Join our class discussions – on Twitter!

A few of my professors this semester decided to incorporate Twitter into their course design. I am excited about engaging with my cohort and faculty via a “new” (to our classroom) communication tool. I believe Twitter is an effective tool to encourage and facilitate faculty-student and student-student contact. Rey Junco’s research found that “Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilize faculty into a more active and participatory role.” Twitter use is optional for one class but required for another. Here’s a brief overview of what we are doing so you can follow along if you are interested in our class discussions:

Dr. Linder and Phil Badaszweski included a class hashtag on our syllabus for Campus Ecology. Dr. Linder explained how she uses Twitter and informed us that they would share relevant tweets for the course via this hashtag. They also invited us to tweet relevant information with the hashtag.

Another class my cohort is enrolled in this semester is ECHD 7060 – Dimensions of Multicultural Practice in Student Affairs. Dr. Maddox and Ms. Hamilton created two subsections of participation and engagement requirements for the class. 1a is “Trending Social Justice” and 1b is a more traditional class participation format, In-Class Writing assignments. The Twitter hashtag for this course was created to provide a forum to engage our class but also our followers in discussions on social justice. A handout was provided with seven guidelines including: “tweet every week, minimum”, “find and follow people” and “make an effort to reply to the instructors and to other students to keep the conversations going.”

twitter-101One of the interesting aspects of the trending social justice assignment is that Dr. Maddox created her Twitter account the night before our first class, and is openly experimenting with a new communication tool at the same time it is a class requirement. How fun!

Is one of your student affairs graduate classes using a hashtag this semester? If so, please share it in the comments!  What do you think about tweets being a required part of class participation? Check out this infographic (posted on the right) for a visual representation of best practices in using Twitter in the classroom. I hope you’ll join in our conversations about campus ecology and multicultural practices if something interests you.

Residence Hall Change (is good)

“There’s a nasty rumor going around that someone let boys move into Brumby!” – Ralphel Smith, UGA Housing RA Training

Brumby Hall

Yesterday was official check in day at Brumby Hall. Hunker Down with Housing!

Brumby Hall was built in 1966 and was an all female residence hall for the last 47 years. But this year, it is co-ed for the first time ever! Working as a Graduate Resident in Brumby last year got me accustomed to an all female staff and an all female building. But… “Times they are a-changin” A few observations from the last week:

Change is hard.
I worked here one year and I’m still adjusting to seeing men walk around the building alone. Last year, escort policy violations were obvious when male guests were seen walking around without a female. Our staff was excellent about documenting those violations and we have to change their mindset to the new community.

Move-in craziness

Move-in craziness

Men are funny.
I truly believe our Male RAs (who have deemed themselves the “Brumby Bros”) add a sense of humor and lightheartedness that was missing from our all-female staff.

Different incidents.
Change brings new issues, and I’m not going to say that male residents are more difficult than female residents, but last night as I was dealing with a 4 hour duty incident I could not help but think what a great way for our inaugural male residents to kick off the school year. “Welcome to Brumby!”

Are you experiencing any major changes in your assistantship/position? It only took 47 years for Brumby to be co-ed and get raised shower heads. How can we help positive change occur quicker?

What are you afraid of?

I like trying new things. It’s funny, I’m a creature of habit and love traditions but I value efficiency and communication even more. The biggest reasons I use social media are to stay connected, network, learn new things, and be involved. Plus, I find sharing and learning on all of these sites fun!

Why are people hesitant or sometimes even afraid to use social media in the workplace? As Eric Stoller says, it’s just another tool for communicating. Like a phone and a fax machine. I’m interested in the idea that personality type affects reluctance to use or share on some sites. Or is it just reluctance to change?

The negative attitude I try to discourage is reluctance to use the site at work because they are afraid of what they might find. Don’t avoid Twitter because you don’t want to see what people are tweeting about your program, office, etc. Search for it, address it, and make the changes that students want.

What do you think affects comfort level with social media? How do you encourage or nudge people to not only create accounts (whether personal or work-related) but also engage with the audience just like another communication tool?

Orientation Programs and Running

I knew the long hours of orientation would challenge my running schedule this summer. My Nike+ data shows it too: 56.9 miles in June compared to 76.8 miles in May. As a runner, I was feeling down about the missed days, missed miles, missed personal reflection time, missed exercise, and so-on. Running a race on the day after our last orientation session was the perfect way to re-energize, re-motivate, and re-inspire the runner in me. Why? Because it proved that I could still run a 10K. It provided an outlet for me to relax and release all the stress of 8 amazing (but long) orientation sessions in June. Lastly, I ran it with no goals or expectations for finishing time – making it my most relaxing race yet! I plan to keep this in mind as I plan for the future or experience other extra-busy life moments (month after comps? Let’s run a race!)

2013 Freedom Run with my Dad

2013 Freedom Run with my Dad

A little about the race: the Fun Fourth Freedom 10K is a Greensboro tradition. It takes place the Saturday before the Fourth of July, which is usually a really hot day. This year the temperatures were pleasant and mild at the start, but warmed up quickly as the race went on. This course starts in downtown Greensboro and takes the runners through neighborhoods, so most of it was in the shade. One of two hills I distinctly remember from the course was near the finish and the volunteers cheering us up that hill really helped me finish strong.

I hope that no matter your responsibilities you are finding ways to relax and reenergize this summer. Participating in a 10K, even with limited training, was the right activity for me. What works for you?