Tag: higher-ed

Shattered Myths

Shattered Myths
Digitally Lit #244 – 5/2/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #244 of Digitally Literate.

I was involved in the following this week:

Reflections of a school counselor during the 2020 school closures – Together with a group of colleagues in SC, we’re holding space for educators to reflect & heal.

This month’s focus is on trauma informed teaching. This first post from Guy Ilagan is all about school counselors and compassion fatigue. I think this is a topic that many of us are in the middle of right now.

“Compassion fatigue is a secondary traumatization that affects our mood, health, and regard for our students and work. Providing empathy and understanding to students in crisis can lead to compassion fatigue.”.

Professor Supports Educators in the Wake of COVID-19 – My institution wrote up a piece about me and my work to assist higher ed in the current situation.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think of this work at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


Different types of Zoomers


This YouTuber captured every kind of Zoom user you’ve met recently. Read more here.

Which one are you? 🙂


Covid-19 has blown apart the myth of Silicon Valley innovation

This global pandemic has laid bare the broken and decayed parts of our society. It has also awakened us to the false narrative around tech innovation.

There is a belief that tech companies will be there to develop some new solution that will save us from ourselves. The truth is that most of the tech industry is good at building anything of value.

The pandemic has made clear this festering problem: the US is no longer very good at coming up with new ideas and technologies relevant to our most basic needs. We’re great at devising shiny, mainly software-driven bling that makes our lives more convenient in many ways. But we’re far less accomplished at reinventing health care, rethinking education, making food production and distribution more efficient, and, in general, turning our technical know-how loose on the largest sectors of the economy.

The struggle to save and remake public higher education

The promise of college as a clear path to the future is a stunningly resilient myth.

This piece by Laura Czerniewicz outlines the current problems in higher ed. What is needed right now is unity of purpose in order to make decisions that will save public higher education and enable it to be reshaped for the unknown future.

To move forward, we need to start with the “old normal of learning”, while not succumbing to the datafication of teaching.

Distance Learning Is Taking an Emotional Toll on Students

A look at “triage pedagogy” — an effort to “stem the educational bleed as best we can in order to survive the rest of the semester.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools at every level to grapple with a reality in which the fundamental assumptions upon which they normally operate — that the majority of students are in good health and have a relatively clear vision of the future ahead — no longer apply.

53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak

A new Pew Research Center survey conducted in early April finds that roughly half of U.S. adults (53%) say the internet has been essential for them personally during the pandemic and another 34% describe it as “important, but not essential.”

The research suggests:

How to cope with an infodemic

We’re always in the process of defining acceptable forms of speech and other content in digital, informational spaces, even as the global pandemic changes the way we view big tech.

Kate Starbird with a great piece on how some of the digital, social spaces strive to set effective boundaries for a great deal of speech in the U.S. public forum.


Turn Your Quarantine Video Chats into a Podcast

I help create a podcast or two. This seems like a good way to spin off a video chat into a podcast feed. You could create audio feeds of lectures or discussions that students can review offline on their devices.



A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.

James Feibleman

digilit banner
Digitally Literate is a weekly review of the news, notes, tips, and tricks from the week that resonated with me. I leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs. Feel free to pay attention if you’d like to check my notes. 🙂

This AI fueled meme generator is exactly what you didn’t know you needed this week. Read more here.

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

As Impossible as Possible

As Impossible as Possible
Digitally Lit #241 – 4/11/2020

Hi all, welcome to issue #241 of Digitally Literate.

This week’s issue is motivated by a brief discussion with Joaquin A. B. Munoz on a post I shared in the Higher Ed Learning Collective Facebook group. Each morning I try to share a positive greeting online, & a post to push our thinking. Joaquin wisely indicated that these stop-gap measures to address our work are nice…but what we really have is an opportunity to rethink our institutions and structures.

You know what Joaquin…you’re right. This issue is for you. 🙂

I also helped post the following this week:

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think of this work at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


How This Guy Balances Impossible Rock Structures (7:24)

Michael Grab’s mind-bending rock formations aren’t held together by glue or steel rods. Shockingly, his rock piles are stacked using only the laws of gravity. Michael’s rock formations have taken the internet by storm, and brought an even greater attention to rock balancing.

Watch his YouTube channel to see him make the seemingly impossible, possible.


We Need to Stop Trying to Replicate the Life We Had

As we’ve moved to social distancing around the globe, the decision, for the most part has been to identify online ways to replace offline behaviors. We’re quickly realizing that this is often a poor substitute.

Trying to translate your old social habits to Zoom or FaceTime is like going vegetarian and proceeding to glumly eat a diet of just tofurkey, rather than cooking varied, creative, and flavorful meals with fruits and vegetables. The challenge, then, of adapting to an all-virtual social life may lie in reorienting our interactions around the strengths of the platforms where we can be together.

We can’t try to substitute digital for meatspace and assume that it’ll be a worthy substitute. But, we can think about new practices and habits.

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting

As the Coronavirus disrupts and traumatizes most aspects of our lives, there is a clear opportunity to see the vulnerabilities that we have as a global village. We see the social and economic challenges that exist in our systems.

We also see areas of the planet where pollution has simply stopped as the skies clear up. Animals are running wild through city streets as the humans are staying at home.

This post by Julio Vincent Gambuto indicates that we have been given a tremendous gift by this look through the looking glass. We are about to receive an amazing amount of propaganda from governments, advertising, and our neighbors as we’re urged to return to normalcy.

From one citizen to another, I beg of you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullshit and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud.

Why we need a new WPA

The Works Progress Administration (WPA), created with an initial $4.9 billion appropriation in 1935 during the Depression, is commonly associated with the building of roads and bridges. The WPA also employed writers, researchers, historians, artists, musicians, actors & other cultural figures. This had as profound and lasting impact on the nation as the bridges and roads built by thousands of laborers.

This post from Paula Krebs suggests that as we prepare for a post-pandemic society, we should also develop the philosophical, cultural, and ethnic structures that undergird our societies.

Are we all digital scholars now? How the lockdown will reshape the post-pandemic digital structure of academia.

Much of our response for this global pandemic has been the rapid adoption of digital technologies for all activities that we assumed were necessary, and needed to happen face-to-face.

Mark Carrigan with a post considering what transformation of higher education might look like after this rapid institutional change.

There are productive possibilities to be found in the bleak weirdness of our present situation and digital scholarship provides us with a framework through which we can think about how to realise them on a practical and mundane level.

How the ‘Stockdale Paradox’ Can Help You Embrace Uncertainty

Believing in a better future—while still acknowledging the darkness of our present reality—seems almost impossible right now. Doing so may make all the difference.

The Stockdale Paradox refers to the mindset employed by James Stockdale, a Vietnam veteran who spent seven years as a prisoner of war. Stockdale indicated that even if the situation seems dire, envisioning a way forward—even just an imagined one—can be the key to picking yourself up and moving ahead each day, even in the midst of incredible difficulties.

If we push beyond blind optimism, we can forge ahead into new territory, carrying with us both an understanding of the world as it is right now and an unwavering hope for the future.


Fermented Hot Sauce

enter image description here
This week I’ve been playing with some lacto-fermentation to make my own hot sauce. This video and this video should get you started.



I guess if you keep making the same mistake long enough, it becomes your style.

John Prine

digilit banner
Digitally Literate is a weekly review of the news, notes, tips, and tricks from the week that resonated with me. I leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs. Feel free to pay attention if you’d like to check my notes. 🙂

This video led to much needed laughs in my house…which was followed by this video…which led to spending the night beatboxing with my kids. 🙂

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Facebook’s Latest Higher Ed Push Part of Broader Trend

Facebook’s Latest Higher Ed Push Part of Broader Trend – EdSurge News (EdSurge)

Facebook is teaming up with community colleges as part of a nationwide effort to teach digital-literacy skills to small-business leaders and others in …

News from EdSurge as Facebook is teaming up with community colleges as part of a nationwide effort to teach digital-literacy skills to small-business leaders and others in cities. Facebook’s education strategy focuses on economic enablement and job growth, as well as supporting small businesses with the skills “they need to grow.”

In addition to the in-person community college partnerships and the Community Boost program, Facebook has also put parts of its education initiatives online. For instance, “Learn with Facebook” consists of free online trainings that teach people digital marketing skills, such as branding and consumer behavior.


The move is part of a trend of Silicon Valley companies trying to shape curriculum around their products.


“It seems to be about developing the workforce and developing a customer base,” he says. “But in this moment where Facebook is in the midst of a campaign, globally, to restore their reputation, these kinds of investments and partnerships in the community are probably constructive in terms of positioning the company as one that’s a force for good rather than sort of an evil technology company.”

This news spawned a large Twitter discussion as we unpacked the complexity of this initiative.

Higher education is ailing. It hasn’t been destroyed – yet.

Higher education is ailing. It hasn’t been destroyed – yet. (Bryan Alexander)

Over the past week a discussion about the future of American higher education has unfolded across the web. Things began with the publication of new enrollment data.  I commented on this, and Josh K…

Excellent presentation of facts, findings, and trends from Bryan Alexander on the recent discussion about the life and death of higher ed.
The takeaway:

Where does that leave us?  Large areas of American higher education are suffering.  Their business model might not work any longer.  Student debt is unprecedented, dangerous, and continuing to grow.  Partly in response, enrollment has dropped, which is placing even more pressure on campuses and their flailing business models.  These and other trends are weakening parts of this sector’s ability to thrive or even survive.  We may have passed peak higher ed.  American academia is sick, if not ruined, and the course of the disease, as well as its possible treatment, are uncertain.

Here’s How Higher Education Dies

Here’s How Higher Education Dies (The Atlantic)

A futurist says the industry may have nowhere to go but down. What does the slide look like?

Bryan Alexander started grappling with the idea of “peak higher education” in 2013—inspired by the notion of “peak car,” “peak oil,” and other so-called “peaks.” At the time, there were signs that the industry was already struggling. The number of students enrolled in higher education had dropped by a little over 450,000 after years of booming growth, the proportion of part-time faculty—more commonly referred to as adjuncts—had steadily become a more significant part of the professorship, and there was a general skepticism about the skyrocketing costs of college and concerns over whether a degree was worth it. Taken individually, he said, each sign was troubling enough. But when looked at together, they represented the outlines of a bleak future for higher education. Alexander, a self-described higher-education futurist and a former English professor, came to the conclusion that after nearly a half century of growth, higher education might be as big as it could get. It would, he reasoned, only get smaller from there.


It’s ironic, he says, that “we are living through the greatest time in history to be a learner,” with the availability of so many high-quality free materials online. But at the same time, the institutions most affiliated with knowledge and learning are facing crisis.

The Future of College Looks Like the Future of Retail

The Future of College Looks Like the Future of Retail (The Atlantic)

Similar to e-commerce firms, online-degree programs are beginning to incorporate elements of an older-school, brick-and-mortar model.

Similar to e-commerce firms, online-degree programs are beginning to incorporate elements of an older-school, brick-and-mortar model. As online learning extends its reach it is starting to run into a major obstacle: There are undeniable advantages, as traditional colleges have long known, to learning in a shared physical space.
Recognizing this, some online programs are gradually incorporating elements of the old-school, brick-and-mortar model—just as online retailers such as Bonobos and Warby Parker use relatively small physical outlets to spark sales on their websites and increase customer loyalty. Perhaps the future of higher education sits somewhere between the physical and the digital.
Looking for opportunities to dissolve the physical-digital dichotomy.

The hidden crisis on college campuses: Many students don’t have enough to eat by an author (Washington Post)

A first-of-its-kind survey finds one-third of college students regularly skip meals and lack stable housing.

This is one the things that I think we often don’t address in our courses or programs. There is an assumption made that all students are “well off” and have everything they need in higher ed to be successful.
This could be food, shelter, or technology access.
It’s stories like this that indicate that students don’t have a place to live when classes let out for the semester…or food to eat during the year. I also see this in classes where students will have a mobile device, but don’t have a laptop/tablet to use in classes for basic coursework.

According to a first-of-its-kind survey released Tuesday by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, 36 percent of students at 66 surveyed colleges and universities do not get enough to eat, and a similar number lack a secure place to live.