Blogger’s Choice: Campus Partnerships

Whew! I’m sure the semester is in FULL swing for everyone with the fall looming in. I am still considered a newbie at my current institution and I am now starting to see some very positive outcomes in the area of campus partnerships.

Campus partnerships have paid off in a big way for my position. Recently, I received an offer from the Lyceum committee to purchase video cameras. In return I would agree to stream all of the Lyceum events throughout the year.  This is not directly tied to my duties but it shows how a little help can go a long way. Funding is tight and showcasing how awesome the university is helps with my overall goals of increasing enrollment and retention rates. Yay, double win!

My last blog post was on streaming events. A small update, it is grassroots effort and has already received massive feedback from the university community. Since that post my office and students are working with Distance Education, Alumni Relations, University Public Relations, Athletics, the law school and a number of other offices on campus to promote the streaming.

I find that reaching out to people first usually gets a warmer smile than saying “hi” after the fact. This is especially the case where the campus partnership is not optional (i.e. purchasing, IT). I know not all partnerships are roses but I am hopeful since they have been for me lately.

I am also on the hunt now for other people on campus who do similar work so we can increase collaboration and know what is going on around campus!

How have campus partnerships helped you? What are some challenges or successes you’ve had reaching across campus?

P.S.- View the NCCULife stream here. We have had some challenges! Hopefully we will improve with each one.

Blogger’s Choice: Campus Partnerships

Open Thread: Favorite Boards

by Kristen Abell

Alright, alright, so I’m obsessed with Pinterest – but I’m not the only one these days. It’s being used for marketing, blogging, and career searching. I recently stumbled across Bob Vila’s profile on there, which makes for some interesting pins. Plus, a friend of mine even got to have a conversation with him because of a pin.

So, with that, here’s today’s open thread question: What are your favorite boards on Pinterest if you’re on there? Or what boards would you like to see if you’re not? Who are you following? What has the best pins? Tell us all about your favorite boards, and let us know if you need an invite – we’ll get you on there!

Open Thread: Favorite Boards

App Highlights: Pinterest, Instagram, & Flipboard

by Jess Faulk

With given the task of highlighting apps, my choices actually were fairly easy.  As I suspect many of you can relate, I have downloaded more apps for my smartphone/tablet than I can count, but I find myself only going back to about 10 on a regular basis.  Below are some of the winners, the applications that make my life easier in some way, or feed my hobbies.

Pinterest It (ios)

I am a newbie to this social networking phenomenon, however, after one session at a conference called “Pinterest for organizers” I was hooked.  I’ll post more about how we can use this cool new platform very soon, but in the meantime, consider jumping on board one of the fastest growing social network around. Read Kristen Abell’s post on Pinterest or watch the helpful video I found about how Pinterest works (great if you are a visual learner like me).  If after learning more, you will want an invite, so feel free to email Kristen or I at jess.faulk [at] gmail.com!

Apps to support your new Pinterest  habit:
View your account (iphone)
Pin it – add to your boards (iphone/ipad)
Android users feeling left in the cold?  Check out this article about 3rd party Pinterest android apps.

Instagram (ios)

I am a causal user of instagram, but everytime I stumble upon the app I am reminded how much I enjoy using it.  It is a fun way to share moments or cool shots of random things with friends and family, and it can result in some pretty awesome art for your apartment.  If you are interested in getting into the instagram craze, you can download the ios app.

For ios (iphone, ipad, ipod touch)
Apparently there are some rumors of it coming to android soon too!

Flipboard (ios)

My #1 app of choice is for content consumption on my ipad.  I love Flipboard because it is an awesome content curator (like an RSS feed) and gives me easy access to articles from all over the web.  It exposes me to more material than if I was just clicking around on the web, and it is easy to tweet or link to FB directly from the app. Zite (ios) and Google Currents (ios/android) are two alternatives to Flipboard that do basically the same thing.  Below is a video of google current so you can get a sense of the type of app (and because I am feeling guilty about all of the ios apps I am promoting 😉

App Highlights: Pinterest, Instagram, & Flipboard

Online Instruction: Scourge or Boon?

by Lysa Salsbury

This past weekend, I was pondering out loud what to write about for my post this week. My partner-in-life, a professor at Washington State University, was spending a grueling couple of hours wading through students’ discussion posts for an online class he teaches. “Why don’t you write about [expletive] Blackboard!” he snarled through gritted teeth.

This got me thinking about the value of online learning to educators and students. As a graduate student, about a third of my classes were online, roughly the same percentage that my husband teaches every semester. As a full-time working mother completing my degree in the few hours left in each day once I’d set aside the demands of my first two roles, I loved the flexibility of being able to log in to Blackboard and complete my assignments at any time of the day or night. But I also really missed the relational aspect of face-to-face classes. Truth be told, the novel convenience of the “anytime, anywhere” classroom was often countered by the sheer time drain that reading all of my classmates’ posts, and commenting on them, entailed. I would frequently find myself still up in the wee hours, either completely engrossed in fast and furious debate on a hot topic with a handful of peers, or bleary-eyed and tearful with exhaustion, frantically trying to finish an assignment in time to post it by the 11:59 pm Sunday deadline.

Partnered with an educator and academic, I also see life on the Other Side of the Fence—the endless hours spent reading and grading, responding to posts, assessing students’ progress and competencies, ensuring that everyone’s participating and no-one’s falling behind or slacking off. Neither of these scenarios paints a particularly appealing picture of online learning, and yet the popularity of Internet-based courses continues to skyrocket. Online education programs account for almost a third of all post-secondary education enrollments, according to figures reported by the Sloan Consortium in the 2011 Sloan Survey of Online Learning. 31% of students now take at least one college course online.

Although most faculty members will have to teach an online course at some point during their career, more than two-thirds apparently feel that online teaching is inferior. Clearly, the lack of personal and social interaction between the teacher and the students, and between the students themselves, might be considered a disadvantage. But on the other hand, online discussion forums allow less forthcoming students, who might feel overwhelmed in a classroom situation, to have a voice, and to contribute more frequently than they would face-to-face. Technical problems, computer illiteracy, or a general lack of familiarity with technology and software can be an issue, particularly for older and returning students. And accessibility can definitely be a barrier for low-income students or those with disabilities. And yet, online learning also provides students with the opportunity to learn new technology and programs, as well as hone their typing skills.

Being successful in an online class requires discipline, motivation, time-management, and organization—skills which, if a student lacks, may make it hard for them to complete an online course. And yet, taking an online class may well help them to develop those very skills. Online learning undoubtedly allows for greater time flexibility for students and instructors, not to mention ease of scheduling for the institution—and yet, one of the things I resented most about my online classes was how many hundreds of hours I spent typing comments, opinions, and feedback that could have been verbally communicated in just a matter of minutes.

On the whole, I enjoyed my online classes. The highlight for me was definitely the “global village” feel of the student demographics. In a Program Planning and Assessment class I took, one student went on her honeymoon to Italy two weeks into the class, and for the next 10 days, all of her discussions were prefaced with tantalizing, envy-inducing descriptions of the incredible sights she was visiting and the mouthwatering food she was eating. Another classmate was a former astronaut with NASA whose professional and life experiences often made riveting reading. Another, a high school principal in an underprivileged urban neighborhood, contributed a perspective that was grounding and so very necessary in our conversations about the accessibility of education. Overall, the rich diversity of backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and personal goals for the course among my classmates was unparalleled, and made for fascinating discussions. Some nights, I could hardly wait to log on and see what folks were talking about. It was certainly one of the most fun classes I ever took.

However, as more and more educational institutions—including high schools—move increasingly towards maximizing distance learning opportunities, debate continues to rage on the efficacy and value of online versus face-to-face instruction.

What are your thoughts on this hotly-contested issue of education and technology?

Online Instruction: Scourge or Boon?

Linkage Love

by Kathryn Magura

Hello all! For today’s Linkage Love, I thought I would share a few sites on the web that I check daily. Enjoy this glance into my little world.

1. Pinterest: I signed up for Pinterest a few months ago, but didn’t really “get” what it was all about. I’m not a particularly crafty person, so I wasn’t looking for a “do it yourself” craft site. Once I started to get the hang of the site (about the same time our own Kristen blogged about it), I started finding creative recipes, quotes, and styles. Some of my pins are wishful, others are inspirational, and some are just amusing. Pinterest has helped me confirm some of my tastes, and expand on others. Plus, it’s been great to learn from others who have the craft skills I lack.

2. The Bloggess: A couple of years ago, a friend of mine told me about a blogger who wasn’t afraid to be quirky, irreverent, hysterical, and honest. The Bloggess is just real; not afraid to share exactly what is going on in her life. Sometimes she posts zany conversations with her husband, Victor, and other times she posts about what it’s like to have debilitating depression. The Bloggess comes across as being very real and honest, and I suspect she would do the same in person. Whether you need a laugh, or a good cry, the Bloggess’ posts will get you there.

3. Wil Wheaton’s Blog: I am a geek, and proud of it. I loved watching Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was growing up, partially because of the epic crush I had on Wil Wheaton. When I joined Twitter, one of the first celebrities I followed was Wil Wheaton, because he seems to have become the “King of the Internet Geeks”. Wil seems to be very comfortable in his own shoes, and as the adult he has matured into. It’s refreshing to see a child star become an intelligent and entertaining adult. Wil seems to be in the midst of a comeback of sorts, partially due to his willingness to embrace social media to engage with fans. Even Stewie Griffin is a fan:

4. XKCD: XKCD is a web comic for nerds. A few times a week a new comic is posted that will make you laugh (sometimes uncomfortably) about the ridiculous world we live in. I will admit that I don’t always get the comic, but I do appreciate it’s creativity, and love the “hidden message” you see when you hover your mouse over the comic.

Those are just a few of my favorite sites to check. What are yours?

Linkage Love

Announcing #femlead, A New Twitter Chat

By Brenda Bethman

We are pleased to announce the inauguration of #femlead: a biweekly (every other week) Twitter chat focusing on women in higher education leadership. (If you are unfamiliar with Twitter chats, they are online conversations that take place on Twitter. You can read more here).

With this conversation, our goal is to create an open and inclusive forum for:

  • networking,
  • sharing experiences and resources, and
  • addressing the challenges and opportunities facing women in higher education who seek to lead with vision.

The numbers of women filling leadership positions on campuses around the world are growing; they are staff, faculty, and administrators.  The growing numbers are cause for celebration as more women take on exciting and transformative roles.  But we feel this also creates a need for a supportive space for women–and men–to talk about what these new roles mean and how best to fill them in order to pursue personal, professional, and institutional goals with integrity.

You might be interested in work-life balance, and wishing for a leadership role that made a better match with your personal commitments.  You might be thinking about taking the next step in your career…but not completely sure what that looks like.  You might be seeking a network of mentors–or mentees–from other disciplines or sectors of academic life.  We’re hoping #femlead will prove a resource for all the possibilities and questions we have on a day-to-day basis as female leaders in higher ed.

While we seek to provide a female-centered perspective, we don’t necessarily define our work or our positions as feminist.  #femlead will be a welcoming space for multiple points of view from women and men all around the globe.

We hope you will join us for our first chat:  Tuesday, February 28 from 2:00-2:30 EST.  

Janine Utell will lead our first chat and we will focus on service v. leadership:  what’s the difference?  Is service work invisible?  How can we facilitate women thinking of themselves as leaders as they confront their various service obligations?  

Chats will be held biweekly, Tuesdays at 2 EST, and will be archived (details to be announced).

We look forward to chatting with you on Tuesday and would love to have you host forthcoming chats or suggest hosts you would like to bring into the conversation.

Future topics will include:

  • the division between the Global North and the Global South
  • the relationship between female leadership in higher education and female leadership in other sectors (politics and business)
  • common goals for the GenX female leaders for the midterm and long-term perspectives: what (and where) do we want to change?

#femlead mission statement
We believe in the value of connecting, networking, and sharing resources and experiences.  Our mission at #femlead is to promote these values and to create an inclusive forum for open discussion of the issues confronting leaders in higher education.  #femlead is for those who lead, those with vision, those who seek to support one another in the challenges and opportunities facing us in all areas of academic life (faculty, staff, administrators).  #femlead is female-centered but you don’t have to be a woman to participate in this conversation – all civil and constructive voices are welcome!

Announcing #femlead, A New Twitter Chat

A Challenge to All

by Stephanie Wintling

Have you noticed our posts lately? We are digging deep on topics related to women in technology or more accurately where are the women in technology. Lysa Salsbury posted on when will we know that technology has become a more equitable field for women and Brenda highlighted Sheryl Sandberg’s profile and TED talk on her message to women. This begs the question and today’s prompt, “What can/should men be doing to support women in student affairs and technology?”

The only way I know how to start this conversation is by sharing my story and exploration in the world of technology. Majority of articles will say women need better examples growing up of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and I completely agree with these points but that’s not my story. My mother has been in school since I was born and has two masters’ degrees, a specialist degree, and is close to finishing her doctorate. She is retired Navy and my whole life I watched her work harder than her male colleagues (one of them being my father) to make the next rank and be the best she could be at her job. When I was very young they even had a press conference on my mother because she was going to be part of the first group of women to be deployed as crewmembers of a U.S. Navy combatant. As I reflect on my childhood now I had an amazing example but let me explain where the disconnects happened for me.

After my mom’s press conference I was bullied on the bus about my mother not loving me because she was going on deployment and leaving me. I was only in 2nd grade at the time, so this experience sent an early message about what mothers should and shouldn’t be able to do. My father tried to tell me I could be anything I wanted to be but his actions and statements about women growing up did not match the messages he was trying to tell me. I remember when I was in college and told my parents being a doctor was not for me and my dad quickly replied with well I think being a nurse is a better job for you anyway. My dad’s mother was a nurse and I know his comment was not to demean my abilities but all I could think was “have you thought this about me all along? That I should be the nurse not the doctor? Is it because I’m a woman that I should be the nurse?”

You see while society is working to create programs and initiatives to support women in STEM, research the causes of women not choosing jobs in the STEM fields, and provides more opportunities for women in STEM our society’s cultural views on women are stopping these methods from flourishing. While we may not be able to impact what happens in the home we have the privilege of educating students in college. Below I’m going to ask some thought provoking questions that will challenge you (male or female) to examine what you can start doing to help support women in technology:

  • What biases do you hold about women and their abilities? How does this manifest in your actions and what you do? What steps are necessary to change your biases?
  • What TV shows, movies, and media do you watch and support that is displaying harmful gender roles of women?
  • What are we doing to change the societal view of women’s roles in America? (Resource: Miss Representation)
  • What are we doing to provide experiences for male and female students to explore their own gender biases and how they are hurtful and harmful to both genders?
  • What do you think your daughter/niece/cousin/mom/aunt/female friend needs to hear in regards to her abilities and role in society to empower her?

Remember, what you say and do everyday speaks louder than a one time call to action so this prompts my last question:

  • How will we hold each other accountable to recognizing and changing our gender biases especially as it applies to women’s role in society?
A Challenge to All

Highlight a Woman: Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook

Normally, the “highlight a woman” post features a female student affairs professional. For this week’s post, however, I decided to focus on Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg as she’s been in the news as the most visible woman at Facebook (and one who stands to become very wealthy thanks to their IPO). Additionally, as Marshall Fitzpatrick pointed out on ReadWriteWeb, Sandberg has been attracting attention for her views on women in the workplace:

She’s often said to be a prominent advocate of women in the workplace. Doug Barry points out on Jezebel, though, that Sandberg’s position is a very particular one: that women are fundamentally responsible for their own career development in corporate America and need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

This is a view that has its critics and supporters. On the one hand, Sandberg is known as someone who works hard to recruit and retain women (something not all women who “make it” do). On the other hand, as Berry notes:

she is implying that the only impediment between the average working woman and the riches of corporate America is attitude and that most definitely is not true.

I also find Sandberg’s message to indeed be simultaneously positive and troubling. The TED talk below is a good example of this.

What do you think? Is Sandberg a role model for women in tech? Or is her message that “the problem is you” too far removed from other women’s concerns to be of use? Let us know what you think!

Highlight a Woman: Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook

How will we know that technology has become a more equitable field for women? What things do you hope to see once it has?

by Lysa Salsbury

“Why so few?” Why, indeed? Why is it that women are gaining ground in just about every area of the professional workplace other than in STEM fields? What are the social and environmental factors that contribute to the endemic underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics? I recently read a compelling 2010 report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that examines these very questions. According to the report, women’s underrepresentation in STEM can be grouped under three main themes: first, the common belief that that K-12 girls “are just not interested” and therefore lack opportunities for exposure to STEM at a young age; second, that men are mathematically superior and therefore innately better suited anyway to STEM fields than women; and third, issues that disproportionately affect women in the STEM workplace, ranging from work-life balance to gender bias.

It’s commonly known that the number of women studying in technology-based fields at most institutions of higher education is extremely low. At my institution, the Department of Computer Science currently has 11 undergraduate women and 116 undergraduate men enrolled this semester. Of the 56 graduate students in the department, only 7 are women. When women enter the CS program here, they find few other women in the program and no women faculty. As a result, they might lack the opportunity for bonding that is present in other departments. In order for students to be successful, it is vitally important for them to be able to find people in their department they can relate to, and turn to for support. My university has in recent years been engaged in a number proactive efforts to counter the lack of women in technology majors. A couple of years ago, a faculty member in Computer Science approached me for advice on small grant funding opportunities to create a peer mentoring program to retain the few women students enrolled in Computer Science. At the time, he had only 5 female undergraduate students in the entire program, and was desperate to find a way to encourage them to stay. His retention strategy worked, and the number of women in his department has since more than doubled, but the fact is, gains like this are still awfully small when you’re talking about progress from single digits.

It seems obvious to me that in order to bring about lasting, systemic change, fundamental shifts need to occur in girls’ access to technology long before they get to college. We can’t possibly hope to attract more female students to technology fields at the college level if there aren’t purposeful, well-orchestrated efforts to provide greater exposure and opportunities in these fields to junior high and high school-aged girls. At the elementary level, boys’ and girls’ level exposure to technology is roughly equal. But by middle school, a fundamental shift starts to take place. Girls are suddenly a whole lot less likely to be encouraged to take technology-related courses.

My 12 year-old daughter recently completed a videography project for her Junior High Social Studies class. She and a small group of classmates worked independently with the Technology Education faculty member who teaches, among other courses, Film Production Technologies, an elective class which is not yet available to them, as seventh-graders, to take. A dedicated educator with an obvious passion for teaching, Mr. P stayed late after school every single night for several weeks to teach four girls—who were not his students—how to use the “green screen” and film editing software in his computer lab to help them complete their Social Studies assignment. When I thanked him for giving so much of his own time to help my daughter and her friends, he told me that his motives were “selfish,” that he had seen an opportunity to encourage more girls to take his classes next year, currently composed almost entirely of boys. Selfish or not, this brief mentoring experience has made a monumental difference in the way that my child views her capability to understand and use technology. Having failed her Word Processing class this quarter because of a poor score in the automated speed typing segment of the course, the ‘A’ she received for her Social Science project has sent her confidence in her technological abilities soaring.

Evidently, as demonstrated in the two anecdotes above, mentoring—both peer-based and faculty-led—seems to be key in encouraging greater numbers of women to enter and stay in technology-based fields.

A colleague at the University of Idaho lists a number of factors that he believes inhibit women from going into Computer Science, and staying to complete a degree. Computer Science, he laments, is seen as a field for geeks where there is little contact with others and no real contribution is made. This myth, he says, is further proliferated by TV and movies.  “All of these things are not true!” he insists. “Computer Science is an important, creative, group activity filled with interesting people helping to make the world a better place. It isn’t a bunch of nerds programming games.” I can attest to this. I have many friends who are professionals in IT-related fields, and they are dynamic, charismatic, and talented individuals whose work has deep intrinsic value in the structure of our society.

My faculty friend’s fundamental concern is this: that as our interface to our world becomes more and more computer-mediated, those interfaces will be written almost exclusively by men, leaving out the creativity and perspective of entire gender. This, he believes, is nothing less than a crime committed against our culture. He’s right.

Studies show that women tend to want more social relevance. Apparently, many basic and intermediate Computer Science courses focus on the basics of development and don’t give enough attention to the long-range objectives in which creative and socially relevant programming will be able to be expressed. Female students are therefore at risk of dropping out because they feel that CS is not relevant to them.

Clearly, school counselors and career advisors need to become better acquainted with the opportunities that exist for women in technology fields. If college-bound women are actively encouraged to enter technology-based majors, and receive the mentoring and guidance they need to stick it out for the first couple of years, they are likely to stay and in the majority of cases, perform well.

Once in the field, we need to establish structural support systems that encourage the retention of women in technology. A good friend who works in Information Technology told me that one of the main problems she sees in her field for women is that there is a tendency toward “like hires like”—meaning that IT departments in industry and higher education often gravitate towards hiring people who remind them of themselves. This, she explains, is the reason why IT departments in hospitals, for example, tend to be more gender-balanced due to the presence of many former nurses (some of whom are men, but most of whom are women), and IT departments where the population is already majority male, tend to remain heavily dominated by men.

One tangible sign of equity in technology-based organizations, she goes on, is fostering a balanced approach to working hours, and allowing employees (that is, all employees—not just women with children) the opportunity to work from home. The nature of IT work, particularly programming, is such that it can be done just as well remotely. Not all IT occupations lend themselves to remote work, but organizations that allow employees to propose flexible schedules, and make adhering to them possible, will ultimately be more successful at retaining both male and female employees.

My friend goes on to explain that one of the positives about working in a technology field is that because the work is generally concrete and empirical (as opposed to subjective, amorphous tasks), she feels there are greater opportunities to earn respect solely for high-quality output. Her experience is that, while she feels she has to work very hard in order to be perceived as competent in a male-dominated department, once she’s earned that reputation, it has a tendency to precede her, irrespective of her gender. To her, this makes equality seem more feasible than in other professions where she states that “being the loudest or most charismatic is what is valued above all else.”

This is a complex issue with multiple layers that could cover half a dozen blog posts if I had the time and space, but to summarize in the words of my Computer Science friend, the technology workforce will ultimately be more balanced when we as a society are able to effectively remove the myths surrounding girls’ and women’s capabilities and participation in the field, consciously and purposefully build a community of support and encouragement, and provide concrete incentives to enhance women’s productivity.

 

How will we know that technology has become a more equitable field for women? What things do you hope to see once it has?

Linkage Love: Live Streaming

by Meghann Martinez

Recently in Student Affairs we have been focusing on how we can expand our reach to students, parents, alumni and prospective/incoming students. We have decided to experiment in live streaming some of our events hosted by various office’s and student organizations on campus.

So for you linkage today I’ll share some of the resources we have been/will be using today.

Streaming Services

So many options, we chose Vokle because of the functionality in combination with the fact that it is FREE and has no advertising.

Other options include:

UStream, LiveStream

Cameras

webcam

The filming aspect can be done in various ways. You can choose to use a HD webcam or connect a video camera via FireWire to your computer.

What we chose: Logitech HD Webcam c615

Other options we considered: HP Webcam HD-4110, Toshiba Camileo H30 HD Camcorder

 Sound

USB microphone

We really struggled with choosing an affordable sound option. I would suggest not relying on the built in sound options on a laptop or recording device. A USB microphone is the better option.

What we chose: Snowball iCE Blue

Other options considered: Yeti Profession USB Mic, Logitech Desktop USB Microphone

We also decided to purchase a few 12′ USB extender cords, extension cord and power strip. Our entire live streaming set up ran about $200. We start streaming live this Friday so more updates to come!

Has your area done any live streaming events? If so, what are some challenges and rewards you have found? If not, is this something you have considered?

Linkage Love: Live Streaming