Your Digital Identity

January 27th, 2012

Hello Everyone!

Today’s thoughts were inspired by a talk I attended earlier this week by student affairs and social media expert Eric Stoller. He raised the point we all have a “digital identity” that we both need to build and protect. How many folks reading this are on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or have a blog? If you are, ask yourself these questions. What do you use it for; sharing information, keeping in touch with friends and family, communicating with classmates, networking professionally, playing games? What type of information do post for others to see; pictures, links, opinions and thoughts? Who are your friends and followers? What do you allow them to post on your timelines?

The reason I have you ask yourself these questions is to have you think strategically about building your digital identity. Is what you are putting out on social media the true identity that you wish to have? What you choose to say and show becomes a part of this identity for better or worse. There is an old saying that you can tell a lot about a person by who their friends are. The same goes for your “digital” person. Who you choose to have as friends and who you choose to follow says a lot about you. Social media is wonderful tool for making connections and sharing your life and interests with others but it can be a double-edged sword. As long as you keep in mind that what you choose to share and who you choose to associate with automatically becomes part of who you are for the world to see, it can be a powerful tool allowing you to connect with people and things and build your identity in a way not possible just ten years ago.

To sum it up..no one says you can’t have fun, be opinionated, or just downright silly. You are telling your unique story to the world. But, think of it this way when posting to a social media site. Is what I’m putting here something I would like my employer to see in 25 years? Is it something I want my grandkids to see in 50 years?

Time Management

January 20th, 2012

Hello All!

I hope each and every one of you is excited about beginning a new semester at Indiana University East. Our Spring semester enrollment in online courses is the largest it has ever been and I know we have students taking their very first online courses. I apologize to those who read my blogs regularly who have read what I’m about to say before but I truly believe it is so important to success in online learning that I need to reiterate it each semester, so here it goes. The first weeks of classes can be overwhelming with getting used to a new class schedule, buying books, and meeting new instructors. This is true both for in person and online classes. As a student, I often heard fellow students say that the first few weeks of classes really wasn’t that important because instructors generally just introduced the class material and really did not get into the heart of the class material. This could NOT be further from the truth! In any class, but especially for online classes, the first couple weeks of class is essential to your success in the entire class. Allow me to explain.

 If you have read my updates in the past, you will know that having good time management and being self-disciplined are essential qualities of successful distance learners. The first weeks of class will be when you lay the foundation of these qualities for the rest of the semester. During the first week of class, you should have received the syllabus and schedule for the course. These may be the most important documents you will ever receive in an online course because they contain the due dates for all of your assignments and the dates for quizzes and tests. They will be your road map for the class. Since you will not be meeting weekly in a classroom, you not have someone constantly reminding you of these dates. The responsibility is yours!

 In the online classes that I have taken in the past, a simple strategy has allowed me to manage the schedule of the class and also be proactive about due dates. I purchased an inexpensive weekly planner (one that you can lay open and see an entire week on the two pages that are open). When I got the schedule for the course that I was taking, I immediately wrote in all the assignments, and the quizzes and tests, in red ink on the dates that they were due. I then went through the planner and made a note one week prior to the due date about assignment or test. For example, if there was an exam scheduled for September 27, I noted that on September 20. This I wrote in blue ink and then highlighted to make sure it got my attention. I kept this planner, open to the current week, next to my computer for the duration of the class. In this way, every time that I got on my computer I had a visual reminder of the important dates for that week and also reminded of the assignments that were approaching for the following week.

 You may choose to use my low-tech system of scheduling for the course, use an electronic planner or program on your phone or computer, or come up with something else that works for you, but the important thing is to have a system in place for keeping yourself on schedule in the class. If you do this the first weeks of class, as soon as you have you syllabus and schedule, you will have laid a solid foundation for managing your course for the rest of the semester.

Be Sure to Read the Syllabus and Announcements

November 11th, 2011

Hello all,

Today I thought I’d address an issue that always seems to trip up a few students each semester and that is not reading the syllabus for their class closely or not following announcements posted by their instructors in regard to assignments, exams, and other issues that affect how the course will be conducted. This is particularly important for students in IU East online classes as we allow our instructors the freedom to structure their courses in ways that fit their teaching style and subject matter. A student will take an online class and then make the assumption that all others will be structured similarly and fail to read the syllabus closely and miss important information specific to the course they are currently taking. Sometimes they will speak with a friend who took the class in a previous semester and based on this assume the instructor is conducting the course exactly the same this time. Often times, instructors will even find the need to modify their schedule or assignments after the class begins.

It is important to keep in mind that instructors modify their classes to help ensure the best learning experience for the students enrolled in their courses and not to trip students up or cause them inconvenience. As a student it is your responsibility to read the course announcements and syllabus closely to ensure you know what is expected and then, if you have questions and concerns to communicate them to your instructor as soon as possible. Please let me know if you have any questions about your online classes or email your instructor or advisor.

Study Abroad Opportunity!

October 13th, 2011

Interested in taking an online Spanish culture class and in traveling to Spain next Spring?

Attend the online informational meeting on this wonderful opportunity to learn about Spanish culture (SPAN-S229), earn 3 credits towards your foreign language requirement, and travel through Spain for 11 days in May. Please note that you do NOT need to speak Spanish to participate in this program.

 Date: Wednesday, Oct 19

Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Place: ONLINE

- Go to breeze.iu.edu/spain2012 

- Click on ‘Enter as a Guest’

- Write your name

- Click on ‘Enter Room’

 For those who cannot attend, the recording of the meeting will be available at http://www.iue.edu/hss/foreignlanguage/spain2012/

 For more information, please contact Prof. Julien Simon at jjsimon@iue.edu.

Fall 2011 Classes

August 5th, 2011

I hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of Summer and, if you’re in Summer courses, that you are finishing strong in them. I just want to remind everyone that Fall classes begin on Monday August 29th so you still have a few weeks to get registered for classes or add additional courses. Just remember that the last couple of weeks before classes begin are busy times for everybody so if you need to make an appointment with your advisor do it as soon as possible so they have time slots available to assist you. As always, if you have any questions about online course offerings, degree programs, or services available to online students don’t hesitate to contact me at 765-973-8312 or delearn@iue.edu. Have a great last couple weeks of Summer!

Tom