Adams Becker, & Cummins, 2016) to identify the role policy, practice, and curriculum can have on all facets of our campus. Alexander et al. (2016, p.1) defines digital literacy as “not just understanding how a tool works but also why it is useful in the real world and when to use it.” To improve our practices for improving this literacy we need to think broadly about strategic planning and the creation of standards at our campus. There are new opportunities to encourage learners to become content and media producers, identify technical competencies for the workforce with industry-education partnerships, and develop smart collaborations within the community entities, such as governments, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations. This report offers insights across universal literacy, creative literacy, and literacy across disciplines by offering exemplars in practice at institutions that include digital literacy in program and curriculum design.
Beyond digital competencies, we need to develop media and information fluency in higher education. The Association of College and Research Libraries (2016) has updated their literacy competency standards by developing a Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to offer guidance “to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” Scholarly inquiry requires analyzing information for credibility and understanding if an online resource is primary, secondary or irrelevant. Information is constructed in context to digital environments and is often created as a process of knowing, reflection, editing, and production online. Beyond this, the Institute of Museum and Library Services are offering suggestions for data information literacy to help us understand how we manage, curate, and design curriculum around data and information. To encourage both digital prowess and information awareness online, we need to develop skills around: outline critical thinking for research, encourage digital teaming, and identify privacy, security and data issues online.
Critical Thinking and Online Research
Much of what we want our students, and perhaps colleagues, to develop is a technical competency with information management in the digital realm. Digital literacy and information fluency help us improve our understanding and acquisition of knowledge to move beyond the #FakeNews fallacies and make meaning of what we are learning. In seeing how fast information travels with inaccurate content, I often wonder if my learners understand how the Internet works? Part of our responsibility, as educators, is to teach effective search processes online, to investigate databases, and examine scholarly repositories with our students and co-authors.
Part of being a member of a college or university community is the opportunity for discussion and discourse among peers. Scholarly inquiry and debate cannot and should not happen in a vacuum. Learning experiences should offer ways to evaluate information and to participate in civic online reasoning helps our learners beyond course discussions, class activities, and assigned projects. With the advent of the social web and networked communication platforms, there is an increasing opportunity to gather virtual teams or to support distributed group work. How can you enhance distributed collaboration for learners and support your peers online?
The new social learning helps us “join with others to make sense of and create new ideas…[it] is augmented with social media tools that bridge distance and time, enabling people to easily interact across the workplace, passion, curiosity, skill or need. It benefits from a diversity in types of intelligence and in the experiences of those learning” (Bingham & Connor, 2015, p.8). These digital environments need to be woven into our pedagogical considerations learning design and considered in context to support virtual teaming among scholars. Much of the creative problem solving, production development, and final products for learners can be self-directed via peers online. Some examples, I have used in practice and for instruction include shared documents for education, planning virtual group meetings, supporting hashtags for learning, and offering on-demand, online office hours. There are many ways to learn and work from a distance – decide what your purpose or goal is first, and then explore what digital platforms to use.
Digital Privacy, Security, and Data
To further this notion, we need to consider how we thrive in the digital age and this should start at our colleges and universities. The US Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity put out a Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy. As human behavior and technology are intertwined, it will be vital to secure our technologies, processes, and products online. As we “live” online and continue to get hacked online, we need to identify how we will operate in digital spaces and also prepare cybersecurity workforce capabilities online as outlined in this report. Higher education IT colleagues are continually thinking about ways to respond to cybersecurity attacks; however, prevention and awareness among campus stakeholders should be priorities at our institutions. I often have my students and peers think deeper about their privacy and security online by introducing them to ideas shared by WNYC’s Note To Self: Privacy Paradox 5-part series and the Privacy Paradox tip sheet, specifically to have all understand how to protect personal information and perhaps to take control back of their shared personal data online. Beyond this short course, I often encourage colleagues and students to read recent news reports, or listen to podcasts, such as CBC Spark and Reply-All, to prompt discussions about current issues and events that apply to their own digital life to ask more about their own Terms of Service.
While facilitating the #AcDigID workshop last month, we bumped into Digital Privacy Day (#PrivacyAware) on January 28th and had a number of conversations related to personal privacy. As we discussed the benefits of being an open scholar (e.g. #OpenEd, #OER, #OA), we did not skirt over the challenges/issues of these networked practices. Connected educators often leave traces of metadata or personal information behind as we share documents and resources. Having an online “presence” increases this data traces (which is something I’ve been pondering since I first read, Blown To Bits), and what we share digitally does have the potential to live on — even if you hit the delete button.
With the advent of social technologies, this data trail increases even further. Although my current geographic location does not give me “right to be forgotten” online (just yet,), it is important to consider what this means for our digital identity and personal information. Jon Ronson discusses the challenges of reputation management in these digital times in his book, So You’ve Been Publically Shamed. Ronson details a few cases where the Internet, or rather people online, seem to embrace the digital shaming (trolling, abuse, etc.) culture to ultimately destroy others. These online actions have real implications outside of our networks and beyond the screen. What we do online does impact our offline selves.
Most importantly, as we live (as our self or as a fabricated self) online, we are at risk for sharing our personal data and information. Most of my higher learning colleagues are moderately versed in privacy/compliance at their local institutions; however, more are increasingly concerned as to how to navigate these digital and social spaces where our personal data is shared and not as regulated. How often do we really think about maintaining our digital self and where our personal information flows?
Perhaps it is time for a digital self-assessment and reflection on the topic of privacy/data sharing. Individual security and user rights are often set aside when we sign up for a platform and/or app. Have you ever stopped to think about who has access to your data? How deep do you read the terms of service before you click “Agree”? What does any given platform/application know about you? What 3rd party has access to your data stored in your app/platform/device? And, how private is your “privacy settings” when the organizations have the rights to share/sell/use your data elsewhere? Last week, I participated in the Note To Self podcast‘s 5-day challenge on this very topic, called the Privacy Paradox: http://privacyparadox.org
I continually think about personal privacy and data; however, last week prompted me to think a bit more about my networked self. Have you thought about what you give up when you log on, share, post, or like on any social platforms? What are your ultimate Terms of Service for sharing data, updating your information, and putting yourself online? Here’s what I proposed for myself, based on the mad libs template via #NoteToSelf:
Listen to this short @NoteToSelf series (11-12 minutes per podcast) and consider challenging yourself to stake a claim for your boundaries of how you will share or give up your rights when it comes to your personal information and digital data. Or check out their Privacy Paradox Tip Sheet. #TheMoreYouKnow
Abelson, H., Ledeen, K., & Lewis, H. (2008). Blown to bits: your life, liberty, and happiness after the digital explosion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Addison-Wesley Professional.
Ronson, J. (2016). So you’ve been publicly shamed. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.