Tales from the Tabs: Apps, Leadership, Students, and Digital in 14 Links

Articles that resonate, inform, and captivate

September 13, 2017

It's been a while since I did a "Tales from the Tabs" post. Essentially, these posts are curation posts that are chock full of useful reads. In this one, the fourth in the series, I've selected 17 articles that are worth a look. It seems that my browser is always filled to the brim with tabs of various bits of the web. When it gets to the point when I can no longer read each tab's title, I know it's time to share, refresh, and begin again.

This edition of Tales from the Tabs has some excellent articles that will likely resonate, captivate, and cause your browser to fill up with tabs, too.

Digital sanctuary and anonymity on campus

“There are two kinds of value associated with anonymity online that are worth raising: first, its social value and second, the value it offers as a means of resistance to some of the depredations of digital surveillance, appropriation of personal data and profiling through social media that have been well covered in recent news and opinion.”

This article from Sian Bayne should be required reading for anyone who is wanting to know more about apps, social media, and anonymity. It challenges and prods in ways that are very much needed.

The Next Yik Yak?

“Asked whether he’d be happy for university faculty and staff to also join the app, Isenberg said, 'We’d feel great about that -- any way we can help faculty and staff to connect to their students and see what’s going on on campus is a good thing.' Isenberg said that he’s already received emails from professors who are using the app to connect with students.”

Speaking of anonymous apps, there's another one that's vying for the attention of college students in the USA...whether or not it will cross the pond and become a "thing" at universities in the UK will likely depend on whether or not "Islands" can grow at a pace that mirrors itws predecessor, the now defunct Yik Yak.

Tech skills are seriously lacking in universities – take it from the IT guy

“[I]t feels like the vast majority of teaching taking place still uses traditional pedagogy. Is that really the best way? In my role, I’m focused almost entirely on the student experience both inside and outside the classroom, and I feel more and more that technology should be embedded much more fundamentally within the teaching process.”

Considering the fact that staff and student digital literacies/capabilities are nearly continuous conversation topics within higher education, I'd say this article makes some honest observations.

Technology does not cause social isolation on campus

“In college, it is especially easy to lose yourself in that new phone, social-media app, or video game, but these new advances in technology don’t influence social isolation, as some older generations believe. It all comes down to our core discussion networks — our groups of close friends or family that we share our more personal conversations with — and how they are growing or shrinking.”

Real life happens...online and in-person. An interesting perspective from a university student.

The student voice on technology, wellbeing and society

“Students raised concerns about the impact of technology on our mental wellbeing and our ability to form and maintain relationships. They spoke about digital identity, and how our online activity influences a person’s place in society.”

Digital wellness matters.

What happens in an internet minute in 2017?

“The scale of the internet is so great, that it doesn’t make sense to look at the information on a monthly basis, or even to use daily figures. Instead, let’s drill down to just what happens in just one internet minute:”

The infographic that accompanies this post presents a staggering amount of digital activity.

We Need More Alternatives to Facebook

“Zuckerberg doubtless means well, but the problem is not that we need a slightly better Facebook. It’s that Facebook—a company worth $400 billion because it vacuums up information about our tastes, our shopping habits, our political beliefs, and just about anything else you might think of—is too powerful in the first place.”

The impact of social media on our lives requires daily critical thought...there are times when I'm ready to just unplug and move the family to an off-grid yurt. Thanks, Zuck.

It’s official - higher education students want staff to be better with digital, not to use more of it

“[W]hen asked what their institution should do and not do, students requested a better use of digital systems, not more, fearing it could be used to replace face-to-face time with staff.”

22,000 university students in the UK were asked to give their thoughts on "the use of digital at their institutions." This report is filled with fascinating (and valuable) feedback.

The Digital-Native Debate

“[Marc Prensky] remains agitated that a phrase he first invoked so many years ago continues to draw criticism, especially because he believes nuanced distinctions exist between the attitudes of different generations.”

Prensky's agitation aside, this debate needs to end because it isn't a debate. No one is a digital native. No one is a digital immigrant. It's been debunked. Even Prensky admits that it's time to move on.

Attracting students is increasingly about digital leadership

“A survey of 1,000 16-24 year olds [in the UK], commissioned by [Jisc], found that three-quarters (75 per cent) of higher education students surveyed believe that having staff with the appropriate digital skills is an important factor when choosing a university.”

When the digital skills of staff (in the UK, staff = academic faculty) start impacting admissions and enrollment, you can guarantee that the digital capabilities/literacies of staff will become an institutional priority.

Orientation programs set online learners up for success

“For undergraduate online students, Temple offers a less elaborate orientation, delivered entirely online with a more personalized approach in which an adviser helps students lay out their course schedule based on their needs and interests.”

A fascinating look at orientation programs for online students. Interesting (and perhaps unfortunate) that at least one of the universities profiled in the piece allows online learners to skip orientation. I wonder how/if that impacts overall student success...

Ultimate Guide to Connect Confidently with Social Media

“A brief survey of a few select FIU Online courses that use social media tools to complement existing course learning objectives follows.”

If you're looking for examples of how academics are using social media... And, I might be biased, but it's nice to see that hashtags continue to be such useful conduits for teaching and learning.

Digital Engagement for Campus Communication

“Digital engagement is rapidly moving beyond even our pocket screens. It now includes fitness bands, smart watches, and augmented reality devices. Soon it will include a digitally enabled campus full of sensors. The practical, pedagogical, and privacy implications of a smart, connected digital campus engaged with its constituents have yet to play out...”

George Mason University has always been innovative with their use of social media. They definitely seem to be "joined up" when it comes to all things digital.

Chief Data Officer: The Most Strategically Important Leadership Position in Higher Ed?

“Data are ubiquitous, and institutional data are critical for supporting strategic decision making at all levels of the institution. In this context, the CDO is arguably one of the most strategically important leadership position in any institution.”

Data is big...and it needs to have a wrangler.

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