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.

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)
Book Review, mentor, mentoring, Professional Development

#BookReview: Mentoring Programs That Work

One of my research projects I am currently working focuses on professional mentoring, specifically mentoring experiences for professional learning and development offered by professional organizations/associations. Over the past couple of years, I have been fortunate to speak with a number of higher education professionals who have been part of a formal mentoring program, either as a mentor or a learner (a.k. a. mentee, protege, or leader). It has been great to learn about their how mentoring has met their professional development needs, helped to meet career goals, and navigated both personal/professional situations faced in the workplace.  As I finish a few more interviews, I hope to wrap up data collection/analysis to share findings/implications of mentoring experiences later this year — I promise. Part of this research design includes understanding how professional learning organizations/associations structure and administer mentoring programs for its membership. In speaking with mentoring participants and coordinators from a variety of mentoring programs that serve higher education professionals (Thank you: NACADA ELP, ACPAgrow, OACUHO, and NASPA Candid Conversations 365), I hope to offer insights and practical implications based on these mentoring experiences.

In my literature review, I stumbled upon, Mentoring Programs That Work by Jenn Labin, which was recently published by the Association for Talent Development. Based on my own thread of scholarship, I wanted to review and learn what suggestions this author had to provide based on her experiences in mentoring programs in a variety of industries.Although each mentoring program will have its own objectives and unique needs for participants, one constant component across all programs is the need to form connections to support an effective mentoring relationship. Mentoring relationships will be the cornerstone for skill development, personalized learning, and knowledge acquisition within any professional domain. Unlike typical educational training programs or professional development/learning, mentoring programs are more uniquely tailored for talent development needs. That being said, I am not sure we put the time or effort into preparing mentors and learners who enter this type of learning and development program.  I agree with Labin’s sentiments: “Mentoring programs are important.” Mentoring is an individual, learner-driven experience where proteges work with mentors to create a learner-focused solution. Mentors can support learners to acquire a specific knowledge domain, scaffold professional work situations, and develop tacit skills required to advance in their career field. Labin (2017) believes most mentoring programs fail if their goals are not aligned to talent/professional needs, inability to scale and sustain initiatives, and/or as a result of little stakeholders involvement or championship. I am sharing this brief overview of this book, as I think it has practical solutions for managers or program coordinators who want to develop (or improve) a successful mentoring program, while also supporting the mentoring experience and empowering mentors with tools they will need for this type of professional learning.

This book presents practical ideas and examples to outline the AXLES Framework for developing mentoring programs. The AXLES approach is similar to the ADDIE model for designing learning solutions, which will be familiar to my instructional designers or training industry colleagues. Labin introduces the components of AXLES in the introduction chapter of her book (2017, p. xv-xvi):

  • A = Align to Purpose: define the intention/goals of the program; identify critical questions for program success, and establish strategic partners within the organization to support the mentoring program
  • X = Design the Experience: identify the mentoring program structure, schedule, participant matching, and expectations; what are the deliverables, outcomes, and lifecycle of the program you want to design?
  • L = Launch Your Program: this is the implementation of the mentoring program (initially or annually); Will you have an orientation meeting, agenda, or focused platform/communication method to get the program going?
  • E = Evaluate Effectiveness: What will be the types of measures or metrics for the mentoring program?; identify program success from both narratives of participants and potential data collection with milestones and participant input
  • S = Support Participants: design and develop resources, webinars, videos, or other performance support aids to scaffold mentor-learner interactions; these could be a participant playbook, monthly meeting agendas, or even conversation guides/resources for discussions to encourage connections for these mentoring relationships

Mentoring is defined in a number of different ways, and the approach for a mentoring experience will be individual and unique depending on your organization/institutions needs. Chapter 2 helps to identify both the direction and talent development gaps you would like to address within your own mentoring program. This foundational chapter requires readers to identify the purpose, success measures, and the focus of the program by examining both the learners’ (protege) benefits and mentors’ benefits for involvement. A mentoring program could be developed to meet technical needs or to transfer institutional knowledge, or it might be created for talent development/growth of professionals within your organization. Identifying the objectives, purpose statement, and the “role of mentoring” will be a critical phase for those constructing this type of training design.

Chapter 3 offers suggestions for mentoring program designs. For the practical organization of a mentoring program, you are encouraged to outline questions for planning the program structure, identify the program schedule, consider how to conduct participant matching, and describe how learners and mentors will participate in the program. The considerations for “cultural alignment” were addressed early in this chapter, as this type of professional development might be executed differently based on the organizations need and its learning culture. A mentoring program structure type could include traditional or 1:1 mentoring, reverse mentoring, mentor-led (group mentoring), peer-led (mentoring circles), or a hybrid of any of these formats.  Additionally, this section of the books helps readers to consider the schedule length, entry, and programmatic features, such as the matching process for mentoring and potential technology solutions for support. The last stages of design decisions required for planning mentoring programs involve the learner and mentor engagement, specifically participants entry and exit into the program and outlining operating directions, guidelines, and expectations to create successful mentoring experiences.

Chapter 4 and 5 offer insights and practical suggestions for launching and evaluating a mentoring program, respectively. I appreciated the potential suggestions for professional learning opportunities, such as communication preferences, setting goals and development plans, skill-building workshops, and other resources that could be curated for a mentoring program (e.g. icebreakers, readings, teambuilding activities, conversation topics, etc.). For evaluation purposes, Labin (2017) mapped the Kirkpatrick Four Levels of Evaluation for review of a sample mentoring program and offered strategies for how qualitative and quantitative data might offer measurement insights during a program review. Potential metrics for success could be conducted by observation of performance improvement/changes, case-based examination of the mentoring relationship, individual development plans/goals met, reflections or narratives shared in milestone reports, and engagement of mentors and leaders within the organization.

Regardless of the industry or occupation, I think mentoring program administrators/coordinators will find Labin’s book both informative and practical for designing a comprehensive mentoring program that supports productive mentoring experiences. There are a number of suggestions for defining effective mentoring behaviors, onboarding participants, engaging in regular skill building and/or learning activities, and considerations for how to engage participants throughout a mentoring program experience. Administrators of mentoring programs will gain a number of valuable ideas for communication planning, participant recruitment, mentor-learner pair matching, supporting mentors in their role, potential ways to report and offer metrics for program measurement, learning material development/maintenance, dealing with issues, and supporting participants throughout the mentoring program cycle. I appreciate how each chapter offers applied examples of mentoring perspectives from learners or various industry leaders, and the end of each chapter offers key insights, exercises, and questions for individual reflection and potential team discussions. Additionally, there are a number of support resources and example materials in the appendices of this book to help guide mentoring program development.

Reference:

Labin, J. (2017). Mentoring programs that work. Alexandria, VA: Association for Talent Development Press.

*Full disclosure: The book, Mentoring Programs That Work, was sent to me by @ATD Press to read and review. As this is a valuable contribution for mentoring program development to support professional learning and development, I am more than pleased to offer this review on my blog. Thank you!” 

Podcast, Professional Development, Research

The Higher Ed Podcast Project

Podcasts. This mobile, audio medium has been circling the Internet since 2004. Podcasting has evolved so much since its birth. Over the last few years, there’s been a growth of fantastic of podcasts to listen to and enjoy. If you have not heard someone talk about podcasts in the past few years, I would be very surprised. There are LOADS OF PODCASTS!!! Earlier this year, NPR podcasters spread the pod love via the #trypod campaign. The goal was to share what podcasts you listen to via the #trypod  hashtag. For just over a decade, I have enjoyed listening to a variety of podcasts on my commute, while running, on vacation, or just strolling with my pup. These portable stories, events, and news pieces have entertained and educated me on the go — it was like radio on-demand! My pod streams are filled with amazing content to enhance my personal and professional development and offer new insights about the world around me. I have learned so much from listening to podcasts – new ideas, book recommendations, or introductions to new people – there are so many takeaways pouring into my earbuds.  So many podcasts have contributed to my learning, teaching, research and practice in higher education … and I am not surprised to learn others subscribe to podcasts for their professional learning and development as well.

A growing number of higher education students, staff, and faculty are listening AND learning from podcasts. The wealth of information shared on a video/audio podcasts allows listeners to learn about resources, ideas, and information to enhance the work we do at our institutions. These mobile-friendly, portable PD resources are not only consumed, but they are also being created and produced by higher education colleagues and organizations. So what is the state of podcasting in higher ed?

To learn more about this and explore what is happing in post-secondary podcast land, let me introduce you to the Higher Ed Podcast Project.  We want to CURATE and SHARE podcasts impacting professional learning and development for higher ed peers, specifically to answer the following questions:

  • What video/audio podcasts are higher education professionals (graduate students, faculty, and staff) listening to for learning and development?

  • What podcasts are being produced/created for and in higher education (non-lecture/classroom-based)?

  • How has podcast consumption impacted or influenced the work (teaching, research, or service) you do in higher education?

Definition & Focus for Project

We are interested in exploring podcasts in higher education for professional learning and development; however, we want YOU to understand how we are defining a “podcast” as this medium has taken a number of shapes and forms over the years. For our research purposes, we are defining a podcast and our research focus as:

  • the podcast content is created and shared to support professional development, learning, and/or information distribution
  • the podcast has a target audience 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 focussed on the higher education domain
  • the podcast includes original content development intention: it was designed for a podcast, e.g. we are not including a recorded college/university lecture, conference panel/presentation, professional learning webinars, recorded meeting, etc. (unless it was edited to fit into a podcast)
  • the podcast can be active or inactive

What podcasts are YOU listening to, Higher Ed?

To help this higher ed podcast project, we want to openly curate a LIST OF AUDIO and VIDEO PODCASTS dedicated to higher education professionals. This OPEN call for podcasts will help us understand and SHARE the current state of podcasting in higher education. This is where you come in. Please ADD to the higher education podcast list (and other podcasts on the second tab) to let us know what YOU listen to for your professional learning and development: 

http://bit.ly/higheredpodcasts

Want to learn more? Check out our research site: https://higheredpodcasts.wordpress.com/

#3Wedu, Career, Podcast, Professional Development

The #3Wedu Podcast No.7: Job Start Up in Higher Ed

TODAY, Wednesday, July 13th at 3 pm PST//5 pm CST//6 PM EST the #3Wedu Podcasters will discuss issues around getting started and establishing yourself in a new position in higher ed. In previous #3Wedu podcast episodes, we’ve discussed issues that a number of women face as they move throughout their career, including (but not limited to): the double bind, importance of supporting one another, mentoring, the value of care work, and removing organizational barriers for women. This next podcast we dig into the following questions, not in any particular order:

  • What are the things you should do just before and after you start a new job? This may include salary negotiations, benefits, culture and fit.
  • How should you plan your professional development funding? Suggestions and ideas for opportunities for learning and growth in your career.
  • Do you agree with this study or think we have to be “warm” to advance in your career?: To Seem Confident Women Have to be Seen as Warm 
  • We were thrilled to have Mary Niemiec as our special guest for our “Wine Box” rant, rave & review.

Flickr photo c/o lamenta3

Join us TONIGHT with the following show notes http://bit.ly/3wedu7  and by tuning into the LIVE broadcast here:

This blog post is cross-posted at EdTechIsGorgeous and The #3Wedu Podcast blog.

mentor, mentoring

Thank Your Mentor Day!

Happy THANK YOUR MENTOR Day! January, with January 17, 2016 being International Mentoring Day, was proclaimed National Mentoring Month by President Obama. This mentoring campaign is targeted at supporting youth and mentoring IRL (#MentoringIRL).

miyagi_mentor

Although my youth is behind me, I can definitely say a number of people helped to get me where I am today. A mentor can listen, teach, guide, and coach. Can you think about the mentor(s) in your life? Where would you be today had it not been for their support?

Here are a few simple ways the National Mentor Campaign suggests to THANK your mentor:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Express your gratitude on social media; (#MentorIRL)
  3. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  4. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
  5. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.

You can download a Thank you card from the Campaign Marketing Materials page.

As a thank you to all the mentors who have supported me and the mentees I have learned from, it would be only fitting to introduce this research study on this topic; however now I am interested learning how mentoring supports professionals and the field they work in:

Exploring Mentoring Programs in Professional Learning Organizations

Have you been part of a mentoring experience? Tell us about it. I am grateful for the informal and formal mentoring experiences, and I would not be interested in this study if it weren’t for the formal mentoring programs I have been a part of (shout out to ACPAgrow & NACADA ELP).  If you have any formal or informal mentoring experiences, please take a few minutes to share by filling out this survey:

http://bit.ly/ExploringMentoring

More about the research study: https://techknowtools.wordpress.com/mentoring/

Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

Twitter to Enhance Learning & Performance

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

Twitter Bird in the Lattice

Flickr photo c/o Brian Kopp

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

The Twitter Basics:

Hashtags & Backchannels

GotHashtag

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

Here are just a few Hashtags to SEARCH and Follow:  

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

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

Other Twitter Tips & Resources: