Month: November 2016

Carroll University USACurious DavidcurmudgeonHumorSelf-help

Resolving Pet Peeves: Life is Short

 

dscn4774It so easy to allow pet peeves to distract one and to engender a foul mood. Let’s see if I can exorcise them by listing some recent annoyances and thinking through a resolution while I proctor an exam.

  1. Leo the Great (pictured above) barks incessantly whenever I give Siri a command or use the dictation mode of my computers. This is also a nuisance when I proofread out loud. Solutions: Remove the dog (though he can at times be so angelic); don’t dictate; accustom him to my talking to myself:)p1080672
  2. Faculty colleagues who teach (loudly) with their classroom door open. Solutions: Close my door; close their door; put on sound reduction headphones
  3. Individuals who don’t differentiate between the reply and the reply all command. Solution: Send them a gentle correction: “Did you realize that you shared that slanderous reply with the entire campus community?”:)
  4. Bombardment by Bombastic Buzzwords (I’ve twice ranted to my one reader in the blogosphere about this peeve: here and here.). Solution: Think of the buzzwords as a specialized language unique to that marketing/corporate culture; update the buzzword bingo software; create a buzzword translator.
  5. Hmmm. Maybe I need just to lighten up or to consult Alex Blackwell’s eight step approach to dealing with pet peeves found here. Or at least to contextualize the irritation like this.

Or unwinding by playing in a pile of leaves.dscn4611Or listening to a beautiful piano recital.dscn4779Or snuggling up with some grand-nieces and grand-nephews.Version 2

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Life is far too short to allow pet peeves to bother one disproportionately. Or as my dictation software once jabbered,”Hours longer we to bury was.” See the translation here:

 

 

 

Curious David

Ruminations on Gratitude: Saying, Giving, and Living Thanks

p1080771Our recent Thanksgiving holiday (a time of joy, happiness, good food, and playfulness) seems so long ago. Why is that? How can we celebrate year round and enlarge that celebration to embrace our common humanity across the globe?
I am giving an exam right now. After all, today is “Giving Tuesday.” You can read about its history here and about this year’s 2016 effort here. There are so many people and organizations in need across the world. How sad it is that we must market, self-promote and commercialize the act of giving rather than internalizing it as a joyful, daily activity. Thank you to my many global friends who strive to make the world a better place through their daily contributions. Here is my best effort to reach you in your native language!

A few years ago I considered (re)creating a course dealing with the topic of “Happiness.” Those thoughts can be found here. And here is a list of a number of “happiness experts.” Giving makes me happy. But I don’t give in order to be happy.

I think it would be be interesting to develop a course investigating gratitude. A lot of research in this area has already been done and is shared by Berkeley’s Greater Good organization. That link can be found here.

Time to collect exams! I give a 2nd exam in an hour. Their gift is that I shall have 40 exams to grade!

 

Carroll UniversityCommencementCurious DavidGlobalJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

Workplace Learning : 8 Lessons Learned

dscn4331Reflections on what I learned from an eight-week online course with Jane Hart.

  1. I was introduced to Yammer as a learning tool–and found it lacking. Give a company Yammer and everything needs Yammering.:) You can find some of my thoughts about Yammer here.
  2. This was my first experience as a “student” with asynchronous, online learning. I found myself logging in daily to respond to (and learn from) others who were engaged in the many assigned, applied exercises at a different pace than I due to time constraints, time zones, and their job demands. Though I see the practicality of asynchronous online learning for some learners, I found it inefficient and frustrating for me personally.
  3. I came away with a better understanding of the requirements and challenges of creating, conducting, and participating this way–and very much admire and respect how Jane Hart, the workshop administrator, took the time to respond to us individually and collectively in timely fashion.
  4. I (virtually) met interacted with a number of bright, hard-working, interesting people passionate about improving the workplace learning environment from across the world–Ghana, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the USA. I admire their dedication to changing, expanding, and improving how individuals learn within the workplace environment. I am always humbled by the abilities of individuals, for whom English is not their native language, but who nonetheless succeed in mastering materials written in English. We learned together through sharing what we know (–and admitting what we didn’t know) and participating in guided, asynchronous learning experiences created by Jane Hart. Thanks in particular to Sharon Young, Martine Varney, Jennifer Russell, Sally Rhodes, Ivy Mawuko, Renate Aheimer, Catherine Shinners, Chris Coladonato, Carmen Ridaura, and Kristi Ivan for helping me better understand your corporate cultures, the challenges you face in championing new ways of learning, and the many times you made me think.
  5. I definitely exceeded my expected return in investment of the time and dollars I spent participating in this workshop IN LARGE PART as a function of the contributions of those people listed above.
  6. Being personally guided by Jane Hart through her Modern Workplace Learning: A Resource Book for L & D was invaluable. I look forward to the January revision—and participation in future workshops.
  7. I was introduced to or re-introduced to a number of learning tools—-among them PDFpenPro (that I used to annotate the online version of Jane’s book), Evernote (which still for me tries to do and claims to do too much), Grammarly (which allows me to circumvent SOME of the limitations of LinkedIn and Yammer), Pocket, DayOne, Dragon Professional dictation software and Blinkist.
  8. I came away with a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and untapped resources of workplace learning. Jane Hart continues to clarify my vision and expand my learning horizons in blog pieces like her recent contribution dealing with unlocking unused potential. I look forward to sharing these insights with my students as they enter the workforce, in LinkedIn posts,  and by my cascading this knowledge into my consulting work.

alumniClutterCurious DavidHappinessMeaning

Refocusing, Renewal, and “Hours longer we to bury was.”

 

Version 3Last night I took the time to wander and wonder outside our North Lake home with my camera taking pictures of the super moon.  The evening not only was beautiful but the act of having to focus and refocus my camera helped develop in me thoughts about the importance of focus and refocus in my life. Reflection and refocusing in one’s life for me is not only good but imperative.

I’m sitting at my desk for the moment between the time of administering two exams. How best should I use this “free” time? Too often I use the time to start yet another project. Instead this time I am reflecting.  I also am trying to dictate this blog piece using my Nuance Dragon Professional software. It surely has improved in terms of its accuracy and ease of use, and it is far past time for me to learn how to use it to my advantage.

Still, it has its limitations (or perhaps I still need to learn better its features).

“Hours longer we to bury was.”  That gibberish was what the software produced when I attempted to quote something I read in Latin almost 50 years ago:  “ars longa, vita brevis.” Art is long; life is short.

I had forgotten that the passage was originally attributed to Hippocrates. I embrace his  more complete quotation:

“Life is short,and art long,opportunity fleeting,experimentations perilous,and judgement difficult.”

So much to learn; so little time. So much beauty to discover and to appreciate.

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So many perilous experimentations to be risked in order to live more fully. So many difficult judgments to make. So many difficult conversations needed.  Yet, I continue to believe that I have been blessed by being given the opportunity to teach and to learn continuously.

Time to return to the classroom—renewed…

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Curious David

A Benevolent Curmudgeon and a Bright Emerging Star Reflect on LinkedIn: Revised

 

David (AKA The Benevolent Curmudgeon):

dscn4331In several prior posts about my experiences with LinkedIn, I have pondered and sought advice about how someone like me (with one foot in academe and the other in the business world) might most profit from and contribute to LinkedIn. Since those postings, I have joined several linked in groups, explored some of LinkedIn’s premium features such “learning”( aka Lynda.com), looked at the usefulness of SlideShare (here is a recent posting there by Jane Hart), participated in some LinkedIn surveys by becoming a member of the “LinkedIn Premium Insiders Community, selectively and systematically expanded my network, subscribed to RSS feeds, explored using hashtags for my postings, and read and responded to a number of posts. I have found particularly rewarding the good work of Maya Pope-Chappell, Education and millennial Editor of LinkedIn. She writes well and has championed efforts 1) to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas from higher education and the business world and 2) to increase opportunities for involvement by college students. See, for example, her Lynda.com screencast targeted for college and university students about how to write for LinkedIn.

Things I dislike about LinkedIn:

  • I still find the “post publishing platform” primitive and user-unfriendly—inferior to that of WordPress (though far superior to Yammer’s). My work-around has been to write LinkedIn blog pieces (targeted for a LinkedIn audience)


on another platform and then migrate them.

  • I find many of the articles far two “formulaic” for my taste: Promises of THE “seven”proven ways to increase my (fill in the buzzword). [I’ve ranted written about my love distaste  thoughts about “buzzwords” here and here.]
  • I get annoyed by my inability to read some articles that look interesting to me unless I turn off my ad blockers or “white list” the target website.

For a refreshingly “non peevish” take on LinkedIn, I invited one of my research assistants, Alison Lehman who is quite knowledgable about LinkedIn (she wrote about it in her first book) to share here present perspective about it. She is most enthusiastic about it even as she approaches the time of her university graduation. I, as always, learned a few things from her.

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Rapidly growing and expanding, LinkedIn is an online, social networking site for individuals to connect with other professionals and post their professional accomplishments, experiences, and volunteer activities. With the technological advances that exist today, employers are not only looking at an individual’s hard copy resume but they are also turning to LinkedIn to put a face to the name, as well as seeing how the individual presents themselves online. LinkedIn is an interactive website to compile education history, past experiences, skills, interests, completed projects, and various other professional expertise; pretty much an online resume for others to see. With connecting and providing experiences, this opens the door to future jobs and valuable professional relationships. Creating a LinkedIn profile can help grow connections in the business world and displays qualifications and experience for jobs.

Getting Started:

To create a LinkedIn profile, an individual can go to the LinkedIn website and create their profile with an email address and password. An individual is then prompted to insert information about themselves, such as a brief autobiography, past education experience, and professional work history. Additionally, information can be entered about volunteer experiences or  organizations’ they care about, institutions they are affiliated with, certifications received, and a list of personal skills. LinkedIn will then organize all of the information into an organized profile page. The user can customize where each section of information will fall (e.g. either at the top of the profile or farther down). Other individuals can also endorse the skills you have listed on your profile. This feature is a quick way for connections to validate that the individual is well qualified in the skills they have listed.

Users are able to create an online profile with as much professional information about themselves as they see pertinent. LinkedIn creates a profile composed of an individual’s professional history, education, and achievements. Similar to a resume, but in an online format, LinkedIn allows other individuals to review your professional endeavors and education. Through LinkedIn, users potentially are more able to find jobs, locate other individuals in their field of study, and discover business and volunteer opportunities. Especially for college students, LinkedIn can be a viable way to make professional connections, search for internships or positions in one’s desired career path, and make connections with other professionals who can give valuable advice or guidance for the future.

Getting the most out of LinkedIn:

The feature that most individuals see on LinkedIn is your picture, name, and professional headline. Since most attention is placed on these three elements, they should be strategically created to help emphasize your field of study and strengths. While a professional headshot is ideal, professional photographers can be expensive to hire. The LinkedIn picture does not need to be taken by a professional but it should be a professional-looking headshot. The professional headline should be crafted to include keywords related to your field of study/work. These keywords can help other professionals find your profile and explore your experiences and strengths. This 120 character opportunity can be used as a mini pitch to quickly showcase your area of expertise and skill set.

Since LinkedIn allows users to compile a profile with sections ranging from education experience, publications, projects, interests, and many more, as much of the profile should be filled out as possible to utilize the ability to display abilities and interests to other professionals. Putting skills and accomplishments on LinkedIn is a way for others to recognize your strengths and reach out when jobs or projects seem relevant. Some of these sections include adding a professional profile picture of oneself and even, if one chooses, adding a cover photo that will be displayed behind the profile. With the ability to include summaries, experiences, and educational history, these allow the user to demonstrate and expand on their qualifications and professional achievements. Some of these sections are education, contact information, professional industry, volunteer experiences, and certifications. Completing all the LinkedIn sections allows individuals to both keep track of their experiences and accomplishments in their life, and also helps showcase these talents and skills to other individuals. But remember, do not just throw down quick information to complete each section. Instead, think strategically about word choice and the way you want to communicate your information to others.

Once the profile is up and running, it is time to make connections. By adding connections with other individuals, others will be able to see and explore your profile. When adding connections,  some individuals add anyone to increase their connection numbers.  Others prefer to make connections only with individuals whom they personally know. If one simply has hundreds of connections but does not take advantage of what these connections could offer, it defeats the purpose. Connections help individuals stay in contact with old classmates, colleagues or friends, make professional connections for future jobs, receive advice from others in their field of study, and share information among groups. With the email address used to create a LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn will automatically suggest connections to individuals in your email list who have a LinkedIn account with that similar email. One can also look for connections by searching for their name, a company name, a specific industry, or a school name. There are so many benefits that LinkedIn provides, but it is up to the individual to leverage how best to take advantage of these features.

LinkedIn also allows individuals to create a custom URL to their profile. The URL that comes with a profile is normally a group of random letters and numbers. In just a couple of minutes, one can create a custom URL, such as his/her name. If the name is already taken, one can try to add a middle initial or add his/her middle name completely. Also, one way to get involved on LinkedIn is through groups. Individuals can join professional groups which share information or advice among members, and post or search for jobs. Groups allow individuals to communicate between one another and to expand their knowledge. It is a great way to meet new individuals and make new connections. Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can create a group that can be customized to the topic they are interested in. LinkedIn provides a free service, but it also has an option for individuals to pay for more features. For college students, the free version of LinkedIn is a great way to put together an online resume, but also get a start exploring the professional world for after graduation.

LinkedIn for Carroll University Students:

In addition, LinkedIn has a feature called “find alumni”. This feature allows one to look for alumni that attended their same university. After selecting this tab, a page is brought up with all the alumni and that can be sorted by their college concentrations, current area living, interests, skills or current job placement.  This feature allows one to see where your peers are currently living in the world and how they are using their skills in their career paths. Also, individuals can look at other professionals’ profiles to get tips and advice on opportunities alumni pursued to obtain jobs or even possible organizations to could work for. The find alumni tools is a great starting point to explore possible career options, connect with alumni that share similar interests, or get inspiration for volunteer activities or clubs to join while still at the university.

LinkedIn is very beneficial for business purposes. One may want to find a job sooner than the usual applying to multiple different places. One is able to put just his/her information out on this website and have others looking for them. Their information is on there just as if their resume would be. People are able to look up certain students, adults, business partners, etc. on LinkedIn and possibly find someone they could potentially hire for a position they have opening for at their business. Also, LinkedIn is very useful in connecting with others you may have known from a past job experience, high school, college, etc.