Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NISOD Conference Report

Paul Arcario asked me earlier in the semester if I would help run a workshop on Web 2.0 at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Conference (http://www.nisod.org/) in Austin, Texas. First off, it was hot in Austin, near 100 degrees, and hazy and windy, which I was guessing was from wildfires started by lightning from the recent thunderstorms. That said, the 2 hour workshop was organized into three segments: organizational concepts and programs using Web 2.0 tools, the use of Web 2.0 tools, and institutional policy issues. With me on the panel were Karla A. Fisher, Vice President of Academics, Butler Community College (KS); Meg McGranaghan, Director of Instructional Technology, Butler Community College (KS); and Kerry Keith Mix, Interim Dean of Enrollment Services, San Jacinto College (TX). We had a good turnout of about 25 folks--a mixed bag of administrators, faculty, and staff.

Karla, Kerry and I presented in the first segment, organizational concepts, which included the data supporting student success and engagement in online and hybrid education, the most surprising of which was the fact that in online classes all demographic factors--age, sex, race, marital status, and so on--cease to matter. That is right, folks, when you take the students out of the physical classroom they become equally as likely to succeed! One might say "equally as likely to fail" but why be a pessimist? Kerry discussed some of the programs his campus has initiated using Web 2.0 tools in advisement and I, of course, presented on our Community 2.0 project. What we are doing is pretty hard to explain in 5-10 minutes, but I am getting a little better at it and everyone seemed interested. "Encouraging mentorship" and "creating responsible citizens of the wired world" were my buzz-phrases and they seemed to work. Everyone loved Ximena's new "crazy slide" and asked lots of questions about it.  

A Community 2.0 Network by Ximena Gallardo C.
Following a discussion session Meg presented on a whole bevy of tools and brilliantly framed her organization of the Web 2.0 tools around Bloom's question classification levels (aka "Bloom's Taxonomy") using the presentation format called "PechaKucha", or "20x20", which is a presentation program that runs 20 slides of 20 seconds each, timed so they run automatically (more or less 6.6 minutes total). If you want to know how to say "PechaKucha" watch this short video HERE. I wish X and I could work up a 20x20 for our presentation at Faculty-Staff on Wednesday, but I think that doing one between today and tomorrow would be a little crazy, but I am certainly thinking of working 20x20's into my classes and maybe the seminar.

All of the tools were interesting and there were too many to list here, but Meg also organized all the tools using Symbaloo, a graphic bookmark organizational application, which you can see HERE

When it came to the policy issues discussion, run by Kerry and Karla, I realized very quickly that our group should probably start thinking more actively about institutional policy issues such as "Should faculty friend their students on FB" and "Can faculty require the use of a social-networking tool in class?" These questions have already come up, of course, and I have my own answers ("no" and "yes, with responsible provisions for maintaining the student's anonymity to persons not in the class"), but some sort of policy will be coming down the pipe and I would rather it start with our group than elsewhere. There were a couple of very disturbing anecdotes which I will not share in detail here, so suffice it to say a lot of things can happen with a camera and a Facebook account that I never would have thought of.

Overall, it was a great session and I might ask Dean Arcario if maybe some of our team could apply to run a pre-conference workshop next year.


  1. Of the tools on the Symbaloo start page, I recommend checking:

    --Pixton (amazing for creating comics!)
    --Google Squared (creates several vectors to search terms)
    --Visuwords (love the way it connects words to phrases--very good tool from Princeton U.)
    --ExploraTree (for those looking for tools to express critical thinking)
    --Picnik (super easy tool to create cool images)
    --Glogster (easy creation of digital posters)
    --Jeopardy Labs (yes--to create Jeopardy-style "quizzes" based on class material)
    --RadioJames Objectives Building: the easiest way on the planet to create class objectives!
    --IRubric--create or steal a rubric

  2. Thanks again to Meg for making the Symbaloo page!