Learning Community, Professional Development, UGST1000

Help My #ugstSTORY Class Tell Their Story

It seems that all is quiet on the TechKNOW Tools blog front… Sorry about that.

The start of the academic semester came fast and furious, and I have been busy engaging with and learning about my students’ stories for my #ugstSTORY class this Fall 2013 semester. This is my UGST 1000 – First Year seminar class where my students explore their major/career options, get support with transition to college, and learn more about themselves.  Feel free to follow along with our “story” this Fall if you would like:

ugstSTORY Pic

With this seminar class, a great portion of the focus is on self discovery and exploration for personal, academic, and career options. Like many students who are “undecided” or exploring their options, many of my #ugstSTORY students have more than one interest and want to make sure they are going down the right path for them. In learning about many of their talents and skills, I can see why it might be a challenge to just focus on one major. They are a creative and involved class who what to include what they VALUE in their future world of work and life.

What My #ugstSTORY Class Values
During the Fall 2013 semester, my #ugstSTORY students will leave a digital footprint, and will be encouraged to explore their personal and professional options. In their research to make an informed decision, a number of my students will reach out to professionals and industry leaders in the world of work to answer: “What do I want to do with my life?” and “How did you get to where you are?” I am not sure these BIG QUESTIONS will and/or can be answered in just one semester; however I think a few of the assignments and projects will hopefully get them started.

The first assignment, the Road Trip Nation (RTN) Project, is designed to help my students explore personal, academic, and career paths. More importantly, it allows them to understand that many directions will lead you towards your goals and dreams. Their recent blog posts identified what how to find their “Red Rubber Ball,” that is, where do they get their inspiration, passion, interests, values, and likes. Specifically, I asked what potential careers, professions or industries would they like to learn more about.  Here’s a short list from their in-depth blog posts this week:

Interview: Potential Careers & Industry

Interests & Passions

Journalism; Sports Journalism; Broadcaster Friends; Family; Hockey; Sports
Artist; Engineer; Philanthropist; Advertising; Therapist Stability; Helping Others
Journalism; Pre-Law; Psychologist Community Involvement; Travel; Family
Clinical Psych; Greenpeace Environment Activism; Animals; photography; food; language
High School Librarian Reading; books; writing
Engineering; Tourism; Economics Travel; Stability; Accomplishing goals
No Clue Relationships; Smile; Creativity; Individuality
Writer; Journalism Music; Belonging; Writing;
National Geographic; Journalism Travel; Photography;
Broadcaster/Journalism Sports Talking; Sports; Opinions to voice
Photojournalist; Forensics; Library Science Cartoons; Anime; Photography; Music
Psychology; Fashion Merchandising; Law People; Cultures; Travel;
Sales Engineering Music; Activism; Star Wars
Sports Analyst; Broadcaster/Journalist NFL Analyst; sports industry
Neurology; Psychology; Editor/Publishing Anime; Neuroscience; travel; career student; small business

The reason I am sharing more about my class with you is to get them connected beyond our class and the UNT campus. Since I have some phenomenal friends, family, and colleagues in my own learning and professional network, I thought a few of YOU might be able to provide some of your own experience and wisdom for their exploration, specifically by:

  1. SHARING A Resource: We tweet with the #ugstSTORY hashtag, so if you see a link, article, website or anything related to major and career exploration – cc: @ugstSTORY or just put the #ugstSTORY hashtag on it!
  2. READING Their Blog Posts: If you have time to read, comment & post on their WordPress blogs, that would be super rad. Although many are just blogging for the first time, a number of my #ugstSTORY students have very thoughtful and creative perspectives about life in college so far. It would be great if they got a response or two outside our #ugstSTORY class – drop them a comment or like. 🙂
  3. MENTOR Virtually: For the RTN Project a number of the #ugstSTORY learners will be seeking informational interviews with companies, professionals, and different organizations (listed above or might not be listed as they don’t know your about your occupation yet); if you OR someone you know is available and interested in sharing with my students what they do for a living and why they love it – LET ME KNOW!  Yes! I want to MENTOR a #ugstSTORY Student p.s. Pass this link onto a friend you might know as well. Thanks!
AcAdv, nacada

#UNT InHouse: Portrait Gallery

A couple weeks ago I was featured in the UNT InHouse Portrait gallery for my one of many hats I wear on campus. Here’s a bit more about the Portrait Gallery and my interview for the online publication:

It’s not possible to know everyone on a big, busy campus. So InHouse periodically publishes Portrait Gallery features to help us learn about our colleagues and their contributions to the university’s success. Send suggestions for Portrait Gallery subjects by email to InHouse with “Portrait Gallery” in the subject line.

Portrait Gallery: Laura Pasquini, Academic Counselor
Laura Pasquini helps students find an academic home as a mentor for undeclared majors. She’s also the first UNT representative to be chosen for the Emerging Leader Program with The Global Community for Academic Advising.  

What is your official title, and how long have you been at UNT?

I am an academic counselor and instructor for the Office for Exploring Majors in Undergraduate Studies and I have been working at the University of North Texas since June 2009.

What is your background?

I have been supporting students as an academic advisor/counselor with major or career decision-making since fall 2003. I have been fortunate to support a variety of student populations at Niagara University, Miami University, University of Toronto Scarborough, University of Texas Arlington and UNT. Before joining the new office for exploring majors team, I was an academic advisor with the College of Business Advising Office.

What will you do as a mentor?

I was selected as a mentor for the Emerging Leader Program with The Global Community for Academic Advising for the 2012-2014 class. As a mentor, I will collaborate with other advising professionals and faculty within the association from other institutions. I will help emerging leaders develop their connections to the advising profession, encourage leadership opportunities, assist colleagues in working toward their professional goals and give back to the professional association that has helped me thrive personally and professionally.

Has any of your experience at UNT helped you prepare for this position?

Both as an academic advisor in the College of Business and in my current role, I have been fortunate to connect with students, staff and faculty to support my own personal and professional development. As a former executive officer and member of the University Counselors Advisors Network, I was able to collaborate, learn, and connect to a wide variety of ideas that will enhance my mentoring. Most recently, I had the opportunity help coordinate the Spring 2011 Advising Retreat, the UNT Advising Conference and the Advisor Spring 2012 training day. I appreciate interacting with and learning from a variety of staff and faculty who love working with students on a daily basis.

Are you the first UNT representative to be a mentor for the Emerging Leader Program?

I am the first person at UNT to be an ELP Mentor; however Carol Pollard, senior counselor in the College of Music, was part of the inaugural ELP cohort in 2007-2009 as an Emerging Leader.

What do you do as an academic counselor for undecided majors?

The Office for Exploring Majors supports students in their journey to learn more about their major/career options. As a counselor, I help support students who are undecided, undeclared and uncertain about their degree options. We often work with new students who want to learn more about their academic choices; however we frequently work with students who want to change their major or transition to another path. I enjoy providing academic/occupational resources and information to empower our students to make choices, and support them in their exploration.

What commonalities/differences do undeclared majors share?

Our undeclared/undecided students are very intelligent, bright and interested in a number of options. These students often have too many choices and are undecided to allow some time to explore majors, meet faculty, understand degree requirements and discover more about their own interests. Over the last year, I have come to really appreciate the interest and enthusiasm that our students bring to the First Year Seminar, during workshops, or  counseling.

Lisandry Ortiz, left, and mentor Laura Pasquini, academic counselorDo you have success stories?

A recent one would be with Lisandry Ortiz, left, who was in my First Year Seminar class Fall 2011.

Lisandry came into the class with different ideas about her major/career from her family, friends and others. During the course of the semester and in her first year, Lisandry went out to interview professionals, research occupational trends, and tried out a few classes to help her find her direction that would be best for her. She was interested in Biology, English, Creative Writing, Journalism, Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Studies with a double minor in Kinesiology and Addictions.

Although she had a challenging second semester at UNT, Lisandry managed to stay on top of her studies and credits the connections to friends and resources from the first year seminar class.

I am happy to say that Lisandry has earned junior class standing and has officially declared Rehabilitation Studies as her major with the College of Public Affairs & Community Service.

Along with her academic progress, Lisandry is working on campus as a housing ambassador in Maple Hall and she is now an Office for Exploring Majors Student Ambassador who will support undecided students with their major/career journey.

Micro-Blogs

HOW TO: Set Up a Twitter Account

  1. Go to http://twitter.com and find the sign up box, or go directly to https://twitter.com/signup.
  2. Create a Twitter account. If you are creating a Twitter account for a specific purpose or class requirement, you might want to read Disposable Twitter Accounts for Classroom Use by @ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  3. Enter your full name, email address, and a password.
  4. Click “Sign up for Twitter.”
  5. On the next page, you can select a username (usernames are unique identifiers on Twitter) — type your own or choose one Twitter suggests. Twitter will tell you if the username you want is available.
  6. Double-check your name, email address, password, and username.
  7. Click Create my account. You may be asked to complete a Captcha to let Twitter know that you are human and not a spam bot.
  8. Twitter will send a confirmation email to the address you entered on sign up, click the link in that email to confirm your email address and account.
  9. Add a photo (preferably a head shot) and write a short bio about you.

Resources:
Twitter in Plain English – YouTube http://bit.ly/ruNe4g
How to Sign Up for Twitter via the Twitter Help Center
A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter via ReadWriteWeb
Twitter Basics [VIDEO] http://www.jasonrhode.com/twitterbasics
45 Simple Twitter Tips Everyone Should Know About | Edudemic
7 Free Tools For Integrating Twitter With Your WordPress Blog
BreakDrink Twitter Guide http://breakdrink.com/twitter-guide/

Hashtags & Backchannels
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. Our class will use #ugstJOUR hashag on Twitter.

What Are Hashtags? via the Twitter Help Center
#Hashtag + Community = Learning? « TechKNOW Tools
How Hashtagging the Web Could Improve Our Collective Intelligence via Mashable
Backchannel in Education – Nine Uses
10 Ways Twitter Is Reinventing the College Lecture – Online Universities

blogs

HOW TO: Set Up A WordPress Blog


  1. Go to WordPress (WP) http://wordpress.com/; Here’s the Get Started guide from WP for further help: http://learn.wordpress.com/get-started/
  2. Click on the “Sign Up for Free” blue button in the middle of the page.
  3. Select and enter: blog name, username, email & log-in information. Consider a name that you will want to use & share for your blog.
  4. Click the “Create Blog” Button for your FREE WP Blog
  5. Go to the email address you entered to Activate your blog
  6. Choose a starter theme for your blog. Be sure to click the “Show More Themes” button at the bottom & select a FREE theme
  7. To update your blog log into the wordpress.com website OR go to YourBlogName.wordpress.com/wp-admin & sign in
  8. Go to your WP Blog Dashboard to set up and personalize your blog & check out http://learn.wordpress.com/ to customize

Resources:
What is a Blog? via @ProBlogger
How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners via @ProBlogger
Warning: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes? via @ProBlogger
Blogging as literacy via Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth)
WP Tutorials http://wordpress.tv/
85 wordpress plugins for blogging journalists | Online Journalism Blog
12 Must-Do Tasks for the New WordPress Site Owner | Copyblogger

Career, Higher Education, Learning Technologies, Social Media

Using LinkedIn with First Year Students #UGST1000

For many of my career and employment friends in higher education, LinkedIn is often a great professional networking website that many students explore later in their academic careers. Since “career development” is a process, a couple of instructor from UNT thought it might be helpful to expose our first year students to this learning network earlier in their degree programs.

Image c/o Melissa Venable’s Blog

This fall term, at least one section of the UGST 1000 – First Year Seminar will be using LinkedIn to help explore major and career options. This small seminar class is part of a learning community, where these same students are also classmates in two larger business classes: ECON 1100 – Microeconomics and BUSI 1340 – Managing the Business Enterprise. This UGST 1000 instructors (Allyson & Roxanne) thought using LinkedIn as a social networking website might provide more help for this group of undecided/undeclared students as  they research career/occupation options, understand the skills needed in the business industry, and connect to helpful ideas while exploring their majors in the first semester.

Here is the information about LinkedIn for the UGST 1000 class syllabus:

About LinkedIn: We are using LinkedIn as it is an important form of social media for business professionals. LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with 161 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  Additionally, LinkedIn counts executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members and its corporate hiring solutions are used by 82 of the Fortune 100 companies.  Basic LinkedIn accounts are free and can be created by visiting www.linkedin.com. By default, all information on your LinkedIn account will be public.  All information on our group’s page will be set to private; only members in our group will be able to read them. 

Here are some ideas of HOW students will use LinkedIn over the course of the term:

  • Build a Professional Student LinkedIn Profile – complete with a photo, information headline, listing educational/work experience, identify specialties, and establish a unique URL
  • Understanding the Value of Their Network for Learning & Experience – ability review their current network and identify how they want to grow their personal/professional connections on campus, online and within industries of interest to help support effective major/career decision-making.
  • Job Search – aware of the current job markets and trends in LinkedIn vs. how they compare to the O*NET and US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Groups and Associations – Connect to a variety of LinkedIn Groups and associations related to their potential major/career interests.
  • References – Collect LinkedIn recommendations from previous instructors, employers or affiliations.
  • Understand LinkedIn Netiquette – updating your profile, posting appropriate status updates, acceptable ways to connect with others, asking for introductions, understanding what groups to join
  • Get Social – Connect any social outlets where they include professional work artifacts, thoughtful blog posts, personal or work websites, or avenues potential employers might like to see.
  • Group Discussions in LinkedIn Groups – private group discussion where students will lead the topic with an article, resource and question for their peers to respond.
  • Roadtrip Nation Group Project – outreach to professionals and companies to interview for the RTN project.
  • Major/Career Research Paper – informational interviews are part of this final paper assignment so LinkedIn will be able to provide students with potential interview contacts

We are currently collecting helpful links, articles, and information about LinkedIn use for learning and networking HERE, and we would LOVE to add MORE resources to our list. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts below. Thanks!

AcAdv, Career, UGST1000

Open Options: Choosing a Major With Road Trip Nation

With first year students, there are many new, exciting and scary things about starting college or university. Higher education offers a place to be intellectually challenged, develop socially, discover your interests, and engage with a variety of opportunities on campus and beyond. The road and journey are both wide open. The open road and the growing number of academic/career possibilities seems to be a bigger challenge to our student population. Besides the confusion of campus jargon and the navigation of a larger than high school institution, there seems to be more students and family members at orientation who are anxious about making the “right decisions now” for later. Many higher ed students have an idea or inkling of what they want to do, but most are not sure about their academic options, career path planning, and helpful resources to support their decision-making process.

For UNT students who enter into the undecided/undeclared program at UNT, the Office for Exploring Majors [where I work] utilizes the Roadtrip Nation (RTN) resources and has a  RTN project as part of the UGST 1000 – First Year Seminar class.

The Open Road for #UGST1000 Course Design The RTN project helps students explore their personal, academic, and career path. More importantly, it allows them to learn that there is more than one path to obtain their goals and dreams. In picking up  Roadtrip Nation: A Guide to Discovering Your Path in Life and Finding the Open Road: A Guide to Self-Construction Rather Than Mass Production – I was reminded about my own academic/career journey and questions I had in undergrad and after. There are a number of different professional journeys and narratives that provide readers a “path” of how to get to where you want to go.

Overall, I will be using Finding the Open Road stories and interviews (posted online) to help expose the pre-Journalism (News, Advertising, Strategic Communication & PR) and pre-Business (Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management) students in UGST 1000 figure out how to navigate their own experience. I do like the strategies and ideas in the “Do It Yourself” section of the Roadtrip Nation book to help guide our students learning. The plan is to take the follow chapters and make them into easy-to-use guides for both the UGST 1000 instructors and students that follows the Roadtrip Nation Manifesto:

  1. First, Find Your Red Rubber Ball – What inspires you? What is your passion? Identifying interests, values, and likes.
  2. Whom Should You Meet? – tips on how to find people, being resourceful, using your personal network, how to reach out to new people
  3. Getting the Meeting – cold calls, the pitch, being persistent, communication strategies
  4. Preparing for the Interview – researching the person, their company, their work experience
  5. In the Meeting – what to talk about, suggested questions, informational interview samples, interview/meeting etiquette
  6. Closing – ending a meeting, sending thanks, developing a mentoring relationship

RTN asks....

References:

Marriner, M. & Gebhard, N. (2006). Roadtrip Nation: A guide to discovering your path in life. New York: Ballentine Books.

Marriner, M., McAllister, B. & Gebhard, N. (2005). Finding the open road: A guide to self-construction rather than mass production. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Learning Community, Social Media, Training, UGST1000

Facebook for Learning Communities: Groups vs. Pages

Image c/o Interactyx.com

In supporting and creating instructor resources for our 30 or so first year seminar classes, one areas I’m currently working on is our social media for learning (quel supris!). There are a number of resources, “how to” guides, and instructional case studies to support digital learning pedagogy. In curating content for our #UGST1000 (formerly UCRS 1000) Blackboard Learn Instructor site , I realized that the area of using Facebook and other social networks for our learning communities was lacking. Sure there are a few of us out there using these spaces, but it was rare to see any information available for suggested practices let alone understand how our campus social media beliefs impact our Facebook for learning.

Below is the quick guide I created to introduce Facebook Groups & Pages for our first year seminar instructors. I welcome and encourage others to post your ideas and share resources to the comments section – so we can enhance our #edusocmedia learning practices.

What Are Facebook Groups?

Facebook states that groups are designed “for members of groups to connect, share and even collaborate on a given topic or idea.” Groups have been used to market, promote or share group happenings. The key feature behind Facebook groups is the ability to make them “invite only” or limit these spaces to specific groups, i.e. like your seminar section of UGST 1000. These groups can be private or closed for only your students. Although this is a closed feature, you will need to “friend” students in your course to a closed or secret group; however an “open” group option will allow you to add anyone from Facebook.

WARNING: You may (gasp!) not have students who are on Facebook or wish to be “added” to a private group. Keep this in mind. Also, I would encourage you to work with your Peer Mentor in your class to support the cultivation and development of this online learning community.
Instructor perspective:
Ryan: They all REALLY liked our class Facebook group and participated in that quite a bit. I’m considering just using Facebook this time around rather than try to get them all onto a new social network.

Laura: Peer mentors a great support & can often set up these Facebook groups and “friend” students for the instructors. I would encourage this and support the peer mentors as they develop community in your UCRS 1000 Group (ours from Fall 2011) online and in class.

What Are Facebook Pages?

In contrast to Facebook groups, which are focused on organizing around specific topics or ideas, Facebook Pages “allow entities such as public figures and organizations to broadcast information to their fans.” If you are looking to set up your class’s “official Facebook presence” you would opt for a Facebook Page. Students just need to “Like” the page for the semester and they can always opt out when the semester is over. Students who like this page will need to remember to check and monitor their Facebook stream to ensure that they are reading updates posted for the course so they do not miss out on any happenings, announcements or updates.

Simply put, Facebook Pages is a simpler tool for instructors and peer mentors to maintain and use for UGST 1000 Learning Communities. Students, staff, and faculty can view an open Facebook Page even if they opt to not have their own personal account on Facebook. Pages are an easy medium to put out content, share updates, and keep your learning community informed. As the administrator for this page, I would strongly encourage interaction to encourage 2-way conversations by using polls, asking questions, and encouraging comments, pictures or videos to be posted to the course page. You will want to enable sharing features for your community and talk about the purpose or standards for your social space.

Instructor Perspectives:
Laura: I like how you can share ideas, post comments and have others follow along with the discussion – it is a great way to connect to student in the social space of Facebook without having to add them to my own personal/professional “friend” list. The Pages can also be integrated with other features such as Twitter, blogs, photo sharing & videos. Here is the Office for Exploring Majors Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/ExploringMajors

Do You Want to Have a Facebook Group or Page for YOUR Learning Community?
If you are trying to determine whether to use a Facebook Page or a Facebook Group for your UGST 1000 class there are a number of other resources posted in the reference section below to help you best understand the features.
There are a number of other seasoned  instructors who might want to share their ideas or thoughts on the use of both Facebook Pages and Groups (or other social networks) for UGST 1000. Take a look at the handy chart below that breaks up and compares the features; however with other social media things change and are always subject to change.

Facebook Groups & Pages Learning Resources:


10 Reasons Why Facebook is Ideal for Managing Social Learning

The Ultimate Guide for Using Facebook in Education

Facebook Groups Vs Pages: The Definitive Guide

Facebook Groups Vs. Pages: What’s The Difference

Facebook Tips: What’s the difference between a  Facebook page and group?

Pros and Cons of Facebook Groups vs. Pages

Facebook Group vs. Facebook Fan Page: What’s Better?