A little while ago, one of my favorite web comics, XKCD, did the equivalent of talking about Fight Club. The secret of tech support is now public. I actually breathed a sigh of relief!
Google Wave & Academic Advising
I recently received an invite to the Google Wave beta. The day after I received my invite, I demoed Google Wave to some of the faculty at OSU. We started brainstorming ways in which we could use Google Wave. (It should be noted that the limitations of Blackboard were frequently mentioned in this conversation.) I immediately started pondering how Google Wave could be useful for Academic Advisors in academic advising.
The initial question after I showed my Google Wave account on the big screen was quite simple — what is it? The answer is very complicated. Google Wave is a new way of communicating and collaborating that uses a lot of the elements in current web tools.
Google Wave overview:
Google Wave has the potential to be an exciting new web tool for group advising, content repurposing via Wave embeds, classroom discussions, shared academic advising knowledge bases, collaborative document creation/sharing between advisors/students and distance advising.
The list of Google Wave possibilities is seemingly limited to one’s imagination and creativity.
Academic Advising Management System
One of the topics that is frequently making the rounds in my head is the need for an academic advising management system in higher education. SunGard Higher Education’s DegreeWorks appears to offer a comprehensive platform for academic advisors. However, DegreeWorks, like most of the products that SunGard offers, seems to be about as user-friendly as Banner ;-) and it costs a lot of money. AdvisorTrac can be used for appointment scheduling and appointment tracking. Unfortunately, AdvisorTrac was not originally created with academic advising in mind. It’s a scheduling platform that has “advisor” in its name and is thus an industry leader. This is mostly due to the extremely empty sphere that is the world of academic advising management systems.
I would love to have an academic advising system that is extremely functional, user-friendly and aesthetically appealing. Something like Survs, Flickr, or anything from 37signals, but for academic advisors.
At the recent NACADA National Conference, Joshua Barron, a super tech savvy advising colleague, debuted an open source academic advising management system. I wasn’t able to attend the conference, but it turns out that Joshua is looking for collaborators for this new system.
My dream academic advising system would include: integration with university student information system, note taking, built in credit articulation, appointment scheduling, assessment functionality, degree audits, future course planning/forecasting, and more!
Basically, I am fed up with paper-based advising systems. And, please note that document management is not the solution. Scanning in a bunch of paper files is not my idea of high-tech.
Here are some notes regarding the system that Joshua presented at NACADA:
NACADA National Conference & Twitter
More than 30 attendees at the NACADA National Conference in San Antonio utilized the #nacada09 hashtag to maintain an active back channel. Check out the full list of NACADA 09 twitterers from this year’s conference at the NACADA Tech Seminar site.
My guess is that this was about 30 more people on Twitter than at last year’s event. Hopefully, the use of Twitter will continue at next year’s conference in Orlando. I would have liked to have seen a few more presentations on Slideshare as I was not able to attend the conference. However, the back channel conversations were quite good considering that this was the first time that this has happened at a NACADA Conference.
OACADA: technology + student success
I will be giving the keynote speech for the Oklahoma ACademic ADvising Association (OACADA) Fall Conference in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma next month. The conference theme is “Using Technology to Navigate Student Success” and I think that it provides a terrific continuation to the academic advising technology conversations that came out of the NACADA Technology Seminar. In addition to the keynote address, I will be facilitating a question and answer session in the afternoon.
NACADA ’09 Conference hashtag
One of the most successful components of the NACADA Technology Seminar was the use of Twitter amongst the seminar attendees. Every tweet for the event was tagged with this hashtag: #nacadatech09. The hashtag allowed us to aggregate all tagged tweets into the NACADA Tech website via a widget from monitter.com.
This year, due to a multitude of financial issues, a lot of NACADA members will most likely not be able to attend the NACADA Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
The following hashtag has been “created” to enable non-attendees the opportunity to virtually follow the action in San Antonio: #nacada09
How can you participate as either a NACADA Annual Conference Tweeter or as a virtual follower?
- Step 1: Sign up for a Twitter account.
- Step 2: Take your laptop or web-ready cellphone to San Antonio and hope that WiFi is available.
- Step 3: Post updates on Twitter about the conference: session pointers, take-aways, best practices, key issues, etc.
- Step 4: In every 140 character post, include “#nacada09” (without quotes and a space in front of and after the tag)
- Step 1: Follow the virtual conference action via a Twitter search for #nacada09
- Step 2: Repeat step 1.
Student Affairs Practitioners and Twitter
Tweet, tweet, tweet: Student Affairs is on Twitter
A microblogging phenomenon known as Twitter has recently rocketed into popular consciousness. In existence for 3 years, Twitter is not exactly the newest social networking site. However, it was in 2009 that Twitter’s mainstream notoriety occurred. Twitter users in Iran produced thousands of microblog posts informing the world of post-election protests. Ashton Kutcher and CNN held a contest to see which of their popular accounts could garner the most followers. Oprah and Ellen began tweeting this year. Even President Obama utilized Twitter as part of a successful election communications strategy. Twitter provides a content platform that can be used for personal tweets, organizing, event updates, networking, content syndication and research.
What does Twitter have to do with Student Affairs and its practitioners?
The answer to how Twitter is relevant to Student Affairs practitioners is stunningly simple: communication. Hundreds of higher education institutions, senior leaders within those organizations, and social media savvy faculty/staff/students are posting 140 character microblog updates to Twitter on a daily basis. Twitter provides a conduit for a wide variety of communication-based applications that Student Affairs professionals can utilize.
Orientation video for incoming students
I shot about thirty minutes of video during commencement morning at OSU. It was a cloudy day (so unexpected here in Oregon!) so I amped up the color in iMovie. I asked our graduates if they had any advice for incoming students…”things they wish they had known as first-year students” ;-)
I had a lot of fun interviewing our students…I may make it an annual activity. We show the video at the completion of our college’s orientation session on day 1:
The hi-res version looks great on an auditorium screen.
Made with a Canon HF10, AZDEN Wireless Mics, and iMovie.
Google has a new app called “Wave.” It’s billed as communication and collaboration tool. I would say that it’s probably going to be the tool of choice in the next 5 years for anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, WordPress, any IM Client, etc. If Google Wave catches on, Zuckerberg will wish that he’d sold Facebook when he had the chance.
Microsoft is the “new” IBM. They just don’t know it yet. Sorry Redmond.
Blackberry Storm applications
Here are the applications that I utilize most often on my Blackberry Storm:
UberTwitter: An awesome app for mobile Twitter.
Pandora: mobile Pandora is music to my ears.
Gmail: The Gmail app for the Blackberry Storm has the best scrolling of any app on the phone…it’s even better than the apps by RIM.
Slacker: Another web radio app, similar to Pandora.
Facebook: It’s mostly useful for reading status updates. Mobile Facebook via the Storm’s browser works well too.
Google Maps: Great for when you get lost or need directions. Uses the Storm’s GPS when it’s active.
Flickr: Take photos with your phone and upload them to your Flickr account.
YouTube: Watch your favorite YouTube videos on your phone.
BuzzMe: Runs in the background. Allows for your phone to both vibrate and ring during incoming calls.
Bonus: The wallpaper that’s currently on my Storm’s “home” screen.