Special Issue Journal of Nonprofit Education & Leadership

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UPDATE: Due to several requests, I have extended the deadline for submissions to April 28th, 2017. Additionally, I am interested in receiving essay papers from students regarding their perspectives of using social media in the classroom. Please share this call with anyone who might be interested and contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Jimmy Young, PhD, MSW, MPA

 

 

Hello everyone,

Just a really quick post to talk about the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership. This peer reviewed journal focuses on the latest knowledge related to nonprofit education and leadership to help develop theory and practice. Last year at the ARNOVA Conference I gave a presentation on my work around digital literacies and was asked by the journal editor if I would be interested in guest editing a special issue on the topic of technology (broadly speaking) in nonprofit education. I was absolutely interested and I am now excited to share the call for papers is going out. See below:
A special issue of the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership planned for the fall of 2017 that will explore the changing role of digital media and technology in nonprofit education. The main question this issue seeks to answer is how are scholars and educators using digital media to train and prepare the next generation of nonprofit professionals? We are interested in a broad array of articles; for example, articles that examine the use of online, hybrid, or distance education methods. We are also interested in articles that have evaluated those formats and seek to provide new strategies for the changing landscape of higher education. We are interested in ways that educators are incorporating innovative techniques in their courses to ethically and effectively impact nonprofit education.

Please review the Author Guidelines below. Manuscript submissions can be performed online at http://js.sagamorepub.com/index.php/jnel/about/submissions#authorGuidelines.

Submissions should take place on or before March 28th, 2017 to help facilitate a timely peer review and publication process.

The link below should also open a PDF copy of the Special Call along with some Author Guidelines. Feel free to contact me with any questions as well.

a-special-issue-of-the-journal-of-nonprofit-education-and-leadershis-planned-for-the-fall-of-2017-that-will-explore-the-changing-role-of-digital-media-and-technology-in-nonpro

Please distribute this Call among your networks and share with any colleagues who are working in this area. I am hoping for a good response ūüôā

To be certain that we or I am open to many different types of manuscripts, I hope people understand that there are many different disciplines involved in educating nonprofit professionals. Human services like social work, public administration, nonprofit studies, business, and others often have some sort of involvement in the nonprofit sector or provide some education to students who will likely end up working in a nonprofit. If you are teaching a course or conducting research in relation to technology and preparing students for nonprofit work, please consider submitting a manuscript.

Thanks,

Jimmy A. Young, PhD, MSW, MPA

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#ARNOVA15 Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois

I figured I had better update my blog for all those who try to find it after the ARNOVA conference this past weekend. I actually meant to post this prior to the conference but well what can I say other than life seems to be super busy right now.

ARNOVA stands for the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. It’s a great group of practitioners, students, and academics that are focused on all things nonprofit. I was part of two different presentations related to using technology in education. The first was a colloquium where I had 5 minutes (I know right only 5 minutes) to talk about engaging students in the digital world. I borrowed heavily from my work and previous writings on this subject as they relate to social work education. More information here. But it was actually a lot of fun to have such a short amount of time to get to the point before the gong. Yes there was actually a gong sound that would indicate your time was up.

The other presentation was related to some of my work on increasing digital literacies among students. I have written about this topic as well here on my blog but it was fun to take a unique nonprofit education perspective on the topic and I think the attendees enjoyed it as well. Here are the slides from that presentation.

 

 

A New Academic Year – Fall 2015

I initially sat down to write this post several weeks ago but things just keep getting busier and I don’t know if I will ever have a truly free moment to reflect on this upcoming semester. So here it goes…

After an extended summer break from this blog, and really most things related to teaching, tech, and research, I am back in the throws of a new semester and in a new location. In case you didn’t know I am now part of the MSW program at California State University San Marcos, which is located in northern San Diego County of Southern California. The setting is amazing as I try to get to the beach as often as I can. The institution is also amazing and I have been telling everyone that it is easy to see the influence of our President (who is also a social worker) Dr. Karen Haynes in all areas of Campus. I am excited for this new opportunity and excited to get to know many new wonderful colleagues and students.

Here at CSUSM I still plan to pursue my interests of social media and technology in social work education and nonprofit administrations, but I also hope to move into new directions to assess the impact of technology on individuals, families, communities, and organizations. I also have some ideas for health literacies as they related to my work on digital literacies that I hope to pursue within the community. I think CSUSM is an innovative place where many of my ideas will be able to be implemented and tested.

I am also excited to be in the MSW program and working with students on research projects and getting know students as they matriculate through our program. I hear it’s been a rocky road but with our new director and others that have been hired on this year I think the future is looking very bright and I’m excited to be part of it. ¬†One last hope I have is to continue blogging some of my learning experiences here and sharing with those of you who actually read my blog ūüôā The past year was a busy one where I was steadfastly working on publications. Six publications in one year was never really a goal but just happened. I am grateful but I am also looking to getting back to writing in this space. For instance, Dr. Laurel Hitchcock and I are once again conducting our Live Twitter Chat this semester, in a few weeks actually and I will have another blog post up in a few days. This new semester and new start are very exciting and I hope to achieve lots. Check back once in awhile to see what I’m up to and as always, you can usually find me on Twitter ūüôā

 

Using Social Media to teach and assess Macro/Policy-based Social Work Competencies – #BPD2015 Conference

I am presenting with Dr. Laurel Hitchcock¬†at the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Director’s Annual 2015 Conference on March 6, 2015 about our social media assignment designed for social work students to learn about and try their hand at macro- and policy-practice skills. In this workshop, we describe how we developed, implemented and assessed this assignment which incorporates a documentary movie with a live Twitter chat. We will discuss things we learned along the way and offer tips on how other educators can incorporate a similar assignment into their courses. The learning objectives for this session include:

 

  1. Understand how the social media platform Twitter can be incorporated into assignments for social work policy courses at the BSW-level.
  2. Demonstrate how social work educators can assess attainment of competency among BSW students using a social media assignment paired with a Rubric for evaluation of the assignment’s learning outcomes.
  3. Appreciate the role of professional collaboration in the development, implementation and assessment of social media-based assignments.

 

We have previously written about this assignment on our blogs:

 

  1. Special #MacroSW Chat October 28th at 8pm CST from JimmySW’s Blog:

https://jimmysw.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/special-macrosw-chat-october-28th-at-8pm-cst/

 

  1. Follow-up to 10/28 #MacroSW Twitter Chat from Teaching Social Work Blog:

http://www.laureliversonhitchcock.org/2014/11/07/follow-up-to-1028-macrosw-twitter-chat/

 

Here is a link to the Prezi that we will show during the presentation (http://tiny.cc/SMAssignment_BPD2015).

 

Our next live Twitter chat for this assignment will be on March 12, 2015 9 PM EST/8 PM CST and we invite you all to join us. The chat is sponsored by #MacroSW. Click here for more details.

 

Finally, here is the abstract for our presentation:

 

Social media includes applications, digital technologies, and mobile devices that utilize the Internet in a manner to create an interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals (Richardson, 2006). More specifically, social media are defined as an array of digital technologies that allow for the creation and exchange of user generated content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Kanter & Fine, 2010). Irrespective of the variety of terms and definitions, the role of the user as an active participant of interaction with others is paramount when describing social media (Kilpelainen, Paykkonen, & Sankala, 2011). There is a growing awareness that social work practitioners, students and educators need to be adept at using social media and information communication technology as part of their practice and interaction with clients and organizations of all sizes (Coe Regan & Freddolino, 2008; Getz, 2012; National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 2005). However, technology in social work education has been integrated sporadically with varying degrees of success, and the literature suggests social work educators need to increase their digital competencies or media literacy while carefully considering how and why to integrate technology into their courses and curricula (Hitchcock & Battista, 2013; Straub, 2009; Young, 2014). By doing so, educators can play a pivotal role in helping students to increase their own media literacy, and ultimately apply this knowledge to their own learning and subsequent practice.

 

This workshop will inform participants about the development, implementation and assessment of a social welfare macro/policy assignment for BSW students using the microblogging platform, Twitter and a documentary film. The assignment involves social work students from four different universities spread across different parts of the country using Twitter to participate in a live chat about a macro/policy issue highlighted in the film, and is embedded as part of a policy and or macro-practice course. Through the assignment, students actively engage in competency-based practice behaviors connected to professional behavior, policy practice and critical thinking while also increasing digital media literacies (CSWE, 2008). Specifically, students are able to use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity to convey their thoughts and reactions to the issue being highlighted (EPAS 2.1.3), and students understand that policy affects service delivery. Students are able to engage in policy practice through this assignment by collaborating with others to advocate for policies that advance social well-being (EPAS 2.1.8).

 

Student assessment of competency attainment is achieved through a rubric designed specifically for the assignment and implemented across multiple classrooms. Rubrics have been increasingly used to evaluate and promote student learning (Gezie, Khaja, Chang, Adamek, & Johnsen, 2012; Stevens, Levi, & Walvoord, 2012). The presenters will share their experiences in designing and executing the assignment along with data demonstrating how the assignment’s rubric assessed student achievement of social work competencies. Lessons learned from the project will be shared and implications for the implicit curriculum will be reviewed.

 

References:

 

Coe Regan, J. A., & Freddolino, P. P. (2008). Integrating technology in the social work

            curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

Council on Social Work Education. (2008).   Educational Policy and Accreditation

            Standards. Washington, DC: Author.

Getz, L. (2012). Mobile App Technology for Social Workers. Social Work Today, 12 (3), 8 -10.

Gezie, A., Khaja, K., Chang, V. N., Adamek, M. E., & Johnsen, M. B. (2012). Rubrics as a Tool for Learning and Assessment: What

do Baccalaureate Students Think? Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 32(4), 421-437.

Hitchcock, L. I., & Battista, A. (2013). Social Media for Professional Practice: Integrating Twitter with Social Work Pedagogy. The Journal of

             Baccalaureate Social Work, 18(special issue), 33-45.

Kanter, B., & Fine, A. H. (2010). The networked nonprofit: Connecting with social media to drive change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.

              Business Horizons, 53, 59-68.

Kilpelainen, A., Paykkonen, K., & Sankala, J. (2011). The use of social media to improve social work education in remote areas. Journal of

              Technology in Human Services, 29(1), 1-12.

NASW (National Association of Social Workers)/ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards).

(2005). NASW & ASWB Standards for technology and social work practice. Retrieved on July 30, 2012 from http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWTechnologyStandards.pdf.

Richardson, W. H. (2006). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Stevens, D. D., Levi, A. J., & Walvoord, B. E. (2012). Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective

Feedback, and Promote Student Learning (2nd edition.). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Straub, E. T. (2009). Understanding Technology Adoption: Theory and Future Directions for Informal Learning. Review of Educational

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Research, 79(2), 625‚Äď649.

Young, J. (2014). iPolicy: Exploring and Evaluating the use of iPads in a Social Welfare Policy Course. Journal of Technology in Human

              Services, 32(1-2), 39-53.

 

 

#Reflections on Fall 2014 Semester

Blogging seems to be one of those things that ALWAYS gets put to the back burner. It’s funny actually, because I think that blogging has a vital place in academia and the world of research, but I just still can’t manage to find the time. Keeping this in mind, I though I would post a couple of thoughts from this semester where I knew I should have posted those thoughts here. The thoughts center around my research interests in the use of social media in social work education as well as the social media course I teach.

First things first, this semester Laurel Hitchcock and I had an amazing experience with our Live Twitter Chat. We partnered with the #MacroSW folks to promote the chat and had students from all over the country, and even a few participants from across the pond, participate in the one hour event about income inequality. Laurel provides a great follow up to the event on her blog, but I would definitely echo here statements about getting students involved and excited about policy/macro issues. Students not only participated in the chat but also were required to write a one page reflection on the experience of being involved in the chat. The reflections were fantastic with many students expressing their astonishment at how they could engage with so many people in different locations from very diverse backgrounds. The civility of the chat was also noted when students politely disagreed with statements and mentioned in the reflection how they felt like it was nearly impossible to have a “political discussion” in this day and age without it turning into a negative battle of seemingly intellectual wit. You probably know what they mean if you have ever engaged in a Political Facebook discussion with your uncle Jerry.

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Other students noted that they now see value in social media, Twitter specifically, and understand how they could possibly use it to augment their learning. For me, this is one of my foremost goals of integrating social media into the classroom. Students today are bombarded with selfies, viral videos, or other content that has little to no value other than for the ephemeral moment that may or may not bring about a smile. They don’t understand that there is a treasure trove of information on various social media platforms and that once they understand how to use social media in a professional context, they can connect with others to learn and expand their knowledge. Naturally, of course, we need to teach students crucial digital literacies such as judgement because not everything is accurate or trustworthy.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 2.30.29 PM

But the point is that information is readily accessible and if you know how to search and use critical thinking then you can find a lot of very useful information. This is another one of my main goals in using social media in the classroom, that is teaching students critical digital literacies and how to research information or topics by connecting with experts online.

I have operationalized this in my policy class when utilizing collaborative learning groups or CLG’s. Breaking students into small groups and having them work on various questions related to the social security act left some groups wondering where to start. Yes, there is always the book but I knew that at least 2 students in each group had either a tablet or laptop to access the internet. I encouraged them to find any information they could related to their questions dealing with the social security act. I then put Twitter on the big screen in the classroom and simply searched “Social Security” to see what people were sharing and discussing about online. It didn’t take long to find an individual I follow who had actually tweeted a link to a news piece from NPR. The piece directly related to some of the questions and I encouraged the group with those questions to use this source and share it with the class.

I want to reiterate that it is important to use critical thinking and digital literacies when finding information online, whether through social media or that Google machine. Part of my argument for using social media over Google lies in connecting with experts. A small example from my social media class this semester involved tweeting to Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, authors of the Networked Nonprofit and the textbook I use in my social media class. ¬†Beth and Allison are expert social media users so it’s almost no wonder that they responded back but it is still great to connect with individuals online. ¬†¬†Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 3.27.51 PMI brought this up in class and also had several students throughout the semester share how they thought it was cool when experts or celebrities favorited or Re-Tweeted their tweets. It does feel good and it can be great to connect with these experts to engage in a conversation about a specific topic and then have that conversation impact your research.

One other thing that happened this semester in my social media class was getting our course hashtag #SOWK388 trending nationally on Twitter. It took place when the class was viewing the documentary Pink Ribbons Inc. and live tweeting their reactions to the film. I have written about tweeting with documentaries previously and I have an article that will be published based on this blog post sometime in 2015. I was probably more surprised than the class was when I got the notification in our Twitter feed and I shared with the class. Although they did immediately turn to Twitter to see…

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.28.27 AM

This is a screen shot of the Trends, along with an arrow to our course hashtag. I was alerted to the hashtag trending because of a service on twitter that provides these notifications and some basic stats. Here is another screen shot:

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.29.27 AM

 

A hashtag trending on Twitter means that it is one of the most tweeted about topics at that time. It’s being tweeted about so much so fast that Twitter picks it up in the trending pane. This was never a goal of tweeting documentaries but there are some potential educational benefits of having the course hashtag trend nationally and it can actually relate back to how I use live twitter chats. Because the hashtag was visible, we could have had a broader conversation on the topic of Cause Related Marketing, which is part of what Pink Ribbons Inc. is all about. We did not actually have anyone chime into our live tweets that morning but I think it could have been valuable to process with students and others on Twitter the reactions to this film and the topic of the week. This is essentially providing the application of theoretical learning that typically takes place in the classroom. In other words, using social media provides for an actual avenue where students can apply their learning. ¬†I appreciate the opportunities afforded through connected learning and students have really begun to see the importance of social media in their lives. Especially beyond the selfies.

Now it’s time for the Holiday break and because I have a new prep for next semester I am going to unplug and enjoy my kids and everything that goes with the Holidays. Thanks for reading my blog and see you next year.

 

Engaging Students in Online Learning #2014APM

UPDATE: Thanks to those of you who came to the session and if you missed it, no worries. Much of the information is below along with this link to Dr. Melanie Sage’s handout.

 

The Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting takes place this weekend (October 23- 26) in Tampa, Florida. I am fortunate enough to be involved in three different presentations and hope to see many people in attendance, please say hello if you attend.

This post is largely to serve as a placeholder for a panel discussion I am part of entitled “Engaging Students in Online Learning.” I, along with Andrew Quinn and Melanie Sage from University of North Dakota and Dale Fitch from University of Missouri will be discussing this topic.

Here is our abstract for more information.

Although online social work programs and courses are growing, many critiques exist relative to online social work offerings. Critiques often are focused on the ability to engage and assess students in the absence of physical presence . Although research related to learning outcomes often demonstrate no differences dependent on whether the course is offered online or in person (cite), the online environment requires a change in teaching methodology, perhaps especially related to strategies for maintaining active student engagement.

Student engagement in online environments has unique characteristics that set it apart from the face-to-face classroom. Traditional methods such as ice breakers or arranging the desks in certain configurations present challenges in the virtual environment. Other methods such as using our bodily presence to greet students with a handshake are simply not possible. Nevertheless, there are still numerous techniques an instructor can employ in order to effect engagement with students in the online synchronous and asynchronous classroom.

During this online panel, three educators who have expertise in teaching online share the techniques that they use for engaging students.   Each will present engagement strategies that have been found effective based upon their course evaluations and student feedback. The panelists will offer strategies for using course management tools, role-play, break-out groups, conversational discussion, and the virtual world to simulate and accentuate the types of engagement that occur in an in-person classroom.

The first panelist will address engagement by examining classroom authority, using Course Management Software (CMS) such as groups to manage discussion board logistics, building assignments around problem-solving projects, the use of audio and video files by both the instructor and students for presentations, the use of automated course participation reports, matching communication strategies, i.e., lecture, announcements, discussion boards, emails, with the communicative intent, and, most importantly, methods to provide technical support for students who may not be tech savvy.

Media LiteracyThe second panelist will address challenges in providing a rich and engaging learning environment to help students expand their knowledge and develop critical thinking skills while maintaining quality education. Strategies include using social media, course management systems, mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets to engage students in the learning process. He will discuss pedagogical principles of course design and how he has made choices in determining what methods will help to meet the course objectives (Youn, 2007; Vernon et al., 2009). One method that will be offered in discussion involves using collaborative learning groups and creating an overall learning community that encourages participation and creates social presence online so that students do not feel disconnected.

The third panelist will focus on strategies for engaging students in online clinical courses. Clinical courses taught online are especially vulnerable to critique (Ayala, 2009; Coe Regan & Youn, 2008; Reamer, 2013), although research on distance education in clinical social work courses (Cummings, Foels, & Chaffin, 2013) supports the ‚Äúno significant difference‚ÄĚ hypothesis in which learning outcomes are the same between online and in-person courses. This panelist will describe the ways in which she adapted commonly used classroom strategies such as role play, break-out sessions, guest speakers, discussion design, as well as Web 2.0 technologies such as the use of avatars (McBrien, Cheng, & Jones, 2009; Rockinson-Szapkiw & Walker, 2009; Sage, 2013; Wilson, Brown, Wood, & Farkas, 2013).


 

As I mentioned above, I wanted to provide a place where attendees can access the information I am discussing. Truth is, you can never rely on conference technology and since I’m not exactly sure how this panel will proceed, I like the idea of giving something for individuals to take away, which will ultimately bring them here, to this post. Here is what I plan to (or did) share during the panel.

Engaging students online in a quality way where they are gaining knowledge and developing skills requires a lot of time and energy. I strive to create a learning community high in social presence with good structure to help keep students on task, engaged, and focused on learning. First, I think course design is very important! I use the course learning management system, which is Blackboard at my institution, and use the available tools as much as possible because I know that students are pretty familiar with this platform because of other classes.

Organization is crucial. A layout that is intuitive helps students find information they need. I also do simple things with due dates by including the Due Date in the Heading of the section or areas where we talk about the Assignment.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 11.16.28 AMThis way students have had this come to their attention at multiple places throughout the platform. I also provide my syllabus in a Word Document and in PDF format in an area where they can expect to learn about the expectations and policies of the course.

I use video extensively in my online courses to help instruct, model, and create social presence.¬†Social presence is extremely important to help students feel connected and engaged in their learning.¬†‚ÄúEssentially, social presence supports the notion that students see the faculty (and each other) as real people in their online class.‚Ä̬†Within the course LMS, I have a welcome video, an introduction video that takes students through the various aspects of the course. I also have other videos explaining assignments and I often post summary videos to provide feedback after the learning unit is finished.

One fun way to help create social presence and get students to interact with each other is with an online ice breaker. There are different ways of doing this from using a Wikipage to share photos of who you are, what you are interested in, or what you think defines you. I have done a more interactive version of this by having students make videos to share this information.

Along with video I use social media to help students obtain new media literacy and enhance their critical thinking skills.

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Learning is a social endeavor. The online environment does not have to create silos where students are left alone. Instead we can use technology to learn together. Using social media is probably the best part of my social media course (more on this course here), that is helping students recognize that all their tweeting, facebooking, and social networking has practical significance for their future. Also helping them to realize that they can use social media for research and to help them gain knew knowledge and skills through collaboration.

One way I do this is through a Social Bookmarking assignment using Pinterest. I create a Private Board and invite all the students to ‚ÄúPin‚ÄĚ Infographics, websites, videos, and other information they find on the web to this board as long as the information relates to the course.

LEGO-infographicEffectively I am crowdsourcing the class to find great information I can share in future classes but I am also helping students to realize there is a vast amount of information available online. In this process I teach about the New Media Literacy of Judgement, or Crap Detection and explain that students should not just post random information, but that they first should judge it’s value and also explain how it is valuable.

I use Twitter to extend conversations outside of the class. I often show video documentaries, and in an asynchronous course where students typically complete the assignments by a certain deadline but at almost any time of day or night, this means students can still participate with their peers or myself as the instructor. I typically do not tweet after midnight, which my students understand as I discuss course policies and expectations in the beginning, but I do respond to them the next day. I have a course hashtag #SOWK388 that students use to tweet their thoughts and reactions to the documentaries and other course content (more on tweeting with documentaries here). I provide specifics about participation and expectations on how to Tweet and engage with others using the hashtag. I will often ask follow up questions on Twitter to get students to think deeper about an issue related to the content in the course.

Another important part of engaging students in my online courses is the use of Collaborative Learning Groups or CLG’s.

Collaborative Learning Groups allow students to work together to

  • Gather resources
  • Problem solve questions
  • Process and explore ideas
  • Develop and implement group projects
  • Complete course assignments

The Theoretical foundation of CLG’s is informed by Dewey:

  • Learning is achieved within a social context
  • Learning results from conceptual change in the mind of the learner
  • New knowledge is based on preceding knowledge
  • Student is at the center of the learning experience
  • Learning occurs within authentic, real-world learning tasks

Collaborative Learning Groups help students interact in the online space, collaborate, problem solve, and provide a way for myself to manage grading because with 35 to 50 students in an online class, grading 50- 10 minute videos can be an extremely daunting task and I would still like to have a summer ūüôā But it really is more than that, it is recognizing that on a theoretical level, using CLG‚Äôs supports learning in a social context, which is what using social media is all about. The CLG‚Äôs allow students to process and explore ideas in the pursuit and development of their Capstone Projects for the class. As part of the CLG, students also develop technical skills that are more implicit. This happens¬†by learning new technologies that help them to collaborate such as using GoogleDocs, Wiki‚Äôs, Hangouts, and other social technologies that allow them to accomplish tasks online without meeting Face to Face. This also supports one of the course objectives, specifically developing New Media Literacies. ¬†The big question is, How is this done?

Each group is free to choose the technologies they want to use to accomplish the assignment. The assignment is to create an advocacy or awareness campaign using social media for a specific cause and or nonprofit organization. The students are required to write a paper, per the general studies course requirements, but then they use this information as the foundation for their presentation. The presentation is around 10 minutes and students are to include visual content that helps to provide some background on the cause or organization, supporting literature, and then identify a strategy for using social media to raise awareness. I provide the students with the basic tools that are available in Blackboard but encourage them to use tools outside of the course LMS to help them complete the project. Many students have used tools such as YouTube, VoiceThread, or even Powerpoint and a combination of visual mediums to present their final project. During the presentation, students are encouraged to share a worked example of how they see the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of their social media strategy. This includes discussing social media platforms, methods of sharing information (such as through Infographics), methods of getting others involved to support the cause, and how they would determine the success of their strategy.

Here are some screen shots from a presentation completed by students.

The Issue About Save the Children Transparency using social media Raiseing awareness at unk Take Action

 

The feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive with many indicating that it feels good to be learning about a topic that directly relates to their life. Students also expressed frustrations with learning new tools and collaborating online, which requires more time management and organizational skills.

I have enjoyed this class immensely and although I understand some of the frustrations I think this represents how much of the professional world is being shaped today. Professionals are increasingly working in teams, collaborating on cases, and using technology to augment everything they do in practice. I will continue to work on this class, the delivery, and the assignments as new tools and methods evolve. For instance, to help with social presence in my next online class I am going to use an iMovie trailer to welcome the students in a fun and engaging way. Once it’s finished I will be sure to share it here on my blog. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Social Media, Digital Activism, and eCitizenship

Cyber-activismTwo¬†years ago I developed a new General Studies course for the University entitled “Social Media, Digital Activism, and eCitizenship.” I have been teaching this course¬†online and face to face for several semesters now and I thought I would share with others how I conceived of this class and how it has been evolving as I continue to teach it. I think some things work great and other things not so great.

From my syllabus it states:

The purpose of this course is to examine the role of social media in the human service and nonprofit sector and how to utilize social media for a variety of purposes. The course will identify what social media is and how it can be used for marketing, communications, and advocacy within human services in addition to how social media promotes civic engagement. Students will learn about participatory culture and new media literacies through the discovery of social media platforms as well as how to apply this knowledge, which promotes critical thinking skills, encourages collaborative problem solving, and acknowledges the role of social media in forming networks and affiliations that can strengthen civic engagement. The Capstone project enables students to employ social media to creatively design, organize, and evaluate an integrated strategy that promotes an organization, critical issue, or assists with marketing and communications.

Students are required to complete a Capstone project that requires them to evaluate information from more than one academic discipline, formulate logical connections between disciplines as they relate to the topic, employ the approach of more than one academic discipline in completing the project, synthesize knowledge related to the topic, and communicate effectively in the medium chosen for the capstone project. This is achieved by focusing on marketing and promoting as well as on advocacy or activism. The learning units and assignments are contextualized around the nonprofit sector and more specifically human service organizations.

There are four learning units:

  1. What is social media?
  2. Marketing & Communications in Human Services & the Nonprofit Sector
  3. Advocacy & Digital Activism
  4. Developing an Integrated Strategy

The funnest thing about this course is that because it’s a general studies course I often have a diverse array of majors. Many students have stated on the teaching evaluations that when they first enrolled in the class they did so to complete the Capstone Requirement and thought they already knew everything about social media because they use it everyday. I initially thought this would be and so I start of the course with a history of social media and try to present a different perspective on social media that many students may not have seen before. It’s fun, engaging, and students are usually surprised to learn they actually don’t know that much about social media. I really enjoy the lecture on identity development and how that identity is portrayed online where users can create an image of themselves that may be less than authentic.

Slacktivist or Activist

Unit two and three dig deeper into social media strategies and methods along with some discussions on appropriate or ethical use of social media and how organizations can use social media more effectively. The final unit brings it all together and I usually show several best practice examples of organizations strategic communications, advertising, or raising awareness using social media. In addition to these units and assignments geared towards social media, when I teach the class face-to-face during the semester I also bring in a focus on New Media Literacies and Participatory Culture. I have blogged about New Media Literacies several times but I always link back to this post. I incorporate the 12 New Media Literacies into class by using several of the skills to help students learn and master the content.

For example, one of the New Media Literacies Skills is Play, or the capacity to experiment¬†with one‚Äôs surroundings as a form of problem solving. I use games in class to help students get their brain activity up, which can be especially good for early morning classes. Once I have done this then I can move onto focusing on a specific skill, such as Collective Intelligence. This semester I use the Jelly Bean experiment to demonstrate how Collective Intelligence works. If you don’t know what the Jelly Bean experiment is, watch the video below. Collective Intelligence is¬†the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal, much the way Wikipedia works. But I was interested in getting students to engage rather than just simply talk about Wikipedia. Using the video below as inspiration, I grabbed some jelly beans and put them into a jar. During class I asked students to guess how many jelly beans were in the jar. Then I asked them to share a photo of the jar to their various social networks in hopes that we would get a higher response rate.¬†In the end, the experiment didn’t work as well as in the video but students were able to understand the wisdom of the crowd, and it was fun to engage their social networks in the lesson as well.

The not so great things about this class include some of the things I have written about before in regards to having an iPad required course. Specifically, the distraction that can exist because students are seemingly more engaged in their iPads than in the class. Fortunately for me, I am easy going enough that it doesn’t bother me, unless it is clearly distracting at which point I talk to that student. But this is also the reason to have a discussion or policy in the beginning outlining the expectations of the course. I do this every semester and remind students that they are adult learners, responsible for their own education. If they want to waste the class checking Facebook or playing Candy Crush, then they should have no misunderstandings as to why they did not receive the grade they expected. More importantly, I think this motivates or even mandates that I become a more engaging instructor. I try to have interactive lectures and videos that draw the students in from Candy Crush and into my lectures. This doesn’t mean everyone is awe struck by my lectures but at least some students seem very interested ūüėÄ

Overall, I think this is one of my favorite classes. Not just because I designed it from the ground up or because it is one of my substantive areas of research, but because the topic is extremely relevant. It’s also fun but can be serious when needed. I don’t know exactly where it will go in the future as I have several ideas for improvement, but I recognize that the improvement must take place within the confines of the course requirements. If you have any questions, feel free to email or reach out to me on twitter. I like to keep some of these posts short so I’m sure there is something missing!

 

 

#husITa14 and The Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education, and Social Development

I recognize that the title to this post is rather long and I hope it transfers to Twitter well. I have actually been back in the States for some time and meaning to follow up here in this space about my experiences at this amazing conference.

husITa14 Session

First, Australia.What can I say other than I love Australia and was so happy to be able to return to a country I love. It was great seeing old friends and meeting new acquaintances. I loved being able to taste the food, see the sights, and interact with the people. It was more than fun, it was truly spectacular. If you follow me on Google+ I will try to add some photos later ūüėÄ

 

The conference was my first international conference and first time presenting at #husITa14¬†and I must say I completely over-prepared. Ten minutes is not nearly enough time to discuss the topic of New Media Literacies and my specific research.¬†¬†I simply ran out of time and did not get to discuss my results, which if you were in attendance at the presentation, I’m sorry and hope that this blog will suffice. There is also a post over on the husITa website with my powerpoint slides and abstract. ¬†I have submitted a manuscript for this study to the Journal of Technology in Human Services and with any luck it will be published soon. I just wanted to share quickly what I didn’t get to during the short 10 minutes I had in Melbourne.

Accessing the link above about New Media Literacies (NML) really gives you the context for the study. What I actually did was replicated a study produced by Ioana Literat who is a doctoral student with Henry Jenkins. I wanted to replicate the reliability and validity of the instrument they created to measure self-reported New Media Literacies skills. You can still take the survey to see your New Media Literacy Score here, and if you feel so inclined it would be great if you shared your score with me via Twitter @Jimmysw. But it is totally up to you.¬†I also wanted to assess the levels of NML’s of social work students and educators and see if there is a significant difference between the two groups when it comes to new media literacies.

Results….

The results indicated that the survey instrument had adequate reliability and that between this study and Ioana’s, seven similar subscales of new media literacies emerged. There was a significant difference between the new media literacies levels of social work students and educators where students had higher levels of NML’s.¬†Examining the number of hours engaged with media may also explain why students scored higher than educators in new media literacies as students spend more time playing games online or on their phones. Despite the argument for distraction with this type of media, the NML‚Äôs theoretical framework and concept of participatory culture illustrates how students are learning differently in a digital environment. They are using the skills of multitasking, play, appropriation, and performance to achieve some desired outcome and the reality is that there are tangible skills being learned in gaming and digital environments.¬†Naturally there are some limitations with this study, such as the need for a better recruitment strategy and sample because the current strategy relied heavily on using technology, which could imply an inherent bias towards individuals that may already have higher levels of media literacy.

The social work literature is replete with arguments for increasing the information and communication technology competency of students as well as educators. These digital competencies are important, but I think we also need to include the topic of participatory culture and specifically new media literacies. As social workers we respond to contexts that shape practice, use critical thinking skills augmented by creativity and curiosity, and engage in research-informed practice and practice informed research. These are skills that compliment the concept of participatory culture and new media literacies, and this study provides a starting point to discuss the place of NML’s in social work education.

Lastly, a common misunderstanding of technology is the focus on what the tools do and do not allow. The conversation on digital technology and learning needs to include a focus on the participatory aspects of this new digital culture and how increasing knowledge around new media literacies can address the challenges we face in an ever increasing digital world. Expanding our view of new media, digital technology, and understanding participatory culture will help us to build upon the skills students bring to the classroom. This is an exciting time with the opportunity to empower students to build upon those skills by incorporating new media literacies in a way that will expand knowledge, create opportunities for collaboration, and prepare students for practice in a new and diverse society.

Some of that last part was taken from the manuscript now currently under review. I hope that if you like what you see, you will visit this blog more often or follow me on Twitter, and seek out the manuscript IF it gets published. Fingers crossed!

Twittering with Documentaries in the Classroom

This semester I have been engaged in teaching my Social Media, Digital Activism, and eCitizenship course in the traditional face-to-face format (previously it was completely online). This class was also selected as an iPad class, so each of the students either brought their own or were provided an iPad to augment their learning. One of the requirements of the course is to use Twitter to extend our conversations and learning outside the classroom. I have incorporated many assignments and skills from other social work educators, such as Dr. Laurel Iverson Hitchcock (@laurelhitchcock) and Dean Nancy J. Smyth (@njsmyth), as well as using New Media Literacies to help students understand social media. I am always trying to think about how to engage my students in hands on learning through experiential methods. This has involved the use of games, both low tech and high tech, and other methods as well.

This semester I have been more and more intrigued by the fact that the Nielsen Media Analytics Group has been tracking and reporting on the behavior of individuals who Tweet while they watch Television. Essentially, they discovered that Tweeting during a television broadcast can influence the ratings of that particular show. This study confirms many suspicions I have had about Twitter and in particular the integration of the Hashtag (#) on television broadcasts. Many television shows, news broadcasts, and even religious broadcasts now incorporate the use of the hashtag on the screen so viewers will tweet what they watch while they are watching and thus engage in a discussion about the show. This gave me the idea to incorporate it into my class while we watched the documentary Pink Ribbons Inc.

pinkribbons_splash

This documentary is very well done and if you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to find it and watch it.

The directions I gave to students were fairly simple. I asked them to share their thoughts, reactions, and or quotes from the documentary using the course hashtag (#SOWK388) on Twitter. I thought this assignment would help them to stay focused on the documentary instead of simply snoozing through the two day event (not to say that students sleep during class, lol), and I knew that some of the students already used Twitter when watching some of their favorite shows, so I figured it would be fairly natural. The results were spectacular. My one regret is that I waited to long to archive the tweets using Storify, otherwise I would share them here.

During the course of the documentary, I followed the course hashtag on Twitter and would also tweet my own thoughts/reactions while at the same time responding to other students with questions and comments to push their critical thinking deeper. At the end of the documentary, I still held an in-class discussion but I was able to go back to Twitter to draw students into the discussion by highlighting their tweets and asking them to expand upon their thoughts and comments. This was by far the best in-class discussion of the semester.

The main takeaway for others who may want to adopt this in their course is to think ahead of time to organize the activity. The idea honestly only hit me the week before we viewed the documentary in hopes of encouraging interaction among the class. The next time I do this, I would like to get the students to also track the Twitter conversation while they view the documentary. There are multiple ways of doing this, from having them use a social media dashboard on their iPads (such as HooteSuite) to also getting an additional screen to display the conversation on Twitter in real-time in the classroom. Although, this might be more distracting for some students. I think asking the students to Tweet a reflection at the end of the period and the end of the documentary that sums up their reaction to the documentary and other’s tweets would also enhance the in-class discussion. Of course the students need to be set up on Twitter and understand the practice of using the Hashtag (#), but I also think archiving the conversation with Storify or some other service would also help students to reflect on the assignment/process. I’m sure there are several other products that could add to this assignment, so please leave a comment below.

In the end, I completely understand that some think the act of multi-tasking makes us less effective. I myself am not much of a multi-tasker for this very reason. However, I think this assignment helped to keep students engaged in the documentary and thinking about what was being conveyed because they needed to think critically about how to share their reaction in less than 140 characters of text (because that is all that Twitter allows). I was so amazed at the level of attention and critical thinking that students shared in relation to the content of the documentary, and I am certain that this assignment also helped students to grasped other concepts in the course as I would later use this assignment as an example in my teaching.

I don’t know that this would work for every class, because not every class is equipped with the technology, but if you plan on using something like this please come back here and share your results. I am very excited about how this assignment turned out and I hope that by sharing my experience others will also get excited to experiment with learning and share their experiences with me. As always, thanks for reading/following my blog and feel free to leave a comment or connect with me via Twitter.

Social Work Skills and Twitter

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     This post is mainly to serve as a supplement to a presentation given at the Council on Social Work Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, Texas (2013).  Dr. Laurel Hitchcock (@LaurelHitchcock) and myself (@Jimmysw) shared with others how we use Twitter in our courses. The presentation involved explaining what Twitter is, as well as some of the symbols, meaning, and context that are often associated with interacting in the online space.  The presentation also utilized a Prezi, which can be viewed by accessing the presentation link:

        http://prezi.com/ci5ctpyvthzl/?  utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 

The presentation listed a number of resources that we wanted to share:

I would also point you to a blog post I authored on New Media Literacies, which I personally believe that new media literacies need and deserve as much attention as thinking about the ethics of social media and social work education (more on that later).

From the presentation abstract, we explain that Social workers need to be aware of and adept at using social media as part of their professional practice with clients and systems.

Social media includes applications and technologies on the World Wide Web and on mobile devices which create interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals (Richardson, 2006).  There is a growing awareness that social work practitioners, students and educators need to be adept at using social media and technology as part of their practice and interaction with clients of all system sizes (Getz, 2012; NASW & ABSW, 2005; McNutt, 2008; Perron et al, 2010).  Social media offers an opportunity for social workers to communicate and advocate around social justice causes, network with other professionals, and locate information and resources that will inform practice with clients. This workshop will cover how three social work educators from different parts of the country are using Twitter, a micoblogging platform, with their students in the classroom, and then how they collaborated to bring their students together via Twitter to engage in professional conversations about current topics relevant to social work practice.

Assignments and classroom tasks using Twitter help students learn about technology tools and resources available to communicate and interact with other professionals, and to stay informed about social work practice over time (Greenhow & Gleason, 2012).  Students benefit from using Twitter in two important ways.  First, they learn to communicate with professionals and each other in a new ways.  Using the parameters of Twitter (140 characters), students can easily share information with each other and their instructors about group assignments, research studies and current events.  Students also report the ability to communicate directly with social work practitioners and researchers via Twitter, and thus become more capable about how to communicate and interaction with professionals. While some students use Twitter for recreational or personal reasons, they can also learn how use the character limit, professional terminology and written skills to communicate in public ways using Twitter. Second, student learn to discover, disseminate and evaluate information related to important social problems and social work practice in new and very public ways.  For example, one of the presenters has students assess the quality of practice-based information received via Twitter, and then share this information with the instructor, each other and other professionals over a semester.  Classroom discussions about the Twitter assignment focus on topics such as privacy, public image, professional communication skills, becoming a life-long learner, and using social media as a way to give back to the profession, and reinforce the role of values and ethics such as social justice, competency and integrity in social work practice. Additionally, students learn how to approach and complete assignments that are publicly oriented (Jarvis, 2011). These examples demonstrate how Twitter can be used to address the educational policy and accreditation standards set forth by CSWE (2008). Specifically, students were able to engage in research and communication by discovering, interacting with and or engaging with different populations (EPAS 2.1.6 & 2.1.9).  Additionally, students used critical thinking and creativity (EPAS 2.1.3) to engage in the policy discussion.

Recently, the presenters conducted a live Twitter event as a collaborative effort between their universities to discuss gun violence and gun prevention. This was the First live multi-university social work Twitter Chat and the archive of the chat can be accessed by clicking here. ¬†The purpose of the live chat was to demonstrate how social work students and educators can use technology to enhance policy analysis, macro practice, and online advocacy. Students were given instructions on how to participate as well as ground rules similar to those used in a group therapy session. At an appointed time, the presenters, their students and other social work practitioners ‚Äúmet‚ÄĚ on Twitter to discuss a series of questions related to the gun violence. One of the presenters served as the moderator and used other social media tools such as HootSuite (to live stream the chat), YouTube (to record a video for future analysis) and Storify (to archive the discussion). The moderator closed the live twitter chat with a poll question to assess the reaction of the students who participated in the event. Out of the 30 people who answered the poll, over 70% stated they enjoyed the experience and felt it enhanced their learning.

Social work educators need to learn about and start using social media tools; not only to be role models for our students, but to facilitate discussions about the social work profession in a very public way. Twitter represents only one way in which social work educators can and are using social media in their classrooms. The literature is growing in regards to this area and much work still needs to be done.

Special thanks are in store to our esteemed colleague Deona Hooper (@DeonaHooper) at socialworkhelper.com, who assisted in facilitating the Twitter chat event and put together the Storify Archive. Deona wasn’t able to make it to CSWE, but her contribution has been invaluable.

Feel free to leave a comment or you can always tweet ūüėÄimgres

Here is the presentation link once again.

References

Council on Social Work Education. (2008). Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. Washington, DC: Author.

Davidson, C. (2010, December). Twenty First Century Literacies. Retrived from http://www.hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/twenty-first-century-literacies

Getz, L. (2012). Mobile App Technology for Social Workers. Social Work Today, 12 (3), 8 -10.

Greenhow, C. & Gleason, B. (2012). Twitteracy: Tweeting as a new literary practice. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 464-478.

Hitchcock, L. & Battista, A. (2013). Social Media for Professional Practice: Integrating Twitter with Social Work Pedagogy. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, Vol 18 Special Issue.

Jarvis, J. (2011). Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., Weigel, M. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century [white paper]. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

McNutt, J. G. (2008). Web 2.0 tools for policy research and advocacy. Journal of Policy Practice, 7(1), 81-85.

NASW (National Association of Social Workers)/ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards).
(2005). NASW & ASWB Standards for technology and social work practice. Retrieved on July 30, 2012 from http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWTechnologyStandards.pdf.

Perron, B. E., Taylor, H. O., Glass, J. E., & Margerum-Leys, J. (2010). Information and communication technologies in social work. Advances in social work, 11(2), 67-81.

Rheingold, H. (2012). Net Smart. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Richardson, W. H. (2006). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for
Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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