When I was a college student, there were times when I skipped out on buying a required textbook for a course. Finances were always tight, so I tried to balance my checkbook with buying actual books. Even then, textbooks weren’t cheap. Today, students are paying more and more for their higher education experience. If a university can find ways to make attending college more affordable, accessible, and “high-tech/high-touch”, well, it’s not really an option, it’s a necessity.
Today’s technology makes it easy to distill course materials into digital formats and enhances them as a result. Colleges and universities are quickly shifting from books to bytes to improve the student experience and boost course outcomes.
Here are 10 reasons why your university should go digital with its course materials:
Continue reading 10 Reasons to Go Digital with Your Course Materials
The following is an excerpt from Chris Douce’s review of my keynote “How digital engagement enhances the student experience” presented at the Higher Education Academy’s HEA 2017 Annual conference: Generation TEF.
The opening keynote was by Eric Stoller. Eric has built a consultancy about using technology and social media to create digital engagement, with a particular emphasis on higher education.
I’ve noted that Eric said that there are social media skeptics and that social media is a subject that can be polarising. There was the suggestion that social media is all about learning, and the learning doesn’t stop when students leave the classroom. A point I noted was ‘life-long learning should be at the heart of the experience’; this is especially interesting since the life-long learning agenda within my own institution has been fundamentally impoverished due to government increases of tuition fees. It is now harder to study for an entirely different qualification, or to study a module or two with the intention of developing skills that are important in the workplace.
Continue reading How Digital Engagement Enhances the Student Experience
The Commodore 64 was a magical device. When I was a kid, the “C64” was my initial experience with a computer. I typed papers for class (printing them out on a dot matrix printer), played a few rudimentary games (high tech back then!) and even managed to dabble a bit with programming. I was excited for the future of technology…the hype of what was yet to come.
While “technology hype” is often criticized, I am as excited today about the prospects of new technologies as when I was learning how to use the now ancient C64. For example, while watching an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, I learned that there are plans to create tiny space probes powered by lasers that can go almost 167,654,157 miles per hour. That’s technology that gets me hyped. It’s science (almost) fiction today that will be our reality in the near future.
So how does this connect to higher education? Commodore 64s, space probes, etc? It’s all about a sense of experimentation, trying to do things that weren’t possible before something was invented that now lets us do something new…or better. In higher education, we aren’t always the most high-tech. However, we do interface with a massive amount of technologies that create opportunities to enhance student success.
Continue reading Tech Hype: Emerging Technologies are Our Future
We sleep next to them. We carry them around with us wherever we go. We use them for social interaction, classroom polls, information gathering, navigation, entertainment, translation, coursework, payments, augmented reality (AR), research, virtual reality (VR), media making, etc. Mobile technologies offer up countless functionalities for learners and academics.
In higher education, mobile learning can “increase learner satisfaction and retention, widen participation and potentially reduce costs.” Mobile technologies can also enhance the student experience, connect learners with advisors, and provide conduits for peer-to-peer engagement.
Continue reading Learning and Connecting on the Go – How Mobile Technologies are Changing Higher Education
Sometimes it’s worthwhile to create a post that spans a variety of inter-related topics as a way of sharing a collection of ideas. When I was outlining this piece, I was struck by the seemingly disparate lens in which these topics are often looked at from an institutional perspective. However, with a deeper glance, it’s the connections between these areas that are the strands that form essential aspects of the student experience.
Continue reading Student Success, Retention, and Employability – Getting Digital in a High Tech, High Touch Environment
Closing out the year with a clip of an interview that I did with David Webster at the University of Gloucestershire. After giving a keynote lecture at their annual Faculty Learning & Teaching Symposium, David and I sat down for a chat about higher education, teaching, learning, and social media.
A bit of an exaggerated title on this deck, but the content/context is what matters. Presented at the University of Gloucestershire’s Faculty Learning & Teaching Symposium.
Continue reading Why Academics Must Use Social Media
The Australian New Zealand Student Services Association (ANZSSA) Annual Conference in Auckland, New Zealand was one of my favorite events of 2016. It took almost a year’s worth of planning and prep for me to make it to the Southern Hemisphere, but in the end, it was an epic conference in a wonderful city.
Special thanks to Alison Dow, Andrew Tui, and Jordi Austin for the opportunity to give multiple talks including a keynote at the event, a pre-conference workshop, and a special presentation for staff at the Unitec Institute of Technology.
I’ve included my slide decks for all three presentations at the end of this post.
Continue reading Reflections on the ANZSSA Conference in Auckland, New Zealand
It’s amazing what we can do with a series of ones and zeroes. Modern technologies consisting of databases connected to interfaces that deliver functionalities that improve our day to day lives. The creative and imaginative ways in which we make meaning, offer services, engage, and even make predictions for future success are all predicated on a variety of technology-based solutions. In higher education, our use of technology has always run in step with the world around us. From the days of old when punch cards held reams of research to the present day when information is stored in data-rich, mobile accessible clouds, the student experience is directly connected to an institution’s technology.
Continue reading Digital Engagement – How Technology Enhances the Student Experience
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.
Tweets from attendees:
Continue reading Traversing Engagement, Experience, Teaching, and Learning
Update: My slides from #SocMedHE15 are now included at the end of this post.
Sheffield Hallam University is hosting the Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference on 18 December 2015 (pre-conference is on 17 December). With more than 60 presenters on deck to discuss all things related to teaching, learning, engagement, and social media, this promises to be one heck of a conference.
I’ll be kicking things off on December 18th with a keynote on the disruptive nature of social media and the opportunities for extending our networks for learning.
#SocMedHE15 is about the use of social media for learning in Higher Education; it has been designed to create a forum for academics, their students, developers and strategic managers to consider the opportunities, challenges and the disruptive influence of social media for learning. The conference will be structured around three themes allowing us to explore the pedagogic possibilities of social media, as well as the strategic and operational challenges institutions face in supporting it. The title of this year’s conference is:
“Finding Our Social Identity”
So, please get rolling and register now…and follow SocMedHE on Twitter…and check out the #SocMedHE15 hashtag. Cheers!
Additionally, the new Star Wars movie comes out on December 18th. It’s basically going to be an epic day. Bonus Star Wars gif after the break…
Continue reading Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference #SocMedHE15