Meeting 2: Today’s Students

Our Monday, Feb 25 meeting will focus on today’s students.  Who are they?  How are they using technology?  In what contexts do they find technology helpful for their learning?  For this meeting, we’re not reading any opinion or analysis pieces.  Rather, we’re sticking to data sets — which means that the work of interpreting these data will fall to us.   What should we make of these data?  How can they help us make decisions about our own teaching, and our curricula?  What appear to be major issues facing us as we prepare students to be liberally educated for a digital information age?

Discussion Leaders: Brenda Adrian, Cousett Ruelas, and Sara Gibson

1. ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2012.
This report is our main focus for this meeting.  It summarizes the results of an ongoing, large-scale study, conducted by the research arm of EDUCAUSE.  Never heard of EDUCAUSE?  It’s the major organization for higher ed IT professionals, and it has a branch that focuses on teaching and learning – the Educause Learning Initiative.

  • Check out the infographic that summarizes the reports findings.
  • Then skim the full report.  No need to read every word, but read the headings, and read the discussions for those topics that most interest you.  The data graphics are also full of interesting details.
  • (Optional): Want to see the survey instrument used in this study?  Educause has posted it along with other “supporting materials.”
2.  St. Edward’s University 2012 Freshmen Technology Survey.

Annually, the folks in Instructional Technology at SEU poll incoming freshmen to find out about their technology ownership and use.  For this year’s data, they recently created a nifty infographic, which appears at the top of this page, but you can scroll down and see the direct survey data in text form below.

  • Find the survey on the Faculty Resource Center’s web site.
3. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Almanac 2012” section on students
Lastly, if you have another 10 minutes, take a glance at the student demographics section of this year’s almanac.  Most of this page’s resources are for “subscribers only,” so you’ll need to get in through SEU’s library subscriptions.  How?  You should be automatically prompted to enter your SEU login.  But if you’re not, go to the library’s home page and in the main search box, type “Chronicle of Higher Education.” The first link to appear is the one you want. Click on it, and then make sure you’re logged in.  Then follow the links below.  If you’re on campus, the links should work automatically.

What should you read?  Bop around and see what interests you, but I encourage you to look at the following sections, at least.  Each will take fewer than 5 minutes:

  • The short summary essay, which begins at the top of the page and continues if you click on the “read more” link, provides a quick overview of the data.  It’s a quick way to grasp some of the overall demographic trends.
  • Under “The Data,” at the bottom of the page, check out “A Profile of Freshman at 4-Year Colleges

What else?

  •  Tweet a link to an article. Remember your homework challenge?  Between now and the meeting, I strongly encourage you to use Twitter to share an article with the rest of our group.  Not sure how to do this?  You’ll find instructions under the “How Do I .. . .” page of this web site.
  • Check out our “Blogroll” links.   In the “Blogroll” section to the right of this post, you’ll see links to a variety of online journals or web sites that relate to our topic.  Take a few minutes to look at these sites and see which might interest you for further reading.

Meeting 1: Defining the Issues

Welcome!  I’m excited that you all are joining this semester’s “Books & Coffee” group.  We’ll be holding our first meeting next Monday, February 11, in Fleck 306.

In this posting, you’ll find some initial instructions to prepare for our first meeting.

Session I Topic: 
Defining the Issues: How Do Emerging Digital Technologies Challenge Us to Rethink the Goals and Practices of Liberal Education?

Our goal at this first meeting is to explore major emerging issues for liberal education brought about by digital information and digital pedagogies.  Right now, the national press and institutions of higher ed are all aflutter about MOOCs – massively open online courses, like those offered by EdX, Udacity, or Coursera.  (Not sure you understand the MOOC phenomenon?  Check out this recent article by the NY Times: “The Year of the MOOC.”) So, we can’t really avoid talking about them.  But MOOCs are only one set of waves in a storm of tides heading our way. So we’re going to look at several different issues for this meeting.

Before our first meeting, try to read the following two short pieces.  Together, they’ll take you 30 minutes – or fewer.

1)  Clay Shirky’s November 2012 blog entry, “Napster, Udacity, and the Academy.”
Clay Shirky has emerged as a major voice on the implications of new internet technologies on social formations and economics.  He’s a college professor, but also a kind of public intellectual.  You can find out more about him on his Wikipedia profile.

2)  The NITLE “Future Trends” report for February 2013.
NITLE is the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. This report, compiled monthly by NITLE Senior Fellow Bryan Alexander, provides a quick profile of emerging educational tech trends. This report is only available to NITLE member institutions (and SEU is one) who subscribe to it.  So, we’ll be discussing it, but we cannot link to it through this public website.  Want to know more about NITLE?  Check out their organization online.

 If you cannot attend the meeting, watch this video.  (Otherwise, you’ll see it at our meeting.)  Michael Wesch, “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able,” TEDx Talk, Aug 12, 2010.
During our first meeting, we’ll watch this short video by cultural anthropologist / college professor / YouTube phenom, Michael Wesch.  If you are one of the group members who cannot attend our live meetings, you can go ahead and watch this video on your own.  Who is this Michael Wesch character?  You’ve probably seen his video, “A Vision of Students Today,” which went viral among college faculty several years ago. (If you haven’t seen it yet, you might check it out.)  Learn more about him from his Wikipedia profile.


So, to recap, here’s how to prepare for Monday’s discussion:
1) read the Shirky blog post
2) look in your email for the NITLE report
3) watch the video if and only if you won’t be with us on Monday, Feb 11
4) and if you feel like it . . . write some of your thoughts in the comments.  To leave a comment, click on the bubble icon in the top right corner of this post.
And I’ll see you on Monday!