A wonderful tradition on my campus both on the first day before classes and again at graduation is to have a bagpiper majestically lead the students on to campus. Today we’ll slightly change the tradition by moving the Opening Convocation to the day that first-year students arrive so that parents can witness the opening welcoming of their children as they walk through the line of applauding faculty.
I am very impressed by our new President Cindy Gnadinger’s interest in preserving our traditions yet open to changes consistent with our values and ethos statement. I wonder what she would think of our bringing onboard a “brand” new piper I’ve discovered. I suspect at the minimum she would be thunder-struck. He would, though, provide a cross-cultural experience, be energizing and engaging, and quite memorable. Stay tuned.
On a more serious note, it was delightful to be visited by my Lead Student Research Assistant today, Kristen Reszka and to be in touch with several alumni via LinkedIn and Facebook. Please continue to stay in touch via Facebook, email, Skype, LinkedIn, snail mail, visits, and owl. I still have a good supply of Carroll COLLEGE decals for the asking:). And I even make house calls sometimes for a coffee date.
I have come to believe that a syllabus should be a dynamic learning tool. To that end on the first day of class I randomly select some students to download my syllabus. Using the classroom projection system, they explore in the syllabus embedded links to such things as a paper I wrote about how I teach and they begin using a tool (Research Randomizer) for drawing random samples and for randomly assigning participants to conditions.
Here is the syllabus I use in my PSY205 “Statistics and Experimental Design Course.”
How useful do you find these links? How might they be improved?
I am moving towards requiring that all my students demonstrate to me minimal mastery of my technology enhanced teaching and the learning tools which I introduce into the classroom.
Here is an example of a Quizlet benchmark: Example 1: Quizlet.
Here are two examples of StarQuiz benchmarks: Example 1: Starquiz and Example 2: StarQuiz.
How helpful are these links? How might they be improved?
I also am increasingly incorporating screencasts made by me (or by my students) into the class as additional instructional support—especially as I teach SPSS. Though I realize that there are an abundance of such resources on YouTube (and even on LinkedIn!), I still see some value in my personally producing them (or having my students do so).
Here are some screen casts that Simpson research assistants Tia and Ariana made for me to demonstrate their mastery of using screen casting software tools:
And here is one of my SPSS screen casts made at home with the help of Leo the Dog:
Should I continue to produce these even though their production quality may not be “professional”?
Reflections on what I learned from an eight-week online course with Jane Hart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I usually arrive on campus to an empty parking lot. Today was no exception despite the road construction, school buses, and famous Waukesha trains.
The construction workers are already hard at work completing the new science building. New students adorned in their new tee shirts are exploring the campus making sure that they can find their classrooms.
An early morning phone call to ITS is quite successful both in resolving some traditional first of semester computer issues and in renewing some friendships. Daniel will be starting his 20th year here. Chris is a Carroll graduate. Both exemplify the authenticity in my belief that Carroll Cares.
Much mundane to accomplish today before the Cubs game. I hope to get a lot of serious writing done this year, but that block of time will not be available today.
Several of my student assistants have threatened promised to stop by. As I’ve written many times I’ve been blessed across the years with over 50 superb student assistants. It is fun and rewarding learning together. They keep me young(er). Tomorrow, rain or shine, I’ll answer the call of the bagpiper as the new freshman class is introduced to the Carroll academic world.
Thanks to all you alumni for sharing via LinkedIn and Facebook your responses to my earlier blog posts of this year. It’s nice knowing that I have a reader or two:)
Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, we four undergraduate research assistants in “Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood” have been familiarizing ourselves with several different learning tools described on Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools List. As we read about and played with each tool, we wrote blog posts using WordPress to let the world know more about the features, benefits, tips, and drawbacks of each learning tool based upon our personal experiences. As these blogs were being published throughout the fall semester, Dr. Simpson suggested OURwriting our own book about how the tools can facilitate learning in the classroom and business world. We responded to this challenge with both trepidation and zeal!
We took each of the blog posts previously written and compiled them into one large Microsoft Word document. Then, over the course of about two months, we carefully went through each blog post. We improved the writing, further developed ideas, updated our learnings, corrected errors, added pictures, and temporarily removed hypertext links. We divided the learning tools we examined into 5 chapters: Video Editing Software, Social Network/Interactive Networking Tools, Note Taking Tools, Data Collecting Tools, and Presentation/Sharing Tools. We added screenshots for examples and created potential cover pages for the book. We decided upon a basic layout: an introduction at the beginning of each chapter, a reasonably detailed description of each learning tool, and an explanation of how the tool is useful in business and educational settings.
(Alison Lehman) Converting our short, to the point blog posts to a book format was no small task. Creating a book took a lot of planning, coordination between team members, additional investigation into the learning tools, and large amounts of time to create, write, coordinate and edit our thoughts and experiences. Initially our idea was “simply” to convert each WordPress blog onto Google Docs so that each team member had access to the book-in-progress no matter where they were. This decision was vital to a successful workflow of communication. We could leave notes for one another on the Google sheet, see what each other had been working on, and be aware of what still needed to be completed. When the WordPress blogs were converted into the Google Doc, I had naively assumed that a lot of the information we had previously written would be easily ported into the book. However, varying writing styles and incomplete information did not easily lend themselves to a smooth transition into a book. Consequently, we chose almost to completely scrap the original posts and start anew. In hindsight this decision was a blessing in disguise because it gave us an opportunity to rethink our ideas, add important details, include updated information and impose a common, improved format from the bottom up. Since we were not producing short blogs anymore, a lot more research went into investigating how to use the tools, what the tools were most useful for, and the utility of these learning tools in the classroom and business environments. Though the discussion of each learning tool examined was primarily written by one or two individuals together, but each was then edited and read and reread by each individual of the research team. Creating a book taught us all about proper planning, how essential clear communication is between members, how to incorporate the ideas and thoughts of each member, and how to establish and maintain a realistic timeline for completing a managable task. Our ideas were continually being improved and applied to better enhance the effectiveness of our collaborative first book-writing efforts. With the final product being steps away from completion, I am proud for all time, effort, and resources that were dedicated in creating a book of this kind. I look forward to the future projects and goals the research team will accomplish together. When a great group of minds come together, there is nothing that can stand in the way of their success and ambitions.
(Arianna) Until writing our own book, I had never appreciated the time and effort that goes into writing. The need to sit down and carefully read and reread and reread again every page trying not to miss a single typo or spelling error and making sure all of the tenses match up is daunting but necessary. However, after about ten proofreads and several edits to the document, we were able to publish our hard work.
(Lizzy) Well, writing this book was definitely an eye opening experience for myself. I had never once thought I would have the opportunity to write a book, much less publish one for others to enjoy. I did not know how much work goes into writing a book until we had to be a team and work together on creating this book. We had to combine all of our different writing styles together and blogs that were almost done to blogs that needed a lot more work. We had to write about applications that seemed so basic to us, but were actually a lot more detailed than we thought. I know while writing the Excel piece that I had no idea all that could be done with this learning tool until I started to use it for some of my classes and explore the different features it has to offer. I had no idea for more than half of these applications all that they could do. Personally, I now use some of these tools on a daily basis and i can envision singing them at work, at school, and for future purposes. I have gotten so much better at writing because of Alison and her helping me have a better writing style and teaching me to watch my grammar better. Also, I have never been so open and excited to learn about internet tools that are so useful and that everyone can have access to till I started working with Alison, Arianna, and Tia. We all have come together and given each other different perspectives on our idea of the book, how to write it, what to include, how these tools can benefit others and in what ways. It was such a great experience. It took a lot of time, but was most definitely worth it for the end result and the great feeling of accomplishment all of us get to share together, including Dr. Simpson. Without Dr. Simpson helping us as a team to give us the resources, the challenges, and the time to write these blogs and experience these tools, we never would have had this great opportunity. I have made closer friendships with these beautiful ladies because of writing this book together and getting to know each other. We all have such different ways of thinking and different perspectives on how we interrupt certain situations or applications and it is really cool how we can all combine our ideas together to make our first book and for us to grow as partners in the workplace and grow a friendship outside of it. This book I believe also improved our relationship with Dr. Simpson because of the collaborating we all needed to do to get to where we are now as a team. We can only grow from here and I can not wait to experience this journey with each of my teammates!
A care package from an educator friend, Inci Aslan, in Turkey who was the principal investigator of an Etwinning project I closely followed…
Thank you, Inci, and congratulations on your recent wedding….
A Facebook chat message from Lithuanian educator Irma Milevičiūtė who befriended me on Epals years ago and whetted my interest in global communication. Heartfelt thanks, Irma—though we have lost touch, what I have learned from you and with you has been enduring….
Here are my some of 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. I’d welcome your thoughts.
Capitalize on cultural universals such as music, cusine, sports, and literature.
Reading: Let’s encourage our faculty, staff, and students to read, discuss, and discover world literature. Though no substitute for reading, excellent recordings exist of introductions to world literature, world history, world religions, etc.What suggestions do you have that are simple and cost effective?
And here are even earlier reflections…..
I’m still reflecting on some interesting ideas that emerged in a “listening session” I attended today with two other faculty colleagues concerning a proposed change in our general education program for students at Carroll. I left quite confused, but that is not atypical for me. What is the appropriate foundation for general education in the 21rst century? Are we faculty appropriately educated for teaching in the 21rst 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? How do we avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water? Should part of a general education be mastery of another language? If so, how does one define mastery—knowing the right phrases to allow one to travel within another country? Or should one be fluent in another culture’s history, customs, idioms, national concerns, and language? Can this be achieved within the traditional four years of a college education and still allow students a traditional major? If we are interested in being more global, shouldn’t we append USA to all our institutional publications? Can internationalization be achieved through the 21rst century equivalence of international pen pals using Skype or VoiceThread? Through changing the “three r’s” to mastery of 20th century learning tools? Through BBC language acquisition in 12 weeks courses or by investing time in other such (free) online language learning resources? What does is mean to globalize or internationalize a campus? How can that best be achieved? Is the best way to do so to bring international students and faculty to campus? To send our students and faculty abroad? To create communication opportunities world-wide through Internet means? To expand faculty and students’ knowledge of history, cultures, international economics, and international relations? To conduct collaborative international research and learning projects? Should I join the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology? Which organizations do I drop out of to allow time and money for these new ones? What defines global citizenship? Global awareness? How can we continually reaffirm and rediscover our common sense of humanity?
It’s past time for a more systematic global outreach by me and my students. Today I met briefly with some visitors from China. I wished them a Happy New Year of the Monkey. Then I began setting up some “Skype” dates with family and friends in London, Madagascar, Hungary, and Switzerland. I’d love to reconnect with Reidar (are you in Norway or Spain?), Inci (are you still teaching in Turkey?), Irma (we’ve lost touch since our conversations from beautiful Lithuania), Simone in Costa Rica, Anna in Kenya and Miguel Luis in La Mancha, Spain—his blog is marvelous. If you would put me in touch with your Antarctica bride’s maid friend, Emily, I would have reached out to all continents:).
Alison and Lizzy are focused on developing a student guide to Skype. Here are my latest marching orders to them:
Interesting Skype draft. Do you all have a Skype account? How does it compare with alternatives (e.g. FaceTime)? Have you ever recorded a Skype session? How many people have you Skyped with comcomitantly?
We should try a group session. Then a couple with contacts abroad.
Here is their draft in progress. How might it be improved?
Technology is continually improving and changing the way the world interacts with one another. Schools are starting to go from hard cover textbooks to textbooks that are completely online. Other resources that schools utilize are programs that allow students to continue practicing and understanding concepts through online homework and additional help online. Many schools, even at the elementary level, require students to have their own computer in the classroom. With this increase in the usage of technology, face-to-face interactions are suffering due to the ease of using email, cell phones, and social media sites to interact with one another.
Skype is a learning tool that utilizes the world of technology while also incorporating face-to-face interactions with other individuals across the world. In our scenario, Dr. Simpson has used Skype to interact with individuals from other countries for business and education purposes. Additionally, the student research team has interacted with Skype inside and outside of the classroom.
For example, Alison has used Skype in the classroom when teachers wanted to bring in guest speakers. Sometimes these speakers are unavailable to drive or fly to that specific location because they may live halfway across the world or do not have the resources to pay for the trip. By using Skype, guest speakers from Qatar, Africa, and different states were able to present and bring insightful information into the classroom.
From a business point of view, Skype can be used to hold group meetings. For example, if a group of individuals need to get together to interact about plans, presentation details, or other business related aspects, but cannot all be at the same place at the same time, Skype can provide the solution. Skype allows individuals to make group audio calls up to 25 individuals and video calls with up to 10 individuals from anywhere in the world. The video call option is limited though to 100 hours per month, 10 hours per day, and 4 hours per video chat.
Some of the platforms you can access Skype on are computers, cell phones, home phones, tablets, televisions, and video game systems. With having a free account from Skype, one can send messages to one another, simply make voice calls, or hold video chats with individuals from anywhere in the world. Also, one can use the option of screen sharing which allows one to view the other person’s screen. With the new chat feature on Skype, one is able to share files and photos. The files can also be shared while the video chatting feature is being used. With the free version of Skype, an individual can text mobile phones or call landline phones at reasonable rates. To pay for these additional rates, Skype allows one to pay through many different options that may be unique to each country.
To access more features, one can purchase Skype Business. The Skype Business rate starts at $2.00 a month per user. Some of the features of Skype Business that the free version is unable to access are that an individual can video chat with up to 250 people. Also, Skype Business allows you to schedule meetings outside of work in Outlook.
Through the technology of Skype, individuals are able to utilize Skype in the classroom, for personal use, and business.
GOTTA RUN TO GIVE MY FIRST EXAMS OF THE SEMESTER.
Anyone thoughts or experience with Skype would be much appreciated. Thank you.
I am moving towards requiring that all my students demonstrate to me minimal mastery of the use of the technology-based teaching and learning tools I introduce into the classroom (e.g. Quizlet, Starquiz). My esteemed student research students do the pilot work.
I asked Tia and Ariana to show me that they could use Camtasia to create a screencast of how to access two statistical packages I introduce in PSY205 (InStat and SPSS) and one piece of software (research randomizer) that allows students to perform random assignment and random sampling.
Take a look:
I now will assess whether each of my forty-four students can access these tools (based on Tia and Arianna’s lessons) and use them to enhance their learning. Here is a benchmark for what they should know.
DO I HAVE A DEAL DECAL FOR YOU! I just discovered several hundred decals that I must have obtained from our Alumni Office (when it was called that) when my students and I used to do surveys of Carroll COLLEGE alumni. I consider these priceless memorabilia but I am willing to give them to any former Carroll student who wants one and is willing to share with me one “Carroll Moment”—a brief reflection (positive or negative) on this blog and who also will send to me a snail mail address (send it to my Carroll email address) so that I can in turn send you a decal! I’d love hearing from you. Send me a photo from your Carroll days, and I’ll send you two decals. Offer good until I run out.
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