Professor of Psychology, Carroll University (USA), Lover of Dogs, Reading, Teaching and Learning. Looking for ways to enhance cross-global communication and to apply technology learning tools. Interested in brain health maintenance, brain fitness training, and truth in advertising.
What is Giving Tuesday? I found my answers here. I was intrigued by its plea “Help others through the gift of your time, donations, goods or your voice. ” Let us not forget that there are other ways to give than financially.
Here is Giving Tuesday’s history on my newest “goto” resource: Wikipedia.
What data is available about its integrity and success? I found a whale of a lot of data (facts, statistics, and predictions) here.
Based on my thorough reading of the above links, my psychological indebtedness to this institution through four decades of teaching and learning, my awareness of the talents and financial needs of our students, and my belief in paying forward, I plan to participate. I am supporting Carroll University this #GivingTuesday to help raise funds for student scholarships and keeping a Carroll education affordable. Please consider joining the effort or sharing to spread the word! I urge that you do so also for causes or charitable organizations which you believe in.
As I teach Social Psychology at Carroll for the last time, I welcome feedback from former students, former Ohio State social psychology classmates and professors, fellow social psychologists, and present students about what should be taught in the courses and how it should be taught. I have always been impressed by the under heralded contributions of Scott Plous in his creation of the Social Psychology Network. Thank you, Scott, for your many contributions and your rekindling my interest in the discipline. There are so many social psychologists whom I continue to admire and learn from, even if vicariously.
I’ve invited my students to visit the SPN network as a starting point.
I am having quite a bit of difficulty writing this piece—and have had that difficulty for the past several years since my identity with my discipline of experimental social psychology became disrupted and unsettled. In my Experimental Social Psychology class I have been sharing with students a case study of the influential career of European social psychologist Diederik Stapel. May I never be so famous that my biography is regularly updated in Wikipedia,
and my work is regularly condemned on Retraction Watch.
The past few years I have invited my students to share in writing their reactions to this case study. Thank you, Diederik for replying and sharing some of your experiences over the past three years.
I am left struggling with the questions of at what point is ostracism unwarranted and forgiveness or a variant of compassion warranted. At what point does ostracism degenerate into a witch hunt? How can one both acknowledge and condemn wrong behavior (never forget) and yet avoid wrong behavior by failing to allow an individual opportunities to show that they have learned from their misbehavior?
I began my class by having all students carefully read the article Coping with Chaos: How Disordered Contexts Promote Stereotyping and Discrimination. After we have carefully studied the experimental design, elegance of the the thinking, data analysis, conclusions and practical implications I shared with students the reports of the investigation of Stapel’s fraudulent data collection (here is a link) and his explanations of why he falsified data.
The challenge is how to avoid undermining students’ belief in the validity of psychological science while at the same time confronting the reality that science is a human endeavor. I found the Stapel malfeasance most disruptive to my own professional identity (and I am not alone.) How can I make that disruption a positive thing, especially for my students?
I have much to ruminate about: Perfectionism, Fraud, Ostracism, and Forgiveness
Here are some of some thoughts of my students in my Experimental Social Psychology class:
My initial response to Diederik Stapel’s situation was shock. While researching in our Social Psychology class we found that he was first accused of fraud in 2011, but by 2016 they had found his 58th retraction. To know that someone of his caliber had committed this much fraud astounded me and after reading the New York Times’ article I found myself asking “why”. Stapel was a respected and well-known researcher and he had worked with many colleges and students. To know that his career was filled with lies and fraud made feel upset. As a result of his crimes, he was stripped of his PhD and was practically banished from the field of psychology. At times I feel as though that wasn’t enough. Stapel used millions of dollars to conduct his falsified studies and to know that money could have been used to conduct other research makes me frustrated. At first, I viewed Stapel as a “villain”. His scandal shook the field of social psychology and made impacts more personal than just that. Many say the reason as to why he was able to forge his work was because of his deep understanding of sociology. He knew what exactly people wanted to see in terms of research and he was clever and knew where to draw his boundaries for how far to push his studies.
It amazes me how one man’s decision can lead to so many consequences. Diederik Stapel’s decision not only impacted himself, but it negatively affected those that he worked with and the students that he took under his wing. Some of his prior students, even feel that due to this scandal their future and careers were ruined. I can’t help but wonder if he thought about not only what this could do to the careers of those he respected, but how this could impact his family as well. The reason I think about this is due to the Netherlands having a very strict culture in which it is not very forgiving. In the article, it said that when apologizing to a past student he felt deep remorse for his actions and when I read that it made me see him as more human than before. Prior to this, I could only see one side of it, but some say that they “blame the system” for Stapel’s actions. Although, I believe every person should be held accountable for their choices, I can see how Stapel might have been blinded by the need for success. In many societies, someone is not worth anything until they prove it, and maybe once Stapel was praised for false research the first time, he found success in that. I can see how the need for success and manipulating studies can become an addiction, similar to gambling. Once you win, you never want to stop, regardless of the consequences.
Although I see this mostly in a negative connotation, I cannot deny the benefits this is created in the field of research. One outcome is that research now needs a lot of supporting evidence and support. Things are being thoroughly reviewed, and many are requiring that studies be replicated. This is only one example, but after listening to my other classmates discuss I cannot deny that this situation has impacted Social Psychology in many beneficial ways. Regardless of the positive outcomes, I still cannot justify Diederik Stapel’s actions, but I do not fully put the blame on his shoulders.
Diederik Stapel committed a large amount of fraud, this is an indisputable fact. When I first heard about his situation I wanted to be sympathetic but upon reading further into his story my sympathy waned until all I could feel was disgust. If Diederik had stopped after the first few insistences of fraud that would have been forgivable especially with the justification that he gave for his actions. It’s one thing to succumb to the pressure and impending deadlines of a successful career but to commit such a crime for just ambition and aesthetics is disheartening. The field of science is looked to and respected because it is founded on the belief that the answers that we receive from it are based on observable facts and truths. The scientific method is a key aspect of what gives science the respect it is given, that Stapel claims to love science but committed such large amounts of fraud because the scientific method did not lead to a clear conclusion that supported his hypothesis is just mind-boggling. Blaming the scientific community is easy to do because the field of science does have issues, less now than when Stapel committed his crimes, but at the end of the day,Stapel made the decision to throw away his career. Many have been convinced that their hypotheses were valid and used the scientific method to prove or disprove their hypotheses often learning something else in the process so in my book Stapel does not get a pass just because he didn’t want to spend more time doing research after his first few trials failed. The fact that Stapel got to a point where he was not even attempting to give the experiment a chance to succeed by completing the actual experiments but immediately jumped to faking the data is what makes his actions truly inexcusable and difficult for me to understand, as he has to know that he would be caught eventually and having done the actual research would have cushioned the fall. That he also deprived his student’s and colleagues the opportunity to regain their dignity by redoing the analysis on the raw data and reaching the correct conclusions thus saving their reputations and efforts makes his actions even more reprehensible. Some of my faith in science was shaken when I read that nobody acted on their suspicions, as no one can do so many experiments and get clear-cut answers on or have all their experiments never fail to support their hypotheses without raising some sort of suspicions. However, I am glad that this incident has made the field better and brought much need change to the field of Social Psychology. While I have some sympathy and understanding for Diederik Stapel as he did not know a lot of failure in his life and that by committing fraud he guaranteed that he would never feel failure, I think that he should have been punished more than he was. The Diederik Stapel case has brought to light some of the failures that exist in the field of Science especially social psychology while I am saddened to see such an important figure fall the aftermath of his fall has brought science forward.
After reading this interesting New York Times article on Diederik Stapel, I have a different perspective on the field of science in general. This article has shown me that the field of science does not always consist of facts. In the article, it mentions science being the new religion. In the past, religion was thought to be divine and untouchable. If an individual questioned the church, they were seen as crazy. Throughout the years, people have decreased labeling these individuals and started to question some aspects of religion. Today, science is seen in this similar way; being known as factual. However, this scandal has caused me, and many others, to question the validity of scientific research. Thankfully, some scientific journals have resolved this suspicion by having the researchers required to turn in their data with their written piece. Although this feature should have been implemented in the first place, this scandal has shown that science does not always mean truth. It helped us question science, like religion, in how factual this data might be.
When I was first brought into the world of science, I was taught this topic consisted of individuals trying to find the answers to life. Scientists had to conduct experimental or correlational research to find life’s universal truths. However, as I was learning this wonderful field, I never considered the number of resources that were needed in order to conduct these research projects. This leads an individual to become extremely stressed to have perfect results in order for it to be published in a scientific journal. As a college student, I can relate to this strive for perfection in wanting to be admirable for graduate schools. In some ways, this strive for perfection can be beneficial in bringing us to be our best selves; however, in Stapel’s case, it can also cause us to become our worst selves leading to damaging results. I do not condone Stapel’s actions, however, I understand this system is flawed.
These are my thoughts on Diederik Stapel’s case of falsification in social psychology. Diederik was just like any other experimental psychologist in a growing field; hopeful, bold, and driven. He was driven by success, the amazing feeling of having significant results, and when faced with research that he knew may NOT achieve significant results, he chose to falsify information dozens of times. He described the feeling as a high, hard to stop, similar to when you open the cookie jar and find it impossible to resist. Stapel thought the journals wanted simplicity and results, and he believed “you are what you achieve”. He was obsessed also with order in his everyday life. He seemingly forgot life’s other challenges such as friends and family and became obsessed with work, and it was easy to get caught up in the great results and fame that came with them. When these thoughts are taken into account I am able to begin to understand what went through his mind when this was occurring. When asked on a Ted talk about this incident he seemed to feel badly, and said he contacted those he impacted and many forgave him. Initially in the article it seemed he didn’t feel too badly about their ruined careers.
He, unknowingly, changed social psychology for the better because it was made more fortified, and now researchers are made to submit raw materials and data, not just results. This makes it harder to falsify data. Replication needs to happen more, people often don’t want to replicate because they want their own groundbreaking new study but it is important because some results may be flukes and should be retested. This incident made people realize just because something is published in a scientific journal doesn’t necessarily mean it is 100% correct, which is sad because people trust science and when it is faked it’s a big problem especially for those who don’t trust science (anti- vaxxers, etc). This leads to more distrust and further division of citizens.
Likely why there was little suspicion was because he was considered an “expert” In his field which made people scared to speak out. Unfortunately, misconduct is not as rare as people think, especially back then and likely now as well. He also wrote a book and tried to star in a play shortly after his charges were brought into the open which makes me wonder did/does he really understand the enormity of what he has done to the field of social psychology? He ruined many people’s lives but also spurred a complete overhaul of the way research is handled. His parents blamed the system but he claims to accept blame in the article. He seems to be accepting that he did something majorly wrong and I can kind of understand him when his reasons are stated. I think everyone deserves a second (or 42nd) chance, but time will tell if he really has changed. By now he has had time to reflect on why he actually did this. I wonder if he would be compelled to act the same if he was given the chance to start over.
My thoughts as I was reading various articles pertaining to Diederik Stapel were complex, to say the least. At first, our class read a study that Stapel conducted, and I, along with the entire scientific community for years, found myself overall impressed. That could be an understatement. The research that Stapel sent out into the world was groundbreaking and exciting, exactly what the scientific community hoped for in its research. He cited important people, cited from prestigious journals, and was creative in a thrilling way that seemed to place him constantly on the bleeding edge of scientific discovery. It was clean; it was thorough; it was significant. At one time Stapel was likely one of the most famous researchers operating in Europe. Many people – those who knew him personally, and those who did not – greatly admired him.
But it was always significant. It was always tidy. It was always perfect. Eventually I, like my other classmates and the rest of the world, discovered that Stapel did not actually gather data from his research – rather, he fabricated it all. Such a revelation completely stunned the scientific world. It stunned those working side-by-side with Stapel at Tilburg University where he worked. It shocked his students and complete strangers in the community. Nobody seemed to know how to react at first. For a horror-struck second, the world was still. Then that quickly changed, and the scientific brains of the world altogether seemed to leap up and lash out. It was an affront to the scientific process, that which researchers believed in sometimes more than religion itself. It was personal to many who devoted their lives in the hopes of generating true groundbreaking results, and sometimes to no avail. Suddenly, Diederik Stapel was the perfect villain in the eyes of science.
I, like many others, found myself upset at first. It is easy to be angry, especially when it saves one from thinking. If reality did resemble a fairytale, there is no doubt in my mind that Stapel would be fit into the proper villain role for the sake of story, but real life is hardly ever that simple. The order and perfection that Stapel sought in research through any means necessary drove him to falsify data for his own experiments, for those of his colleagues, and for his students. Stapel acted the way he did for order to beat chaos – a story that always sells. However, he sold the story, among several reasons, to give the scientific community something it desired greatly – hope and excitement. What he ended up giving to the community was order. Order, in this case, came in the form of increased requirements for publication, including a submission of all materials and data.
While it’s easy to be angry, it is important also to recognize that positive effects of Stapel’s actions exist. The scientific community now has a strengthened ability to identify and reject fraudulent research before it can ever reach publication. Individual researchers may turn a sharper eye to their fellow colleagues. Some may even feel a newfound courage to speak out about known manufactured results. In effect, this may make scientific research that one experiences in journals worldwide more trustworthy than they were years ago. While Diederik Stapel himself might not ever receive a thank you for his actions, a thoughtful student would be quite foolish to refuse to learn about the impact Stapel had, particularly on the rules and regulations the research community now has that make it more worthy of the faith millions place upon it every day.
As a college student, I must admit I was frustrated when reading about the drama that shook the psychology field. We depend on research to support our ideas and to challenge what we think we know about the world. It was devastating to read data and to have it seem so possible, only to find out it was one over fifty articles retracted from Diederik Stapel’s collection of research. It was hard to believe that someone could get away with a career’s worth of data and print so many studies without anyone speaking up. After reading about how scared graduate students were to speak up for fear of their careers and education was heartbreaking. I felt for them. We trust that our data is true and that our professors, many of whom are often mentors, are leading us on the path to success. The college student side of me really felt angered and betrayed for the graduate students and coworkers he lied to and to students in the psychology field in general who looked up to him and strived for the kind of career he had built.
However, I have always been a person who tries to imagine both sides. As a college student, I also relate to the stress that comes with making your parents proud and becoming successful. I am competitive, motivated, and hungry to make my small dent on the world. I have had many successes, such as an article publication, good grades, opportunities, and so on. Failure is a hard pill to swallow for me because I have experienced so many opportunities. I understand that he was afraid of failure and disappointing his family. I have experienced failures and even though it was hard, you have to get back up and try again. However, Stapel never had the opportunity to learn to get back up because he never fell. His data always seemed so great and realistic. I understand the pressure to succeed, but his actions go farther than one or two mistakes. He says it became an addiction to conduct fake studies. I still do not fully understand this. He spent so many hours in the library reading research and taking time away from his family to fudge data on research he had never conducted. He could have taken all of the time he used to fake the studies, to actually commit to doing it correctly. He also dragged his graduate students and colleagues into data he knew he would be faking. Was faking data truly worth losing your credibility, friendships, job, and the PhD that you worked so hard for? Maybe in the moment it all seemed so great, but a price was paid.
Lastly, I questioned the process. How could over 50 retractions be submitted, reviewed, and approved in prominent psychology journals? It was alarming to know that so many papers were accepted. It made me question who else was out there submitting data that was faked. For the first time since I entered college, I questioned the information I had become so attached to, the journals I had come to respect, and the daunting process I admired. Was I admiring a broken system and fake data? Was everything I thought I knew false? It could not be that bad, could it? This troubled me deeply. After bringing up the question to Dr. Simpson, some of my faith was restored. We discussed how these retractions changed the way in which journals conducted their process and the information submitted by authors. I now know that it is much more difficult to have data published than ever before due to the problems found in the system.
I am not sure that people will forget one of the biggest events to happen to the experimental social psychology community, however it is time to forgive. While I do not believe Stapel received enough punishment for his actions, I think that the past needs to be closed on this chapter of his life. He may not have paid for his actions with jail time or other severe consequences, but he has lost a lot. I cannot imagine how lonely it must feel to go from having so much support to being publicly shamed. I think it is time that people move on and leave his family alone. While I am not sure he can ever be trusted with a grant or to work for an institution heavily based on research, but I think he is still an educated man who can give something back to the psychology field and make up for some of his actions. As a college student giving perspective on something I can never fully understand, and while not condoning his actions or the punishment he was given, I understand the drive for success and the competition we face to be the best we can be. But you have to look at yourself before judging someone else. I have made mistakes. Does that mean I am unworthy of a second chance? Some people may disagree with me, but I think we need to change our focus to educating younger students about situations like these and supporting them in reporting questionable work they are seeing and making sure that our future researchers are doing the work and not afraid to fail. There is something to be said for those who fall time and time again, but get back up and keep going.
Emily writes: After this year, I will be attending graduate school for School Psychology. In my Experimental Social Psychology class, we were tasked to read an article about a man by the name of Diederik Stapel. While reading, I took a particular interest in the fact that Diederik committed research fraud because he was fixated on order and symmetry. Diederik believed that in order for his research to be published, his results needed to mean something and needed to be significant. He was able to publish around fifty-eight fraudulent articles before two of his graduate students started suspecting something. The two graduate students actually ended up discussing their thoughts with a young professor and that was when everything started to come out. When this came out, I found it interesting that there had been at least two other notable scientists who were found to have forged research as well. I believe that it took so long for Stapel’s error to finally come out because he was a very respected professor and the dean of students at his university. This paired with the fact that he was an award winner of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology award, made people trust him and respect him. It took Diederik actually going to a school that he supposedly had done research at and him not recognizing any of the buildings on the campus, to actually realize that what he was doing was wrong. After his trip, he confessed to his wife about his wrongdoing and a little while later he was suspended from his job. Since then, Diederik has released a book about his life and what lead him to commit research fraud. He released this book in the hopes that he could raise a profit and earn back some of the respect that he had lost.
Though I think this is a good start, I believe that we as a society need to take a step back from science and reexamine our methods of research. We also need to work on efforts for spotting scientific and research fraud. As for Stapel, I believe that it will take a lot more than a simple apology to regain the trust he has lost and there will always be a reason to weary of what he has to say.
As a little introduction, I am a senior psychology and criminal justice double major, I am hoping to get a PsyD. and law degree after I graduate from Carroll. As student researcher here at Carroll as well. I have been doing research both paid and unpaid for the last year with my criminal justice advisor. I have presented at a conference with my advisor and the rest of our team of two other students. I will be continuing to do research this year as a paid assistant until I graduate next fall.
As I was read the article from the New York Times I had many thoughts, feelings, and reactions. As a student and researcher, who has put much of his trust in his advisors, my first reaction was anger, how could a mentor and trusted professor do that to his students? Second was embarrassment, for Staple and for the field in general. It is difficult to study a social science as our field is under constant scrutiny for “not being an actual science” or since replicating studies has been difficult it calls the reliability and validity of social sciences in general but psychology made a big push as to make it a respected science. So in some respects Staple’s actions set the field back. As I read further I had a different reaction, understanding. The article stated that “he love the field of psychology but that get frustrated at the messiness of experimental data, which rarely leads to a clear conclusion”. Having gone through messy data but on a smaller scale, having read many articles that left me with more questions than answers, I empathize with Staple. After that the article says “… science, too, was becoming a business,” he said “There are scarce resources, you need grants, you need money, there is competition””. Again I one-hundred percent agree with Staple on this. I think this to a degree explains his actions, in order to get the money you need to produce results, in order to produce results you need to either get lucky or create the perfect experiment and get the perfect outcome, but the majority of the time you do not get the results you expect or need. People do not want truth, people want results. So money gets pulled, people lose jobs, time feels wasted etc. if you can’t show them results, and that can be terrifying and can cause people to act irrationally and unethically. A bit later the article quotes Staple saying “People think of scientist as monks in the monastery looking out for the truth. People have lost faith in the church, but they haven’t lost faith in science” again to a degree I appreciate Staple’s point. But it takes education and sound judgement to understand science is not infallible. It can be hard for those who do not study or learn about the scientific method to understand that. People think science and/or religion can solve all of their problems and calm their fears when that is not an realistic expectation of anything. A bit later the article says “… individuals were defined by what they accomplished professionally “That’s what my parents’ generation was like”, he said. “You are what you achieve.”” again I think Staple hits the nail on the head. American society functions in a very similar way. You are what you do, you are the list of accomplishments, or titles you can list off. Science works that way as well, as I and Staple mentioned prior, science is the results you get. Your results gain you money and prestige, prestige gains you more money and respect, which gains you further status. I think in the end I can understand and appreciate why Staple did what he did, that doesn’t mean I condone it. With that being said I think humanity today can be way too harsh and unforgiving. I think he has been punished enough by society and himself. I think he deserves the forgiveness of the scientific community. He showed that prior to his actions he was/is a brilliant person. His actions, in the end, also helped the field by making people be more aware and critical of what they are reading, especially those that decide if a study is worthy of publishing by requiring all materials like raw data. Everyone deserves a break and a second chance to prove themselves.
At first read the Diederik Stapel case made me very upset, I really wanted to know why someone would do what he did. When reading it I had to admit that my first opinion was how could someone be so careless and selfish. Stapel took the lives of his graduate students and his wife and family into his own hands. When falsifying his data, he did not happen to think of the lives of the innocent people he would impact only his own personal gain. Staples only true reasoning for doing what he did was because, he believed the scientific method was messy and it messed for this need for order. While going deeper into the article there were some points that Stapel brought up that I empathize with, life is all about your name and there is a huge pressure in today’s world to be the best at everything you do and do make a way for yourself. After taking a step back it made me realize that Diederik is not the first person to have falsified data and he certainly will not be the last, knowing this fact we know that our system is broken somewhere. That is possible for someone to give fake data and get away with it, 56 times before it is finally noticed.
After thinking greatly about this I believe it is important to hold the people who falsify data to a greater punishment. I do not believe that giving up their PhD is longer enough for people to know that we cannot fake the data of our studies and get away with. This system is broken, and we are very greatly making strides in the right direction that now to publish a study than you must also publish the raw data, but I feel that this is not enough to hold people accountable for their actions. We must make the changes now and they must be greater changes in the efforts to protect the honesty that we have left in the field of Psychology. When data is fake, and studies are called into questioning, it calls into question the field of Psychology as a whole. We must no longer allow people to walk away from their actions and we must hold them accountable for the paths and the actions that they have chosen. We need to help the system, and we need to make sure that we do not allow for people to question the field.
On the first day of class, Dr. Simpson had us read an article that cited a few notable research experiments to defend the idea that chaos promotes discrimination. In this article, the researchers talked about a field study they performed at a train station in Utrecht. While reading this particular experiment, I remember thinking that the way it was set up and the results it produced were very intriguing; it left me wanting more. After our class finished reading and discussing the article, Dr. Simpson presented us with a second article; the New York Times piece on Diederik Stapel.
My first reaction to this story was anger and frustration. I had so many questions racing through my mind: Why did Stapel do this? Why did he not stop? Why did someone not find out about this sooner? I could not believe what I was reading! Dozens of papers that were once considered groundbreaking to the field of psychology are now useless. He harmed and wasted the time of his students, who were living a complete lie without any knowledge of it. Thousands of individuals who looked up to Stapel and his work are now let down because of his lies.
In my time as a student, I have done one research study completely on my own, and I failed to find any significant results. My research took an entire school semester to complete, which lead me to realize that research is tedious, frustrating, and time-consuming. It pains me that Stapel turned this into something laughable and fake. The hard work that researchers put into their designs every day, and Stapel turned it into a joke.
This story not only had me questioning Stapel’s acts, but I could not help but wonder if there are more researchers just like him that have not been caught yet. How many times has this happened in the past? How many times will it happen in the future? As a society, we put so much trust into science, so what are we supposed to believe now? Individuals work hard to destroy the negative criticism and stereotypes that psychology is not a “hard science.” Now, with Stapel’s acts, the critics are able to use a new argument in their favor.
I read the article a second time, hoping that some piece of information would jump out and allow me to forgive him. I have yet to find this, but I was able to feel a slight bit of understanding for what he did. He became caught up in his addiction to praise and fame. Feeling like a superstar on top of the psychological world, he ate up his glory and felt untouchable; until he was finally touched.
Perhaps the way research is conducted needs to change. Maybe each study now needs a supervisor or a team of people to check over the data to ensure its legitimacy. Studies may need to be replicated, not once, but multiple times, to prove that the original results were significant and not faked. Even if all of these methods are implemented, would it be enough to stop someone like Stapel?
Some time has passed since I have read the article, allowing myself time to reflect. I do not forgive Stapel, at least not yet, but I have been able to understand that the feelings of pride and achievement that he experienced allowed him to continue his fraudulent trend. What I will never understand is why he decided to do it in the first place.
Earlier David-in-Carroll-Land Blog pieces (with Carroll students):
Rapidly growing and expanding, LinkedIn is a social network for professional collaboration that facilitates connecting with classmates, faculty, and colleagues. Users create an online profile and can provide as much information about themselves as they see pertinent. To this profile, users can add “connections” to other individuals and build their online social network. LinkedIn creates a profile comprised of an individual’s professional history, education, and achievements. Similar to a resume but in an online format, this allows other individuals to review your professional endeavors. Through LinkedIn, users potentially are more able to find jobs, locate other individuals in their field of study, and discover business and volunteer opportunities.
Individuals are able to build their image in their professional field by constructing and maintaining professional relationships. Especially for college students looking for connections in the real world, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for individuals searching for internships or for positions in one’s desired career path or to make connections with other individuals who may give them advice or guidance for their future.
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, individuals can enter volunteer experiences or organizations they care about, organizations they are affiliated with, certifications they have received, and a listing of their personal skills. LinkedIn will then organize all of the information onto a profile page. The user can customize where each section of information will fall (e.g. either at the top of the profile or lower 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.
One should make a concerted effort to complete as much of their profile as possible. This includes adding a professional profile picture of oneself and even, if one chooses, adding a cover photo that will be displayed behind the profile. LinkedIn provides multiple sections of personal information that allow individuals to demonstrate and expand on who they are. Some of these sections are education, contact information, professional industry, volunteer experiences, and certifications. Completing all the LinkedIn sections both allows one to 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. What kinds of connections should you make? Some individuals add anyone to increase their connection numbers. Others prefer to make connections only with individuals whom they personally know. The answer is really what you plan to do with these connections. 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, explore connections of friends, 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 email. One can also look for connections by searching for their name, a company name, a specific industry, or a school name to make further connections. 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 minutes, one can create a custom URL, such as their name. If the name is already taken, one can try to add a middle initial or add their middle name completely.
One way to get involved in LinkedIn is through groups. Individuals can join professional groups which share information, share 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 in exploring the professional world for after graduation.
What are your personal experiences with LinkedIn?
I have been investing some time (and money) exploring different WordPress “themes” (visual layouts), playing with a new video camera that promises better screencast quality on YouTube and Vimeo, and investigating some of the additional features available to LinkedIn users who pay for a premium account. In addition to my students writing a WordPress blog piece about LinkedIn which can be found here, I explored the LinkedIn platform blogging capabilities and published two pieces there: this piece—and a second one. My thanks to the numerous LinkedIn “connections” who viewed the posts (especially to Carroll alumnus Steve Thomas) for giving us “LinkedIn novices” some helpful guidance!
Here is a screencast of some of my (mis)adventures exploring the paid-for premium versus free versions of LinkedIn:
And here are are some additional LinkedIn resources I have found useful in getting a better understanding of how LinkedIn could serve the needs of my students and my interests:
Since I just finished introducing my students to LinkedIn, I thought that I should revisit its “InLearning” resource (formerly Lynda.com) to investigate what l might learn there. I was underwhelmed.
The screen cast below (7 minutes) documents my discoveries there.
Learning from this experience, I further documented needs for improvement of this resource in a LinkedIn article I wrote and posted last night.
Though Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have different original purposes, they continue to become more like each other. Still, I find that I can use them to serve complementary purposes. In the screencast that follows I try to show those similarities and differences. This is a draft of thoughts for a future student/faculty book.
Here I use Camtasia3 Mac with Iglasses and a Yeti mike. I am almost ready for a comparison of Camtasia, Screenflow, and Capto.
I am delighted that I shall have a 2nd talented student joining my research assistant team in the Fall. Kristen has already successfully stepped into the shoes of Tia and Lizzie who are abandoning me for a better deal — graduate school. I need to remind myself that Kristen is “only” a freshman since she handles responsibilities so conscientiously, responsibly, and capably.
Here are Kristen’s thoughts about LinkedIn:…
Being only a freshman in college, I am progressively expanding my knowledge on how to successfully use different platforms. Dr. Simpson recently introduced me to a site called LinkedIn. Although I have heard of this networking platform in the past, I previously had no use for it. However, as I start to enter into adulthood, we thought it would be wise to start my profile this year. Dr. Simpson assisted me in the creation of my profile by sending me a video series on this platform called Learning LinkedIn for Students created by Oliver Schinkten.
Throughout this video series, Schinkten goes step-by-step on how students can successfully obtain a professional profile. He gives nice examples for the viewers on certain information employers look for in these profiles. He also gives the viewer tips on how to stand out from other users. Although this information is useful, there is copious amounts of information that he suggests that seem to be too detailed. If one wants to use LinkedIn as a resume, they should keep it simple and organized. It can also be difficult, especially as a freshman, to add skills onto one’s profile. Maybe adding some examples on what senior high schooler/college freshman could have on their profile.
Overall, I thought this video series was a good starting point for students who want to start their job networking. Schinkten gives a nice overview of the website and gives clear directions on how to add, edit, and use this platform. Even though some of the information he suggests can be quite detailed, Schinkten does give a nice overview of the platform. Not only does he give clear directions on how to use the platform, but also in how a student can successfully use this professional site for seeking future jobs.
I read a lot of science fiction (especially lately works by Liu Cixin and Ken Liu) and find it more and more difficult to discriminate between science fiction and science fact. I am especially interested in the fictional portrayal of artificial intelligence.
Last week I finished reading Joseph E. Aoun’s book Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Many of the author’s key ideas were earlier shared by a colleague task force from the College of Arts and Sciences at the beginning of this semester. Below are two videos in the author’s own words.
I found his book (and our faculty discussions) thought-provoking but I reject the ideas that we must all emulate Northeastern University, cater our curriculum to what employers want, or necessarily embrace his “new learning model” of ‘humanics.’
Among the ideas in Aoun’s book and videos I find compelling are the following:
Universities (and I would argue, the corporate world) need to teach, encourage, and provide opportunities life-long self-directed learning. This is a message which visionary and international thought leader Jane Hart, Director of the Centre for Modern Workplace Learning, has been preaching and teaching for the past decade.
We need to educate people in ways that (presently!) cannot be imitated by networks of machines.
There is a need for – and a place for technological literacy, data literacy, human literacy, critical thinking, systems thinking, entrepreneurship, and cultural agility in higher education – AND in the workplace,
Experiential learning adds value to in-class learning experiences by encouraging going beyond acquisition and integration of skills and knowledge through application to novel, dynamic real-world situations (increasing the likelihood of ‘far transfer’).
Universities need carefully to (re)consider ways in which alumni stay connected, develop loyalties, and define themselves as alumni.
Recently on FaceBook a former student, Jillian (now a high school teacher of AP Psychology) invited me to comment on Dana Dunn’s Psychology Today blog post about “The Overlooked Importance of Instructor Office Hours.” Thank you, Jillian, for alerting me to his thoughts — and for continuing to stay in touch. I admire what you are doing professionally in “giving away” psychology in your teaching and coaching and mentoring of other AP Psychology teachers.
Dana writes well and gives important advice in his blog “Head of the Class.” Here are comments I made to him in response to what he wrote:
Well said! I am saddened at how fewer and fewer students come to my office to see me across the past forty years. I have an open door policy in addition to scheduled office hours. “Today’s” student seems to think that email communication serves the same purpose. I respect the fact that they are so busy with multiple jobs, student extracurricular activities, and their studies. Meeting them in person, though, in my office, allows for mentoring, my learning from them, and the building of a relationship that can in fact last across one’s lifetime. I have been so blessed.
I’ve been reflecting lately on my role as faculty adviser to undergraduates here at Carroll and about those faculty who played such a crucial role in that capacity for me. Without doubt their influenceshaped how and why I relate to students and former students as I do.
At Oberlin College my most influential adviser was Ralph H. Turner. Ralph, the first faculty member to invite me to address him by his first name, somehow was able to provide me the right balance of challenge and support I needed both inside and outside the classroom. I fondly and respectfully remember him as intellectually curious, patient, playful, kind, and unusually generous in his time with me. Indeed he was willing to stay in touch with me even across the years that I was continuing my education at The Ohio State University. Thank you, Ralph.
I was blessed with a similar and even deeper rich and enduring relationship at Ohio State with Tom Ostrom, who was my adviser, research collaborator, mentor, friend, and role model until the day of his untimely death. Tom provided emotional support for me while I struggled with the likelihood of being pulled out of graduate school to be sent to Vietnam, listened to me as I sorted out my thoughts about getting married, wrote me a teasing letter about a study I should do if I ended up in jail, guided me in the transition from the intense research world of Ohio State to my current home at Carroll and inspired me to share with others my love of learning. His wisdom, lust for life, optimism, sense of humor, firmness, and candor still guide and humble me.
Both individuals so impacted my life in so many ways. I draw upon their wisdom each time I am interacting with a student in an advising capacity or with my student research assistants. Advising is much more than helping students make the transition from high school, providing advice in course selection, or giving guidance in deciding whether there is an afterlife after graduating from Carroll. The lessons taught me by Ralph and Tom aren’t and can’t be learned from adviser training workshops.
For the past 40 years I have taught a course called Statistics and Experimental Design required of Carroll Psychology majors. I summarized my teaching philosophy of this course in a 2014 Society for the Teaching of Psychology publication. As I complete my last year of teaching here, my students and I are interesting in “giving away” psychology. The following links provide ancillary materials for mastering my course (or a refresher for what my students might have forgotten).
Across the years I have been fortunate to have learned from a number of global educators. Luis Miguel Miñarro, an educator in La Mancha, Spain, shared with me how he used Animoto to make a Carnival video in 2014. I still follow him on LinkedIn. Thank you, colleague, for helping me to discover new ways of learning and of sharing my learning.
I treasure the “care package” I received from educator friend, Inci Aslan, in Turkey who was the principal investigator of an Etwinning project I closely followed…
Thank you, Inci. I hope that you are well, safe, and happy. I admire what you have done in the classroom and think of you and other friends from Turkey when I am watching global news events.
Lithuanian educator Irma Milevičiūtė befriended me on Epals years ago and whetted my interest in global communication. Heartfelt thanks, Irma — and so delighted that we have reconnected on Facebook! What I have learned from you and with you has been enduring.
Thank you, Australian educator Julie Lindsay, for expanding my global horizons with your seminar Flat Connections Global Project. Best wishes on your new creative global learning endeavors.
Thanks to Saskia de Rooy for revitalizing my appreciation for art through your campus visits. And of course thank you to the many international students who have enriched my life and my learning.
I try to keep reasonably aware of international events through reading articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Guardian. I occasionally shadow Global Education Conferences and follow several WordPress blogs dedicated to Global Education. And yet I remain so globally illiterate.
Here are my some of my reflections on this topic a few years ago….
The world is open. I’ve been thinking about how to make our campus and curriculum more global. Here are some incipient thoughts about how that might de done.
Capitalize on cultural universals such as music, cuisine, sports, and literature. Our international students have so much they can teach us.
Reading: We need to encourage faculty, staff, and students to read, discuss, and discover world literature. Ann Morgan’s blog (a “Year of Reading Around the World”) is a wonderful place to start – as if Words Without Borders.
Though no substitute for reading, excellent audio and video recordings exist of introductions to world literature, world history, travel, and world religions.
And here are even earlier reflections…..
What is the appropriate foundation for general education in the 21st century?
Are we faculty appropriately educated for teaching in the 21st century?
What skill sets, traditions, and knowledge are as vital today as when this academic institution was founded?
Can we change our general education program without intentionally changing our institutional mission?
Should part of a general education be mastery of another language? If so, how does one define mastery> Is it enough merely to know the right phrases to allow one to travel within another country?
Should one be fluent in another culture’s history, customs, idioms, national concerns, and language?
Can internationalization be achieved through the 21st century equivalence of international pen pals using Skype?
What defines global citizenship? Global awareness?
How can we continually reaffirm and rediscover our common sense of humanity?
Tomorrow I meet with my students for the first time. Even after four decades of teaching I shall be nervous, though for different reasons than my two new colleagues whom I chatted with today (one, a former student!).
Delighted to connect via Facebook with two former students last Friday who saw me “marshaling” Faculty during the Opening Convocation as we welcomed their children to Carroll! Alumnus George Jifas wins the price for delicately indicating on LinkedIn how old I am:
“I clearly remember your old office with an IBM PS1 and the dual floppy drives when you would show us the “internet” and how it was used for research and access to the Library of Congress. My how times have changed.”
I have already sent my students a survey to have been completed before we meet. This begins the relationship building which is a focal point of how I teach. In the 2 sections of Statistics and Experimental Design I’ll collect some data to illustrate a simple two-group design. This also serves as a means of taking attendance. I also want to convey to them my interest in “robot-proofing them“, why I so value the liberal arts, and by belief in Carroll’s newly formulated ethos statement.
I am VERY impressed at how my Experimental Social Psychology students have thoughtfully responded to the blog post I shared with them. Based on their thoughtful responses, we may be rewriting the syllabus as we go.
My biggest worry at the moment is will I physically be able to get into my office – when I left today they were programming the locks!