Tag: Higher Education

Curious David

A Benevolent Curmudgeon Reflects Some More on LinkedIn: Revised and Revisited

 

David (AKA The Benevolent Curmudgeon):

dscn4331In several prior posts about my experiences with LinkedIn, I have pondered and sought advice about how  I —with one foot in academe and the other in the business world—might most profit from and contribute to LinkedIn. Thanks to those of you who have made constructive suggestions. Since those postings, I have joined several linked in groups.  I have explored many of LinkedIn’s (continually evolving) premium features such as “learning”( aka Lynda.com). I have examined the usefulness of SlideShare (here is an example of its value in a recent posting there by Jane Hart). I have participated in some LinkedIn surveys of the “LinkedIn Premium Insiders Community” (and found them far too generic).

Which of these features do you use? Which features have I failed to discover? How do you keep up with a constantly changing interface? I realize that one way to answer these questions is for me to systematically go through all menus (especially the privacy controls).

To be fair, I have benefitted by selectively and systematically expanding my network.  I have discovered a few “Influencers” worth my following and learning from. I have also learned how to subscribe to RSS feeds which enhance my personal learning plan. I have  explored using hashtags for my postings, and I am making more time to read and to respond thoughtfully to a number of thoughtful posts and comments (far too many comments are snarky but that is opportunity cost).

I have found particularly enlightening the good work of Maya Pope-Chappell, Education and Millennial Editor of LinkedIn. She writes well, has championed efforts to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas from higher education and the business world and has increased opportunities (and recognition) for involvement by college students. [See, for example, her screencast targeted for college and university students about how to write for LinkedIn]. I urge that “older” (more experienced) LinkedIn users recognize that this incoming work force can serve a valuable mentoring function for you if you tap into their knowledge of how to use social learning tools to supplement or to replace more formal, traditional formal training programs.

Things I dislike about LinkedIn:

  • I still find the “post publishing platform” primitive and user-unfriendly. It is far inferior and far less intuitive 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 into the LinkedIn editor after proof-reading.
  • I find many of the articles posted in LinkedIn 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 prefer substance to platitudes or bullet-points (but that may be due to the academic world I inhabit).
  • I get annoyed by my inability to read some articles  unless I turn off my ad blockers, “white list” the target website, or switch to another computer for which I have not turned on ad-blockers.

What suggestions do you have that might enhance the value of LinkedIn to me? Or, (as some have suggested) do am I a stranger in a strange land and I not belong on this network?

For a refreshingly “non peevish” take on LinkedIn, I invited about a year ago one of my research assistants, Alison Lehman who is quite knowledgable about LinkedIn (she wrote about it in her first book) to share her perspectives about it. Even as she approaches the time of her university graduation in May of 2017, she is most enthusiastic about it. I continue to learn from her!

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Alison wrote …

“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.”

What advise would you give Alison and my other students —soon about to enter the work force —about how they will be using or should be using LinkedIn? What features of it are they likely to learn about only while on the job? How will there world change in terms of access and use of social media tools?

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.

Curious David

Defining, Refining, and Protecting the Carroll Experience

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In some ways I wish that my retired colleagues had been present at the September 1, 2016  College of Arts and Sciences Strategic Planning Retreat. I’ve always felt that emeritus faculty (and alumni) are neglected resources of wisdom that can inform and guide us as we discuss ways 1) to improve the educational experience of our students and 2) to strengthen our relationships with each other across the campus community.

I had the enjoyable opportunity to interact in two discussion groups with six colleagues (from Communications, Theater, English, Education, Mathematics, and Chemistry) in addition to mingling with Dean Charlie Byler and the 74 the College faculty.

What do our students need to learn? Among the ideals/aspirations suggested by my colleagues were that we should be attempting to

  1. cultivate intellectual curiosity and a love of and ability to learn to learn
  2. assist students in developing resiliency (challenging them not to give up even as we give them opportunities to fail)
  3. help students appreciate the rewards of working hard
  4. develop in students the confidence and ability to find their own answers rather than their accepting ours
  5. combat ignorance in addition to developing wisdom
  6. give students experience and support in addressing difficult questions which have no simple, obvious answers
  7. mentor and model the above ideals

What would we like our students to say about their Carroll educational experiences 10 years from now? Much to my Colleagues’ amusement, I was initially uncharacteristically tongue-tied as they made suggestions like the following:

  1. They made the right choice in coming to Carroll.
  2. They were well prepared.
  3. Being here was  a transformational experience.
  4. They are proud to have been here.
  5. They know how to learn and accept the fact that learning is never done.
  6. They would recommend Carroll to others.
  7. Their time here influenced how they see the world.

My silence was realizing that I would have little influence on graduates ten years in the future (I’ll be 77!)  I will have interacted with four decades of students who could indeed be asked that question by me. In fact, over the past years I have often received solicited and unsolicited feedback from students via surveys I have developed, written correspondence, and social media interactions such as Facebook and LinkedIn (Feel free, Dear Reader, to inform me further:))

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Carroll UniversityCarroll University USACurious DavidGlobal EducationJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

Thank You, Global Educators, for Your Impact

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A provocative blog piece by Luis Miguel Miñarro, an educator in La Mancha, Spain… We had “interacted” in prior years when he shared with me how he used Animoto  to make a Carnival 2014 video. Now we interact on Linked-in and, soon,  Skype. Thank you, Colleague, for helping me to discover new ways of learning and sharing my learning via Padlet

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….

An informative hour-long  Fuzebox.com  conference with Julie Lindsay, an educator in Australia, about the Flat Connections Global Project —my world continues to expand as it shrinks. Thank you, Julie—I find your China project particularly intriguing and hope that we can be in touch again soon.

How does one keep up with “the learning revolution” or Classroom 2.0? How does one keep abreast of developments in International Education? 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 am so globally illiterate. Here are some of my past musing about these questions

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.

  • Increase awareness and use of media such as BBC NewsGoogle News, and Newsvine.
  • Incorporate Kiva into the classroom.
  • Explore global views of religion, spirituality, and being.
  • Tap into high quality online  or “portable” courses.
  • Explore other languages.
  • Capitalize on cultural universals such as musiccusine, 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?

Ayuda me. I’m going postal 🙂  global!

alumniCurious Davidflow

On “Flow,” “Presence,” “Self-Actualization” and Constructive Mania

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I seem to be having an unusually productive day today. I am in a state of “Flow, “Presence,—self-actualization? I seem to be fully charged even though Leo the Great

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and I went outside at 2:00 a.m. and awakened together at 5:00 a.m. I wish I could identify why!:)

Perhaps it is due to my having a large amount of reasonably uninterrupted time.  Each interruption that occurred was a positive experience. Four students came by the office for some additional help before the exam. Four students walked away seemingly more knowledgeable and more confident. A gem of a student assistant came by to squeeze in an hour’s work,in her busy schedule, and we discussed the next steps of our book. She and the other three talented students are working so well together—- and with me–challenging and supporting each other. They continually delight, refresh, and invigorate me as we learn, laugh, and grow together.

My personal software and learning tools are for the moment working flawlessly across the many different platforms (Mac OS X  11 .3 and Windows 7) and browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox) that I use on a daily basis. My student research team alluded to above skillfully shares their work with me via Google Drive and I move and “sync my work across Google Drive, DropBox, EverNote, and my journaling software DayOne.

We’ve arranged for tomorrow two Skype sessions–one session with a dear friend in London (or are you in Bavaria or Kurgan at the moment???) and another in Hungary. I renewed my Skype accounts. Feel free to Skype me at professordsimpson but I need to know of your intent in advance. I still have a “day job.”

On days like this I love being a professor. I’ll miss this.

Time to head home and be walked by the dog.


Curious David

Glassy-Eyed from Bombardment by Buzzwords

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Just finished reading an eclectic, creative book from the Bloombury Literary Studies  “Object Lessons” series by colleague John Garrison about Glass. I always enjoy reading things written by individuals who write better than I, see things which I don’t, and who alter my myopic perspective.

John’s “object lesson” for some reason triggered my thinking again about (over) use of platitudes in higher education such as “transparency,” “engagement”, “empowerment,” and “moving forward.”  I have ranted about this before in the context of my perceptions about over zealous “branding.” Maybe my hypersensitivity (?) to these issues is caused by the joy of knowing people like John and poet BJ Best who remind me of the beauty of language. Maybe I just am in need of the forthcoming Thanksgiving family celebration.

Buzzword bingo anyone?


Curious David

More Resources for Better Understanding Your Academic Institution of Higher Education

Subsequent to hearing remarks by Carroll University President Doug Hastad about “Changes at Carroll”, attendees heard a presentation “The end of the ‘gilded age’ in higher education” by Kevin Crockett (President of Ruffalo Noel Levit’z enrollment management division) about changes in post secondary enrollment trends. The August 27, 2015 Waukesha Freeman article is available online. In an earlier post (found here) I offered ten resources that may help an individual  better (or put into context) the health of his/her academic institution. I actually enjoyed the consultant’s quality data-filled 69-slide PowerPoint presentation (though several of my colleagues’ reactions reminded me of the infamous “Death by Powerpoint” and “PowerPoint is Evil” internet compositions.

  • CollegeScoreCard (click on link and try it) wonderfully introduces an important trend toward TRUE TRANSPARENCY in data sharing and a very useful interactive data base for comparing schools.
  • the UW Accountability Dashboard similarly exemplifies this healthy trend.
  • College Results Online is a third such gem.
  • Colleague John Garrison just alerted  me to this nugget which like glass, about which John’s new book provides a fascinating history, may enhance transparency.

…and here is a link to the U.S. Department of Education’s  data base “trove” that drives the data base. Let all of us users use it wisely.


Curious David

Still Looking for ways to Improve My Courses (Pt. 2 of 2)

Back to the Office (Soon)

As I wrote about earlier , I’m looking for ways to improve my course Psychology 303, Experimental Social Psychology. My first such course, experienced while I was an undergraduate at Oberlin, was life-changing for me as I discovered that the discipline of psychology could scientifically study issues such as prejudice, attitude change, interpersonal attraction, and aggression. I’ve had several former students indicate that they have been very favorably impacted in similar fashion. I recently read a well-written blog by a Harvard undergraduate who listed what he felt were 20 best lessons from social psychology.

  • I’ve been contemplating incorporating into my course a writing project that would culminate in something like his blog piece. I also am in the process of reviewing Jane Hart’s list of Top 100 Learning Tools to identify any that I want to bring into the course as research tools.
  • I am especially interested in integrating into the course opportunities for cross-cultural /international communication.
  • I’d be very interested in hearing from formed students how they have USED what they learned in experimental social psychology.

I welcome your input and ideas.

 

 

book-writingCarroll ReflectionsDesk Top PublishingStatistics and Experimental Design

Still Looking for Ways to Improve Courses After 36 Years of Teaching (Pt.1 of 2)

Proof of Self-Publishable Book I've talked about in progress for the past 30 years!

Proof-reading ready copy of self-published book I’ve talked about being in progress for the past 30 years!

I’m sitting on the porch attempting to complete the bulk of my Fall semester Carroll University course preparation before intentionally disconnecting from the Internet and enjoying five days of pure vacation in northern Michigan a week from tomorrow. This year I shall be teaching two sections of Psychology 205 (Statistics and Experimental Design) and one section of Psychology 303 (Experimental Social Psychology).

Tonight I am focusing on the Statistics and Experimental Design course—-a course that is particularly meaningful to me. For the past 20 years I have used a traditional textbook enhanced by my handouts. Students also have weekly labs to gain hands-on experience using SPSS (The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). I’ve been very pleased by evidence that students learn, and I have received consistent positive evaluations across the years about the course both at the course’s completion and from graduates. But, there is always room for improvement—especially improvement attempts informed by thoughtful reflection from former students. So help me out. Are the two ideas below worth pursuing?

Across the years I have repeated heard from students how much they valued handouts I have distributed. These have essentially been a succinct outline of my notes (though I must confess that I haven’t used notes in 15 years!). The handouts are replete with a congery of Carroll-specific data and data collection exercises.

I have been troubled by the high cost to students of textbooks and bothered by what I see as unnecessary inclusions in textbooks (e.g. color, study guides, constant revisions, and electronic ancillaries of dubious didactic value) which drive up costs. Therefore,  I’ve been recently exploring a number of self-publishing mechanisms (especially Lulu.com and ibooks author). One of the best resources about self-publishing I have come across is Rick Smith’s  (self-published!)  CreateSpace and Kindle Self-Publishing Masterclass (2014 edition). I found it very useful and useable.

I’ve recently carefully examined Amazon’s CreateSpace.com. I have been very impressed by its ease of use, pricing structure, and quality of physical book production. I am holding in my hand tonight a hard-copy proof of a very physically attractive book —my book—with a glossy cover which I created using Create Space’s Cover Creator software. If I proceed, the book can be printed on demand and/or, if I choose, it can be converted relatively effortlessly to Kindle format (This i have not yet tried). I can pretty much decide the cost to readers (I’ve toyed with the idea of it being free).

  1. Idea 1: I am tempted to give students the opportunity to buy a copy and to help me improve the book by their adding their own data collection examples. Alternatively, I hold off distribution until 2nd semester when I before which time I add information to the book (perhaps with some student/former student collaborators).
  2. Idea 2: I am also considering building into the course this semester formal instruction in using Survey Monkey software now that I have a Carroll account in addition to my Schneider Consulting account. I envision in my last few years’ teaching creating a Carroll Student Statistical Consulting service and this would be one of the tools the use.

 

 

App GenerationBloggingCurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

What evidence is there that collaborative, engaging, Web 2.0 tools indeed enhance learning?

This thought piece  has been slightly revised from a blog piece I wrote a number of years ago for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the name “Curious David” when I was a community educational blogger for them.

I’m nervous and excited. Time to take off my invisibility cloak. Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 8:00 a.m.) I meet in person for the first time with my 20 first-year students. What an immense responsibility to be their first professor!

We’re going to explore “21rst century” learning tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks, virtual worlds, and YouTube. The idea for this course emerged from my experiences writing this “Curious David” blog column. Last year’s opportunity to write for “JSonline” was transformative for me as I learned from elementary and secondary school teachers, high school students, virtual school advocates, retired faculty and readers about innovations, challenges and successes they faced promoting learning.

In this first-year seminar we shall focus on some of the 25 free learning tools described by educator Jane Hart. [Here is an updated list I would draw upon were I to teach this course again.]  As we examine these learning tools we hope to answer questions such as these:

  1. To what degree can these web tools truly enhance student learning?
  2. To what degree are they just “cool” tools?
  3. Could they be used to develop critical thinking?
  4. Do they improve or degrade communication skills?
  5. Might they be applied to fostering cross-cultural or international understanding?
  6. Might they strengthen or weaken writing skills?
  7. What are their weaknesses or dangers?
  8. Should they complement or replace 20th century learning skills/tools?
  9. How can one evaluate their effectiveness?

[It seems to me it should be possible to produce an evidence-based paper like this to address the questions above.]

 My intent is to assist students in the transition from high school to college—and to investigate Web 2.0 learning tools which might be useful across classes and in the workplace. I want to involve them in educational experiences that will develop and enhance abilities in reading, writing, reflecting, presenting, thinking, and producing. Writing exercises will include short in-class and out-of-class reaction papers, journals, blogs/wikis, and exams. Presentations will be both formal and informal; individual and in small groups. Collaboration will be both with fellow students and with me.

Still Curious,

David