Universities have a much more diverse student population today than in the past. They come in with a wide range of backgrounds, abilities, skills, and motivations. Managing such a diverse student population is challenging even to professors who have been teaching for many years. Here are eight tips to help you make connect with every student.
1. Watch for assumptions you might make such as thinking that all students come from traditional families or that all students have parents who went to college.
2. Use both the terms “he” and “she” in your lectures and correct your students when they make assumptions. Not all managers or engineers are male and not all secretaries or nurses are female.
3. Call on your students equally without favoring any one gender, age group, race, or nationality.
4. Use examples in class that draw from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.
5. Address inappropriate comments made by students in class that stereotype others. Take the time to make this a “teaching moment” to sensitize your students to the harm that their words and actions can do.
6. Get to know the name of each student and invite them to get to know you by coming to see you during office hours.
7. Encourage students with disabilities to see you so you can make accommodations that will allow them to fully participate in the class.
8. Ask your non-traditional students to share their work and life experiences with the other students in the classroom.
If you’re teaching mathematics, you might find these videos on how to teach students to write mathematics useful. These practical tips are presented by Kevin Houston (University of Leeds), Mike Robinson (Shefrield Hallam) and Franco Vivaldi (Queen Mary, University of London). As noted:
Students don’t write mathematics correctly. They throw down a mess of symbols with the answer underlined at the bottom and rely on the examiner’s intelligence to get the marks.Teaching them to write in a more orderly and logical way has numerous advantages: it makes marking easier; allows students to demonstrate understanding (or not); forces an improvement in their thinking skills. Expressing their ideas clearly and correctly is a valuable skill for graduates in further study, employment and life in general.
No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required, that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction. Charles Francis Adams
If you’ve wondered what the flipped classroom was or how you might use it, check out these articles gathered by the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Flipping your classroom means you have your students view lectures at home (either podcasts or videos) and then use the class time for discussion, experiential exercises, student presentations, etc. Advocates believe it is a much better use of the classroom and leads to more collaboration and creativity. I'm curious if any of you have tried this yet in your classes...
If you live in the Sarasota, Florida, area and want to know more about how to use social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Blogs, and much more...sign up for this 8 week course starting Wednesday, October 5, being hosted by the Lifelong Academy of Learning at USFSM. More info can be found here. I will be teaching the course-feel free to email me with any questions.
Chris Brogan very generously gave 45 minutes of his time last Saturday afternoon to skype into my class on Social Media Management & Strategy at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Chris is the president of Human Business Works and the author of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust (with Julien Smith) and Social Media 101. His new book, Google + for Business, will be released in November of 2011. Below are some of the questions from the MBA students as well as Chris’s answers.
Q: Why did you decide to write books on social media?
Chris: Actually I’ve always wanted to write books but I had in mind to write fiction. My coauthor of Trust Agents, Julien Smith, and I both had an early interest in entrepreneurship and then in social media as a way to build relationships. We found it to be an interesting way to look at the world. I was amazed when Trust Agents made the New York Times Best Sellers list-it must have been a slow week for book sales. On the other hand, there’s no asterisk next to my book stating this. J
Q: What is your take on Google+?
Chris: I predict that Google + will blow Facebook away, not by sheer numbers but instead by the huge traffic potential of Google+. This is partly due to the fact that Google and YouTube are the 1st and 2nd most widely used search engines on the internet. Dell is one company that gets Google+. Michael Dell is very active there in engaging live with the community. Talk about a trust agent-there’s no filter, no public relations person, he’s just talking with people about technology in the future. It’s all about building rapport-corporation systems don’t typically do this.
Q: What does it mean to be a trust agent?
Chris: Trust agents use the computer to be human at a distance. When you get a chance to laugh with someone, you take the information they’re sharing in a different way. It’s about engagement, building relationships, making connections. We forget how to be human online if we didn’t grow up with computers. You can’t discount emotions on social media but keep in mind that it’s not all “soft.” There’s business in there. You are in marketing regardless of what your job title is. It’s about sales, customer relations.
Q: How do we know it’s really the CEO or the celebrity who’s tweeting with us on Twitter or interacting with us on Google+?
Chris: Good question. Many stars have their agencies do their talking for them on social media. Taylor Swift has a 3rd party handling her fans on Google+. However, when CEOs or celebrities come off their perch, it matters-we sit up and take notice. Kanye West got tired of the media twisting his words so he got on Twitter to present his side of the story. You can still hate him but at least he’s making the effort to be transparent.
Q: If a company culture doesn’t have the openness that it should, should they even be online or have a blog?
Chris: Listening is the new black. Companies don’t have to tweet or post. They can just lurk to see what people are saying about their products or company. However, there can be a direct ROI to being more open and engaging. Tony Hsieh was able to sell Zappos for 1.9 billion, in part due to his open policy on Twitter to listen and connect with his customers.
Q: Will social media replace focus groups?
Chris: The question is, are focus groups really speaking for your customers? I had the CEO of General Motors say to me that focus groups and marketers were telling him one thing and reality told him another. The problem is that there is unstructured data on social media. It takes time to read through blogs and tweets to throw out a report of “really important stuff that someone should read.” There are some listening tools out there but we haven’t figured out how to quantify all this yet.
Q: What do you see as potential legal consequences on using social media? For example, if the CEO of a company is blogging something that’s not quite correct.
Chris: Good question. I have that same issue-what if I tell a company to do something while I’m consulting for them and it turns out to be the wrong thing. Professionals and companies have errors and omissions insurance that cover them for this. It’s best for companies to work with their legal teams especially in certain fields such as finance and healthcare. First, have a conversation about why you’re engaging in social media. Google the U.S. Air Force’s social media policy-they’ve done an excellent job.
Q: My company recently had an issue where someone wrote vicious things about one of our board members on our company blog. What’s your advice on how to handle negative comments?
Chris: Negative feedback can be the best kind-if everyone says you’re awesome but sales are down…obviously there is an issue you’re not aware of. However, anywhere there’s a chance for commenting, there’s a chance for stupidity. You can edit out crude language in the comments. If the comment is slanderous, you can report it but be cautious about throwing the lawyer card-can make you look like a jerk. Sometimes you have to accept the criticism and leave it there…acknowledge it by saying, I’m sorry you feel this way. If you look back at comments that person has said on other sites, you’ll usually find they tend to be negative in all situations. Also, many times others on the site will speak up and defend you…Keep in mind that research shows that 70 percent of people believe that if all feedback on a website is positive, that something is wrong. Why aren’t there any negative reviews? A good way to manage negative comments is to move it offline. Say that you’re sorry they had this problem and ask for their phone number so you can call them and talk.
Q: I’m concerned about how much personal information there is about me online. How do I handle this?
Chris: You choose how much to share. Don’t use Foursquare if you don’t want people to know where you’re going. When I’m going to a coffee shop to relax, I don’t post this as I don’t want people to track me down. And that’s ok too. Be smart about it. Embracing transparency is good but there’s too much letting it all hang out. Posting keg photos might be amazing at the time but perhaps not a few years later when you’re starting your career.
Q: We’re investigating Twitter as a business and professional tool in this class. What advice can you give us?
Chris: It’s about them, not you. If you’re not sure who to follow, listen first and then talk to people whom you find interesting. Look at Twitter.com/search for possibilities. My dad loves to play poker. When I showed him that he could connect with professional poker players on Twitter, it made it interesting for him. We do want to know more about you than buttoned-up you. But don’t post your kid’s photo to represent you or those red-eyed party photos.
Q: Any final tips?
Chris: The principles you learn from the web also work outside of social media. It’s all about being authentic. Also, keep in mind that making your own game is the new way of doing business.
Chris Brogan obviously practices what he preaches. He skyped in from what looked to be his basement and had to share airspace a couple times with his five year old. He was engaging and informative. As one of the students told me afterwards, he seemed like someone she would want to be friends with. She went on to say it was a good model for her in how to be both credible and approachable at the same time.