ComETS 2010 – Academic blogging communities, extreme presentation makeovers, and 21st century learning in universities

Iowa State University held its second annual ComETS symposium a couple of weeks ago. Faculty, professional staff, and a few outside folks gathered together to talk about technology integration and implementation in higher education.

Building a community of practice through blogging

Below is my 10–minute ‘lightning strike’ presentation, Building a Community of Practice Through Blogging. I didn’t have my ‘A game’ that day and wasn’t as energetic a presenter as I usually am. I also spent too much time on the ‘creating a listening station’ portion and not enough time on the ‘participating in the conversation’ portion. That ratio was supposed to be 50–50, not 75–25. Despite all that, I think that the presentation came out pretty well and is a solid introduction to RSS and blogging communities for academics. Here’s a quote from my talk:

Most academics have yet to realize the power of social media. . . .

The reason we go to academic conferences is for the conversations. It’s not for the research presentations because you know how good those are. And it’s not to access the papers because we can get those in other channels. It’s to be around other people and have those conversations in the hall and after the sessions and at dinner and so on that solidify our relationships with people. Well, now we can have those conversations year-round. All we have to do is choose to be part of the conversation.

Extreme presentation makeover 

My faculty colleague, John Nash, also gave a lightning strike presentation titled Extreme Presentation Makeover. He took some slides from our rejected UCEA presentation proposal and went to town. [Note to self: always present before John, not after, because he’s a hard act to follow!]. He also has a blog post about his presentation. Here’s a quote from his talk:

The other thing that we generally fail to think about when we give presentations is a call to action. What is it that you want someone to do after you’re done?

All of the symposium videos are available at the ComETS symposium web site and also are being uploaded to the ISU YouTube channel

Charting our course: Exploring 21st century learning

Our keynote for the symposium was Malcolm Brown from Educause. Here are my notes from his talk:

"Improvement in postsecondary education will require converting teaching from a 'solo sport' to a community-based research activity." – Herbert Simon

Technology predictions v. course charting

The pace and scale of Internet change is unprecedented, so it's very hard to wrap our heads around it. 

Every second 1,157 videos are uploaded to YouTube.

2.2 million e-mails sent every second

What Colleges Should Learn from Newspapers' Decline

iTunes has many academic lectures / lessons

So does Academic Earth

I love this line from the Kaplan University video: "?"

Funny thing about paradigm shifts: If we knew what the next paradigm was, we'd already be there.

Where is the student in all of this?

The opportunity is in increased student engagement [Do most profs at research universities really care about increased student engagement? If so, they haven't really showed it to date.]

How we learn, National Academies Press

Discussed the impact of the printing press

The 3 Cs of mobile computing

  1. Content – delivery, anywhere anytime, ebooks, etextbooks, etc.
  2. Collaboration – language learning, formative assessment, first-hand data collection, etc.
  3. Community – student authors, leveraging messaging, enhanced polling, etc.

Angela Maiers: We haven't invited our students to be creators or co-creators of content.

Malcolm just cited quick penetration of clickers as examples of higher ed moving more quickly on the tech front

'Some' is not a rebuttal

Expanding from those that already are technology-inclined to those that need to be

I think that all colleges and universities should have technology communities like ComETS at ISU and at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I said to Jim Twetten, who’s heading the ComETS efforts here:

I like ComETS because it's an opportunity to learn from other ISU educators, both faculty and professional staff, across campus who are doing interesting things with digital technologies. The annual ComETS symposium gives us an opportunity to intersect face-to-face in a variety of different ways. The ongoing ComETS listserv connects us and allows us to share and discuss in between symposia. We're off to a good start. Now the challenge becomes: how do we expand from those that already are technology-inclined to those that need to be? The latter group is much larger than the former…

You can see some backchannel conversations from the symposium by searching for the Twitter hashtag: #comets. Happy reading!

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