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Florida International University

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1 Florida International University
Communication Through Technology: Innovative Approaches to Creating Community Florida International University AJ Costa Arianna Agramonte Heidi Richards Tara Warshaw

2 Students And Technology
While technology has changed the face of higher education through time, the desire of college administrators has remained constant.  Our passion to provide students with the tools to develop as holistic, educated, and prepared individuals is what drives us to make a commitment to the evolving college learner.  College students from the early 1900’s to today’s students all possess a common thread: the desire to succeed.  Times have changed, but the zeal of students pursuing a higher education has withstood the test of time. Students of each generation thrive through the constant morphing environment of technological advancements, while faculty and administrators may feel ambushed by these changes.  Recent trends have exhibited an increase in the use of technology among students as well as greater expectations that university staff be well versed in the use of interactive technologies. This progressive technology continuously alters our lines of communication with university students. Since our finest moments of connection are when we successfully communicate with our students it becomes our charge to familiarize ourselves with these technologies.

3 Learning Outcomes Understand how technological advances in higher education institutions have the ability to both increase and decrease student contact with the university Examine the benefits and challenges of five technological points of interest affecting higher education today: Portals Online Presentation of Course Materials Blogs Institutional Spam Cellular Technology Discuss suggestions for implementation at our university

4 Assessing Your Technological Awareness
We will begin by taking a few moments to complete a pre-assessment about technological issues. This will provide a measure for you to gauge current awareness of technology in higher education and present an overview of information to be covered today. Please mark either true or false for each question. Once you are finished with the Pre-Assessment Test we will begin with our examination of Portals.

5 Handout 1

6 (Eisler, Mehaffy & Gilbert, 2000)
Portals “An emerging phenomenon that promises to revolutionize the ways universities can communicate and create community” (Eisler, Mehaffy & Gilbert, 2000) University portals are an extension of an institution’s online offering. Personalized portals, a growing annex of the more traditional and basic portal, allows student population to personalize their own university pages with specific news feeds from departments, class schedules, institutional updates, and much more.

7 Importance Personalized portals allow students to organize many facets of their collegiate career in a central location. From paying campus bills, to accessing course schedules, to communicating with student organizations, students are able to feel as though the majority of their responsibilities can be contained and monitored in one place. The portals also provide a sense of mattering for students because of their ability to alter their page to fit their own personal needs. According to Schlossberg’s theory of marginality and mattering, students flourish when provided with an environment that gives them a feeling of identity. With current students able to communicate through their portals, universities are given the opportunity to adapt their main website to act as a recruitment and information tool. This site would then act as a navigation piece for those interested in the wide variety of offices, academic opportunities, areas of growth, and programs that the university has to offer.

8 An example of a university portal
An example of a university portal. This portal allows for students to personalize their “homepage” and receive information from chosen university departments.

9 Benefits Issues From the student perspective:
A single place to access information and communicate with Student Affairs and Academic Departments A standard set of tools (like web- based and calendar access) Global access to their information Ability to personalize and customize portal pages Offer distance learning Engage and build community among students From the university perspective: Life-long connection to the university Attract new students to the university Standardization of web services Promotion of data sharing among departments Enhance/promote university image Improve administrative efficiency Issues A more informal presentation of the university Requires a front loaded investment by the institution Could dramatically decrease the usage of the main university website Identity theft was at one time a concern, however universities are altering their portals to encourage the use of usernames and passwords for login purposes rather than social security numbers and other identifying information

10 Suggestions for Implementation
When initiating a program designed for access by certain groups (e.g. faculty, students, administration, etc.) it is important to understand the needs of the targeted groups at the start of conceptualization. Focus groups and surveys should be used in a mixed methods approach to students’ needs assessment. Our suggestion is to approach University Technology Services to design the portal. Students and staff should be provided with step-by-step online instructions to ease use of the Portal, including tutorials and open programs at multiple places, days, and times on campus.

11 Online Course Materials
“The real community of man ... is the community of those who seek the truth, of the potential knowers.” (Allan Bloom, 1987) E-learning is an inclusive set of instructional resources accessible over the internet. A variety of tools are available, including audio and video files, threaded discussions, and and chat options. Need quote!!!

12 Some programs commonly used to facilitate e-learning:
Blackboard and WebCT Service that allows a teacher to host their own course while incorporating learning materials including word, audio and video presentation files Blackboard has also become a campus “hub” for distance learning courses Recently merged with Blackboard, WebCT provides group project organization, grade maintenance, and self-evaluation opportunities Colts (Complete Online Teaching System) and E-Education These programs allow professors to create a classroom homepage with quizzes, exams, and the chance for instructor/student collaboration on the same document MadDuck Technologies Faculty have the opportunity to create course syllabi, calendars, schedules, and lessons MadDuck also has a section to access inactive and archived courses iTunes and other audio file sharing programs Audio and visual recordings of lectures can be made available to students who have access to these programs

13 An example from WebCT: Students have their assignments outlined and can submit them on the appropriate due date.

14 Importance Online classroom materials allow students to work on coursework and attend class regularly. They also provide students with a way to access course information and manage assignments in an individualized format. Bulletin board posts allow students to communicate with each other and the professor, forming an academically involved community. Tinto says that, “membership in at least one college community is a minimum condition for persistence” in the university community and also cites access to academic communities and services as imperative for students staying in college. Even minimal involvement with these communities can help students recognize and utilize the support available. Availability of online course materials is necessary for higher education institutions to stay competitive with bringing in faculty as well as students. It also allows the university to better serve its commuter and long-distance learners. Thus, allowing for greater retention of non-traditional students.

15 Benefits Issues From the student perspective:
Recorded video or audio files, called podcasts, allow students to access class lectures on their own schedule Those who are quiet in class demonstrate increased involvement online Provision of written record for further study is available for future use Threaded discussions urge students to read and write each other’s ideas which develop critical thinking and writing skills From the university perspective: Be more competitive with other universities Allow faculty to view class materials from any location Lower costs associated with paper waste Podcasts and online materials allow cost-effective provision of services to students with disabilities Issues The lack of technical skills and time among faculty to convert courses into online format Not all student have access to computers due to the digital divide between the rich and the poor, the north and the south The argument that online courses are impersonal and do not facilitate student development Lack of visual cues such as nonverbal communication present in the classroom

16 Suggestions for Implementation
Administrators should: Research various types of online learning communities in order to select the best program for the university’s needs Implement usage guidelines for student organizations, faculty, and staff Provide training for students and all instructors to utilize the program effectively Instructors should: Participate in the online community through feedback and comments Require class participation through threaded discussions Provide encouragement and appreciation online

17 Blogs “Education is a kind of continuing dialogue, and a dialogue assumes … different points of view.” (Robert M Hutchins, 1952) Weblogs, or blogs, began as an online journal to express personal thoughts and opinions. Quickly they evolved to include information about the news or other topics of interest. Once a blog is created informational text, hyperlinks, pictures, and audio segments can be added. Visitors can post to these blogs creating an online community. One would think that if you're anonymous, you'd do anything you want, but groups have their own sense of community and what we can do.John Allen,

18 Importance On personal blogs students can share university experiences for their friends and family to read. In the classroom they give students an opportunity to share practical knowledge. More importantly reading and interacting with blogs at home helps students reflect on material outside the classroom. Such active discussion enhances cognitive development. Perry states that throughout their college careers students progress through several stages of cognitive development. Blogs can help facilitate this development by creating a forum for introduction of diverse thoughts. Such conversation helps students move from dualism to appreciating the value of multiple perspectives. There are several levels of importance for the university: Student and faculty personal blogs provide insight into everyday campus experiences. Prospective students can use blogs to research the university which provides candid-free publicity. Blogs among faculty and administrators create a supportive resource community to share best practices and current progress with their research. Blogs promote active engagement in class material and afford instructors an opportunity to track student progress in an informal way.

19 One student has used this blog to share his thoughts on a sporting event with another university. You can see there are two comments where other students have responded to his post. Another option is to write a “Kudos” expressing agreement with what the writer has posted.

20 Benefits Issues From the student perspective:
Connect with distant friends and family Build relationships with classmates Receive coursework assistance from classmates Affordable forum for creative and intellectual expression From the university perspective: Increased student participation in course content Daily reflection for instructors and administrators on best practices for the university Research can be published on a blog to multiple audiences of various sizes and levels of interest Little technical knowledge is required Issues Content of blogs is unpredictable and potentially offensive or threatening Reputations of institutions can be damaged by uncensored comments by students, faculty, and staff Faculty, administrators, and presidents have lost their positions due to their own personal blogs as well the blogs of the community they serve It can be difficult to use effectively in the classroom.

21 Suggestions for Implementation
Administrators should Determine institutional guidelines for the use of blogs Design how the university will respond to student and faculty conduct on blogs Provide educational training to students and faculty on the use and dangers of personal blogs Discover what blog program fits the needs of the students, administration, and faculty. Some possible options for free educational blogging are: tBlog; Blogger; BlogEasy; and MyBlogSite. Instructors should Decide the specific purpose of the blog for their class Determin who will be the author of the blog (professor, entire class, etc) Give structure to the blog assignments Decide if the blog will be made public or by invitation only Teach students blog etiquette Adapt the blog as needed

22 Institutional Spam “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”
(Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, 1948) Messages sent to students via to alert them of important information pertaining to the university. This can include billing, school closing and other important information, at the discretion of the university and dependent upon university policy regarding dissemination of such information.

23 Importance Institutional spam provides students with an easy way to find out what is happening on their campus. They can receive information and news about their university, residence hall, and student organizations. By providing students with as much information as possible about what is happening on campus, we give them the option of sifting through it to find the bits that are important to them. This will facilitate students’ ability to find communities to belong in. Chickering identifies this as a positive environmental influence, as it facilitates development through the seven vectors of psychosocial development. As university communities grow, it is necessary to find more financially viable ways to disseminate information to everyone. Institutional spam allows the university to reach a broad audience of community members at extremely low cost.

24 Our university labels institutional spam as University Announcements in the subject line of the . Quantity of messages sent is controlled by providing links to each announcement in one easy to manage . Every person a part of the university receives these messages every business day.

25 Benefits From the student perspective: Present information in a way that technology savvy students can easily access Can keep abreast of university events and situations From the university perspective: Low-cost communication Decrease in paper waste caused by regular mailings Near instant mechanism for getting news to the university community Issues Students receive a lot of every day. s may get lost in the midst of other items in students’ inboxes, or if mass s are used too frequently students may underestimate the importance of the message. In 2004, the federal Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) act went into effect. This act set requirements for commercial use of mass s. s advertising sporting events, cultural/arts performances, publications, etc may need to heed the regulations in CAN-SPAM, as they support commercial “products” or “services” offered by the university. (University of California site)

26 Suggestions for Implementation
Develop an appropriate use policy to dictate correct use of lists - see University of Wisconsin and University of California policies for suggestions. Discuss how to limit who is able to use the lists. Some universities have password or position requirements that restrict who is able to post to lists. Make certain all faculty/staff are aware of these policies, including confidentiality and decorum considerations.

27 Cellular Technology "Communicating with students on a regular basis has become a challenge, and schools are looking for ways to address that issue as well as safety." (Patricia Scott, 2006) A mobile or cellular telephone is a portable electronic device designed for long distance communication. Current phones have a variety of functions including text messaging, watching television, games and music, receiving information from news and entertainment sources, calculations for simple math, photographic capabilities, audio and visual recording, and tracking appointments and tasks.

28 Importance Cellular phones are a popular form of communication for college students. Students want instant information. Cell phone communication helps students feel connected to both academic and student affairs departments. One university even sends an acceptance response to students via text message. “Text messaging is really popular with my friends. So the fact that a college would do that is really cool.” Going to college is a transition, defined by Schlossberg as “any event, or non-event, that results in changed relationships, routines, assumptions, and roles.” Receiving important information from their university in a familiar method can make transition easier. Supporting students through transition increases retention rates. Administrators and faculty have an effective way to communicate with their students. Important messages can be relayed in a timely manner such as campus activities and programs.

29 Benefits Issues From the student perspective:
Students are constantly connected to staff and each other Instant communication from the university Prepare for a mobile work force Stay in touch with friends and family Use internet enable phones to conduct research Maintain time commitments and appointments From the university perspective:   Improve communication with the students Removing land lines from the residence halls is cost effective Instant messages such as school closures can be relayed to students effectively An addition of an emergency phone on the cell phone can increase overall campus safety Remain competitive with technological savvy institutions Issues Internet enabled cell phones and text messaging is a new source for academic dishonesty on coursework and examinations. Since it is difficult to truly erase the memory of a cell phone, there is a concern that private information is unprotected. Students may become annoyed by unsolicited cellular advertising, SPIM. Cell phones ringing in class can be a distraction to faculty and peers.

30 Suggestions for Implementation
Administrators should: Define what information can be sent through a text message Determine who will be in charge of monitoring internal communication Receive permission from the students to send them mass messages in order to avoid the legal issues of SPIM Consider the inclusion of cell phones in tuition or contact a cell phone provider to create a student plan Instructors should: Explicitly state their disciplinary policy for receiving or answering cell phone calls or text messages during class Teach their students about academic dishonestly, and how it relates to cell phone usage

31 Review of Pre-Test Let’s take a quick look back at our Pre- Test from the beginning of the presentation and see how much you have learned. The correct responses to each section are available on Handout 2. An overview of the information has been provided on Handout 3. We will answer any questions you may have and hope this presentation has been beneficial to understanding the college students we are working with today.

32 Handout 2

33 Handout 3

34 References Appropriate use guidelines, University of Wisconsin – Madison. (2007). Retrieved February 9, Bailey, Y. & Wright, V. (2000, Nov. 15). Innovative uses of threaded discussion groups. Presented at Annual Meeting of the Mid South Educational Research Association. Blackboard. (2007). Retrieved February 4, Browenstein, E., Klein, R. (2006). Blogs: Applications in Science Education. Journal of College Science Teaching, 35(6), Carlson, S. (2005). Coming soon: Doing research with your cellphone. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 51(38). Carlon, S. (2003). Marshall U. will offer cellphones, not traditional phones, in 4 dorms, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 49(30). Carlson, S. (2001). Provider of student portal services for colleges plans to close. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 48(9). Carlson, S. (2001). Columbia starts online-education portal. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 48(14). Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (2003). Public Law Creighton uses text messages to tell students they’re accepted (2006). Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 23(1), 40. Delong, J.B. (2006). The Invisible College. The Chronicle of Higher Education. July 28, supplemental. Developments in the Law: The Law of Cyberspace. (1999). Harvard Law Review, 112(7), E-Berkely Policy, University of California – Berkeley (2003). Retrieved February 9, Gilroy, M. (2004). Invasion of the Classroom Cell Phones. The Education Digest, 69(6), Evans, N., Forney, D. & Guido-DiBrito F. (1998). Student development in college: theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

35 Harper, V. , Jr. (2005). The New Student-Teacher Channel
Harper, V., Jr. (2005). The New Student-Teacher Channel. The Higher Education Journal, 33(3). Kennedy, M. (2004). Technology Calling. American School & University, 77(2), Kiernan, V. (2006). 2 Incidents put more than 200,000 students at risk of data theft. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(43). Kirby, E., Kaillio, B. (2007). Student Blogs Mark a New Frontier for School Discipline. The Education Digest, 72(5), Lindroth, L. (2006). How to… Blog! Teaching PreK-8, 37(1), Marsh, G. et. al. (2000, Feb. 8). An overview of online educational delivery applications. Society for IT and Teacher Education International Conference. 1(3) p Olsen, F. (2002). University of Michigan cancels portal project. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 48(33). Portal Makes University More User Friendly. (2004, January 1). Distance Education Report, 8(1). Ray, J. (2006). Welcome to the Blogosphere. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 42(4). Read, B. (2006). Attack of the blog. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(4). Read, B. (2005). College students are bombarded by cellphone “spim,” study finds. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 51(31). Read, B. (2004). Wired for Cheating. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 50(45). Reynolds, G. (2006). The Politics of Academic Appointments. The Chronicle of Higher Education. July 28 supplemental. Roach, R. (2006). Blog Nation Prefers Personal Writing Over Political. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 23(13), 31. St. Gerard, V. (2006). Updating policy on latest risks for students with cell phones in the school. The Education Digest, 72(4), Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Van Horn, R. (2006). Privacy Update. Phi Delta Kappan, 88(3). West, R., Wright, G., Gabbitas, B., Graham, C.R. (2006) Reflections from the Introduction of Blogs and RSS Feeds into a Preservices Instructional Technology Course. Techtrends, 50(4),

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