Younger faculty are more involved in using social media as a facet of their personal and professional lives, as well as in the classrooms. However, even then there are still less than 40% of faculty members using social media as a part of their teaching toolbox. Faculty members in the humanities and arts are slightly more likely than others to be involved with social media.
In general, personal use of twitter, facebook, and other online resources remains the norm. The findings pertaining to Linkedin is an exception as it's intended use is for building professional networks.
While faculty are using social media to enhance their social and professional connections, there are attempts to use the internet to include online content in the classroom or as part of the teaching and learning experience.
The change in barriers to social media use over time are an indicator of the advances made with technology, as well as a reflection of their growing incorporation into everyday life.
I was reading Peter Stokes' article "How colleges can do better at helping students get jobs" in the Chronicle of Higher Education and was struck by a random thought. This post is not a reflection (pun intended) of the quality or purpose of the article, simply the path my mind took while reading it. And an upfront acknowledgement that I am going to anthropomorphize the heck out of higher education in this post (something I always tell students to avoid). ***Also this is not as in-depth or critically examined as something I would normally post - because sometimes you just need to let your brain by creative.
Let's bump this comparison to a different level... each mirror on the ball is in a unique place, provides a different perspective, serves a different function, and yet adds to the overall impression. So I started thinking about all of the different aspects of higher ed, how we see them (and how they see us), and how they all fit together to form a grander illusion.
Employers are voicing a concern that college graduates are not adequately prepared to step into the workplace with both domain specific and broadly applicable skills. This begs the question: is the primary purpose of higher education to produce the next workforce or is it a place to promote the value of knowledge and thinking? Corporate partnerships are not a new phenomenon, but there is a piece of me that worries (yes I am voicing an opinion) that the emphasis will be placed on workforce preparation. Might it go so far as to see higher ed institutions align themselves with corporations in an effort to produce students who are specifically trained and endorsed for a certain type of career. I imagine things like the University of Google (not affiliated with the urban dictionary version of UG), Exxon University, or the state Wal-Mart school.
A reflection on higher education is so much more than simply seeing what is there. It's a process of knowing who we are, what we want, what we don't want, accepting our flaws, dreaming of our future, seeing the parts of ourselves we choose to ignore or are afraid to face, and attempting to see ourselves through the eyes of others.
Case Summary: Walker, Kenneth
The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) investigated and took final action in the case of Dr. Kenneth Walker from the University of Pittsburgh [case summary available via link above].
As a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Walker admitted that he falsified or fabricated data concerning research conducted for the NIDDK and NIH - (OMG!) The falsified data was included in two published papers, one submitted manuscript, and 2 grant applications. In a nutshell, he took quantitative data that showed essentially nothing and represented it as data that indicated a statistically significant finding of differences between control and experimental mice groups.
For a period of three years (2016 - 2019), all of his research supervised. He is responsible for developing this plan of supervision and ensuring that it is submitted and approved by ORI, as well as maintaining compliance with that plan. Any institution that employs him during that period (although I can't imagine it will be easy for him to find a position) will have to submit a certification of the veracity of his data (based on experimental design, derivation, process, methods, accurate reporting of findings). Additionally, he is not allowed to advice, serve on an advisory committee, or work as a consultant for the U.S. Public Health Service. And to round it all off, he is responsible for retraction and/or correction of the existing journal publications.
Moral of the story: Don't do it. We spend years earning the privilege to do our own research. Although the pressure to produce results, especially in well funded grant-based research, is high, it hardly seems worth it to lose your right to conduct your research independently. Although there are certainly worse outcomes that might have resulted from his actions, one would think that your odds of flourishing in higher education or related research while being legally required to have your hand held are rather slim.
Part I of this series examined some recent publications that suggest international students do not share a similar understanding, acceptance, or adherence to the U.S. policies on academic misconduct. This entry is more focused on discussing the potential implications of those claims, exploring ethics from a global perspective, and considering what, if anything, the IAU has to offer as a starting point from which to deal with these issues. I'd like to put it out there that selecting this topic was difficult for me because I work with several international students for whom I have great respect. There is always a concern that broaching this issue will bring up calls of racism. My intention is not to place emphasis on the race or ethnicity of any student, but rather to focus on the potential need for an international standard for academic ethics.
What are the potential implications and consequences of these claims?
The negative implication seems explicit: International students are "cheaters." This is a perilous claim that places all international students in the potential line of fire for mistrust, intense scrutiny, and unfair labeling at the hands of professors and/or other students.
The more obviously accurate implication (to me) is that U.S. institutions are not doing an adequate job of discussing academic integrity with international students. There is clearly room for improvement in the way this matter is addressed and taught. It all too easy to make assumptions that we all share the same values and ethics when it comes to academic work, but clearly there are cultural differences in how these topics are broached in students' home countries.
Is there a difference in academic ethics across the globe?
This has been a topic of conversations held in many different disciplines over the past two decades. Simply considering religious foundations and their contributions to the morals and ethical standards of different countries should warrant an awareness of differences. Placing that in the context of styles of government and the prevalence of corruption in that arena should highlight the probability that academic ethics are likely to exist.
There is certainly a difference in perspectives on originality, authority, and intellectual property. This becomes even more pronounced when coupled with the "lack of formal misconduct policies in many countries and operationally vague polices on plagiarism where they do exist."
Heitman, E., & Litewka, S. (2011, February). International perspectives on plagiarism and considerations for teaching international trainees. In Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations (Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 104-108). Elsevier.
What can higher education do to address these concerns?
Should the onus fall on faculty to ensure they are going above and beyond to clearly explain the expectations of an assignment in the light of cultural and educational differences?
Should the administration spend more money on software that can detect text-matching, hire additional staff to ensure that international students are more thoroughly screened before admission, or place higher standards for English Language writing ability?
Should institutions develop a more comprehensive approach to teaching academic integrity and making the consequences more explicit?
In a 2011 study looking at differences in educational ethics between five different countries, the following solution was proposed:
a more comprehensive approach can be taken by universities to not only eliminate loopholes but create a code of conduct and culture of academic integrity that spans globally; creating more ethical students, while reducing temptation the to cheat. Having a code of conduct and living a culture of academic integrity is important for any institution; “institutions of higher education that live the ethics and values contained in their mission statements produce graduates who are highly valued and sought by ethical organizations."
Hilliard, H., Crudele, T., Matulich, E., & McMurrian, R. (2011). International educational ethics: Asia, South Pacific, Europe, Canada and Latin America. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, 3, 1.
Is it possible or desired to develop an international code of educational ethics?
When did my passion for my subject become stilted in the language of academic research? Of that I cannot be certain, but I can say that it has taken a backseat to the research and scholarship that drive my dissertation forward. What is the cost of supplanting my passion for the clear cut facts and observations? For me, it has been a loss of enthusiasm. The wonderful idea that drove me for so long had worn down to merely a lingering memory. This is so much more of a crime given that my overarching research topic is "creativity."
However, in a recent course meeting we were guided through a series of exercises meant to open us up to the possibilities for communicating our research. There were numerous activities presented and all of them brought a seed of value. For me, the most powerful was remembering to speak from my heart. When telling other people about the work I do, it is far too easy for me to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of the key components. And even easier to stay on the technical side when talking with others in my field. The end result, is that this habit contributes to my inability to communicate to those who aren't familiar with the terminology what it is I do and why it is important.
Being reminded to speak from my heart and let others see my passion was priceless advice. Given the opportunity to practice that skill confirmed that my own enthusiasm for digging into this topic allows others to connect with me and want to know more about how this topic will unfold. I take away from this experience a new appreciation for finding effective ways to communicate what I do to others outside of my field. For those who find themselves on a similar path, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science (use the link below) is an excellent source for finding additional information on how to have real conversations about real research.
Challenging myself and others to critically examine or creatively explore topics in higher education.