One of the tenants of the MSU Hub is “Collective Power.”  As a Hub we “leverage, coordinate and scale MSU’s existing energies and creativity by connecting people, designing opportunities and facilitating innovation.”

On November 11th, the collective power was summoned to the Hub by gathering campus stakeholders involved in online or hybrid MA & Graduate Certificate/Specialization programs at MSU. This is the first time this group has been intentionally gathered. The purpose of this meeting was to make connections and have guided discussions to share strategies for advising, program development, curriculum development, marketing, economics, program data & reporting and to generate questions and possible innovations to serve our students and programs.

The invitation was intentionally inclusive – we wanted to invite/anyone who would have insight into programs (graduate TAs, administrative assistants, department chairs, etc.) or people who are considering developing online MA or certificate/specialization programs. We did not include current students in this invitation as we were focused on inward facing issues (we plan to include students in the future!)  The list of invitations was gathered by researching programs listed here: https://reg.msu.edu/ucc/onlineprograms.aspx

The structured portion of the meeting was kept simple – we divided the participants into 4 tables for a modified SWAT discussion focused on:

Table 1: Finance & Marketing
Table 2: Admissions & Registrar office
Table 3: Curriculum Development & Technology
Table 4: Advising & Student Experience

SWOT usually stands for Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats – we substituted Tensions for Threats.

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A rich (and rapid!) discussion ensued as we had 20 minutes at the first table (then 10 minutes at subsequent tables) to discuss each issue.  The groups moved from table to table so everyone had the change to air out their SWOTs.

After the SWOT participants had a chance to network.  It was fantastic to see the cross collaboration & discussions happening.  I witnessed relief that others were struggling with similar tensions and joy to find immediate solutions to some challenges. Immediate feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive and appreciative of the chance to simply take time to meet and talk.

We ended the meeting by using the large whiteboards in the Hub and asked the following:

  • Did you know ……
  • I wish we could……
  • Help!!!!

More connections were made and the following comment in response to I wish made me very happy to have had the opportunity to facilitate the experience:

Response to "I wish" prompt

Looking forward into 2017 – more meetings will be facilitated and small working groups organized to discuss issues surfaced during the SWOT.

 

Working hardWell, it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted about our Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group.  From a meta perspective, have already learned some personal lessons about realistic expectations and time management. Time is always a struggle – which, we’re learning from the group. Dedicating the time alone to the group for 1 1/2 hours a week eats away at other things. While involved in helping/talking with others, that does not leave much additional time for me/us to reflect on the process! I am still going to do my best to blog on a weekly basis, but, will not beat myself up if I don’t achieve that goal as the primary objective of the process is to support and assist the faculty in the working group.

Initial feedback from participants has been very positive.  While attendance has dropped a bit due to fall conference season, we still have steady attendance and engagement.

Our discussions (as we had hoped) vary from philosophical to technical.  One hot topic of discussion has been the use of sites like Academica.edu or ResearchGate.  I had a chance to talk to Dean Long at the MSU Hub open house last week and he suggested these two pieces on Academia.edu which can provide insight into the complexities of using the site (something we have informally discussed):

On a technical standpoint, we’re digging into WordPress and discussing affordances and constraints of certain themes, the benefits of paying for cool ones, the use of tags & categories, how to integrate workflows with tools like IFTTT.

We are at a point (just past the half-way point) where we are recognizing a need to more thoughtfully work on enabling our participants to google the answers to some of their technical questions.  As an example – last week, one of the participants remarked that he watched a screencast that was created, but, he would prefer a hand out with step-by-step instructions on how to create a new blog post. I quickly pulled up WordPress.org support  and google and in about 1 minute had the step-by-step hand-out he was looking for.  As facilitators we’re trying to model how we solve problems and enable our participants to know where to seek help for the “easy” step-by-step type questions.  We don’t need to recreate wheels, SO much documentation exists online – however, I think the instinct to Google is a skill that is often taken for granted and needs to be coached.

On that point – we have had some requests for a curated list of helpful wordpress plug-ins, widgets & themes – any suggestions?!

 

UntitledWe are living in our new Hub space in Wells Hall.  For such a big shift of space and place, it has been (in my opinion) a very smooth transition. Our physical space is deliberately open and meant to be a co-working space.  People are coming in and out, working together, having chance collaborations and meetings or and getting work done and finding places to settle.

I seek out co-work spaces when I travel. I find them friendly, lively and conducive to collaboration or for productively working alone in a “nook and cranny.” When I was working at MYR Co-work (in Myrtle Beach) they had a great electronic check in system where you indicated your status when you checked in – open to collaboration, working alone, etc.  In the first few days of working together in The Hub, it quickly became apparent that we needed this messaging system. We may be in a group meeting, in the open, and focused – not wanting to be disrupted. Or, we could be working on a project independently and in desperate need for a collaborator or someone to bounce ideas off of (that’s why we are in this space!)  Co-work cups to the rescue!

This is not a new concept – I have seen this system used in classrooms and computer labs for students to indicate they need help. It’s a great way to make sure all students get help or to send signals without having to keep their hands raised.  To make our space accessible and conducive to all modes of work, we’re going to give the cups a try using this system:

G or Green = Open to collaboration & discussion
Y or Yellow = Working independently, but can be interrupted if necessary
R or Red = Please do not disturb

If you stop by to work with us, the cups can be found along the windows to your left when you walk in!

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Thank you Dr. Sue Black @dr_black & Mary Carty @marycarty #ald16

On October 11, 2016, in Web/Tech, by Leigh Graves Wolf

It’s my 7th year blogging for Ada Lovelace Day! It’s one of my favorite days to blog & celebrate amazing women. This year I would like to thank Dr. Sue Black AND the amazing Mary Carty who introduced me to Dr. Black!

Dr. Sue Black is simply incredible – and generous of her time on social media and an inspiration to me! Dr. Black OBE FBCS FRSA (born 1962) is a British computer scientist, academic and social entrepreneur. She has been instrumental in saving Bletchley Park, the World War II codebreaking site. (wikipedia) She wrote Saving Bletchley Park.  You can find all ways to engage and connect with her here: https://about.me/sueblack

Mary Carty is also simply incredible.  Mary is Executive Director , CoFounder , Advisor , , speaker, author (twitter). The MAET program was extremely lucky to work with Mary & the LaunchPad team in Galway this summer and I was extremely lucky to gain a mentor, friend and champion.  My mind is constantly running with ways to continue collaborations and support in formal and informal ways.

Follow Dr. Black & Mary to be inspired to action!

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Add your story!

On October 11th, 2016 write a blog post about your STEM heroine and add it to our collection: Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Write about a woman in science, technology, engineering or maths whose achievements you admire.
  2. Publish your story online.
  3. Add your story to our collection.
  4. Tell your friends!

2015 Post – Thank you Kimberly Bryant
2014 Post – Thank you MSU Women in Computing (WIC)
2013 Post – Thank you Dr. Kyla McMullen
2012 Post – Thank you Mary, Pam & Catherine
2011 Post – Thank you Dr. Caroline Haythornthwaite
2010 Post – Thank you Dr. Catherine Mohr

 

Working groupIn committing co-facilitating the Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group, I’ve also committed to meta & in-process reflection on the process so we can gather data and evidence to provide to the MSU Academic Advancement Network nodes as they’re engaged in finding ways to develop communities of practice that integrate across related disciplinary clusters in novel ways.

To start, I think Week 1 went well – kicking things off with Dean Long‘s workshop (link below) was a great conversation starter and I think helped to contextualize things to a wider university/academic audience, then, our smaller group can dig into their own goals.  The 1-hour and 15 minute cowork sessions were very well attended on Wednesday and Thursday and participants were engaged in the “digital hub visualization” activity (details below in slide deck.) I am hoping to foster more discussion in the coming weeks and I know one of our tricky spots as facilitators will be scaffolding these discussions – not everyone cares about say, Twitter, so how can we organize our coworking time to maximize benefits to all? We’re gathering some data from participation over the weekend and hope to use that to build a “schedule” for upcoming discussions. I put the word schedule in quotes because we are really trying hard to push against this being sit-and-get, we really want to create an organic responsive environment. I’m so excited to be working with Scott & Stephen on this because we have very different sets of skills and strengths and I think this will come in very handy as we flex and respond to requests from our 20 participants. (We also have a close eye at scaling this beyond 20.)  We all have networks we can rely on that we can bring into the conversation — which — leads me to my request to you, my network, this week:

The majority of participants are tenure stream faculty and we are talking about the use of social media (and blogging in particular) to help with the promotion and tenure process.  They have heard a lot about it can be useful, but, mentor texts would be very helpful in concretizing the benefits.  I provided this example from my own use of blogging to support my annual review process as an academic specialist.  Because I blog about every presentation, workshop, paper, etc. I’m able to gather evidence and artifacts quickly and easily and THEN take the time to do the reflection on those pieces (or just copy/paste from reflections I did on the blog.) Tenure stream friends – how do you do this? Do you have any suggestions? Tips? Tricks? Struggles?

Finally, we (Scott, Stephen and I) have decided to send out a weekly email on Fridays to recap the cowork sessions.  (Copy/pasted for you below with some of the internal links redacted.) We are offering two meeting times/week and need to find a way to connect the two groups.  We want to keep this fairly low stakes/tech right now – so we’re choosing to use email and a shared Google folder to serve as our main connection points.  Down the road a hashtag may develop or other collaboration platforms may emerge as being useful.

Happy Friday!

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Good afternoon –

It was wonderful meeting all of you this week. We started our working group with an excellent kickoff on Tuesday by Chris Long, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, which helped showcase different faculty approaches to digital identities and scholarship. His blog about the workshop can be found here: http://www.cplong.org/2016/09/bringing-your-cv-to-life/ and the Storify of the tweets from the session can be found here: https://storify.com/cplong11/bringing-your-cv-to-life.

For those that were unable to attend, Scott has the recording and will be posting it soon.  We will be keeping an archive of all the weekly email/links/notes/recordings and meeting times and locations here: [internal link]

In this first week of cowork sessions we used post-it notes to visualize our academic products and piled & reorganized, sorted & interpreted them to make maps and visualizations for our scholarly presence plans. In short we tackled:

  1. How public or private you would like those artifacts to be and
  2. Types of tools that might prove useful in displaying and connecting those artifacts

Here is a link to the slide deck that guided our discussion:

We heard lots of questions arise across the two days– around sharing journal articles (should we use Academia.edu?), our existing presence (who is in control of what is already out there?), what tools should I use? How are issues of accessibility addressed in our discussion? Should I start over with my web presence? Who “owns” your URL or web address? We will be using these questions to shape future discussions.

Finally, we promise not to survey you too much, but, we do have one quick survey for you. In the early stages of our planning your responses to this survey are very helpful in shaping the experience & people/experts we ask to engage with our group over the next few weeks. If you can fill this out by Tuesday, October 11, we would greatly appreciate it: [ internal link to survey ]

Have a great weekend –

Leigh, Stephen and Scott

 

I’m excited to kick off a new initiative today: the Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group.  In my new role as an academic specialist in the Dean’s office in the College of Education (I’m still with the Hub, 25%, 75% College of Ed!) one of my charges is to: Develop capacity and community among faculty, students and staff around innovative practices in teaching and learning to support innovation and inclusivity in instruction and program development. So, this is the first of many opportunities.  (I’m also really excited that A Domain of One’s Own is a part of this initiative.)

The Working Group is kicking off (right now!) with Dean Chris Long’s workshop: Cultivating an Online Scholarly Presence. We will then follow up with weekly co-working sessions over the next 9 weeks to support faculty in the development of their online presence. The original call for participation is below – we have 21 faculty members who will be working with us – along with others who will informally drop in and out when their schedules allow. The underlying purposes here are to provide a safe, fun, intellectual and supportive space to grow and to evaluate this facilitation format as a sustainable model for professional development.

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Original Call for Participation:

Dear colleagues, we invite your participation in our newly created Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group during Fall 2016. We will be accepting five faculty members from our college into the program who will then participate with colleagues from the Colleges of Natural Science and Education in a semester long program designed to help you plan (or revise) and implement a digital online presence and public scholarship routines, mindsets and workflows.

Online presence and public scholarship are ways to enhance your own research and reputation, along with that of the University.  While many workshops start with the “how to”, this program is designed to help you navigate challenging and nuanced questions like: Why should you have a digital presence? Who is interested in my work and scholarship?  How can this work be recognized professionally? Once we navigate these discussions we will move on to discovering which platform(s) match your goals. In addition, this experience will provide you with resources and collaborators to start your presence now and help evolve and sustain your presence into the future.

Topics

The program will cover a variety of topics associated with planning and developing your personal public scholarship strategy. We will start by focusing on your pathway to intellectual leadership in your field and what the components of a successful strategy are, then moving into more of the detailed logistics of setting up digital tools and accounts to support the strategy you have developed. We welcome faculty at all stages of thinking about this work and will help ensure that each person is able to move forward with their own plans.

What is expected?

Fellows will be expected to attend two workshops over the course of the semester and 6 one-hour co-working sessions that will focus on a general topic and work strategy each week and provide an open dedicated forum for support. Fellows will also have the opportunity to attend other optional workshops, and will have access to one-on-one mentorship from the workshop facilitation team.

Applications are due by Friday, September 23 and we will be notifying participants early during the following week.

If you are unable to commit to the full time commitment of the fellows program, but are interested in starting to develop your online presence, please respond to this message and we will include you on an email list which details other learning opportunities.

Facilitators
This program is a collaboration between the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Education, and Natural Science, along with the Hub for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. Main facilitators for the program will be Drs. Leigh Graves Wolf (Education/MSU Hub), Scott Schopieray (Arts and Letters), and Stephen Thomas (Natural Science). We will also be joined by guest facilitators and faculty from across campus. In addition to the specific goal of mentoring faculty in their online presence goals, we are experimenting with new models for faculty development and support structures and will be gathering feedback on this mode and method of training and mentoring.

 

Is Educational Technology a Discipline? Let’s talk.

On September 28, 2016, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

Yesterday this tweet:

Prompted this brief twitter conversation (click on the timestamp to see the conversation):

The title of the article begged the question – does this mean people do not see Educational Technology as a discipline?  I have a PhD with the words “Educational Technology” and for almost 10 years, I served as the co-director of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program.

If you read the comments in the article (actually one time I will suggest reading comments!) you will see other people pointing this out as well. (Including a clarification from Eddie Maloney on how his opinions were represented and interpreted.) The voices on the panel are certainly not representative of the field – and many come from interdisciplinary or emerging fields.  This conflict/question has been brewing in my mind recently as I have been in conversations with, or have read pieces from, the User Experience (UX), Experience Architecture (XA), Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Instructional Technology, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Digital Humanities (DH) fields.  While the article that prompted this post is one singular article, from a non-scholarly publication, I think this is an area worth exploring/defining/discussing at greater depth.  How are the disciplines I mentioned different? Similar? Where do they intersect? Where should they intersect? Are they co-opting or competing with each other, when they should be collaborating?

So, I want to think out loud with my smart friends (beyond 140 characters) – let’s start in the comments here and see where that takes us!

 

Update :

Thank you to Inese Berzina-Pitcher for this reference:

Sugimoto, C. R., & Weingart, S. (2015). The kaleidoscope of disciplinarity. Journal of Documentation, 71(4), 775-794. doi:10.1108/JD-06-2014-0082 (link works w/MSU log in)

 

The power of sharing & collaboration (again!)

On September 14, 2016, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

Just (another) quick example of the power of sharing and collaboration.  I’m excited to be co-facilitating an Undergraduate Honors Research Seminar this fall with Jeff & Bill.  After all of my MAET years, I know how important day one, minute one are of class.  As I was thinking about first day activities (that do NOT involve reading the syllabus!!) I came across this post from Heather on Facebook:

Picture of chalkboard with post-it notes

I was immediately intrigued and the following dialogue ensued (I could summarize, but why not share!)

Facebook discussion

And, it’s as simple as that! Thank you Heather for sharing & for the inspiration!

 

UntitledOver the past 9 months I’ve been stretched in new directions as a facilitator of workshops which are organized around design thinking frameworks.  I’m no stranger to workshop facilitation, and, do my best to make workshops interactive (see QuickFire challenges). Entrenching myself in design thinking frameworks has given me a new perspective and tool for workshop and discussion facilitation.

Yesterday our team ran a design thinking exercise. I was the designated “data collector.” As a learning exercise and to engage in some participatory action research, I was able to pull aside Caroline, Breana and Dave in the moment to ask them what was going well, what was not and what we should do to improve upon what we were doing. First and foremost I want to acknowledge how incredible this team is and how open they were to this meta level of reflection in-situ.  We as a team are learning and the commitment to this being an iterative and growing process as one of those essential conditions that will set us on a successful path.

With that said, here are a few quick and practical ideas that came out of observations and the reflection that we wanted to share. These are abstracted from the specific exercise with the intent of trying to generalize the ideas to a wider audience.

1. Create a beyond the basics kit of supplies

We have started to collect the basics (post-it notes, sharpies, large rolls of paper) however, we thought it would be a good idea to put together a box or bag that contains the following so we can be prepared for any design thinking “emergencies”:

  • Dongle
  • Markers & pencils
  • String
  • Measuring tape
  • Stopwatch (in case on screen tech breaks)
  • A non-annoying bell or buzzer (to get the attention of the crowd)
  • Compass
  • Phone chargers
  • Tape
  • Portable document scanner

2. Practice

This one is hard, especially if your team is working on several projects at once, however, we’re getting better at tracking time and developing a set of resources that we can customize for conversations/exercises. Ideally, the team should have everything completed at 2 days ahead of time.  Then, someone from the team should run through the exercise with someone else who does not have any prior knowledge of the experience. This will allow for revision and refinement of the small, but very important details of getting everything just right. I don’t want to give the impression that we don’t practice (or process is highly iterative! We document our hours and time carefully.)

3. Use participant workbooks strategically

We think that workbooks are a key tool to facilitating these highly interactive experiences, however, there are a lot of working parts to getting them just right. (Libby is doing a fantastic job researching and implementing this piece.)  It’s important to be very explicit with directions to the group you’re working with and to have your slides/prompts very clearly direct them to interact or write in the book. One of the things we’ve noticed is that even with warm up exercises it’s sometimes hard to get people to the point of writing – which is SO important for the post workshop analysis. We are going to make sure that questions/prompts are replicated in the workbook so that if and when timers are used participants have the workbook to reference to have the questions present in their minds.

4. Have table facilitators

This one is a bit tricky because depending on how large your group is, it may be a luxury to have a whole team of people at your disposal to help. Design thinking exercises are timed and fast paced experiences, something that not many audiences are used to and it is very easy to lose the attention of a group or group of people around the room. Table facilitators can serve as your partners in keeping things moving and directing attention to the lead facilitator. Additionally, if your room is not ideal for design thinking work, your table facilitator can also be very helpful in re-iterating directions and keeping things on track.

5. The sound of music

Timers are essential for the iteration side of a design thinking exercise. (Kristen Soullier created this tremendous set of timers for anyone to use!) There is debate as to whether or not music increases productivity and creativity however we feel it’s an important piece to the mood and feel in the room. With that said we have learned that some of our participants are highly sensitive or adverse to music being a part of the process.  We consider this a work in progress – so next time we are going to start with the music very, very, very low.  Additionally, we are going to explain to participants that music is a part of the timer so it does not come a surprise.  We may also alternate in/out of using music and we can always hit mute if it becomes a problem that impedes the flow.

6. Respond to questions carefully

Oftentimes questions in a design thinking exercise are intentionally ambiguous. This often does not sit well with participants and they will push for a clarifying or more direct “answer.” There are two sides to this problem of practice – crafting good prompts is not easy (thus the need to practice with others to hone them) but as a facilitator you have to let discomfort settle with participants. The explicit intention of many of the questions and prompts are to bring to light different interpretations among participants and stakeholders.  Facilitating this process is very tricky and takes nuance and practice.

7. Record conversations and discussions

If you have a group or discussion component to your workshop, it may be helpful to have an audio recording of the conversation. This one is also a bit tricky, we’re not advocating that all audio recordings be transcribed, however, depending on the purpose it could be very handy to have as back up and with the ease of recording on smartphones, it’s not a lot of extra work to collect, which, leads me to my last point…

8. Design activities with artifacts in mind

I have discussed before that all too often design thinking stops in a room. When we plan out our workshops now, we very explicitly add an artifacts “line” to our planning document – what are we collecting and why are we collecting it. This helps greatly in the post-event analysis because we have strategically thought through the analysis piece. We are getting better at pre-labeling these artifacts which drastically cuts down on the time it takes to process and clean up the data for analysis. (This is also why a high-speed portable scanner comes in handy so the workbooks can be quickly scanned and archived!)

We would love to hear thoughts from you! What are some of your lessons learned? How can we continue to improve our workflow and processes?

 

It was an honor to speak with educators today at the Huron Shores Educational Technology Conference. A big thanks to MAET grad Ashlie O’Connor for this opportunity! Ashlie and Meghan did a fabulous job organizing this incredible opportunity for educators in North East Michigan!

The slides from the keynote are embedded below w/embedded links and you can follow along with all of the tweets and resources shared by following #HSET16.