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Posts Tagged ‘inside higher ed’

Yes I am a Social Media Jedi, Ninja, Sherpa, and Guru

August 17, 2012 4 comments

Social Media Jedi

Eric Stoller at Inside Higher Ed recently wrote an article (You Are Not a Social Media Jedi, Ninja, Sherpa, or Guru) poking fun at people who use any of the wide array of “Social Media _______” titles online. As someone who has used such titles in the past, I feel it’s up to me to write a rebuttal and defend those of us who feel we’ve earned these appellations.

To be sure, there are tens of thousands of people running around claiming credentials they don’t rightly deserve for a variety of fields. Social media is currently the most notorious for this because it’s a field in its embryonic stage and as such hasn’t had any formal rigors applied to it. Moreover, it shifts so much more quickly than other disciplines that establishing an objective rubric by which to measure one’s bona fides is virtually impossible. Read more…

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How to Create the Perfect Higher Education Billboard

July 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Template for the Perfect Higher Education Billboard

Given the field I work in, I pay a lot of attention to billboard campaigns.  I suspect this makes me different from many of the publics we target.

One thing I’ve noticed in my years of careful Billboardspotting is how remarkably similar all outdoor advertising is for colleges and universities.  It’s eerie.  It’s almost as though everyone is watching what everyone else is doing and copying it in some sort of marketing feedback loop.

This is likely what is actually happening, which explains the creative entropy. Read more…

The Importance of Data Integrity: Community College Rankings Based on Flawed Data?

August 25, 2010 1 comment

Enrollment Report Data

Apropos of my recent post about the error uncovered in how Michigan colleges report data to the Federal Government, a story just appeared in Inside Higher Ed about the Washington Monthly’s rankings of Community Colleges in the US.

The Washington Monthly has yet again irked some educators, as it did three years ago, by ranking what it calls “America’s Best Community Colleges” using openly available student engagement survey data.

Using benchmarking data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and four-year federal graduation rates in an equation of its own making, the magazine attempts to rank the top 50 community colleges in the country in its latest issue. Though the periodical’s editors say they only hope to highlight “what works and what doesn’t” at these institutions by ranking them, CCSSE officials have denounced the use of their data in this way and argue it may do more harm than good.”

The data available about your organization can and will be used with or without your permission.  With more information being published and the increasing ease with which that data can be used – it’s critical to be aware and vigilant.  Even with the best of intentions on the part of a journalistic entity like the Washington Monthly, it can damage an organization’s reputation (and mislead stakeholders).

In the executive summary explaining their rankings, the Washington Monthly acknowledged the limitations of their methodology and wistfully remarked about the lack of data available:

“Of course, our rankings aren’t perfect. Like the president, we wish we knew how community college graduates fare in the job market and their future careers. We’d like to know if students who transfer to four-year schools get good grades, earn bachelor’s degrees, and go on to graduate and professional schools.”

The upside is that the data they seek may soon be available from other sources.  For example; what if we were able to pull employment data from social networking platforms like Linkedin and Facebook (or even people-oriented search engines like Pipl.com that catch references to employment in press releases and newspapers) and mash it up with the data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement?

We may soon be able to complete the loop and better track student success (which is a challenge all educational institutions face).

Not only that, but what if we could monitor tweets and Facebook content (there are already algorithms that can evaluate tweets to determine whether they’re positive or negative) to look for warning signs that might allow counseling or student support services to intervene with a student to get them resources before it’s too late and they fail out of classes?

There’s a lot of possibility out there, and it’s up to us to tap into it.