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tools_losStudents and instructors share the complex challenge of managing the elements of multiple courses simultaneously.

Solutions to that daunting task just became more reliable and perhaps easier with the Learn@OregonState ecosystem and website—http://learn.oregonstate.edu.

The power of this concept flows from the unification of OSU’s teaching and learning technologies to provide seamless access and dedicated support university wide.

This growing learning ecosystem currently consists of Canvas, Kaltura, Turning clickers, Turnitin and online content from publishers.

Three key attributes of tools in the Learn@OregonState ecosystem are:

1) They are available to every member of the OSU community via ONID authentication.

2) The applications are interoperable to multiply their power.

3) The tools are centrally supported for all users.

The result of this is organic management strategy is more than a set of technologies, it is a framework for managing technological change and bringing new tools into the system.

In order to understand the dynamics of OSU’s learning ecosystem I spoke with Lynn Greenough, Associate Director of Learning Platform Services.

Greenough managed the transition from Blackboard to Canvas in 2015 and works for Academic Technology in Information Services.

She made clear that supporting student success is her top priority; “Without students there is no Learn@OregonState. We know the world they are preparing for requires ever-changing skills, and our goal is to ensure that OSU’s learning environment supports their academic goals.”

Greenough perceives success with technology for both students and instructors as being a function of quality; “not only knowing how to use the tools, but how to use them well.”

That is why the dedicated support aspect of Learn@OregonState is significant to instructors and students alike.

You may be aware of the applications that make up this learning ecosystem and it is important that you know how they fit together and where to go to improve your uses of them.

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) that provides course-level tools for students and instructors including a class list, grade book, assignment uploads, online grading, online tests, communication tools, an tools-canvas-group-imageassignment calendar and numerous ways to share course content.

Students value having a single place to get key information for all of their courses, so I urge instructors to at least publish their syllabi in the appropriate Canvas courses.

OSU’s front-line Canvas expert is Tasha Biesinger who helps the teaching and learning community make the most of those capabilities – contact Tasha at –canvas@oregonstate.edu.

Kaltura is a media management system where instructors and students can upload video and audio into a streaming format for online viewing and listening, similar to YouTube.

kaltura-group-imageKaltura provides more access controls than YouTube making it the appropriate option for identifiable student media.

A great use of Kaltura is to use the Screen Capture tools to quickly create tutorials and commentaries.

Embedded video quizzes integrated with the Canvas grade book are a recent innovation in Kaltura.

Raul Burriel is the key support agent for Kaltura at OSU; get help and comment on Kaltura at – kaltura@oregonstate.edu.

Clickers are a means by which many instructors structure and credit in-class participation.tools-clickers-group-image

The Turning bundle, which students purchase at the Beaver Store, includes a remote device for participating in class and a four-year ResponseWare license allowing iPhone, Android and laptop to operate as the student remote.

Instructors interested in using clickers will receive equipment and quality training from Nargas Oskui – clickers@oregonstate.edu.

Before this website launched Fall 2016 the support resources for these tools were in several places; now they are collected in a single site, are presented with consistent style, and are kept up-to-date by the people who know the tools inside and out.

A critical feature of the new system is how change is managed. Greenough explains;

“We have an established process for reviewing and evaluating requests, which is posted on our web site: We look at the impact that a proposed addition will have on students and instructors, and also validate that new applications meet our standards for accessibility, data security and technical interoperability.”

All OSU members are positively encouraged to be active agents in of the growth of our learning ecosystem by sharing feedback and requests for new elements.

Lois Brooks, Vice Provost of Information Services, succinctly sums up the core principle of the instructional technology support strategy;

“We have had two major innovations in the last year; Learn@OregonState is our virtual ecosystem and the Learning Innovation Center is a state-of-the-art physical facility that allows active and engaged learning. What we are working to accomplish is excellent educational opportunities for our students whether they are in a physical or virtual space.”

Learn@OregonState is a contemporary sophisticated foundation for succeeding at the information side of teaching and learning at OSU.

nc bc cc 10%Our national election occurs on Tuesday November 8 and I urge you to vote however your heart and mind lead you, but I also want to tell you who will be our next President and one significant reason why I believe that candidate will succeed.

The important point I want to demonstrate is far beyond a single election because the matter at issue is the future of American democracy.

In 2008 the Obama campaign produced an unprecedented combination of data analysis, social media and campaign outreach to win the Presidency.

The data analysis aspect used new techniques in what is commonly known as data-mining or big data analytics.

Both Democrats and Republicans have long kept databases of voters; you and I and every other eligible voter in the US is in these data-sets.

What Obama’s campaign innovated was a 100 item index that pulls from public and for-sale data sources such that every voter is categorized by education level, home ownership and value, permits and licenses, magazine subscriptions, charitable contributions and much more.General_election_polls_2016_Clinton_v_Trump

The campaign also buys data from companies such as Facebook to track which ads you click on and who your friends are.

The Democrat campaign knows more about you than you know about yourself in the sense that you may forget some of the details while their database, called “Catalyst,” does not.

The campaign technicians render all this data into a 1-5 scale that assigns probabilities to 2 behaviors for every voter: whether they will vote and who they will vote for.

What the campaign does with those ratings is the key to their electoral strategy because those individual profiles based in huge correlations of personal data are used to produce campaign tactics aimed specifically at you and voters like you; this tactic is called micro-targeting.

One way that micro-targeting is used was revealed when the Obama campaign recruited 2 million volunteers through Facebook and then provided each of them with instructions for door-to-door visits with specific individuals based on their ratings in Catalyst.

Another use of micro-targeting is to assign campaign ads to individual social media users. The political ads that you see on social media may well have been crafted uniquely for you, at least if they are from the Democrat campaigns.

Moreover the reactions of micro-targeted individuals are gathered and fed back to the database creating a dynamic loop that is capable of measuring large group responses based on tracking behaviors of individuals within the group.

After the 2008 election victory Obama directed the data analysts on his campaign to develop ways to use that technology for conducting White House policy efforts and called the resulting system “Legacy.”51i-UovOAYL._SY346_

This ultra-sophisticated use of data analysis to conduct a political campaign is studied in a fascinating book, Hacking the Electorate: How Campaigns Perceive Voters by Yale political scientist Eitan D. Hersh.

In addition to describing how political data-analysis and micro-targeting work, Hersh postulates that the sources of public data that campaigns draw from are likely to skew the data-set to preference some voter characteristics over others; for instance consider the data sources in which individuals are classified by race.

Why does any of this matter to you?

It matters because human beings have a peculiar relationship with our own thoughts in two ways.

The first is that it is hard for us to distinguish between our subjective feeling of certainty and the objective degree to which a claim about the world is certain.

For example, in this column I am claiming to know who will win the 2016 election.

In fact I cannot know that for certain because all sorts of events could occur to prevent that from happening, so I am really asserting a probability of an outcome based upon assumptions about the conditions.

LW268-MC-Escher-Hand-with-Reflecting-Sphere-1935Still, in my gut I feel totally certain about it despite being a skeptic about most things, and cannot convince my subjective sense to entertain more doubt.

The second peculiarity of human thought is while you and I know what we think and believe, we typically do not know where those thoughts and beliefs came from.

Try it yourself; consider some of the ideas (thoughts and beliefs) that you feel strongly about. Where did you get those ideas? Were you born with them? Were they taught to you? Did you inherit them? Did you discover them or make them up yourself?

If you are like most of us, then even the thoughts that you feel most certain about do not provide you with signs of their origins.

I am confident that you have reasons in favor of those ideas, but are those reasons actually the causes from which you formed the belief in the first place or are they premises that you developed to justify a belief that you already held?

Attend closely and I think that you will find that it is not easy to be sure about the workings of your own mind.

Why does this matter? Because there are interest groups who work hard to put ideas into your mind and once an idea is in your mind it is likely that you will experience it as certain and true, largely because it presents itself as your own idea.

To put it as clearly as I may: if I can get an idea into your mind and also get you to view it as your own idea, then I have succeeded at manipulating your mind.6914441342_605f947885_z

The manipulation of beliefs – the deliberate changing of people’s minds – is an ancient practice that we find today in advertisers, propagandists, magicians, preachers and teachers.

This mental manipulation is what the data-driven campaign is designed to do.

To be fair, politicians have sought to understand the public mind and put ideas into the minds of the people since at least ancient Greece.

Data-driven campaigning is not new, although the technological sophistication produces an unprecedented level of control over messaging.

That brings me to my prediction that Clinton will be elected President by a wide margin with the Democrats taking the Senate and making gains in the House.

That may not seem like a bold prediction to you because it has become common wisdom on the eve of the election, but I am basing my view on the uses by the Clinton campaign of whatever the Catalyst data-base has become.

One point to draw from this observation is that a candidate’s campaign foreshadows what their administration will be like.

Clinton’s campaign, like the Obama campaigns, are highly organized, disciplined and data-driven.

I view organization and discipline as positive attributes of an executive administration and they stand in stark contrast to the Trump campaign which spent more money on “Make America Great Again” hats than on data analysis.

However you evaluate these facts the reality of contemporary political dynamics calls for rigorous critical thinking about the messages that you receive and believe, if you care about your individual freedom as a thinker.

The future of the American political system is all about data and the more that you know about those processes, the better equipped you will be as a citizen and voter.

 

Image Acknowledgements

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http://apps.cytoscape.org/media/cytonca/screenshots/nc%20bc%20cc%2010%25.jpg

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/df/General_election_polls_2016_Clinton_v_Trump.svg/1280px-General_election_polls_2016_Clinton_v_Trump.svg.png

51i-UovOAYL._SY346_.jpg
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y37Z5OW

LW268-MC-Escher-Hand-with-Reflecting-Sphere-1935.jpg
http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/italian-period/hand-with-reflecting-sphere/

6914441342_605f947885_z.jpg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/75279887@N05/6914441342

Images are found via CC Search for Creative Commons licensed content.

Herkulaneischer_Meister_002If you want to stand out in your career search and progression then it is important that employers know that you can read and write.

You should be reading books that are relevant in your career area or important generally and you should make sure that employers know that you are literate in this respect.

Your cover letter should have a “right now I am reading…” line with a title that matters to your career area and why you think it relevant.

Your resume should have a “significant books that I have read” section with titles that matter to your career area.

You should be conversant at job interviews about books that matter to your career area.

A top interview question is; “What important book have you read?” and they will expect you to tell them why you think it matters.

Do you know the 10 books that leaders in your career area consider important?

It is not hard to find that out and those who do so, and read the books, will have a distinct edge over less literate candidates.

Research the leaders on LinkedIn and look for their blogs.  They will often tell you which books they are reading and consider important.

What better strategy to promote your career than by getting inside the head-spaces of the people that you want to work for?

Be warned that claiming books that you have not read is a quick ticket to embarrassment and disappointment.

This summer is an excellent time to cultivate your professional reading habit.

Here are two books on my summer reading list.

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Little, Brown and Company. In this book Cooper proposes a framework for interpreting large-scale and seemingly chaotic changes in the world. His framework is based on network analysis which he applies to finance, economics, politics, cultural conflicts, war and terrorism. Anyone who promises a new way of looking at the world gets my attention and this summer I’ll find out whether Cooper provides a usable paradigm.  I’ll get back to you on that.

The 160-Character Solution: How Text Messaging and other Behavioral Strategies can Improve Education, Benjamin Castleman, Johns Hopkins University Press. Some people worry that text messaging and twitter indicate that shallow thinking is generally increasing. Castleman argues that effective uses of short messages lead to more focused meaning on the part of writers and increased self-regulation on the part of readers. Maybe I can use his ideas in my teaching.

Consider the reading one of the following recent books this summer:

But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past, Chuck Klosterman, Blue Rider Press.pile-of-books

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World, Don Tapscott, Portfolio.

Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds, Greg Milner, W. W. Norton & Company.

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, Douglas Rushkoff, Portfolio.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead Books.

Sharing our Lives Online: Risks and Exposure in Social Media, David R. Brake, Palgrave Macmillan.

Using Technology, Building Democracy: Digital Campaigning and the Construction of Citizenship, Jessica Baldwin-Philippi, University Press.

Inside the Machine: Art and Invention in the Electronic Age, Megan Prelinger, W.W. Norton.

If none of these books catch your interest, I promise that with a bit of searching you will find some that do.

By choosing to read books that are relevant to your career area and by telling others what you learned from those books, you are presenting yourself as a literate member of that profession.

To put it conversely, if you were in charge of hiring someone, would you choose someone who is conversant in the current literature of the profession or someone who reads only what they are told to read and never talks about it?

That leads to the topic of sharing what you read with others; in particular others in your chosen profession.

Book reviews on social media are a strong way to demonstrate your literate intellect.

Goodreads is a social book review platform with 25 million members and can be linked to post your reviews to Facebook.Goodreads_'g'_logo

With these online connections you can make your professional literacy public and point employers to it.

Strong reviews are concise and identify specific aspects of a book while explaining why those aspects are significant.

A social book review is not intended to explain the whole book. Think of your book reviews as arguments that are intended to give evidence for whether someone should read the book or not.

If you need to prime your writing pump in order to write a review, consider Minimalist or Distraction-Free writing tools.

ZenPen is a prototypical online Minimalist writing site because you don’t even login, just start writing. Do not confuse it for the electronic cigarette with the same name.

FocusWriter is a program for Linux, Windows, and OS X that has plenty of features in the settings though they are hidden when you write.

Write! Is a distraction-free text editor with a “focus mode.”

Hemingway Editor started as a free online app and has morphed into a paid-for desktop application that is a minimalist interface with useful analysis and formatting features built in.

One does not need a computer to write; just a pad of paper or journal and pencil.

Keep those tools with your book so twriting-hand-1443450574xaThat you can note insights as you read.

My proposal is simple: find out what books matter in your future profession, read some of those books, write about what you read and make sure to promote what you read and write to prospective employers.

A with less effort than you put into a single course project you can make your professional literacy into a key asset for finding a job in your career area and moving steadily upward in that career.

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Image Acknowledgements

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_education#/media/File:Herkulaneischer_Meister_002.jpg

books-1170768_960_720.jpg
https://pixabay.com/en/photos/old%20book/

036-letter-writing-correspondence-q90-300×160.jpg
http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Jefferis-SearchlightsOnHealth/pages/036-letter-writing-correspondence/

Goodreads_’g’_logo.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Goodreads_%27g%27_logo.jpg

writing-hand-1443450574xaT.jpg
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/hledej.php?hleda=writing

Students searching for jobsI am about to tell you how to increase your odds for getting the job for which your degree qualifies you.

I write this mainly for the seniors and graduates who are looking for a job.

Perhaps you know someone in that situation and will share this advice with them.

Juniors, sophomores and frosh may take even better advantage of this knowledge by using it to make advance preparation.

My advice comes in two parts: (1) do your research; (2) use your education, not just your degree.

I hear many students ask Will this degree get me a job?”

The answer to that question is “No” because your degree is a tool that you must use in combination with other tools to get that job.

“It is not what you can do with your degree, but what you can do with a mind capable of earning that degree.”

Many thousands of others all over the world have degrees just like yours.

That is why you hear human resource departments tell you that your application is one among many.

So the winning move in the employment game is to document your unique abilities that stand out from the many

There are clear ways to accomplish that standout quality and it is a fact that most job applicants do not do so.

The most basic method is to make your resume, cover letter and reference letters match the needs and values of the prospective employer.

How do you know what they need and value? Because you have done your research on that employer.

You should research your job hunt with double the rigor and intensity that you put into any project or paper in school.

Research means learning everything you can about the job, the company and the people who work there, much of which is online.Linkedin network

A critical way to research a job is through the people who work for that company and department.  They all have profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook which will tell you about the work they do, the skills they value and the projects they are working on.

Search for the company in social media to find its employees.

It will take creativity on your part to find the right information and piece it together, but this is not more intellectually challenging than many of the course assignments that you have succeed

You are accomplished at those skills at some level, or else you would not be getting an OSU degree.

In the end it is not what you can do with your degree, but what you can do with a mind capable of earning that degree.

So how do I, Dr. Tech, know all of this? Because I have hired scores of employees and read hundreds of resumes, from high-school volunteers to Vice-Provosts.

Most of the resumes I have seen resemble a grocery list, merely enumerating the jobs worked at.

Such a resume does not include either what you are good at or what the employer is looking for.

Many job seekers bemoan the experience paradox – i.e. you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job.

If you feel trapped in that paradox it is because you have a narrow conception of your own experience.  You have lots of experience; four or five or more years of it at OSU alone.  You just need to recognize the activity of your education as experiential and turn that activity into language that communicates your expertise.

Consider another bit of information gained through research: there are consultants who report every year on industries of all kinds by conducting surveys of companies to find out what skills they are looking for in the people that they hire.

Please read that sentence again. How much would knowing what skills are most valued by the employers that you are applying to be worth? A lot and you can have that information for free just by doing online research.

In this instance I will refer to The Bloomberg Job Skills Report 2016: What Recruiters Want and Forbes’ The Ten Skills Employers Most Want in 20-Something Employees.

For the 2016 report Bloomberg surveyed 1,251 recruiters in 11 industries to find out which skills they rate both highly desired and hard to find.

Forbes based it’s analysis on surveys asking hiring managers what skills they prioritize when recruiting from college graduates.

Here are the skills employers say they seek, in order of importance as rated by employers.

1. Ability to work in a team structure

2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)

3. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization

4. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work

5. Ability to obtain and process information

6. Ability to analyze quantitative data

7. Technical knowledge related to the job

8. Proficiency with computer software programs

9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports

10. Ability to sell and influence others

The good news is that the learning objectives and requirements for the majority of OSU degrees cover most of the skills on the list, which means that

Bacclaureate Core Writing Skills

OSU Bacc Core Skills

you have practiced them and have the right to claim them on your resume and cover letter.

Those group projects that many students complain about required that you actualize team work, decision processes, planning, communication and influence.

Baccalaureate Core, DPD, WIC and other requirements involve obtaining and processing information in order to write and communicate persuasively.

These are real skills that you have specific and demonstrated evidence of your competence in.

Even better, those skills are explicitly stated in the learning objectives for the courses, so you can refer to objective sources in claiming success with those skills.

If you passed an OSU Bacc Core course, then you succeeded at the skills certified through that course.  Have you mined your course objectives for demonstrated skills?

Draw on that objective evidence and you have unique and demonstrable qualifications to bring your resume and cover letter into the top tier.

That you can communicate, solve problems, find information, and lead a team is exactly the experience that employers say that they want.

They also say that those skills are “hard to find.”

Do not make them hard to find in your resume and cover letter.

As the Forbes article notes; “The survey makes clear that employers want universal skills you can learn across academic disciplines and in any job where you are working with others. The trick is to communicate clearly that you have those skills.”

The trick for you is to take ownership of your acquired skills and take yourself seriously as a fully educated person, not merely an applicant with a degree.

You will accomplish that by researching what your prospective employer values and by researching what skills your OSU education gives you the right to claim as your own.

 

Image Acknowledgements

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https://pixabay.com/en/looking-for-a-job-work-silhouettes-68958/

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https://pixabay.com/en/head-circle-linkedin-networks-1250008/

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http://oregonstate.edu/ctl/baccalaureate-core

4098316462_2846b60687So what do you know? Is there any measure to determine how much you know? If you needed to know something new would you know how to learn it?

Your answers to these questions matter more than any set of information that you memorized in school.

The reason is that the sum of knowledge is growing at an ever increasing rate.

The growing rate of knowledge was described by philosopher/inventor/genius Buckminster Fuller, whom you should learn about.

In his 1982 book “Critical Path” Fuller presented an analysis of collective knowledge based on scientific and technical milestones through history.

He assigned values to the earliest known innovations, tools of the Stone Age going back 3 million years, up to the year 1 CE and designated that value a “knowledge unit.”

Using that measure he found that it took about 1,500 years from 1 CE for that knowledge unit to double to 2 knowledge units.

It doubled again 250 years later to 4 knowledge units and again in 150 years, around the year 1900, to 8 knowledge units.

Other thinkers have used Fuller’s analysis to extrapolate that by the year 2000 collective human knowledge was doubling every year.curve1

Some observers project that with coming changes in our information networks, such as the internet of things (IOT), total knowledge doubling will occur on a daily or even hourly basis.

Using this system it follows that the pace at which human knowledge is accumulated is accelerating; not only is the amount of total knowledge increasing but also its rate of growth.

Is there a natural or functional limit to knowledge acceleration? We do not know.

In some respects self-knowledge is one of our areas of greatest ignorance.

Just months ago our species learned something new about ourselves – that each individual’s brain memory power is greater by an order of magnitude; a GFPneuronfactor of 10, than previously believed.

In 2015 Thomas Bartol and associates of the Salk Institute reported that the anatomic structures of the trillions of synapses in the brain support a carrying capacity measured in petabytes – millions of gigabytes.

This finding is important because in addition to the amount of available storage it reveals sophisticated synaptic processes that use probability to create and retrieve memory.

The fact that knowledge is increasing rapidly does not imply that our intelligence is unable to handle it.

Creating strategies for managing complex information is what intelligent organisms like us do.

The acceleration of human knowledge does imply that the primary skill of a future knowledge worker will be research, analysis and synthesis of the not-yet-known.

You will succeed at your job by finding relevant streams of data, turning it into meaningful information from which you will produce usable knowledge.

At present that set of intellectual skills is the realm of the expert who is typically hired as a consultant.

In the near future those forms of expertise will be the foundations of all knowledge work because every career will consist of navigating a steep learning curve in the face of the accelerating velocity of knowledge.

The knowledge that drives your field will have changed significantly by the time you start the job won via your degree.

Your core strength in that job will be your capability to learn.

You can hone that capability now in your work at OSU, but to do so you must color outside of the lines of specialization.

Here are three practical ways that you may ramp up your learning prowess.

First, treat all of your learning as valuable.  The process of learning anything strengthens your capabilities for learning something new.  It is short sighted to negate a learning experience just because you do not see value in the information. You are not a giant flash drive for storing information. You are a learning organism that can grow and adapt to changing conditions.

Second, broaden your range of learning. Mastering subjects in depth is powerful and so is challenging your mind with subjects outside of your specialty.  As the sum of human knowledge grows its complexity increases. Diversifying your learning experiences inculcates stronger strategies for managing complexity.

Third, plan to keep on learning. A degree is not a finishing line, it is a portal to new learning in new contexts. Set your sights on a continual path of life-long learning beyond any program or position and you will increasingly thrive in a world of complexity that many people find overwhelming.

Some time soon you will wake up each day to a job that is already obsolete, but you will not be obsolete because of your skill at navigating the raising rate of cognitive change.

Human knowledge is growing at a scale that is hard to measure and so are you.

 

Notes

1. Disinformation Alert!: As quickly as knowledge grows, disinformation spreads faster, even on the topic of knowledge.

A claim widely reported on the web is that IBM predicted that knowledge

doubling will increase to occur on an hourly basis. The re-telling’s of this this vary and are frequently referenced back to a web article by David Russell Schilling, Knowledge doubling every 12 months, soon to be 12 hours in which he writes;

“ According to IBM, the build out of  the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.”

Schilling links “IBM” in the sentence to a 2006 article from IBM; The toxic terabyte How data-dumping threatens business efficiency. On page 2 of that article is this sentence;

“It is projected that just four years from now, the world’s information base will be doubling in size every 11 hours.”

The IBM article says no more about this matter than that single sentence and does not reference any source for the projection. We have to treat that claim as anecdotal and not authoritative as it has been subsequently played out on the web.

Moreover, that article and claim are about the growth of digital data which is entirely separate from the knowledge acceleration concept based in Fuller’s analysis. Schilling misinterpreted the IBM document. Nothing in that document supports the claim that is presented in the title of his article.

Schilling is a credible writer and typically provides sources for his articles. Sadly, his erroneous article title has been takes as a demonstrated truth by not-credible media personalities such as Glenn Beck who opined on his talk show;

“IBM has just come out and said all of human knowledge soon will double every – think of this – all human knowledge will double every twelve hours.”

Beck was adlibbing live from Schilling’s story on an iPad and adding his own embellishments ad hoc.

The assumption of authority and facticity of this hourly doubling claim increases with each retelling. Of course, we know that IBM said nothing of the sort.

Anyone may quickly check the sources and find for themselves the basic misinterpretation. That popular pundits such as Beck and his production staff do not do such basic fact checking underscores the key point of my posted article above, that the intelligent uses of information and knowledge are based in research, analysis, and synthesis.

Basic Intelligence Skill: Before replicating a claim, be sure that you have check the sources for yourself.

Beck, G. (2014). Will human knowledge soon have the power to double every 12 hours?
http://www.glennbeck.com/2014/04/07/will-human-knowledge-soon-have-the-power-to-double-every-12-hours

IBM Global Technology Services. (2006). “The toxic terabyte How data-dumping threatens business efficiency.” http://www-935.ibm.com/services/no/cio/leverage/levinfo_wp_gts_thetoxic.pdf

Schilling, D.R. (2013). “Knowledge doubling every 12 months, soon to be 12 hours.”  Industry Tap into News. April 19. http://www.industrytap.com/knowledge-doubling-every-12-months-soon-to-be-every-12-hours/3950

Image Acknowledgements

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/44568283@N02/4098316462

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http://sustainablebenefits.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/curve.png

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https://gl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurona#/media/File:GFPneuron.png

77aa99b53b82d17d5f03ca8a3fcbfe35All learning is a form of research as we test our mental models of reality against the cold hard facts of the world.

When someone keeps making the same mistake we can say that they have not learned what that mistake is and how to avoid it.

Humans have evolved the ability to keep track of our successes and failures in order learn.

Keeping track of and analyzing what happens is the basis of research, which I claim is the foundation of learning.

It follows that treating your education as a research process will make you a more capable learner.

Technology can help you to become a more capable researcher and to better understand the relations of information and reason to knowledge.

Zotero is an OSU supported no-cost application that assists with collecting, organizing and citing research sources.zotero_logo_300x300

You should be using Zotero or a similar tool because when you write a paper or produce a project the sources upon which it is based are critical.

Your sources are established by citations which follow formats including APA, MLA, Turbian and IEEE.

If these are not familiar to you, then you are at a distinct disadvantage when developing a paper or project for a class as many instructors place significant grade value on well-formed citations in the correct format.

Check your syllabus and assignment description to ascertain the citation format then install Zotero and access the OSU Library resources to learn how to use it well.

Zotero has a stand-alone version to install on Windows or Mac and also as plugins for FireFox, Safari and Chrome and apps for iOS and Android

Build your Zotero “Library” by creating a “Collection” and adding sources as you search for sources.

A Collection may be for a project, a class, a topic or whatever you need to gather information for.

The sources can be books, articles, websites, videos and other forms of information that you have used in developing your work.

While developing your work, such as a paper or project use Zotero to retrieve sources and then to cite those sources for your bibliography.

A bibliography is the part of a work that lists the sources that form the research upon which the work is based.

The purpose of a bibliography is so that readers can retrieve the sources in order to check on the accuracy of the claims in the work.

Bibliographies consist of references which provide the information that anyone needs to find and retrieve the source referred to.

Citations are the expressions embedded in the text of a work that indicate the reference on which that portion of the work is based.

In my work as an Editor I have received submissions that included bibliographies that contained numerous references that were not cited in the text of the paper.

I sent those submissions back for revision because the relevant references are those that are used in creating the work.

It is an error to pad a bibliography with books and articles that you did not read or use in your writing.

If you did use a source, then cite and reference it properly.

If you did not use a source, then do not refer to it.

2447112317_b1f13112cbIf any of these aspects of research puzzle you, then you should visit the OSU Writing Center at 123 Waldo.

Writing Center assistants will help students, staff, faculty and community members with all aspects of writing from brainstorming to writer’s block to bibliographies and beyond.

Once you understand what citations and bibliographies are and know what formats are required for your papers, then you are in a strong position to use writing tools like Zotero effectively.

A powerful feature of Zotero is the capability to create Collection items contextually from your Web browser so to gather relevant reference information from whatever web source that you are viewing.

This contextual sensing feature is amazing when researching journal articles, news articles and books in the OSU Library; see the Valley Library tutorial “Using Zotero with 1Search.”

I emphasize again that finding likely titles and capturing reference information is not research unless you read the sources and use them in your work.Research-Illistration-4x4

Once you have a collection of sources Zotero helps you tag, sort, move, copy, annotate and edit your sources.

Organizing and connecting your sources, which are prior information about a topic, is a powerful way to construct knowledge out of your research.

Knowledge constructed from intentional collections of sources may involve finding patterns, drawing inferences, producing new research questions, identifying problems and much more.

A research-based paper and project is designed to communicate the knowledge that you have constructed, your findings, from the sources that you have collected and analyzed.

That is a basic description of how research and learning work.

Zotero supports sharing collections online which vastly increases its power as a research tool, for instance when working on a group project designate a role for “research managerin the group and have them curate the Zotero collections.

With your thesis, narrative, and references accomplished you then use Zotero to produce the bibliography which can export to Word and OpenOffice documents.

With a collection and bibliography created it is easy to re-format your references to different citation standards.

Valley Library has many resources including workshops and online tutorials for becoming proficient with Zotero at guides.library.oregonstate.edu/zotero

In addition to Zotero I have used Citation Machine, a web-based citation creator, to create bibliographies for publications – citationmachine.net.

Both tools provide a form in a selected citation style that prompts you for necessary information about a source such as author’s name, book title, publication date, page number and publisher.

Both tools allow switching citation styles for already created references.

Zotero is the more powerful of the two, but Citation Machine is handy.

Social bookmarking is a technology that is related to the research-oriented tools.

Diigo and Delicious are powerful social bookmarking applications, also called “social tagging,” with browser extensions that support tagging, annotating and highlighting web sources including pages, PDFs, blog posts, images and videos.

The social character of these tools is changing the way that information and knowledge works.

Think of the efficiency with which disinformation such as rumors spread.Wikipedia_-_taste_the_fruit_of_knowledge

Now imagine similarly efficient information but grounded in referenced sources.

Our information environment is changing fast and you will be better equipped for that change when you are able to use social bookmarking and referencing tools.

Most important is your understanding of how information constructs knowledge and how references provide evidence.

Of immediate value to you is how you can use these tools to do a stronger job of writing papers and projects.

Image Acknowledgements

77aa99b53b82d17d5f03ca8a3fcbfe35.jpeg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/551409548100840461/

hBQdLi.png
https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/482247447293337601/hBQdLi_-.png

2447112317_b1f13112cb.jpeg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/12662957@N05/2447112317/

Wikipedia_-_taste_the_fruit_of_knowledge.jpeg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Wikipedia_-_taste_the_fruit_of_knowledge.jpg

This morning my bleary eyes focused on the top email in my inbox with the subject; “Immediate Action: Your Mailbox Size Notification.”

The email was simple and to the point.

“Your email account has used 23.7 GB (95%) of 25 GB.

Spear-PhishingYou will be unable to send and receive messages if you do not reset your account storage space to a higher limit.

Click the link to reset and validate your account.

http://oregonstate.edu/amiladministrator

Sincerely, OSU Mail Desk Administrator

This is a phishing attack and if I took the bait by clicking on the link, I could compromise my identity, my money and my data.

Phishing is the use of fraudulent messages disguised as coming from legitimate entities to acquire privileged information.

Phishing exploits trust, worry, and desire to trick people into giving up their up their sensitive credentials such as passwords and credit accounts.

A grim finding from an Intel Security survey shows that 97% of people globally are unable to identify phishing emails. Now that is scary.

The most powerful tool for computer hacking is social engineering which is the larger category of human manipulation into which phishing falls and there are numerous sub-categories of phishing.4894714911_42f0f50f72

Spear Phishing is targeted at specific individuals or groups and may contain familiar graphics and Web addresses to trick you.

Whaling is like spear phishing but aims at very large fish, such as a university president or corporate vice president.

Clone Phishing reuses a legitimate email and modifies it to contain the malicious url.

False Friend is email from someone that you know whose contacts have been hacked or spoofed and used to generate phishy emails.

Tab Nabbing exploits Web browser tabs to open a tab to a fake page.

Evil Twins are bogus wireless networks that mimic public networks in airports, libraries, coffee shop, and hotels in order to harvest credit cards and other personal information.

Phishing and social engineering are confidence games or confidence tricks and c7bc35f579799a5973f2b66937bcd3afcan also occur in text messages, phone calls, Web pages, social media posts, Skype calls and snail mailConfidence games are very old; read the Iliad for some prototypical instances.

Given that phishing is based in deception and some of the fakes are very convincing, how may time-stressed individuals such as yourself protect against the ruses? The solution comes in two parts: know what to look for and alter your online habits accordingly.

In his book The PrinceThe Prince Machiavelli gave advice that rings true when protecting oneself against phishing; be like the fox and the lion, the fox to discover the traps, the lion to frighten the wolves – be both smart and strong.

Here are some clues to watch for in order to detect predatory messages.

Asks for too much: computer system administrators never require your username, password, credit card or social security number. Even if sensitive information is needed online or by voice you are better off taking an alternate path to double-check the source.

Mismatched links: Don’t click on email links, but do examine them by mousing-over and you will see that phishing emails include linked text that is different from the Web address linked to.

You did not ask for it: a warning, threat or offer comes to you without you having initiated the contact – beware.

Threats and promises: fear, greed and pride are the nuts and bolts of confidence games and when you detect those elements in a message your phishy antennae should perk right up.

Poorly constructed: some phishing messages are expert but most are barely literate and would end up in the reject folder at crappypasta.com. You should know enough to reject them as well. This is one reason why advanced literacy is a practical part of your education.

“97% of people globally are unable to identify phishing emails.”

Cultivate smart habits to protect yourself against predatory messages (see my earlier columns for techniques of habit change) including the following practices.

Slow Down: most phishing threats can be disarmed by separating action from feeling. Phishers rely upon the impulsive actions of their victims and so when an email or related message gives you feelings of urgency, take that as a sign that you need to step away from the mouse and give clarity time to emerge.  Much of what feels like an emergency in life – for instance a midterm – is not as big as it seems.

Analyze before evaluating: Judging something as bad, dangerous, desirable or important are evaluations that will benefit from analysis. Learning to discern the relevant facts of situation before evaluating those facts is a fundamental critical thinking skill that will save you from confidence games. It is like looking both ways (analysis) before crossing the street (judgment).

Research the claims: What is the message seeking from you? What does it claim to be? What evidence do you have for these claims? A great way to check any message for phishing is to copy the message text and paste it into a Google search. It took me less than ten seconds to do so with the email that I receive this morning (see above) and my search returned hundreds of posts identifying the fraud. This method directs analysis to a safe and useful action.

Never link from an email: Once when I was little I put my finger in a stapler just to see what would happen. Once I clicked on a link in an email just to see what would happen. I have not done either of those things ever again.

Never reply with personal information: Todd Davis is CEO of Lifelock, a personal identity protection company. To promote his product Davis give out his social security number on television and the Web claiming that Lifelock will prevent identity theft. Within months his identity was compromised 13 times including fraudulent loans, credit cards, and gift basket purchases. Don’t be like Davis and do not give out your social security number, passwords, credit card information, and other personal information unless you are very sure about whom you are giving it to.

Be network selective: be very careful about using personal information on public networks such as coffee shops and airports because you may expose it to an evil twin or wifi sniffer.

Do not reply at all to suspects: do not reply to phishing or spam messages because even selecting the unsubscribe link will verify your email address and invite more malicious attacks.

Use your junk mail, spam filters and security programs: get familiar with7557181168_91f4af2d99_b your self-defense tools and use them effectively. Look into Google Safe Browsing for Chrome and Firefox. The OSU Computer Walk-Up Help Desk in the Valley Library and the OSU Computer Help Desk at 541-737-3474 will help you become an internet ninja.

Report phishing: the OSU Helpdesk has a feedback form by which you may report phishing messages. See jondorbolo.com for resource links. Reporting helps the community address phishing and makes you more aware because you become an active participant.

Stay informed: security specialists like McAfee Labs, Symantec and Norton are reliable sources for phishing threats and defensive strategies. Being aware of the threat environment and current protective measures is a source of personal power. OSU Computer Helpdesk has extensive online resources on Phishing including effective breakdowns of actual examples plus no-cost security software and help in using it.

Don’t be paranoid: be smart and safe but please do not let this information make you more fearful or cynical. With reason, knowledge and habit adjustment you can be cyber-secure. The key to a better life is learning to see a better world.

For more depth on phishing and other malicious hacking phenomena consider two sources which I drew from for this column.

Phishing Dark Waters, Christopher Hadnagy (2015, Wiley).

The Art of Deception, Kevin Mitnick (2007, Wiley).

Please send your experiences with phishing to me at drtech@oregonstate.edu.

Image Acknowledgements

Spear-Phishing.jpeg
https://blog.knowbe4.com/tech-firm-ubiquity-suffers-46m-cyberheist

4894714911_42f0f50f72.jpeg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/35484468@N07/4894714911

c7bc35f579799a5973f2b66937bcd3af.jpeg
http://www.amazon.com/The-Prince-Dover-Thrift-Editions/dp/0486272745

7557181168_91f4af2d99_b.jpeg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/61423903@N06/7557181168

Pictofigo_FrustrationThe Turning clicker system is currently a source of irritation to OSU students and faculty alike.

In this column I will consider what the problem is, what solutions are being pursued and what you can do to succeed with your clicker this term.

What are clickers?

In Fall 2015 approximately 12,000 students are using the Turning clicker system in 77 course sections.

The Turning clicker system consists on the student side of a physical remote, ResponseWare iOS and Android apps, a web clicker for browsers at rwpoll.com and a licensed Turning Cloud account.

On the instructor’s side is a USB receiver and the TurningPoint software.

What holds all of this together is the Turning License. Think of the license like the data plan for your smartphone. The phone will not work without a data plan and your clicker system will not fully work without a license.

“See the video of Dr. Tech being soaked with ice water in freezing weather as penance for this unfortunate situation.”

In Fall 2015 the Beaver Store began selling the QT remote which replaces and costs the same as last year’s NXT bundle.

Costs to students are contained by not raising them when the tools upgrade.

The updated system works with the NXT so that students who own a clicker from previous years do not need to buy a QT.

Costs to students are contained by designed backwards compatibility thus limiting new required purchases.

What is the problem with the clickers?

The problem with the clickers is that many students are having difficulty registering their system such that their name and the device ID are paired.beaver-46239_640

This problem is due to several factors.

One factor is the transition from Blackboard to Canvas which produced the need to connect accounts to both; the departure of Blackboard from OSU this term will simplify that matter.

Another factor is the existence of three ONID email address for each OSU member: @oregonstate.edu, @onid.oregonstate.edu, @onid.orst.edu.

Most of the student registration troubles that I encounter involve a combination of email logins for multiple Turning Cloud accounts.

Add to these factors Turning’s move to a cloud-based system with some design flaws and the variations proliferate faster than fruit-flies in a compost bin.

85% of OSU students in clicker-using courses this Fall are correctly registered so that their names and clicker device IDs are paired in Canvas.

Consequently, 15% of this term’s students – about 2,000 people – are not completely registered as of week three.

Being completely registered means that you have a Turning Cloud account that is linked to Canvas and contains a redeemed license and a valid device ID.

The most important point I have to convey is that the Turning clicker system saves your participation points 100% of the time.

I will not tolerate a system that loses points of students who use it correctly.

Even if you are in a registration snarl, every time you use your clicker and get a check mark symbol, your responses are received and saved.

The TAC plan is to get every student registered and then go course by course, file by file to retrieve and post every participation point for every student.

You have my word on that and if you feel that your participation points are not being properly credited, please come see me and we go after it with a passion.

All of the instructors who use clickers are aware of these facts and co-operate fully in crediting the legitimate participation points of students.

You also have my humble apology for the confusion and irritation related to our clicker system.

To wit, see for the video of me being soaked with ice water in freezing weather as penance for this unfortunate situation.

What is being done to fix this problem?

I take responsibility for leading us to a clicker registration solution for future terms.

I am working with Turning and Canvas to guide development of a direct and logical integration between the two nxt_qtthat supports a three-step registration process such as is common to many web applications.

The critical objective is to eliminate false-positives so that students do not believe that they are correctly registered when they actually have incomplete accounts.

Basically I plan to banish incomplete clicker accounts to the bowels of hades so that students get one of two outcomes: “that worked, congratulations” or “that did not work, go get help.”

Verily I say unto you, this strategy will result in a 98% successful registration rate before the end of week two in a term.

Moreover I am seeking to normalize clicker ownership so that incoming students receive their fully registered clicker bundle at START in the Summer.

I’d like to add unicorns and rainbows to this plan, but for the coming academic year a completely reliable and hassle-free clicker registration system will suffice.

What can I do to solve my clicker issues now?

Visit the TAC Clicker Registration Station in the lobby outside of LINC100 from 10-2 M-F.

Many students have more than one Turning account – often one linked to Blackboard and another to Canvas.

I suggest that you check each of the ONID email addresses – @oregonstate.edu, @onid.oregonstate.edu, @onid.orst.edu – at the Turning Account login; go through Canvas to find it.

Use the password retrieval to see if the account for that login exists and to determine whether you have a stealth account.

If you do have multiple accounts, check to see which one has a redeemed license and whether it is linked to Blackboard or Canvas.

Often the solution is to link Canvas to the licensed account by selecting the Turning link in Canvas and logging into Turning.

If you reset your password the Canvas link is broken but you only need connect from within Canvas again and login to restore it.

In the Dashboard “http://oregonstate.turningtechnologies.com” shows a Canvas connection.

In the Dashboard “http://my.oregonstate.edu” shows a Blackboard connection.

If you are in any doubt, come see us at the Clicker Registration Station in the lobby outside of LINC100 from 10-2 M-F or write to clickers@oregonstate.edu.

My clicker crew colleagues and I agree that OSU students are among the most patient and civil people on the planet.

In tribute to your excellence we are holding a raffle with Turning Technologies support.

Love for money

Prizes are Beaver Store gift certificates in denominations of ten $10, five $25, two $50, and one $100.

Winners will be drawn from all OSU students with fully registered Turning clicker accounts and announced in a future Dr. Tech column.

Please come to TAC’s Clicker Station in the LINC first floor lobby M-F 10-2 for assistance and write to me with your thoughts on clickers and anything at all: drtech@oregonstate.edu.

beaver-46221_640A campus full of Beavers makes my heart glad. If you have returned, welcome home. If you are new to OSU, we are so glad that you have joined this community.

I am Dr. Tech and this weekly column covers issues in technology that are important to OSU members and maybe of interest to you; students, staff and faculty. Write to me anytime with questions and ideas to investigate and address; drtech@oregonstate.edu.

“All students with clickers completely and correctly registered by Friday 10.09 5:00 p.m. PST will be entered into the raffle and the winners will be announced in this column on the following Wednesday.”

Learning Innovation Center (LINC)

The big news this term is the Learning Innovation Center (LINC). This astonishing facility seats up to 2,300 students in 15 classrooms of widely diverse styles.

The unique design of the building, classrooms in the center with perimeter walkways, provides 600 study and collaboration spaces on all 4 floors. Conversations with students consistently identified the need for more informal learning space and now you have it.

parlement_roomSome of the class rooms such as the in-the-round spaces are totally unique to OSU.

Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC), The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and Boora Architects have launched a study of these spaces titled “The Geometry of Learning.”

This study is a research framework initially seeking to measure seating choices by students in order to correlate location to learning outcomes.

We also aim to map the social networks of learning spaces by following seat choices over time.

This research is original and has potential for discovering how to design learning spaces for optimal learner performance.

This research is supported by Academic Affairs and Information Services.

Thousands of students have consented to participate in the research and if you are among them, we appreciate your foresight.

Fourth floor LINC is home to the Honors College and the Integrated Learning Resource Center (ILRC) which brings together the units of Academic Technology (AT) and CTL. My office is there if you ever have time to stop in to say “hi.”

Clickers

There is a new Turning remote in town, the QT, sold in the Beaver Store as OSU’s clicker solution.

The QT has a qwerty keyboard which makes it equivalent to the ResponseWare mobile device clicker interface.turning_qt

The QT bundle costs the same as last year’s NXT clicker and no new costs are added to clicker-using students.

Please note that students who own a NXT from previous years are fully supported and do not need to buy a new clicker.

Students who registered an NXT in 2014-5 (last year) do not need to register again. Students who own a new QT must register the device and their license.

Registration licenses your QT and apps which are downloadable at no cost from the Apple Store and Google Play, as well as the web service at rwpoll.com. All of these will work as a clicker if your instructor enables the ResponseWare.

Check your course syllabus for the ResponseWare Session ID because some instructors choose not to enable ResponseWare for mobile devices.

TAC’s Clicker Registration Station is located outside of LINC100 Monday through Friday in week one for everyone who needs to register their clicker or wants to check on it.

The Turning clicker system at OSU is part of a comprehensive strategy intended to steadily increase learning/teaching power while containing and reducing costs to students.  I will cover details of this strategy in columns to come.

How about a raffle contest for the quickest classes to register? Some of you may remember last year when I took the ice bucket challenge in December to promote clicker registration. Now TAC with support from Turning Technologies is launching a raffle to encourage fast and total clicker registrations by classes. The prizes are Beaver Store gift certificates in the following amounts and denominations:

10x$10
4x$25
2x$50
1x$100

All students with clickers completely and correctly registered by Friday 10.09 5:00 p.m. PST will be entered into the raffle and the winners will be announced in this column on the following Wednesday. To qualify you need to be an Oregon State University student and have a Turning NXT or QT remote with a redeemed license, which is listed as a participant in the Canvas system.  TAC will randomly select Beaver Store gift certificate winners from the active participants listed in Canvas.  Winners will be contacted by ONID mail.  Certificated unclaimed four weeks will be awarded to an alternate student. Send your questions about this F15 raffle to Jon.Dorbolo@oregonstate.edu.  

Canvas

Fall 2015 is the last term for Blackboard at OSU and Canvas is performing well as a strong successor.canvas_panda

Three new features are available in Canvas: Studio Sites, Turnitin, and Canvas Commons.

Studio Sites enables OSU members to create Canvas areas for non-course uses such as student clubs and department resources.

Turnitin is a text pattern-matching tool that may flag different kinds of plagiarism and inappropriate reuse. Instructors must inform students that Turnitin will be used on course assignments, preferably in the syllabus. The tool may be used to let students check their drafts for pattern matches before submitting an assignment, which turns Turnitin into a learning tool.

Canvas Commons facilitates sharing of selected course content among instructors both locally and globally.

Office365

Every OSU student gets Microsoft Office365 for use on 5 devices at no cost.  Download yours at oregonstate.edu/office365

Walkup Computer Help Desk

No one could ask for better technical support than available to OSU students at the OSU Computer Walk-Up Helpdesk on main floor of Valley Library. There is not enough room on this whole page to list all of the services that they provide, so check my blog for links.

Game On!

Dr. Tech’s Top Ten Technologies Countdown is an interactive live game show c3_spin_gamethat uses clickers and student’s brains to compete for knowledge and prizes. Three sessions of the game are reserved for U-Engage first year students and other sessions will be open to the collective Beaver colony. This game and yours truly will be featured at the upcoming Unizin Summit conference.

My forecast is that F15 will be an action packed term with you being especially successful. I advise you to read “Ask Dr. Tech” weekly to stay sharp on the edge of tech.

Image Sources

beaver-46221_640.png
https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&q=beavers&tbs=sur:fmc#imgrc=9VCpr2lGN0kD8M%3A

canvas_panda.gif
Canvas

linc_parlament.jpg
Boora Architects

spin_game.jpg
c3softworks

Wenger_EvoGrip_S17I hope to persuade you that your summer plans should include a strategy for creating at least one substantive product that demonstrates your skills.

This matters because you will eventually be competing for a job, program or grant and those candidates who have demonstrated relevant skills shall prevail.

It is not hard to demonstrate a skill, but so few people do so that those who grasp its value will gain power.

Here is a formula for demonstrating your skills:

1. Identify a skill to promote

2. Do something that uses that skill

3. Produce a commentary on what you did,

4. Publish your commentary publicly

5. Refer employers and evaluators to your product.

To identify a promotable skill [step 1 of the formula] review the objectives of what you have already accomplished and find out what your potential audience values.

All of the courses and programs that you have completed have performanceimage3 objectives stated in the syllabi or other descriptive documents.

A strong way to prepare an account of your abilities is to review the performance objectives that you have met and write a paragraph expressing the specific knowledge or action that fulfills each objective.

I put each learning objective for the courses that I take (I am pursuing a MA in Psychology) on an index card at the start of the term, then write a statement of specific knowledge that fulfills the objective on each card at the end of the course.

Employers and evaluators tell us what they value and you should pay attention to what they are saying.

Read “The Six Critical Abilities Students Need for Success After College” in Forbes Magazine.

The employable skills listed in that article are; Think analytically, Express ideas effectively through written communication, Exchange ideas effectively through oral communication, Bring innovation to their work, Envisage and work independently on a project, Accept and act on criticism.

Read “IDC study reveals skills today’s students need to succeed in tomorrow’s unimagined world.”

When you look at a job application consider whether any of the parts asked for map to the skills identified by employers in these studies.

Acknowledging what you have accomplished, there is always more that you can do to validate a skill [step 2 of the formula] and the solutions are no further than your mobile phone.

Thousands of online courses, seminars, textbooks, eBooks and audio books are available for free or cheap.

Some of these are validated by universities such as Open Oregon State, MIT OpenCourseware, Stanford Online, and Merlot.

14695-adventures_moduleI recommend that you take a look at “Adventures in Writing” from Stanford Online which is a series of lessons presented in graphic novel style that you can take for free.

I ask you, is “I succeeded in a writing course from Stanford” or “I completed a seminar taught by a Nobel Prize laureate at MIT” worth having in your cover letter?

Even better, all such offerings have performance objectives so that you may map your skills back to what employers are seeking.

Open Culture is a massive repository of free online learning resources.

Even a little bit of computer programming knowledge is valuable in the job market and even the most non-technical of us can gain such knowledge at Khan Academy an Code Academy.

I am not suggesting that you pursue C++ coding, but that a truthful statement such as “mastered the basics of writing macros in Word in this certified tutorial” or “over summer break I learned Javascript which I applied to the website at…”

While you are learning something you may as well turn it into evidence of your competence (step 3 of the formula) by writing a review of the course-book-article-video that you studied and post your review on a blog or a review site such as Goodreads.

With even a small repertoire of such publications (step 4 of the formula) you will have objective evidence of your skills in learning and communication to be references in resumes, cover letters, and applications.

Consider the following statements from two job applications:

“I have excellent communication and collaboration skills.”

“My communication skills are demonstrated by my book reviews at link and my collaboration skills are demonstrated in the report that I produced from a group project at link” [step 5 of the formula].

If you were an employer, which statement would invite you to take another look at the candidate?

If acting on this advice interests you, please send your thoughts and opencultureoutcomes to me at drtech@oregonstate.edu.

I wish graduating seniors and all degree recipients luck in entering an amazing career; your path to excellence is just beginning.

Fare ye well and come back to us some times, because once a Beaver always a Beaver.

To you who will return in Fall, have a wonderful summer, plenty of fun, make sure you learn something and make it count for you.

 

Image Acknowledgements

Wenger_EvoGrip_S17.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_Army_knife#/media/File:Wenger_EvoGrip_S17.JPG

14695-adventures_module.jpg
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/january/writing-adventures-illustrated-010815.html

image3.jpeg
http://www.thewisejobsearch.com/2010/07/filling-out-job-applications-why-and.html

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