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Social media is not only a part of our social lives but professional as well. LinkedIn is a website and company that takes this idea of social media, but allows users to boast and explain their professional background and aspirations. Students should be getting connected to this online professional website to look for opportunities that they might not possibly get anywhere else. However, this website also has an app that is available in the Google Play, Apple, and Microsoft store for smart phones and tablets.

The reason why this app is innovative is because you can take your professionalism and opportunities on-the-go. The app allows you to message, view profiles, edit your own profile, and request/deny connections with other professionals. LinkedIn is the type of website that students rarely log into, however with the app you can have the same capability as using the website on your phone. You can opt to receive notifications when people view your profile, messages that you receive from other professionals, and when people request to connect with you.

Opportunities for professional growth are always available from a multitude of resources. LinkedIn is one of those resources that can help kick-start your career. Most internship applications will request your LinkedIn profile URL in order to scope out information that they might not have gotten from your resume or cover letter. Not only can people see your professional history and bio, LinkedIn allows other users to endorse other users on skills that they might have seen you use. Having a lot of endorsements can help you get an opportunity that professionals are looking for in an employee.

Library from the Future

With the technology that is already accessible and the technology that is soon to come it is no doubt that it will have a substantial effect on higher education. In an article on the Campus Technology website they examine the exploratory trip of two secondary education students who determine the the academic potential of different tech seen today. This assignment was given to them by their university professor Erica Hamilton who claims that the goal of this assignment is for the students to explore new technology and to start thinking like teachers on how they can be used for educational purposes.

Grand Valley State University’s Technology Showcase provides an immersive environment to interact with an array of emerging technologies.


Hamilton sends her students to a technology showcase room in the new library at Grand Valley State University in Missouri. Libraries across the country are redefining themselves as learning commons and many are adding maker spaces. But Grand Valley has gone a step further, because its showcase provides an immersive environment to interact with an array of emerging technologies ranging from Oculus Rift to Double Robotics’ telepresence robots to 3D printers. By continuously researching and monitoring trends, the showcase focuses on identifying emerging technologies that have potential applications across campus. The article discusses how this space makes a great addition to a library where students can be exposed to a vast amount of knowledge from many different apsects.

Follow this link to read the full article

Making Lectures More Interactive

Bruce Hay, a biology teacher at the California Institute of Technology, has recently come up with a way to integrate more participation into his classroom and, as a result, seen an increase in the average grades of his students.

He started using an app called SKIES (Su-Kam Intelligent Education Systems) that allows students to create an interconnected web of knowledge about a topic that a professor is teaching. Hay states that “if you don’t have participation, then you’re not getting any feedback on what students are learning…It’s just a half an hour monologue without really knowing that you’re getting through to anyone.” He also explains that it is important that the students become more interactive instead of a passive audience.


Instructors and students are able to post class materials that are linked together, becoming a “class tree” (Credit: Campus Technology)


Anyone can use the app – university students and professors, or K-12 students and teachers. The material that students can post on SKIES can range from text, pictures, drawings, audio clips, links or videos. This also lets students learn from each other rather than just the teacher being the sole source of knowledge in the class.

While Hay is lecturing in his classroom, you will be able to see yellow bubbles pop up on the powerpoint he is presenting behind him. Those bubbles are the questions and comments that students are leaving on the app. Students are also able to thumbs up or thumbs down slides; green slides will have a thumbs up, while red slides have a thumbs down. Hay will be able to see which slides students were able to grasp versus which might have been confusing. Some instructors worry, however, that students who post things onto the app during a live lecture will become distracted. Some professors then ask that the students post only after the lecture, as students already seem to be multitasking enough during class.

More information on this topic can be found on the main article here.

Technology and Institutional Retention Strategies

In the beginning when hopes are high and one is feeling energized about either starting their higher education or returning to obtain it, these two attributes alone will not be enough  to keep you on the right track and your eye  on the prize. In an article on the Ellucian website they discussed the pitfalls that new and returning students succumb to that hinder them from making it to graduation. The article then talks about possible strategies that keep students on the ball and on their way to obtaining their degree.


About 400,000 students drop out of college every year. More than 40 percent of American students who begin at four-year colleges don’t earn a degree in six years. When community colleges are considered only about half of students actually earn a degree. So the question was asked why students leave before they graduate and what can higher education institutions do to change it.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently surveyed college leaders to hear about their retention and completion strategies and the image above breaks down the five most common approaches, and the percentage of institutions that employ them, to help keep students in school.

Each approach has its merits. But it was recommend that one should pursue a graduation strategy. Although a comprehensive strategy may be ideal, a graduation strategy includes the most viable elements of all the approaches. You can craft an effective graduation strategy by focusing on a few key principles:

  1. Meaningful engagement
  2. Clear pathways
  3. Early detection
  4. Personalized learning
  5. Insightful analytics

The main point is that technology can either supplement your efforts or do the heavy lifting for you. To read more details on the other top strategies and see which one best fits your needs please read the full article.

Free Online Courses: A Positive Experience

Yes, free online courses are now being offered by universities. Karen Harpp, a professor at Colgate University, has opened her course, “The Advent of the Atomic Bomb,” to university alumni and others who make a special request to join. Harpp believed it would be hard for today’s students to imagine living in 1945, experiencing a world war, or for most, serving in the military. With online classes, alumni have the opportunity to share their experiences, which can lead to class discussions getting more interesting.

The first time the online course opened Colgate hoped to enroll 238 students, but it surpassed that goal with 380 alumni. Another course that was offered, “Living Writers”, had 678 alumni enrolled. Ms. Harpp noticed that alumni who had graduated after 2000 were very interested in having access to the course material but less interested in engaging with the students. Older alumni from the Class of 1980 and earlier were most excited to talk with current Colgate students, challenging them on their thoughts and opinions on nuclear warfare. Colgate calls its class and others like it “fusion” courses because there are in-person courses for Colgate students with an additional online component that brings in alumni. The goal of these classes is not just to involve alumni, but to also invite the community to engage with students through online technology.

Now more universities are using free online courses as a form of engaging students with personal experiences that deal with the course content. Harvard University began offering such courses to graduates last year and the University of Wisconsin at Madison plans to offer six courses for their alumni. Now courses are being opened to the community and to various book clubs. With the help of technology and open dialog students receive a new and convenient way to promote “lifelong learning” while incorporating the community.

For more information on this topic visit the link below.

Fabris, Casey. “One Reason to Offer Free Online Courses: Alumni Engagement.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 12 Jan. 2015. Web.