Presentation on theme: "Virtual Case Study: Student Affairs Practice and The Use of Technology Colorado State University Team Leader: Dain Gotto Team: Landy Douglas Elliott, Tim."— Presentation transcript:
Virtual Case Study: Student Affairs Practice and The Use of Technology Colorado State University Team Leader: Dain Gotto Team: Landy Douglas Elliott, Tim Love, and Gretchen Streiff
Student Affairs Practice and The Use of Technology The Issues: 1. Assessment 2. Campus Security Services 3. Distance Learning 4. Self Expression and Identity Development 5. Student Conduct and Judicial Affairs
Assessment and Technology Student-centered research is nothing new, but the ways in which it is accomplished have dramatically altered how we collect data and how it can quickly inform changes in student affairs practice. With tools such as the Educational Benchmarking, Inc (EBI), Student Voice, and others that allow colleges and universities to ask specialized questions about programs and services offered at their specific institution. Student affairs divisions have also felt the pressure from university presidents and perhaps more powerfully, from federal mandates for accountability and transparency of programs and services that universities are providing for students. To illustrate this increased emphasis on the use of assessment in student affairs practice, let us further explore the issues of accountability and transparency, and information for program improvement.
Transparency & Accountability Issue: State and federal legislators are increasingly calling for transparency and accountability in higher education. They would like a system in place to track academic, enrollment, and financial aid records in order to compare institutions and to be ensured universities are benefiting the public economically and socially (Fischer, 2006). Impact: Databases and records systems are becoming essential to universities in tracking student progress while in college and after graduation. As of 2006, 39 states had at least one student-unit record system in place. Margaret Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education recently proposed establishing a nation-wide student record system (Fischer, 2006). Recommendations: University administrators need to be proactive in learning about tracking and assessment systems such as the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Survey (Ipeds) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) (Lederman, 2007). Doing so proves to legislators that higher education is concerned with improving our services and allows universities to select assessment systems which they feel are most effective (How can, 2004).
Information for Program Improvement Issue: Millenial students have come to expect a great deal from the educational systems that have been taught them (DeBard, 2004). As a result administrators who work with these students have been forced to pay attention to their needs and desires. Additionally, there are increasingly greater demands from upper level administrators such as presidents and vice presidents, and governing bodies that become responsible for improvements of the institution. Impact: As administrators are asking directly for continuously improved programs and services, students affairs professionals are being forced to look at the quantitative data about these programs and services. At The Ohio State University (2007), their Student Affairs Assessment Office is directly responsible for providing information that will enhance programs and services. As is the case at many institutions, the connection between students being involved in learning outside the academic classroom has been enhanced through student affairs programs and opportunities for student involvement (Astin, 1984). At an administrative level, the importance of getting students involved has translated to overall student learning, satisfaction, retention, and success (The Ohio State University, 2007). These institutional mandates for program improvement have largely been enhanced by the use of assessment technologies. Recommendations: Student affairs professionals should become familiar with the various assessment tools such as the EBI and Student Voice. While individual student experiences are very important, it is also important for student affairs to take notice of research that is being done on their campus and at peer institutions to make programs and services more meaningful and have a greater impact on overall student success. Additionally, in a time when funding for higher education is scarce, it is critical that student affairs professionals are able to sell the benefits of their programs and services to administrators and faculty, and to be able to show substantial evidence that what they are doing is effecting student success.
What Impact Does Technological Innovation Have on Campus Security Services? In the context of campus safety and security, technological innovation is a double-edged sword; advances in technology can simultaneous enhance and hinder the security of a campus. To illustrate this dynamic, let us explore three categories of technology that have had a dramatic impact on campus security: personal communications, databasing, and security enforcement tools.
Cell Phones and Personal Communications Technology Issue: According to a recent web report by Campus Technology (2008), 97% of college students polled reported owning a cell phone. While this figure probably comes as no surprise to most student affairs administrators, what may be surprising is the impact that such widespread use of cell phones has on campus security. Impact: On the positive side, some campuses are capitalizing on this trend to gain the ability to send emergency messages via text messaging. Companies such as clearTXT provide campuses the means to immediately notify the entire student body of potential crises via the cell phones that most students carry (clearTXT, 2008). Aside from emergency text capabilities, the use of cell phones by students can improve the safety of students by the mere ability to contact or be contacted from virtually anywhere. Students can now call 9-1-1 for help without needing to locate a phone, for example. One challenge to campus safety posed by the widespread use of cell phones is the use of these devices to facilitate stalking or harassment. At Colorado State University, for example, numerous incidents have been reported where students have been threatened or harassed via text messaging. Although text-harassment provides another avenue for victims to feel threatened, student affairs personnel should be aware that such messages have been considered viable forms of evidence in many court cases (e.g. Dickens v. State, 2007), and therefore can provide a useful tool in adjudicating cases involving such behavior. Recommendations: Student affairs personnel should familiarize themselves with new advancements in personal communication technology as they become mainstream. When new technologies play a role in the investigation of student conduct violations, legal counsel should be consulted to ensure compliance with emerging legal trends.
Databases, the Internet, and Electronic Data Sourcing Issue: Although it has been used widely since the early 1990s, the internet has been one of the most important catalysts in changing the way information is stored, accessed, and shared in todays society. With recent and ongoing developments in the creative use of the internet, such as Web 2.0 (OReilly, 2006) innovations like social networking sites and blogs, it is clear that such growth will continue to affect campus security in various ways. Impact: The most obvious impact on campus safety is seen in the way virtual information is stored on the internet. By utilizing websites effectively, campus safety officers can make policies, procedures, and guidelines publicly available to all interested students by posting them online. For example, Loyola University Chicago made its emergency protocol for dealing with a pandemic flu outbreak available on the web in 2006 (Kosiba, et. al, 2006). Other universities have used the capabilities of the internet to allow students to share information confidentially about criminal activity, such as hazing (George Washington University, 2008). Through the internet, students can confidentially share information that they may otherwise keep to themselves. In terms of negative impact, databases of private information accessible through the internet have become prime targets for all manners of criminal activity (Duke University, 2007; Fox News, 2006). Universities must remain vigilant to protect sensitive information such as social security numbers from hackers who would use such data for identity theft and other criminal activities. Other ways that the internet poses problems for campus security personnel include the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace by stalkers and the ease of illegal activity such as downloading music from P2P (peer-to-peer) software such as Kazaa and Limewire by students. These and other potential impacts must be closely monitored by university personnel
Databases, the Internet, and Electronic Data Sourcing (continued) Recommendations: Due to the ever-changing technological capabilities that the internet provides, student affairs personnel must diligently educate themselves and their students about the real-life consequences of actions in the virtual world. Educational programs informing students of the consequences of downloading music, for example, can protect students from severe legal sanctions in the long run. Additionally, student affairs offices around the country must invest significant resources in their IT staff and personnel to ensure the safety of students information stored on the internet. The implementation of new technology requires skilled professionals to maintain and update software and applications, and universities should hesitate to invest in the hottest new program unless they are willing also to invest in the human elements needed to make such programs useful.
Law Enforcement and Safety Technologies Issue: Gone are the days when campus security officers had only a can of pepper spray, a baton, and their wits to protect themselves in dangerous situations on campus. New technologies such as tasers, Segways, and secluded cameras need to be considered carefully for the benefits they provide and the challenges they pose. Impact: The question of whether or not campus security officers should have access to tasers, non-lethal devices that immobilize aggressive parties with electric current, has become a hot topic since high-profile incidents such as the tasing of a University of Florida student in September of last year (Wilmath, 2007). While such tools provide needed support for security officers in dangerous situations, the impact on relations between administrators and students on campus can be strained if dialogue between the two is inadequate. Since Worcester Polytechnic Institute became the first university to provide its safety officers with Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) in 2002, many campuses have followed this trend. Segway PTs, which resemble a strange-looking scooter, have been effective as ice-breakers and points of conversation at WPI (Segway, 2002). Like the use of cameras on campus, which have distinct benefits in assisting in the investigation of crime but present a substantial financial burden, the necessity of Segways is called into question by students who ultimately fund the purchase. Recommendations: The savvy student affairs professional will involve students whenever possible in decisions about whether and how to invest money in new security technologies.
Distance Learning Student affairs has been offering essential support services online for several years now, however, it is time our profession overhauls our online services to fully integrate into distance learning systems. Doing so will allow us to develop the whole student in both physical and virtual worlds and will improve retention for the 3.5 million students now taking college courses online (Clark, 2008). Delivering services online will not take the place of the traditional face-to-face support student affairs typically offers, but it can be used to enhance services and reach new audiences. When modernizing student affairs online services, professionals should focus on the provision of services, creation of community, oversight of campus-wide distance education, and preparation of student affairs graduate students (Kretovics, 2003).
Provision of Services Student affairs has incorporated technology into many of the services it provides, however, they have not done so with distance education in mind (Kretovics, 2003). We need to think about all of an institutions online services offered as a whole instead of looking at services offered as separate units. This will help administrators assess and improve the overall experience distance learning students are receiving (Dadabhoy, 2001). Developing a single point of entry for students to access all the campus resources they need can help develop a virtual community (Kretovics, 2003). Just as ecology physical campus should regularly be evaluated, professionals should evaluate the ecology of a virtual campus to determine how it will affect student learning and behavior (Kretovics, 2003). Having a thorough understanding of the distance learning platform can help administrators better understand how to navigate the system and communicate with students in the most effective ways possible (Kretovics, 2003). Assessment is essential to determine whether distance learning programs are achieving the desired outcomes and to ensure the missions of the institution and division are being met (Kretovics, 2003).
Creation of Community Web design professionals, technology professionals, and faculty may not have community-building skills; therefore, little has been done to foster relationship building and to create out-of-class experiences online. Student affairs professionals can utilize their expertise to transfer community- building to the virtual world. Developing community and fostering social integration is an effective way of increasing retention. Successful virtual communities (Wachter et al., 2000): help students determine what resources serve their needs and how to access those resources. integrate content with capability for members to discuss content and exchange ideas. encourages member-generated content. increases quality of information, products, or services offered to students.
Oversight of Campus-Wide Distance Education Distance learning programs are often created without student affairs in mind. Having a student affairs professional on an oversight committee for distance education would bring the perspective of developing the whole student (Kretovics, 2003). Student affairs professionals have a responsibility to contribut[e] to the comprehensive education of students,…advanc[e] knowledge of student growth and development, and promot[e] the effectiveness of institutional programs, services, and organizational units (ACPA, 2006, ¶ 1). Coordinating student affairs online efforts with those of the entire campus will serve students in a more effective manner and maximize the potential for reaching students for all departments involved.
Preparation of Graduate Students Student affairs graduate programs must adequately prepare future professionals to serve students in distance education (Kretovics, 2003). Graduate programs should develop competencies based on distance learning. Offering one or more courses online could help new professionals experience some of the benefits and challenges of distance education (Kretovics, 2003).
Self-Expression and Technology In the context of understanding student development, advances in technology can simultaneous enhance and hinder the experiences that students are having on campuses, and how students are presenting themselves to others. To illustrate this dynamic, let us explore three categories of student use of technology that have had a dramatic impact on student affairs practice: moral development and social networking communities, building community, and student use of sexy technology.
Self-Expression and Moral Development Issue: What messages are students sending about themselves? Students use of social networking communities such as Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube have dramatically changed the ways in which students represent their lives to each other. Impact: Chickering and Reisser (1993) discuss moral congruence as the process in which personal values are consistent with socially responsible behaviors. Wilson (2007) describes the ways in which students are facing incongruence in their use of various forms of technology. Specific to social networking sites, students are posting messages that may be contrary to their personal values, as well as posting pictures of themselves doing things that go against socially responsible behaviors such as underage drinking, illegal drug use, or different forms of harassment. Students recognize that their actions are incongruent, but do not seem to be concerned with this mismatch of value and action (Wilson, 2007). Recommendations: Student affairs personnel should be aware of how students are presenting themselves to others through online social networking sites and seek out opportunities to challenge students to think about how their personal values are matching or missing the mark with how they are behaving. It is also important that student affairs personnel help students understand what messages they are sending to parents, family members, friends, or potential future employers. Is who they are online, representative of who they say they are in real life?
Building Community Issue: Student populations have changed dramatically in the last few decades, particularly the ways that students expect to work together in groups both academically and in extra-curricular activities. Impact: The Millennial generation as described by Coomes and DeBard (2004) have been socialized to constantly be in groups. Millenials are what Prensky (2001) likes to call digital natives as their world has always existed with technology being a major force on their lives. With the heavy usage of technology such as cell phones, online gaming, and social networking, students are in almost constant communication with one another. Technology enables them to develop strong relationships and communities with peers which is thought to be healthy for individual student development (Wilson, 2007). Recommendations: Student affairs personnel should be utilizing different forms of technology to communicate and connect with students at our colleges and universities. In an era in which students have quickly shifted from electronic mail to social networking, message boards and blogs, and from phone calls to text messaging, it is important for practitioners to try to help students build community through technologies that they are already utilizing. Student affairs personnel can implement programming via virtual worlds in which students can interact online in real time.
Sexy Technology Issue: Appealing to students is a growing challenge as popular culture continues to supply new fads and media coverage about the latest and best models of technology. Media tells students what products are most popular and what could be construed as virtual sex appeal. Impact: Popular culture has taken over how students interact in the world, and what they spend their time and money on. Evolving technology has also become an important part of this pop culture expression. David Brooks of the New York Times (2008) describes a cultural shift within consumer sectors in which there are commodity providers and then there are experience providers. These concepts certainly help to explain the student focus on the most up-to-date technology. It is not good enough for cell phones, iPods, and laptop computers to be functional, rather they must have visual appeal with all the newest bells and whistles. Students expect that the devices that they have will be small and sheik that provide fast connection to internet information and endless amounts of media and entertainment. Recommendations: Universities are faced with attempting to keep up with these trends through connecting with students via podcasts and reaching out through YouTube videos that help to explain the services available to students. Student affairs professionals should stay up on current and future technology trends to stay connected with evolving student interests.
Student Conduct and Judicial Affairs Within Student Conduct and Judicial Affairs, two significant areas of technological impact exist: 1. Student Behaviors -Academic Dishonesty -Harassment -Sexual Assault 2. Professional Practice -Policing Methods - Legal Duty -Policy/Conduct Code Changes -Time-Saving Devices -Databases for Information Storage/Sharing
Student Behavior Technological innovations have added new dimensions to old problems: 1. Academic Dishonesty Then: stealing tests, copying from peers, and term paper mills Now: Programmable calculators like the TI-92 that hold test answers (Lathrop & Foss, 2000); Texting answers through cell phones (Lathrop & Foss); Underground, undetectable websites that allow students to share assignments (Lathrop & Foss); Palm Pilot PDAs that can store entire chapters of books and use infrared transmitters to send questions and answers across the classroom or into the hall (Lathrop & Foss); Endless plagiarism opportunities on the internet (McMurtry, 2001; Heberling, 2002). 2. Harassment Then: verbal, written, and physical harassment over the telephone, through the mail, and in person Now: Cyberstalking -the use of the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to repeatedly harass or threaten individuals (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/cyberstalking.htm) Harassing emails and instant messaging through fake screenames Harassing posts on Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites on individual profiles or in groups (Lake & Dickerson, 2007) Hacking into personal computers and corrupting files (Mackenzie & Goldman, 2000) 3. Sexual Assault Then: violent and date rape by a physical and present perpetrator Now: Sexual assault at a distance Posting suggestive/explicit digital photos without permission on Facebook or similar internet sites (Lake & Dickerson, 2007) Unwanted and explicit AIM advances 4. Vigilante Justice Then: Physically or verbally harming or threatening peers who have assaulted others Now: Creating Facebook groups to expose alleged behavior and have perpetrator caught or ostracized (Martin, 2008)
Student Behavior and Professional Response How does technology facilitate this behavior? Anonymity: Technology like the internet allows users to misrepresent and change aspects of themselves, while withholding the visual or contextual clues that can show you who is bad news (Dalaimo, 1997). Victims inability to visually assess the perpetrator can increase feelings of vulnerability and therefore fear (Rogerson, 2000). Tech-savvy Millennials know methods to remain anonymous and escape detection - More than a Virtual Existence: "Facebook is completely safe from authority, and it's completely real within your network of friends. It's... as real as if they'd said it in the cafeteria. It's more real, actually, since it's text. It's written in stone (Martin, 2008) How has the Administrator Adapted? Legal Duty Then: forseeable harm was limited to physical dangers on campus Now: Furek v. University of Delaware. Duty can now be established by what can be reasonably foreseeable in light of past incidents. Duty is no longer defined geographically. (NASPA presentation, citation at home) Investigation Methods Campus police and judicial officers now use Facebook and other sites to patrol for offenses but should save this for egregious offenses Policy/Conduct Code Changes Conduct Codes now include responsible computing policies that provide definitions of computer violations and formal procedures for addressing them (Mackenzie & Goldman, 2000). Administrators must think outside the box when writing policies to include new advances in technology and possible behaviors, whether dealing with academic dishonesty or assault (Lake) Policies should be regularly monitored with an eye towards updating them to accommodate new technology.
Professional Practice In addition to new headaches, technology has created time-saving innovations that help the judicial affairs officer! Databases and Software Then: paper filing systems, clunky binders, insecure files Now: Software like the Judicial Offense Tracker save time and printing costs and allow for ease in organization. Much better than paper files! Network/Internet/PDA (N.I.P.) Systems Then: on call staff had to lug huge binders full of banned-student lists, written protocols, and contact information to an emergency site in the middle of the night Student conduct codes had to be reprinted and redistributed across campus (Chang, 2002) Now: Staff pull out their PDAs and access emergency information almost instantly Conduct codes are published on websites, making it easily accessible for students and parents (Chang) Caution Emphasize constant training and retraining. At times it seems to be frustrating, but a sad fact is that once you master a software application, it is usually time to relearn everything as a new version conveniently wheels itself out. What is considered to be state-of-the-art a year ago will probably be "old school" by the end of the fiscal year. As a result, keep it affordable.
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