Here’s a new publication! Thanks to my colleagues in the #MacroSW Collaboration,
Source: #MacroSW Collaboration (2018, May 4). Why we have to social work this. NonProfit Quarterly. Retrieved: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2018/05/03/voices-field-social-work/
It’s over already?
For me, The last day of the conference means attempting to get in what I can before flying home. Participants start to exist abruptly, so these things tend to end with hurried goodbyes. Several of my colleagues had to take earlier flights out to catch rerouted flights to avoid a storm. Fortunately, as noted by Prof. Melanie Sage, “one of the best things about technology is its power to facilitate real-life relationships & bring us together in physical spaces as pals having already done relationship work” (https://twitter.com/melaniesage/status/984909789170929664). I concur with this. So much of my work with my colleagues at this and other conferences comes from the use of distance-aiding technologies. Getting the work done, developing interventions, and providing leadership social work education…everything relies so much on the critical understanding of the same technologies we use when we teach students. It’s not simply parallel process; it is the process.
For this final post on the conference, I sought to curate Twitter to share some themes. Spotify is no more, so I thought I’d try something here: choose some general categories and repost relevant tweets.
Now, what I would love to do is organize tweets by the schedule, so readers can find the relevant images and comments for each session. That’s just not practical…after sleeping in on Saturday, I realize my usual deadlines are approaching.
So for this post, I’m going to curate by subjects that in my experience make up the parts of a meaningful academic conference:
The research: presentations that covered some form of study, review, intervention or analysis.
The ideas: impresssions and analysis of the status of distance education and where it’s going. Some of these posts could easily fit under the category of research.
The design: presentations that addressed some form of classroom, curriulum or program design.
The applications and tools: presentations that cover specific applications and tools that can enhance the learning evnironment and outcomes.
The people: Selfies, presentations, gatherings, group photos…I attempted to add them here.
The locale: San Antonio has so much to offer. This was a category very much lacking in Twitter posts. Maybe people didn’t share their after-hours dining using the #SWDE2018 hashtag? I hope we can do more sharing of the community around us next year.
MAJOR DISCLAIMER: These are in no particular order, other than each category follows the timeline of the program by day, more or less. I looked for posts that provide enough context so readers can glean the meaning of each post on its own. Also, my categories here are admittedly open and vague. I may have posted a tweet that fits better under Research than Design.
Also, to get the most comprehensive picture via the Twitter platform, simply search #SWDE2018 in Twitter. All I’ve attempted to do here is to apply some form of categorization.
Also, final disclaimer, I’m sure I’m missing some really good stuff. If you happen to read this and want to add something, send me a DM at @spcummings
I know this is the same feeling I get every year, but didn’t I just get here? It’s Friday when I write this summary of Thursday (day 2). I’ll write this as best I can without expressing the small sense of sadness of saying goodbye to friends and colleagues, while also the feeling of anticipation of returning home.
Day 2 is the busiest day of this conference, where a full slate of presentations from 9:00 until 5:00 are scheduled. I mentioned last year the tendency to feel as if I’m missing out if I choose a section or presentation, only to find that another presentation across the hall was a life-changing event or something. So it goes. This year was no different, however, the conference organizers stepped up the social media application. We used Guidebook this year, an application new to me. This allowed for conference participants to check in within the application, find other participants and send messages, schedule attendance, and share photos. In some ways, Guidebook creates something of a walled-in space to share information and thoughts about the conference, something also handled by using the conference hashtag on existing platforms like Twiter. I found the scheduling feature to be more simple and intuitive than other conference applications, though the scale of the conference may have something to do with that. (CSWE’s Annual Program is a whole different thing, and I’m sure I’ve missed really good opportunities every year just due to the massive scale of that Con.)
What I saw today
For #SWDE2018 I sought out sessions that addressed the transfer or courses from IRL to either a hybrid or online course. This is always easier said than done, and a lot of assumptions about how this process is handled remain. As I noted in my last conference summary post, Prof. Matthea Marquart of Columbia University presented on the subject of connecting online and IRL students in the same space and time. Today, Professor Christopher Ward of Winthrop University discussed this transition from face-to-face to online and provided a matrix containing a lot of concise detail on applications and platforms to aid in this transition.
In the next session, Professors Jae McQueen and Ann Obermann of the University of Denver discussed the critical pedagogy, and how this applies to your course design and evaluation. As an opening exercise, the members of the audience were asked to consider five terms that we think describe ourselves. Then we were asked to consider if these descriptors come to our students’ minds. The ensuing discussion probed these ideas. This was part of a larger discussion about how we present ourselves as instructors to our students.
At the last session, I attended, Dr. Todd Sage, assistant professor at the University of Buffalo and Dr. Nathalie Jones, assistant professor at Tarleton State, presented on using tech platforms outside the standard learning management system. Flipgrid was featured as an example of an easily applicable tool. I confess I’ve wanted to implement for a while now but haven’t done it yet.
What I Did Today
I was very fortunate to present with my colleague, Associate Professor Julia Kleinshmit. We discussed a policy-focused signature assignment for our school’s Organization and Community Practice class. This assignment is designed to have students engage as a professional advocate for community policy change using social media. In my view, this helps elevate the use of social media beyond “slactivism“. Use of social media is sometimes equated with ineffective signaling rather than the pursuit of change; this assignment is meant to elevate the use of major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube).
Today I also created and presented my first poster presentation. I covered the basics of the #MacrosW Collaboration, with which I am a partner. I was very excited to talk about this collaboration. I look forward to more presentations like this. Speaking directly to people who have interest in the topic presented on the poster felt rewarding. I used Google Slides to present on this topic.
Dr. Laurel Iverson Hitchcock created a blog post on how to incorporate #MacroSW chat in the classroom.
It was a fantastic day, which ended with a few colleagues gathering at a restaurant just south of the Riverwalk. I threw my family off balance when I said I was having oysters for dinner in Texas. Always challenge the bias.
We’re back in San Antonio for the 4th annual Social Work Distance Education conference. It’s been a beautiful day here, and for many of us, it’s been great to see friends and colleagues. I had the pleasure of doing just that, gathering for lunch along the river walk.
I wrote about #SWDE2017 conference last year, and I reflected on how the sessions moved from the general discussions of program design and useful applications to more focused sessions. Last year’s theme of social justice and most of the presentations were anchored accordingly. This year the theme is advancing social and economic justice through innovation, and the focus is clear: this first day, in particular, the final session oI attended, created a “think tank” environment of big-picture conversations. This may be where this conference may be headed: a stronger focus on futurism, where we are headed, and how social workers can (and should) be leaders.
As always with a conference like this, hard choices need to be made…I wish I could be everywhere. Here’s a sample of what I learned today:
Keynote: Kaye Shelton, Ph.D.
Dr. Shelton is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Center for Doctoral Studies in the College of Education and Human Development at Lamar University. She’s a prolific writer on the subject of online education. After this presentation, An Administrator’s Guide to Online Education. After this presentation, I decided I need to read this book in its entirety. Dr. Shelton covered a range of techniques instructors can use to engage students meaningfully. (I found myself reflecting on the need to be more active and attentive to my online student discussion boards.) Dr. Shelton pointed us to a couple of resources she developed: OLC Quality Scorecard, where many free resources for improving online teaching and learning can be found; and Tip and Tricks for Teaching Online .
Session 1: Dr. Christie Mason of Loyola University spoke on principles and strategies for fostering community in online classes. She communicated the fundamental need to make sure our students feel safe to learn online. This can be assisted by strategically using informal discussion, developing meaningful approaches to introducing ourselves to the class. I learned a lot about using the tools on online education (#edtech) to encourage this community building in the online classroom environment.
Session 2: Matthea Marquart of Columbia University presented on methods and approaches to engaging in-real-life (IRL) students and online students in the same space. I am grateful Prof. Marquart presented on this topic, as I’ve seen how technology has helped move these historically partitioned student groups into the same general space.
Session 3: The end of the first day was a perfect time for a “big picture” presentation and Dr. Ellen Belluomini of Brandman University came through with a future-focused discussion on innovation through disruption. Dr. Belluomini didn’t shy away from giving examples of the perils of groupthink and made clear social workers must be leaders in research and practice, even if that means looking outside the traditional models of tenure-track promotional steps.
This year we were on the rooftop. The weather was beautiful. I traveled from the Midwest to be here, and within a few minutes of the reception, I’d forgotten all about the snowstorm we’d endured there just a few days ago.
I’ll have more tomorrow. Unfortunately, Storify is no longer available to bring together the numerous social media posts out there…I’m looking for a solution and I’m open to suggestions.
I know we are deep into January. Resolutions should have been made and broken by now! I try to avoid the resolution trap. We can make small changes at any time. Here’s one.
Technology is a part of my life. I’ve adapted my smartphone so that I can access
my work, read the news, listen to music, and track my exercise. By working on healthy digital literacy skills, I hope to continue harnessing this tool to enhance my life. The same goes for social media. I read a lot of blog posts about the scourge of Twitter or the life-suck of Facebook. I have concerns about the use of these media platforms, but digital literacy is required to make sure these products don’t overtake my life. Perhaps it’s optimistic, but platforms like these require harnessing. The responsibility of digital literacy rests with me, the user.
That said, I experienced a vacation from these technologies. Literally. I traveled out of the country and left the phone in the suitcase. This was instructive. I used my phone as a camera.
What did I enjoy not having? Notifications. I don’t need them. I turned them off. Just like 2006, I can at least decide when I access information via these platforms.
I did miss chatting with friends via Twitter. I think the ability to text friends has a lot of relevance in an adult’s life. I felt a little cut-off from work, where I do derive satisfaction and identity. I missed accessing music streaming.
So, that’s the little thing I’m changing: I will create a boundary between myself and my digital, automated life.
I started using discussion boards out of complete practicality. I had to be away for a conference, and I needed a solution for my evening class. I’ve come to use the discussion board in almost all my classes now because I find the use of discussion boards very helpful in engaging students in a different way. When I read student posts, I often realize that I may have been underestimating their interest or willingness to go into depth on a topic or theme.
A colleague asked me for some design tips. Here’s what I typically use.
This is just a quick review of how I set discussion boards up.