“Love it for a minute”

Recently I was involved in conversations with staff members about some program recommendations from a class project. The staff mentioned to us that if they brought our new ideas up to their direct reports those individuals would immediately point out the negatives.

Do not be that person.

Use the same motto that I tell my students to use when faced with something new. “Love it for a minute”. Change is hard, everywhere, but especially in higher education. Next time you get a proposal or suggestion from students or colleagues, make sure you give it full consideration and list the positives before thinking about the negatives.

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Community standards for technology use

Article that inspired this blog post: Should students be allowed to use smartphones in the classroom?

Picture of iPads in ClassroomOne of the trends I noticed throughout my time in college was how some teachers prohibited use of electronic devices, including computers, in the classroom. It was a pretty standard statement on most syllabi. As time went on it and laptops became more prevalent some teachers started to allow their use in class. In my graduate school program currently there is probably not a day in class that you will not see the majority of the students with laptops on the table.

Last week I wrote about assumptions people when they see others on mobile devices and this week I want to make a suggestion for mobile devices in the classroom and technology-use guidelines. Whether you are a faculty member or student organization advisor you could try using collaborative methods for creating technology guidelines. I have not had a chance to try this personally in the student organization I advise, but I think it would be an improvement from the blanket statement “no technology allowed” that currently governs the organization meetings. At the beginning of the year I would like to give the student leaders the opportunity to determine their guidelines.

I am interested to observe what guidelines students/participants will decide are acceptable through a collaborative method. I noticed in the document from Simon Bates and Alison Lister at the University of British Columbia that students decided mobile phones could be used as class aids. I think that is a great policy! According to the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and IT, 74% of students reported that smartphone use in class is either banned or discouraged. If we all collectively agree to stop judging mobile phone use, maybe they will become universally acceptable in the classroom.

Another interesting note in the community standard document that Dr. Chris Linder pointed out was that students decided it was acceptable for students to leave class to answer a phone call from a potential employer. Do you feel like that is an acceptable reason to interrupt class?

Lastly, if your student org/classroom expectations allow for computers and tablets but not smartphones my question for you to think about is -Why?- What is the difference between an iPad and an iPhone? Or an Android vs a Tablet vs a Computer? If you allow tablets but not phones, you could be prohibiting access for students that are less-economically advantaged. The student that owns a smartphone but can not afford an iPad can typically do the same things on their phone as a on a tablet. I know this post does not address issues of access for students that may not have smartphones, tablets, or laptops but I wanted to get a conversation started. According the the ECAR report, 89% of students surveyed own a laptop (9 out of 10) and 76% own a smartphone. More statistics about device ownership can be found in the report (starting on page 22).

Lately I have been thinking a lot about technology guidelines and the Pedagogy Unbound article got me thinking about how policies could be changed to improve student success. I want to try the collaborative method with the next student organization I advise. How do you think technology-use guidelines should be created?

[photo credit]

Dahlstrom, Eden, J.D. Walker, and Charles Dziuban, with a foreward by Glenda Morgan. ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013 (Research Report). Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, September 2013, available from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERS1302/ERS1302.pdf

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:

#ECHD7430
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.

#UGACSAAMP
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.