“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.


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

SA #SoMe crisis communication plan

Social media’s prevalence on college campuses is increasing, and student’s reliance on social media during a crisis creates a need for a crisis communications plan that incorporates social media. One of the risks of social media is that it can enable the rapid spread of misinformation (Fusch, 2011). While centralized communications staff at your institution may deal with the official crisis response, there might be some situations where action is needed from your office to respond and work with students on social media. For example, last week an event in University Housing spread like wildfire across social media and the department had no control over the message.

The first question your office needs to consider is: When should you respond to or acknowledge a situation through online postings? You will probably not be able to come up with a blanket response that works for all situations, but it is a good idea to talk through multiple scenarios and have steps in place.

Here are other key things to think about:

  • Assign staff or volunteers to monitor social network sites during a crisis (Fusch, 2011). Plan to call a staff member (or the staff member that runs social media) to be “on call” for postings when a crisis occurs.
  • Establish guidelines for when you typically monitor social media postings and clearly communicate those to others (Stoller, 2013). Establish a similar set of guidelines for how you will operate in a crisis situation.
  • Collaborate with institution-wide social media/communications team.
  • If you schedule posts, make sure to immediately unschedule any that are currently scheduled to go out. The last thing you want to do is tweet about regular office news during a campus lockdown. Or inaccurate gym hours on a snow day.
  • Have graphics ready. If needed, consider changing the Facebook banner or other photos to generic image (Brown, 2014). I see this more relevant for institution-wide postings.
  • Use Twitter to share frequent, real-time news, updates, and resources (Fusch, 2011).
  • Monitor information (or misinformation) by searching hashtags on social media sites and share accurate information as allowed (Fusch, 2011).
  • Post status updates frequently, disseminating appropriate information as it comes in (Fusch, 2011).
  • Determine students or other department staff that can help spread the message (Fusch, 2009).
  • Avoid sharing personal information.
  • Provide students with resources.
  • Post information to a blog or website – maybe an update a few days later if the situation warrants it.
  • Use social media (Twitter is great for this) to post about news conference coverage (if exists), the coordination of a vigil or other type of event depending on type of crisis, and to talk about support services on campus (Brown, 2014).
  • Take care of yourself (Brown, 2014)

What did I forget or leave off? Have you had a campus incident involving your office that created a strong response from students/families/others online?


Resources for this post:

Brown, P. (2014, January, 22).  Active shooter. Worst day ever. (weblog) Your Website Stinks Retrieved from http://dvimedia.blogspot.com/2014/01/active-shooter-worst-day-ever.html
Fusch, D. (2009, September 19). Crisis communications 10 years after the Texas A&M bonfire [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.academicimpressions.com/news/crisis-communications-10-years-after-texas-am-bonfire
Fusch, D. (2011, September 8). Including social media in your crisis communication plan [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.academicimpressions.com/news/including-social-media-your-crisis-communications-plan
Stoller, E. (2013, March 14). It’s 3AM. Do you know what’s happening with your social media? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/student-affairs-and-technology/its-3am-do-you-know-whats-happening-your-social-media

Pinterest & Student Affairs

Last week I blogged about my technology project for Campus Ecology (#ECHD7430) and over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of my classmates’ projects! Each person chose a specific technology or social media tool and explored uses for student affairs professional and student organizations.

The first project I am going to feature is student organizations using Pinterest by Veronica Roman. Veronica chose Pinterest because it is the third largest social platform, behind Facebook and Twitter. Since she first started using Pinterest, she observed a common-held belief that the site was only used for planning weddings, sharing crafts projects, or other more social purposes. She saw potential for it to be used as a way to share knowledge and information.

Veronica created a Pinterest account for our student personnel association organization at the University of Georgia, UGASPA. For three weeks she explored the use of this social sharing site for student-led organizations and student affairs professionals. Veronica recommends that student affairs professionals use Pinterest to display information in an interactive and creative way.

This summer, I noticed a lot of residence life accounts on Pinterest.  Eric Stoller wrote about Pondering the Interest in Pinterest last March. His post includes examples of Pinterest use in student affairs.  What are some examples of offices or organizations using Pinterest well?  I have a student affairs board on my account (which needs to be reorganized), and have found it a helpful place to store ideas! What are ways that Pinterest has helped you be successful?

Connect with Veronica on Pinterest and Twitter

Learn more with Veronica’s info-graphic:

Pinterest and Higher Education Infographic