Slides and description from my keynote talk last month at the University of Greenwich Academic Practice and Technology (APT) Conference:
Are we really “post digital?” when we are still having to teach the “why” and “how” of digital engagement?
It seems like the gap that we’re trying to bridge is more about organizational culture than technological challenge. Our new normal is all about engagement. Assuming we have the capability, we just need a shift in our motivations and expectations.
In 2016 (and beyond), Universities and Colleges are shifting towards a market in education in which teaching, learning, employability, student experience, and digital engagement is the epicentre. Providing a balance of views, hope, digital best practice, and “across the pond” comparison, this keynote will set the tone for a day designed to both enhance and challenge our digital capabilities.
It’s been 8’ish months since I last gave an update on the blog. Once again, I’ve been quite busy (in a good way). In fact, being busy as a consultant is always a good thing. I’ve spoken at events all over the UK, gave a keynote to an international audience in Mallorca, Spain, and traveled back to the United States to consult with two of my favorite higher education clients.
By the way, as I am constantly crafting my consultancy, here’s my latest description on what I do for a living:
I teach individuals and organizations (usually universities and colleges, but sometimes businesses too) how to communicate more effectively using digital channels. Effective communication via social media includes all things related to marketing, recruitment, student engagement/experience, career development, alumni relations, identity development, “customer” service, teaching/learning, and organizational change.
Lastly, I have to give a huge shout-out to Jisc for inviting me to speak at their annual DigiFest conference in Birmingham. Definitely one of the neatest events that I’ve ever been to…so much technology!
It’s been 7 months since my last post on this blog. Of course, this is a good thing. Why? Well, it means that life has been quite busy with all sorts of things. Working in the US and the UK has kept me quite busy. When all is said and done for the year, I will have taken 3 epic consulting trips to the US and managed to establish/grow a consulting/speaking presence in the UK. And, I’ve been writing a lot for Inside Higher Ed.
Thankfully, virtual content delivery has been an effective way for me to “present” at US-based events as well as take on work with US clients in a way that doesn’t have me taking too many flights.
The past 7 months has been filled with learning as much as possible about UK higher education via in-person conversations, social media engagement, and reading everything in sight. Of course, I’m also still continuously plugged-in to everything that’s happening in US higher education.
Additionally, Gillian and I have had several opportunities to travel in Europe (Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, and France) and we even ran our first half-marathon in October…In case you’re wondering, the Cardiff Half Marathon is a wonderful event. So, apologies for being a bit less active on this blog.
Lifelong learning is exciting. The constant ebb and flow of learning new things makes each day an adventure. If you don’t have time to learn, are you really living? What message are you sending out to your kids, your spouse, your co-workers, your friends, or anyone else that matters to you when you say that you “don’t have time to learn how to do ______?” Remember, learning is lifelong. Learning never stops.
If you were ever wondering if Twitter was the tip of the iceberg for connecting short bursts of 140 characters to longer form blog content, look no further. A quick check of web stats for this blog shows an amazing number of college and university IP addresses for visitors who have visited after clicking on links from tweets. These schools are from today…not too bad:
Valparaiso University, SUNY Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, University of Texas at San Antonio, Oregon State University, Miami University, The College of New Jersey, Hofstra University, University of Texas at Austin, Albion College, William Paterson University, University of Washington, Arizona State University, University of York, Claremont University, Simon Fraser University, St. Louis University, Loyola University Chicago, Grand Canyon University, Colleges of the Fenway, North Carolina Central University, University of Wisconsin Madison, San Jose State University, Lincoln University, Texas A&M University, University of Central Florida, North Carolina State University, College of the Holy Cross, University of Cincinnati, Loyola Marymount University, Nova University, Central Methodist University, Merrimack College, Georgia Southwestern State University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Iowa.
Once again, blogs are super useful for content/sharing and Twitter is great for engagement/sharing. I’m frequently sharing all sorts of content on Twitter. Curating useful links and stories via 140 character tweets and leading folks to content that they might not find while surfing.
A massively popular sporting event + Twitter = ample opportunities for critical thinking, irony, and sharing. My first thought about the enormity of the Super Bowl (and its related mega-money generation) is the baffling fact that the NFL is a nonprofit entity. It’s ludicrous that a highly profitable business like the NFL doesn’t have to pay taxes.
Pondering: The NFL is a nonprofit association. In 2013, the NFL had revenues of more than $9 billion. Maybe it's time to reclassify the org?
People often ask me what I do for a living. Realizing that I probably don’t tell that part of my story very well, I’ve decided to post every now and then about what I’m up to as it relates to my work. Most of my speaking and consulting endeavors are the result of grass roots “promotion.” Whenever I speak in front of a large group of students, staff, faculty, family members (not my family, however, that would be pretty interesting), and/or industry leaders, I’m effectively showcasing my ability to educate and inform. This usually leads to future invitations to speak at events/schools/businesses.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at Family Weekend at the University of Miami as their keynote speaker. With a room full of parents and family members (and a few students), I gave a talk on social media, digital identity, career development, and thinking before you post/share/tweet/snap/etc.
Every time I make it “around the horn” to celebrate another successful year of consulting, speaking, and writing, I get a bit reflective about the journey. As if on cue, Dustin Ramsdell from the The Student Affairs Spectacular Podcast, invited me to do an interview about my endeavors.
Here’s the full audio interview where I go into detail about my journey as a student affairs professional / higher education consultant. I manage to throw in some thoughts on work/life balance as well as some insight into what my typical day is all about.
Spoiler alert: life is great, work and life aren’t a dichotomy, and it’s been 4 years since I started doing this work full-time. Thanks Dustin for giving me some time on your show.
“You might not remember us, but we met in the 90s.”
Microsoft’s new ad for Internet Explorer wants to capitalize on our collective nostalgia. Hungry Hippos, floppy disks, Oregon Trail, snap bracelets, bowl haircuts, and slow Internet access. Microsoft just doesn’t understand that while we may fondly remember the items in the ad, we are never ever going to associate Internet Explorer in the same vein. The end of the ad shows Microsoft’s Surface tablet as if browsing via IE on Surface could bring back some sort of mythological experience of yesterday. I loved the ad until the big reveal. All of those memories that it triggers somehow feel betrayed by a company that is completely out of touch with those of us who exist in 2013. A companion website was created to coincide with the ad: “The Browser You Loved to Hate.” Why would they ever want to remind us that “back in the day,” we rushed to Netscape and warmly embraced Firefox. Anything but IE was better than suffering through the default browser on a Windows PC. In 2013, Chrome and Safari have captured our clicks. Microsoft has tried dubstep in previous ads to appeal to our cool sides while this ad appeals to memories that aren’t exactly friendly to good old Microsoft.
With the closing tagline, “Reconnect with the new Internet Explorer,” Microsoft is asking us to do something that feels hollow. Why should we reconnect with something that even Microsoft acknowledges that we “used to hate?”
Wow. The last post on my blog was in July. JULY! How did this happen? Well, it turns out that being a speaker/writer/consultant is a full-time job (x) 1000. According to my TripIt.com account, in 2012 I took 44 trips and was on the road for 148 days. Coming up, I plan on putting together a post that lists all of the trips/cities from last year. I’ve never traveled so much in my entire life. Whenever anyone asks me if enjoy traveling, I usually respond with “sometimes” or “it depends.” My enjoyment of travel tends to be modulated by my fellow travelers. It’s always more fun when people on flights are happy. Trust me.
One of my foci for 2013 is to be more mindful of my time when it comes to blogging. Writing is something that I did a lot of last year, but it wasn’t always on my terms. As much as I love writing my Student Affairs and Technology blog for Inside Higher Ed, sometimes, it’s tough to generate content when you’re always on the go. Additionally, I realize that many of you are coming over to this blog because of something that I shared on Twitter or because of a Google search for a variety of topics. And, when you get to the blog, you’re probably wondering, “hey, where’s the new stuff?!” Well, here’s the deal, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to post, ponder, write, question, and get my thoughts on “the page.”
Now, I realize that saying and doing are two different things. To that end, I think I’ll reduce my consumption of television programs, minimize my time on Facebook (we’ll see how that goes!), and be mindful of how writing for the love of writing energizes me. There’s always time for writing and thinking.