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Join Me for Social Media for Academic Professional Development

Ever wished you could choose what would be covered each year during those continuing education seminars? In this webinar, you will learn how to harness social media to build your own Personal Learning Network and expand your personal professional development choices into any and all areas of interest. DIY ProfDev is here!

Thu. Jan. 26, 2012, 2 pm (PT) 3 pm (MT)

Register – It’s free!

 

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

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Still not on Twitter?

Maybe this will help explain why you should be…oh, and I found this via Twitter…

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

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‘Twas the Night

My friend Jane Bozarth pointed this out on Twitter yesterday, and I couldn’t help but share it for the holiday season. Congratulations to David Kelly on such a fine piece of Instructional Design “literature”. Enjoy!

Christmas Tree

Just a little (relevant) holiday fun…


Twas the Night Before Social Media

‘Twas the night before SoMe, and all through land,
Most training was lecture, engagement be damned;
Be it classroom or e-learning, the results disappoint,
and for some reason it all was made with PowerPoint.

 

The learners were sleeping, or else they were vexed,
by e-learning courses of “read, then click next”;
The trainers were talking, then talking some more,
Not realizing the learners felt it all was a chore.
The rest can be found here.
 
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Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Best Reads, miscellaneous

 

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Dear Professor, Are You ‘Google-able’?

I have three college-aged children (and thank you to those of you who immediately thought she doesn’t look old enough to have three college-aged children). None of them use or own phone books. In fact, none of them have a traditional Ma Bell kind of telephone. They have a cell phone and a laptop…period.If my kids can’t locate you or your business on the web, you don’t exist to them.Period. (If you are a pizza store and lack a website, you are missing a tremendous amount of business from my two boys, by the way). Recent Pew Research results suggest that 93% of all Americans under the age of 30 are cell phone users. Pretty sure most of them have laptops, too.

My kids are not atypical. In fact, they are the norm – and becoming even more normal as the connected generation expands. According to the CTIA end-of-year survey for 2009, a staggering 285,646,191 million Americans have a cell phone connection. This is up 15 million from the same time 2008. And the Pew American Life research reports that young teens are the largest growing demographic of cell phone ownership. But it’s not just about cell phones – it’s about smart phones, wifi-enabled laptops, and even wifi-enabled gaming devices. Students are online all the time. Like it or not.

What does all this have to do with higher education faculty? Well, aside from the Ed Tech departments, very few faculty (adjunct and tenured) make the effort to cull together a web presence searchable by their students.

So what, you say, peering over your use for word-processing-only desktop computer next to your rotary phone? Don’t professors have enough to do between research, writing, teaching, and all those administrative committees? Perhaps, but ultimately, faculty have the responsibility to be available to their students. I believe they also have a responsibility to be transparent – professionally speaking. Future students should be able to check them out, look into current course offerings, current/past writings, current/past research, and how available the instructor made him or herself to student questions and concerns.

In the past, students could use print faculty directories to find office phone numbers and locations – but let’s be realistic. Students don’t use these booklets, faculty in their cubicles do. Students “Google”. Having a faculty directory on the school’s website is a step in the right direction – but often these data bases are not searchable by Internet search engines, and, even if they are, the results are often not much more than a name and phone number with an occasional email address. This is not the kind of background surfing future students want.

This is also not what you as a professor should want because when you lack a web presence, the next stop for most students is sites like RateMyProfessor.com. RateMyProfessor is crowd-sourced ratings and comments about professors from virtually every institution of higher education in the country. It is not normed, and all your students from a particular section are not surveyed. Essentially, it boils down to those students with enough motivation (the gamut from Loved the class! to He sucked!) to go to the website, locate the professor’s name, and add the rating and comment. Average performances do not seem to create this kind of motivation – so often professors can have A ratings alongside F’s. Not very helpful to students looking to know what a particular professor is all about, and certainly not helpful to a professor’s reputation with a myriad of mixed messages.

Higher education faculty need to consciously create a professional web presence. Below are some tips to help make your Google quotient rise:

  1. Create a landing page – and keep it updated! A landing page is a single web page that includes a short bio, contact information (email and office phone and address no home addresses), and a professional looking head shot. You will want the rights to the head shot so you can use it with all your professional web activities. For adjuncts, I suggest creating your landing page on a personal site like GoogleSites or on the space provided by your home ISP – that way you won’t have to backtrack and change your landing page URL on all the websites to which it is linked. Here is my UW-Stout landing page.
  2. Link, link, link. Use the URL landing page link as your link on all professional websites which ask for your own homepage address.
  3. Visual Identity. Use the same headshot. As your image becomes identifiable with your web identity, it will help students instantly know that out of all the search results, you are the Lisa Chamberlin  that works on Open Education issues and not Lisa Chamberlin  that is a Nashville recording artist (Yep, that’s who I compete with for the top 10 Google search results for my name – ouch!).
  4. Multiple Accounts/Similar handles. I teach for a variety of institutions and do contract work for others. As I choose email addresses, Twitter names, etc., I try to always use something similar to chamberlinonline@whatever.edu or a derivative of it. Overtime, students and colleagues begin to expect the “chamberlinonline” portion and makes it easier for them to find me.
  5. Network. Whether you choose to use a resume/contact linking site like LinkedIn.com or build a network of digital colleagues via another tool like Twitter, do build your digital personal learning network and follow the “web presence” standards above when registering for these sites.
  6. Add an RSS Feed (Thanks, Stian, for #’s 6 and 7). Allow interested students, colleagues, and the like to stay up-to-date with your current publications.
  7. Provide links to your research from your landing page. Even better, provide Open Access to your published research when you do provide the links.
  8. Poll your current students. This is one of the most powerful and eye-opening steps of building a web presence. Ask your current students if they Googled you. Ask what they were wanting to find out. Ask what they did find out. Strive to make their search goals and your web presence goals align as closely as is comfortable.

To the students of the connected generation, professors who deny access to technology within their courses or deny being accessed by technology within their profession, are a dying breed. They are seeing these professors as less and less relevant and out of touch with modern society. Like it or not, technology is the next evolution in education – professors must evolve or become extinct.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2010 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

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The Power of the Network

One her blog, my writing and teaching partner, Dr. Kay Lehmann, summed up an excellent networking experience we had using LinkedIn over the last two days. Since she already wrote the post and it was a shared experience, I shamelessly asked for her permission to quote it here.

Yesterday I saw a message requesting proposals for book chapters posted in a discussion group on LinkedIn. I belong to several groups on LinkedIn, the particular one where I saw the message was Technology-Using Professors. The message was actually 10 days old and the deadline for proposals had passed, but I went ahead and made contact with the gentleman anyway.

Between yesterday and today a flurry of emails went back and forth between the gentleman Dr. Charles Wankel, my co-author (and partner in all things non-criminal) Lisa Chamberlin and I. As of this afternoon we will be writing a chapter for a book entitled Higher Education and Social Media. Our chapter will be about the use of Twitter in higher education. I also got a minor teaching job off one of the job boards on LinkedIn a couple months ago.

My point is… There is great value in spending a few minutes a week maintaining your professional networks. I actually had not been on LinkedIn in a few weeks and nearly missed this opportunity. If you are not on LinkedIn, you really should be. This is not the only professional networking site to which I belong but LinkedIn is a highly varied collection of people and widely used by business folks. LinkedIn is definitely not just for educators.

What she said!

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in Best Reads, Teaching Online

 

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10 Things I Learned about/from Twitter

As the year-ending and decade-ending lists posted to blogs all over the Internet, I decided I should add some reflective thought to the process. Since Twitter has all but revolutionized my learning, use of social media, and networking, my Top Ten list is devoted to the 140 character micro-blogging site. Numbers 10-2 are in no particular order.

#10 – Twitter networking beats out Facebook because I don’t have to deal with hiding things like Farmville, Mafia, Gift icons, and all the rest of the fluff that makes Facebook a “play” application. I like it when people get to the point already!

#9 – My lame and ineffective use of RSS readers has been replaced by tweeted suggestions of readings made by those I respect and follow on Twitter. In the past, I rarely went to my GoogleReader, so catching up on blog reading was always a Herculean effort when I finally got back to it (the same holds true for my Deli.cio.us bookmarks). Now, I  read articles filtered and recommended by people in technology and education who are leaders in my field. I read the links as I go, saving articles I can use for later. This saves me time and gets new and pertinent information to me quickly. I may be in danger of limiting my scope of information to like-minded individuals, but as my Twitter list of followers and followees continues to grow- so does the diversity of thought.  And those I follow have no qualms about challenging the thinking of others (right @garystager)?

#8 Snarkiness is entertaining – even within educational discourse. If you don’t believe me, just take a few minutes reading the quips from @jimgroom (Bava Tuesdays) – nobody blogs like ‘The Bava’…nobody, @shareski (Ideas and Thoughts), @garystager (Gary S. Stager), @quinnovator (Quinnovation), @mrch0mp3rs (Aaronsilvers.com), and any of the multitudes who post great asides during #lrnchat (The Learn Chat Blog).

Yeah, snarky. Its a word, google it.

Dane Cook

#7 Hashtags rock. I understood the idea behind tag clouds with searching and organizing because my Deli.cio.us account was set up this way. I was never big into tagging, however. It was just more words to add to an entry, and I didn’t really see the need. Then I learned about Twitter hashtags, and I saw how quickly I was able to filter, group, and search my way to the information I wanted to know. Twitter got me tagging … now, I am annoyed when I use a piece of software in or out of the cloud that doesn’t allow me to do it.

#6 – Twitter followers/followees provide me with many resources – some of which I have incorporated into my daily life. For example , Xobni was retweeted by someone I follow. I checked it out and immediately added the useful Outlook plug in to my email/contacts management.

#5 – Those I follow on Twitter lead me to other leaders in technology and education who I should follow. I mine the followers of those I follow – especially if they show up in retweets and on mulitple Twitter feeds of others I follow. This is how I discovered learning and technology leaders like @bschlenker (Corporate eLearning) @marciamarcia (Live Laugh Learn Lead) @educ8ter (OER Consortium), @opencontent (David Wiley), @leighblackall (Leigh Blackall), @chrislehmann (Practical Theory) and @hjarche (Learning and Working on the Web) among others.

#4 – Twitter helps to build discourse on my blog posts. I am not that concerned over my blog stats, but I do enjoy the discussions that can come from them through the comments. By tweeting a post with an appropriate hashtag (#openphd), I am effectively inviting the Twittersphere to ponder ideas with me, challenge my thinking, or suggest questions I hadn’t considered. Thank you, by the way, to those who have joined in by commenting here.

#3 – Twitter allows me to see current trends and breaking news as it is happening. This allows my teaching to be more current. The power of “currency” has been illustrated in amazing ways from reports of tsunamis, the Iran vote protest, and foiled terrorist attacks.

#2 – Twitter allows me to (sometimes) personally make connections with thoughtful leaders, authors, professors and others  who I would never have direct conversations with in other media. The relationship of follower to followee allows for a personalization of the connection between people who would otherwise be strangers. The next stages of connection moves to blog commenting and then emailing .  Relationships between individuals sharing a common interest are regularly established via Twitter.

#1 – I have made friends. Twitter friends and Twitter communities (#lrnchat, #elearnstout Twibe). Thes are real people who participate in my professional life almost daily, and sometimes become a part of my personal life by enriching both with discussion, humor, webinars, games, TV and movie commentating, sports reactions, and the occasional meet up in analog space. Thanks for that!

It has been an educationally-enriching year. I look forward to what 2010 may hold!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2010 in miscellaneous, Teaching Online

 

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My Top Tools for 2009

The Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies is compiling its annual list of Top 100 Tools based on the recommendations of tools from hundreds of eLearning professionals.  Below is my submitted Top 10 list.

  1. Twitter – This tool has revolutionized the way I communicate, disseminate, and collaborate – simply great!
  2. WordPress – The power of the blog continues to amaze me in its reach and connectivity.
  3. Blackberry Cell Phone – It is my mini “go anywhere” computer now…(includes apps for Social Media, email, Course Management Systems, and blogging).
  4. Del.icio.us – Social Bookmarking (plus it goes with me no matter what computer I am using).
  5. Windows “Snipping Tool” – great little utility for screen shots.
  6. Firefox – Avoiding the blue screen of death.  Firefox performs as described.
  7. Word – Still my “go to” wordprocessing program.
  8. Outlook – Email, calendar, and RSS reader keeps me organized.
  9. OER Commons – Best interface for Open Ed resources
  10. Creative Commons Licensing – makes OER possible

The Top 100 List for 2009 will be listed here, soon after November 15th.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2009 in The Plan

 

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