Blog Archives

Making Social Media Work For You

In the past, I’ve discussed how I used Twitter and Facebook as an educational tool to reach my online students. (See also my EduSoCal Presentation)

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of expanding my professional network and professional opportunities by leveraging Twitter and LinkedIn.

newspaperI first started using Twitter as a way to get my newspaper headlines each day by following my favorite periodicals. This was a great option for when I was commuting by train and didn’t want to bring a lot of books and papers in my bag.  Many of my IRL (In Real Life) friends had not yet begin using Twitter, so my use of the micro-blogging site was  informational, but passive.

Still to this day, when someone asks me how to use Twitter and they don’t think the tech is useful to them since they are self-proclaimed Luddites, I provide them with the example above stating, “I get all of my favorite newspapers in one place!” With that example, they “get” Twitter (at least in the very basic basic use of it).

Then, when I moved from the NYC Metro area to Los Angeles, and consequently starting working remotely, I began twitter-bird-light-bgsusing Twitter and LinkedIn more frequently. This allowed me to connect with and collaborate with professionals in the fields of Instructional Design and Educational Technology. I may not have been able to meet face-to-face with my network back in NYC, but these social networking tools allowed me to stay connected to my peers. And even more so, meet others!

I have two more stories to share with you.

One, I owe social networking to my latest professional opportunity. I am now a Contributing writer to EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Ed because I read one of their articles via Twitter (remember, I read periodicals via Twitter?) and replied to their Tweet with a relevant comment. The Web editor contacted me and asked me to write about the topic of computers in the classroom. And it’s been fun!

Second, I was reading through the hashtag #EdTech and noticed someone talking about an EdTech Meetup in Los Linkedin_Shiny_Icon.svg_Angeles and NYC. My heart stopped! I sent a message to the person and asked for more details about the EdTech Meetup in LA. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. He is based in NYC. However, he has provided me with valuable tips and resources on how to start my own Meetup. And it’s underway! I have a small group of interested participants and we’ll be meeting to discuss Instructional Design and Educational Technology. It’ll be great to have a network of ISD/EdTech professionals in LA to speak to and collaborate with. After we meet in person, I plan on hosting some synchronous TweetChats to continue the discussions online. Look for a future article on how the EdTech Meetup is progressing.

How do I Leverage My Networks?

Publicize my Web site (this Web site, in fact!)

  • Each new article has a Tweet, LinkedIn update, and Facebook Status Update
  • Use hashtags # to make sure the right groups of people sees the posts

Use hashtags

  • To start conversations with groups that share the same interest
  • To view and contribute to already established conversations

Reply to Tweets

  • With relevant questions or comments to establish credibility, start a dynamic conversation and to gain followers

RT or Retweet and follow industry leaders

  • This is how I gain followers and get more information

My favorite use of Twitter and LinkedIn- Making Connections

  • Not just with myself and others, but Introducing people to one another, for example “Dear @username, meet @username2, he has successfully implemented BYOD in his grade school class. Something we’ve been discussing.”

How do you use Social Media to advance your professional network and gain professional opportunities? Feel free to tweet me @julietausend or connect via LinkedIn.

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EduSoCal ’13 Presentation: Social Media in the Classroom

It’s a special treat for my regular followers, you’re hearing from me twice this week!

Capture

But it was an even better treat for myself, as I was able to collaborate and speak with other EdTech and Instructional Design professionals at EduSoCal 2013. EduSoCal, is “the premier face-to-face conference in California where you Meet/Share/Learn/Play with your local peers and colleagues working in the fields of Information and Educational technology.”

A follow-up post on the Keynote Address by Michael Wesch has been written. Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture and his speech gave some valuable insight on Transformative Learning Theory and new media.

I presented on the topic of using social media in the classroom- “Help! My Students are 3,000 miles Away! Using Social Media to Interact with Online Students”. (View a PDF version of my presentation slides- EduSoCal13Presentation)

Video Syllabus

What do you do when you teach an online class 3,000 miles away from your students? Many would say, use Web conferencing to hold synchronous or live class sessions.

I would typically whole heartedly agree. However, not only am I teaching students located in Ithaca, New York while I am in Los Angeles, I am also working a full-time day job with at least a 90 minute commute. This means the earliest I’d be able to meet online would be 8 pm PST or 11 pm EST for my undergraduate students. In addition, five of my students are studying abroad in London. Therefore, unless I want to torture my students late at night or during the weekend, synchronous Web conferencing sessions are just not possible.

So, again, I ask, what does an instructor do when they teach students who are in different time zones?

My solution was simple. I created a “Video Syllabus” to introduce the course, the course environment, and my expectations in regards to requirements. I used lecture capture software that allowed me to record both my Web cam and my desktop, along with audio, at one time. I navigated to the online course environment to show exactly where the students needed to go to obtain relevant course materials. As I moved my cursor, the lecture capture system recorded the moves. This makes it easier for students to visualize where they need to go, as opposed to reading text directions.

In addition, having my Web camera record me as I spoke, allowed for a better interpersonal connection. Students liked that they were able to see me and put my face and voice together with the person who was lecturing and responding to Discussion forums. It shows that there’s an actual instructor involved in the course and not a random group of people hired as graders.

I saw a decreased number of emails asking for clarification on requirements compared to semesters when I did not us the video syllabus.

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Another hurdle I’ve faced is “how do I get my students excited in the content, when I’m 3,000 miles away?” This is an obstacle that many online instructors have to overcome. Since this course is only a one-credit course and my students are undergraduates, I decided to take advantage of the interests of the millennial generation by using Twitter and Facebook.

The class is designed based on discussion relating to topics of: Career planning, Professional Culture, Networking, Work Life, Professional Development, and Work Place Professionalism.

The Facebook Group is SEPARATE (as in I don’t friend my students) and PRIVATE (as in only those on the course roster are invited). Participation this term was optional. I had 90% of my students use Facebook, and of those, 100% were active. Twitter had a 75% user rate, with 80% of those users being active.

The Facebook and Twitter accounts also have varying levels of interaction from the Passive class announcements and reminders, to supplemental materials to be read, to the more interactive extra credit assignments, and the highly interactive Guest Speakers.

To engage my students, I created a Facebook Group and Twitter Feed and arranged for “Guest Speakers” to join us in our social networks for specific topics. The Guest Speakers have the flexibility to respond anytime during the week, which makes commitment from our guests much easier than having to travel to campus.

Students are required to participate in the Guest Speaker sessions by posting questions to the guests on the designated topic. The students read short biographies of our guests and have asked questions that result in the reflection of our guests’ career and education experiences. Most of our guests are Ithaca College Alumni, so there’s already a bond created and a frame of reference for the discussion.

Since the discussion posts have been lengthy, our guest speakers have preferred to use Facebook as the communication medium. Therefore, I’ve found other uses for our Twitter feed. Class announcements, such as due dates, are a basic use of the tool. However, students have been using the Twitter feed for Extra Credit. For example, students were asked to attend a Job/Intern Fair and collect a minimum of three business cards. To earn the extra credit, they needed to tweet a photo of each business card and state what the company was seeking in an employee. Not only did the photos prove they attended (since I’m off campus and cannot provide an attendance sheet), but the tweets also alerted their classmates of the opportunities available. Next term, I’d like to utilize Twitter for concise and dynamic discussion, but I need to work on aligning pedagogy with the tool in order to accomplish the goal.

I saw a pattern in the discussion, with 75% of questions occurring the first three days of the lesson, 5% occurring mid-week, and 20% of the questions occurring the last day. The fact that students participated from an early start makes me believe that they were excited about how the Guest Speaker sessions are conducted.

The big question is- How are you using Social Media and New Media? Comment below!

Social Media use in the Classroom

It’s been awhile since my last blog… but for good reason. This Instructional Designer is now also an Instructor! I’ve started teaching an online course on Professional Development. It is a required course for Communication Management and Design students at Ithaca College; which also happens to be my Alma Mater.

Since I’m currently located in Los Angeles and Ithaca College is located in Upstate New York, one of the hurdles I’ve faced is “how do I get my students excited in the content, when I’m 3,000 miles away?” This is an obstacle that many online instructors have to overcome. Since this course is only a one-credit course and my students are undergraduates, I decided to take advantage of the interests of the millennial generation by using Twitter and Facebook.

The class is designed based on discussion relating to topics of: Career planning, Professional Culture, Networking, Work Life, Professional

Using Facebook Group for Guest Speakers

Development, and Work Place Professionalism. To engage my students, I created a Facebook Group and Twitter Feed and arranged for “Guest Speakers” to join us in our social networks for specific topics. The Guest Speakers have the flexibility to respond anytime during the week, which makes commitment from our guests much easier than having to travel to campus.

Students are required to participate in the Guest Speaker sessions by posting questions to the guests on the designated topic. The students read short biographies of our guests and have asked questions that result in the reflection of our guests’ career and education experiences. Most of our guests are Ithaca College Alumni, so there’s already a bond created and a frame of reference for the discussion.

I see a pattern in the discussion, with 75% of questions occurring the first three days of the lesson, 5% occurring mid-week, and 20% of the questions occurring the last day. The fact that students are participating from an early start makes me believe that they are excited about how the Guest Speaker sessions are conducted.

twitter-bird-light-bgs

Since the discussion posts have been lengthy, our guest speakers have preferred to use Facebook as the communication medium. Therefore, I’ve found other uses for our Twitter feed. Class announcements, such as due dates, are a basic use of the tool. However, students have been using the Twitter feed for Extra Credit. For example, students were asked to attend a Job/Intern Fair and collect a minimum of three business cards. To earn the extra credit, they needed to tweet a photo of each business card and state what the company was seeking in an employee. Not only did the photos prove they attended (since I’m off campus and cannot provide an attendance sheet), but the tweets also alerted their classmates of the opportunities available. Next term, I’d like to utilize Twitter for concise and dynamic discussion, but I need to work on aligning pedagogy with the tool in order to accomplish the goal.

In the future, I plan on introducing Web conferencing sessions into the class in order to have synchronous communication with my students. By doing so, I aim at creating a “classroom experience” by using an eBoard to annotate lesson notes and Voice Over IP to discuss important concepts. I may also have my students present a team project over the Web conferencing tool in order to get them comfortable with how dynamic the professional workplace is in its use of technology….. but more about that later…

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