Part of the experience of being a keynote speaker at the Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values is that you get to do an interview with the Character Clearinghouse at Florida State University. The questions from Pamela Crosby, the editor of the site (as well as the Journal of College and Character), were stellar. Here’s an excerpt:
Why should students care about their digital identity?
Students should care about their digital identity for a variety of reasons. As members of a campus community, it is important for students to know that their online actions can have impact. Student Conduct offices are no longer just concerned with what happens in the brick-and-mortar campus spaces. Additionally, most students are pursuing future careers, and higher education is their launch pad. Social media posts can show up in search engine queries. Companies are no longer just looking at your resume. They want to know what you are doing (and saying) online too. Now, that’s more of the punitive side of things. Digital identity is about much more than just worrying about its effects on future employment or conduct violations. Students with a fluent grasp of social media can accelerate their learning, develop meaningful connections with peers, and grow their professional network. What we do online can affect our face-to-face interactions…and vice versa.
Why should higher education be concerned about students’ digital identity?
I think that when the original work on “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” first became popular, it caused an educational disconnect. Administrators and staff at institutions seemingly (without a lot of critical discourse) bought the rhetoric that students were digitally savvy. In fact, students are no better at creating and cultivating their digital identity than anyone else. We’re all digital students in the sense that we are constantly learning how to use the social tools while they are constantly evolving. Schools need to be intentional about how they incorporate digital identity development into their educational constructs. Social media are not a trend or a fad that are going to someday evaporate. We need to be proactive with teaching our students how to build their digital identity versus being reactive whenever they post something that we wish hadn’t made it onto the web. Like anything in education, critical conversations about digital identity are essential. It’s like that movie, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” we have to jump in, create our own digital identity, and educate our students too.
In my attempt to be connected to all things related to higher education, I did something that has had interesting ramifications. One day while perusing Facebook, I liked the University of Phoenix page. I figured that it would nice to see what they were up to and didn’t think twice about it.
Well, always remember that what you do on Facebook can come back to you. Seth Odell, a good friend and interactive marketer for Southern New Hampshire University, sent me a text message today. He asked why I was supporting “team Phoenix.” Little did I know that Phoenix has been running a sponsored ad campaign that shows my “like” of their Facebook page on my friend’s feed. Now, it could just be as simple as Phoenix showing my Facebook connections that I liked their page, or I wonder if Phoenix is using my brand without my permission. I write for Inside Higher Ed and do a fair amount of speaking and consulting within higher education. If that’s the case, I’m not a fan of how that looks or feels. It’s a good reminder that liking something on Facebook can be used by advertisers to promote their brand. While this certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, it is the first time that I’ve had to think about my personal brand in this particular context.
The most-commented, most-discussed post that I’ve ever written for Inside Higher Ed was last year’s “Where Are the Radical Practitioners” entry. It quickly collected far more comments than I had expected, and I made the decision not to answer any of them due to the epic amount of time that it would’ve taken to constructively engage with all of them. Out of frustration and needing to vent, I did write up a quick “pseudo addendum” and posted it to this blog as “Radical and Student Affairs.”
What happened after that was an intriguing journey as I was asked to talk about being radical in student affairs at the Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference. In hindsight, I don’t think I really needed the social media aspect of my Big Ideas talk. Next time!
Unlike any other conference that I spoke at last year, 99% of Big Ideas featured speakers weren’t employed in higher education. It made for a fascinating event. My favorite part of the Big Ideas experience was meeting so many cool speakers. Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere and I had a great chat about our appreciation for retro Saucony sneakers. Amber Rose Johnson gave a slam poetry reading that gave me chills. And then there was Dayna Steele…well, she’s a legit rockstar! The full slide deck and video of my talk is after the jump. Continue reading Getting Radical at the Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference
So this post is amazingly late. However, here it is… Last summer, I was asked to be on a social media panel for Mashable’s Social Media Day in Boston. The topic for the panel was on building brands with social media. Taking place at Boston University, the panel was moderated by BU’s Steve Quigley. It was my first time working with Steve and I was thoroughly impressed. He’s a PR professor at BU and I hope his students soak up as much of his wisdom as they possibly can. Joining me on the panel were Tamsen Webster and Tyler Cyr. Tamsen knows everything about social media. I’m serious. Tyler does social media for Dunkin’ Donuts…I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’m a Starbucks guy. I was thrilled to be representing higher education and to just listen to all of the knowledge that Steve, Tamsen, and Tyler dropped at Social Media Day Boston. Remember, if you go to a party, engage in a conversation..the same thing goes with social media. The full video from our conversation is after the jump. Continue reading Mashable – Social Media Day Boston
Here’s part of the description from my talk…I covered a lot in 60 minutes!
Technology: Where are we today? Where are we going tomorrow?
Responsive web design, mobile apps, early alert systems, “big” data, privacy and social media are all topics that are extremely relevant to the work of admissions and registrars professionals.
However, regardless of the technology tools, we have to remember this too:
So many of our technology challenges in #HigherEd stem from issues w/ organizational culture & change management. #tech12
It’s official…I’ll be speaking at Blackboard’s annual users conference – BbWorld – in New Orleans. The topic for this talk is mobile + higher education. And, because I’m such an uber nerd, I’ll also be doing my best to incorporate Star Wars into my 55 minute talk. The kind folk at Blackboard wrote up a blog post intro’ing my participation…Blackboard Mobile is definitely a cool segment! Here’s the session description:
Want to better engage your current (and prospective) students? Building bigger Death Stars is not the answer – instead, be a better Ewok! Eric Stoller is a nationally known thought leader, speaker, author, consultant and blogger in the areas of higher education, student affairs, and technology. Join this avowed student affairs radical as he discusses the human-centered technology revolution and mobile’s critical role at the center of the student experiences on campus.
My pal, Kenneth Elmore – Dean of Students for Boston University, knows how to elevate conversations. There aren’t that many deans of students who are as charismatic as Kenn. In this quick clip, he offers up some insight as to why he spells “Kenn” with two Ns. He also manages to tie a bow tie on camera without a mirror. Kenn’s wit is edgy. The close to this interview showcases Elmore’s ability to riff on the fly. Administrators can make art. In Kenn’s case, his media presence is creative, insightful, and always right on the pulse.
I asked a question and received 40 comments: “Where are the Radical Practitioners?” One of the interesting themes was the idea that people couldn’t be radical (as they defined it) for fear of losing their jobs…couple that logic to another theme: because I am no longer a fulltime student affairs practitioner, I am no longer qualified or credible when it comes to asking about or asking for radical practices in student affairs. Seems like I am in a prime position to add radical commentary as I am not in a position to “lose” my job. Although, some (and I would agree) would say that I am in a far riskier position as a consultant who generates controversial critical conversations. And, while I was employed fulltime, I would like to point out that that was when the majority of my radical writing took place. In fact, I remember when I got raked over the coals after this post came out about student affairs and technology. That particular post, in my view, was fairly benign in terms of its “radical” nature. However, it was perceived by some as too provocative.
Radical Student Affairs Practitioners … Do they exist? Does our profession allow them to exist? Do we nurture them or isolate them? Are they leading our associations or quietly leading from the periphery? Does Student Affairs deconstruct the status quo or do we sustain it?
So what do you think. Has National Louis University stumbled upon a legitimate strategy to market their courses or are they just using Groupon as a “shiny new toy” to get people to talk about their school? The tuition break is significant, but will this deal attract students who are interested in teaching?
The course is described as being “tailored for people with no exposure or experience with teaching” and that it was specifically structured for use in conjunction with a Groupon deal. Seems like a PR stunt to me…especially since they make a point of noting that National Louis University is the first “academic university” to use Groupon to “boost student interest.”
It will be interesting to see if National Louis University releases data on whether or not their Groupon experiment actually worked as an incentive for course enrollment. My guess is that National Louis University is elated with the buzz that’s taken place regarding the school’s decision to be the first higher education institution to use Groupon.
At this point, does it really matter if anyone signs up for the class?