The article below was featured in Campus Technology Magazine and online on May 15, 2013.
Tiny Radio in Class: Podcasting Returns to Campus
By Dian Schaffhauser
When 99% Invisible blew through its fundraising goal on Kickstarter by four times, the “tiny radio show about design” brought renewed attention to the lost art of audio podcasting. It also piqued the attention of Associate Professor John McArthur, director of undergraduate programs for the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. McArthur had been seeking out a topic to try in a pilot seminar he was holding this spring as part of a department exploration to figure out how faculty and students might interact in a more collaborative way on campus.
And that’s exactly what happened. In the course of the seminar McArthur’s students used podcasting as a mechanism to learn how to compose arguments in the form of telling a story. Plus, it gave them a chance to interact with faculty in a mode that put them in the role of “producer.”
How a Podcast Report is Put Together
In an era of quickly produced videos that go viral on YouTube, the concept of producing a podcast may seem a bit antiquated. Why go audio when visual rules the day?
Exploring the Relationship Between Student-Instructor Interaction on Twitter and Student Perceptions of Teacher Behaviors
The latest issue of International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education features a research article by Dr. John A. McArthur and Kristen Bostedo-Conway. The article – “Exploring the Relationship Between Student-Instructor Interaction on Twitter and Student Perceptions of Teacher Behaviors” – examines the use of Twitter as a classroom tool. The abstract reads:
With much attention being placed on the use of Twitter and other social media in the classroom, educators are grappling with the question, “Is Twitter a valid tool to increase classroom effectiveness?” Yet, many responses to this question come from anecdotal and case-study-based information. The present study offers a preliminary quantitative analysis of Twitter in the classroom. A survey-based experiment (n = 144) was conducted to measure student perceptions of teacher credibility, immediacy, and content relevance alongside instructor Twitter-use. Results indicate significant, positive correlations between student Twitter-use and positive perceptions of teacher behaviors. These results indicate that Twitter may serve as a valuable tool to supplement more traditional forms of course instruction.
Dr. McArthur is an associate professor of communication in the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. Ms. Bostedo-Conway is an alumna of Queens University of Charlotte, graduating in 2012 with a Master of Arts in Communication. The pair are working on a follow-up study on the relationship between Twitter use and non-verbal communication measures.
“What colleges have been doing isn’t wrong or irresponsible. But, it is insufficient.” These opening sentiments from Dr. Terrel Rhodes, AAC&U’s Vice President set the stage for considering the change facing higher education at the 2013 conference on general education. The meeting’s setting along Boston’s Freedom Trail was a telling metaphor for for a conference both honoring the vibrant history of collegiate work and calling for a revolutionary momentum required to rethink higher education.
Opening speaker Dr. Bobby Fong, President of Ursinus College, asked attendees to consider the benefits and drawbacks of technology as a driver of change in higher education. He fears the development of a class-based system of higher education where some choose liberal learning while others are offered career credentialing. In his words, “Knowledge mastery does not equal learning…There is a real-world serendipity at play that leads to learning.”
Plenary speakers Peggy Maki and Sarita Brown both presented visions of the future of higher education. Maki, a higher education consultant and author of Assessing for Learning, suggested that the future for faculty is to become learners of misunderstandings, misconceptions, and errors in logic. Our role, she says, is to invest ourselves in the knowledge synthesis and application business.
Brown, director of Excelencia in Education, laid a framework for meeting and welcoming the post-traditional undergraduate student to higher education. Excelencia focuses on the successes of Latino students, inviting colleges and universities to work with the demographic changes in the American population.
Closing speaker, the renowned psychologist Dr. Robert J. Sternberg, advised attendees on the need for measuring college-level learning through multiple measures, both direct and indirect. Not only must we cause students to learn, we must be able to show that they did. And, this learning is the goal of the college experience – not just the college classroom.
Throughout the conference, presenters in sessions shared their work on campuses from New Hampshire to Southern Utah in general education. During these sessions, some key takeaways for me regarded the need for general education to incorporate student choices and student-directed learning opportunities.
I’m continually excited to be considering general education as a subject of study and brainstorming about how colleges can move their work forward into a new mindset.
The following article was featured on
the Social Media Club’s national Social Media Education blog
on February 19, 2013:
As a professor who studies digital media, many people often ask me how I stay current in the field. Studying social media and digital media can be a tricky business in that new things are always being added to the market and new strategies proliferate for employing tools that exist.
In my practice, staying current is about three different components: Keeping up with the newest developments, experimenting with digital tools, and innovating in the classroom.
Keeping up with the latest tools
Keeping up with the latest tools is about finding a tool that will curate information so that I can most easily access and process it. You might be surprised that, for me, this tool is the (relatively old) standby, RSS. RSS, or real simple syndication, was developed to deliver information from the web to people who subscribe to that information. For example, most blog sites are equipped with RSS feeds which allow a user to subscribe to the blog and have the blog material delivered in a variety of formats.
I use the RSS reader in Google Reader to manage my subscriptions so that I am staying up to date with the most current research and trends in digital media. For me, though there’s a catch. I find the process of logging to access the content to be a little clumsy on my mobile devices. Instead, I need a more convenient way to digest this information on the go. I found two tools that make that simple. First, I often read blogs in between other things that I’m doing during my day when I have my phone available. On the iPhone, the Feeddler appbecame a great resource for me to manage the blogs and podcasts that I plans to read or listen to. The app alerts me when there’s new posts to read and I can quickly scan through the titles of the posts to see which ones capture my interest or relate to my learning. Second, sometimes I prefer to read posts in a more magazine-like style, especially on my iPad. In that case, I turn to Flipboard. Flipboard takes the RSS information puts it into a visual display like a magazine that you can scroll through by turning pages and clicking on articles to read the most recent updates.
Both Flipboard and Feeddler use Google Reader as their source of information, so all of the material that you read on any of these three tools syncs with the others. Therefore, when I mark items that I’ve read in Feeddler, they are also marked as “read” inside Google Reader and Flipboard. I also find it valuable to be able to share an article using Feeddler or Flipboard through Twitter, email, or other vehicles that allow me to connect these articles to my students and colleagues.
Experimenting with digital tools
When I read about a new digital tool that looks interesting, I usually try it. Often, this classifies me as an “early adopter” of technology among my colleagues. But through this willingness to experiment, I’ve tried out a variety of social media tools (as well as other digital media tools) in the classroom. My students have experimented with Facebook,Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, Storify, MindMeister, Goanimate, Audacity, and a variety of iPad and iPhone apps, to name a few, that allow them to connect to me and to each other in the classroom setting. Some of the links embedded above will take your articles I’ve written about these specific experiments.
Innovating in the classroom
For me the leap from experimenting in the classroom to innovating in the classroom comes at a point of confidence with the digital tool that I’m using. In a classroom experiment, I’ll try out the digital tool to see what might work what might happen and how students respond to the tool and its uses. Then, innovating with the tool in the classroom is about taking a tool and applying it to the course work in a way that generates learning for students. This is a widely unstudied body of knowledge in research literature mainly because the tools and practices are so new. As we move forward into an age of digital teaching and learning, researchers of instructional design should be able to consider the ways that innovations in digital technology can shape classroom learning.
In our graduate program in communication at Queens University of Charlotte for example, our faculty are innovating with the ways that media technologies can be used in the graduate classroom. Sometimes our students knew more than the professors about these technologies but other times the professors are introducing students to technologies being used in ways that they had not envisioned. And students are constantly making the connections between the major theories and concepts presented in the program, and the application of digital tools to those concept. This is the kind of work that will enhance and create opportunities for better and more sophisticated research into technology innovation in a variety of settings.
These three strategies are my way of keeping current with the changes in digital media technology and the ways they affect my classroom. We are all learners and, as a mutual learner with you, I’d love to hear about the ways that you stay current. You can contact me by leaving a comment here, by tweeting me at @JAMcArthur, or by going to my website and contacting me through one of the other channels there.
Thank you to the faculty members at the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico for being excellent hosts. This week, I facilitated two faculty development workshops at the university. The workshops focused on (1) integrating technology into the classroom and (2) digital and media literacy.
The slides and resources for workshop participants are below:
Resources mentioned during the session:
- Putting Pinterest to the Test
- Sample student projects in digital and media literacy:
- Building a Class Twitterfall
- Community 2.0
Queens University of Charlotte and Dr. John A. McArthur were featured on CampusTechnology.com in a story about experimenting with Pinterest in the college classroom. The article highlights the COMM 360: Charlotte and the Convention course and its use of Pinterest as an archive tool.
Below are two excerpts from the article, which can be read in its entirety on CampusTechnology.com
Faculty wanted a way to archive the student experience; so as part of the assignment, participants were asked to chronicle their experiences on Pinterest. According to John McArthur, an assistant professor in the Knight School of Communication at Queens, the faculty are always on the lookout “for what’s next.” …
(S)tudents began to view Pinterest as an “online photo gallery as opposed to a real-time updateable site like Twitter or Instagram.” From that perspective, he adds, “it became more of an archive than a timeline.”
With experience, McArthur now believes that Pinterest is best suited for “very niche courses” because it provides a “great opportunity for instructors to create student-generated archives of information related to class material,” less a digital portfolio than a tool students use to share things they come across in the news or online.
For example, he’s currently using it in a class on proxemics to study how space and technology combine. When students come across a particular story that might relate to the topic, they’ll pin it to the class Pinterest board…
McArthur encourages others to just try out the site. “Experimentation is the pathway to innovation with social media in the classroom,” he says. “Explain to [your] students that it’s an experiment we’re trying together, and we’re going to see how it works. Part of the outcome is to learn a social media platform you’re not familiar with–have a good time with it.”
Thanks to Dian Schaffhauser for her interest in our classrooms in the Knight School and thorough reporting. Read more about our Pinterest experiment here.
Everytime I write an paper about user-experience design, I try to illuminate the main concept by comparing Ikea and Walmart.
So, it made sense to me that instead of talking about this comparison in my graduate course in “Space, Technology & User Experience,” I would utilize the actual spaces to make the comparison for me.
My students and I met at the Charlotte Ikea for our Monday evening class and then processed across the parking lot to Walmart to make the comparison.
Cooley (2000) discusses nine principles of human-centered systems:
These principles suggest key ideas that designers of human-centered systems can implement to ensure a quality user experience. I’ve been using this framework in my own writing to make the case that architects and designers of built spaces could consider these 9 principles as they develop spaces for a variety of purposes (see McArthur, 2011).
To compare Walmart and Ikea, I asked students to choose one of the 9 elements of human-centered systems. Then, as they observed the 2 spaces, to make notes about the application of the concept to the space.
All the students were quick to notice that Ikea controls the shopper’s path, while Walmart allows shoppers to move through mutliple routes. Others noted that Ikea’s displays invite shoppers to experiment with the products on display, while many of the items in Walmart remain in their original packaging.
Some noted Walmart’s emphasis on making the prices of items highly visible compared to Ikea’s subtle tagging of items.
Still others considered the shopper’s experience based on wayfinding displays. Ikea had maps and directional arrows whereas walmart employed aisle markers and section signs.
Both of these spaces are similar in their architecture, but different in the experience they create for shoppers. Our next challenge will be figuring out how digital technology can play a role in making those experiences even better.
The article below was featured on the Social Media Club’s Education Blog on September 17, 2012.
I embarked on another classroom teaching and learning experiment this fall on Pinterest. One hundred of our students at Queens University of Charlotte were dispatched into the venues and streets of Charlotte as student interns and volunteers during the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
The Knight School of Communication held a two-day learning conference before the convention, and then placed students with opportunities of all kinds. We had students on the podium committee at the convention, working with the foreign media press gallery, working in production for national broadcasts like ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, supporting local media outlets, and serving as hosts for the PPL, a venue dedicated to culture, arts, learning, and media both credentialed and not.
As one of the assignments of the course, each student was asked to chronicle his or her experience on Pinterest. Here are a couple of things we learned at the onset of our experiment:
When we planned this assignment, Pinterest was an invitation-only service. We devised a plan to invite all of our class members, but, luckily for us, Pinterest moved to open access two weeks before our class. Each students was able to create a Pinterest account during the class and begin posting.
Real time posting
Pinterest isn’t really built for real-time posting. The mobile apps do not yet interface well with Twitter or Facebook, or services like Hootsuite that allow multiple posting at once. Many of our students privileged Twitter for current posts, choosing to then post their images to Pinterest at a later time when they were at their computers. Using the service myself, I found that posting a picture to Twitter was the easiest way to get it online from my iPad or iPhone. Then, I would move through Pinterest to pin my image by searching for it on the web. Pinterest could make this a lot more usable by allowing direct posting from its mobile apps.
Pinterest makes an excellent online archive. It is easy to navigate, shows all the images, and tracks where they came from online and who pinned wach image. It is a site built for compilation, and it works well.
Over 100 people had access to post to our single Pinterest board. Despite the fact that Pinterest emailed every user every time any other user posted on the board, the service worked beautifully to combine all of these disparate voices on one page. This was the piece that gave me the largest amount of advance worry, not having seen or tried a board with a hundred pinners.
These are just some early observations. We plan to write an article about the experiment, detailing the plan, the assignment, and the results. It’s been a fun ride.
John A. McArthur, PhD, is an assistant professor and director of undergraduate programs in the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte (NC). Connect with Dr. McArthur at http://www.jamcarthur.com or on Twitter @JAMcArthur.
Two days of seminars (followed by a week of volunteering) would normally be enough to leave students glassy-eyed and exhausted. The “Charlotte and the Convention” conference at Queens University of Charlotte was a clear exception. After over 30 different speakers and as many topics, students poured out of the classroom enthusiatic about engaging with the Democratic National Convention as members of the Charlotte community. Here’s a quick re-cap of our two days with links to more information:
Introductory information about the conference and our students
Sessions and Speakers
All of our sessions were recorded and will potentially be released at a later date. Below are links to further information about each of the following sessions:
Queens University of Charlotte spearheaded a multi-story campaign about the work in COMM 360 and covered the following stories:
This morning, Jennifer Hull and I appeared on Fox News Rising in Charlotte to promote the COMM 360 experience starting August 30, 2012 at Queens University of Charlotte. Watch the video on the FoxCharlotte website.
Here’s the planned schedule:
Items in red are open to the public and likely to be full. Please arrive early.
All events will be held in Ketner Auditorium (Sykes Buidling) on the Queens Campus.
|August 30, 2012|
|Welcome & Introduction||9:00 AM||Welcome||Mac McArthur/Jennifer Hull|
|Session 1||9:15 AM||Charlotte History||Tom Hanchett|
|Session 2||10:30 AM||PANEL: The Communicative Power of Events||Leanne Pupchek, Mohammed el-Nawawy, Bob Whalen, Kim Gregory (moderator)|
|Session 3||11:15 AM||Political Conventions: Then & Now||Mark Kelso|
|LUNCH BREAK||12:15 PM|
|Session 4||1:30 PM||Social Media changes Journalism||Jason Silverstein|
|Concurrent sessions 1||3:00 PM||TECHniques: Using Pinterest||Mac McArthur/Jennifer Hull|
|Concurrent sessions 1||3:00 PM||TECHniques: Developing a nose for news||Rebecca Anderson/Molly Hedrick|
|Concurrent sessions 1||3:00 PM||TECHniques: Editing Video||Jim Neale|
|Session 5||4:00 PM||Protesting Politics||Maggie Commins|
|DINNER BREAK||5:00 PM|
|Session 6||6:30 PM||PANEL: Carolina Stories Project||Alexis Carreiro (moderator)|
August 31, 2012
|Opening of day||9:00 AM||Welcome and Opening Reminders||Mac McArthur/Jennifer Hull|
|Concurrent sessions 2||9:15 AM||TECHniques: Following DNC on 2nd screens||Reena Arora|
|Concurrent sessions 2||9:15 AM||TECHniques: Photojournalism||Jim Neale|
|Concurrent sessions 2||9:15 AM||TECHniques: Interviewing||Bob Page|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: DNCC Communication Center|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: ABC News|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: Daily Show|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: QCityMetro|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: The Charlotte Observer|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: PPL of DNC|
|Session 7||11:00 AM||PANEL: Race, Faith and Social Justice||Diane Mowery, Daina Nathaniel, Norris Frederick, Zachary White (moderator)|
|LUNCH BREAK||12:00 PM|
|Session 8||1:15 PM||Charlotte and the Convention
|Erin DeBell, Jim Shoff, Mike Wirth, Kristen Bostedo-Conway, Mac McArthur, Jennifer Bratyanski, Jessica Braswell|
|Session 8 (con’t)||2:15 PM||Convention Security||Clarence Birkhead|
|Session 9||3:00 PM||PANEL: Media Makers
Covering the Convention
|Alexis Carreiro (moderator)|
|Session 10||4:15 PM||Digital Citizenship||Eric Freedman & Alexis Carreiro|
|EVENT CONCLUDES||5:00 PM|