This past Tuesday from 12-2 the DLC had a table set up on Samson Patio, accompanied by a mobile white board. We were staging an event to assess the needs of the student body in the final weeks of the Spring Semester. We wrote on the board:
Come have your needs assessed!
How can the DLC help you succeed in the last 4 weeks of the semester?
I need to be able to:
Use | Make | Manage
And at least 25 of you all gave us your detailed opinions about how we could help you to succeed in the last 4 weeks of class. This is what we learned:
- Some students demanded that we offer training on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Staff Management software, like Salesforce, Asana, and Basecamp.
- Some students are tired of playing the role of technical support to teachers who struggle to use the iLearn platform, and GA positions are springing up to address those needs, but the DLC is assumed to be at fault for that.
- Excel training in workshop format will remain in high demand every semester.
- Making websites (in e-portfolio/blog format especially), infographics, and digital storytelling methods are coming in increasingly high demand.
- Some students love being supported by the DLC in full-class format because they want to be able to learn beside their classmates in DLC workshops.
- TLM students continue to request that we teach them how to build apps.
- Many of you don’t feel comfortable navigating Apple computers
- Some students are under the impression that we in the DLC assume going to Lynda solves problems, but many of you find it intimidating to teach yourselves in that way.
So what are we going to do about it? Some of you will receive a direct email in response to our assessment. Some of you will be best addressed in group format, so keep a look out for a group email. And other needs may take a few more days of prep to be addressed appropriately. We may organize a workshop or two, but we need to have another team meeting on Wednesday first.
More updates coming soon
GPayne checkin’ in. Recently I met with Evelyn Helminen, Web & Social Media Co-Manager of the DLC, and guru to all things web design. We sat down to chat about my WordPress website, which I began as a course assignment for my IEM degree back in the fall of 2013. It had however, evolved into something much larger over time. In fact, it had evolved so much that it no longer even conveyed the most important messages clearly and effectively. During my internal website audit, Evelyn pointed out some key areas of improvement, so now it’s my turn to share what I’ve learned:
- Define your purpose:
- Website design begins with purpose. If it’s an e-portfolio, make it showcase your talent. If it’s a blog, make it consistently expressive. If it’s built for a business, make it sell. Multipurpose websites are difficult to identify with and tend to turn off the target user, so when you define your purpose, make it clear.
- Hone your message:
- Website design helps to bring your message to the forefront of people’s attention. Think about it, people sit on average 1-2 feet away from their screen. When your message is displayed on the screen in front of the user, be sure that it’s comprehensible. We found that my style of writing in my e-portfolio is a bit too conversational. It works great for this blog post, but for a potential employer, wordiness won’t grant me an interview. So take it from me, be clear!
- Design your landing page to be comfortable:
- Website design is about capturing your audience for as many seconds as possible. If you’ve ever visited a website that didn’t welcome you appropriately, you likely didn’t stay for long. Even spending 4-5 seconds on a page you don’t intend on reading is unlikely, so don’t expect it from anyone else on the internet. Your target user should be welcomed and encouraged to stay on the pages you designate, so make your pages leave lasting impressions.
- Make it navigable:
- Another major turn off to the average user of your website is navigation confusion. Design your links and drop down menus to be easily located, easily read, and linked to the right place. Try displaying less items on your drop down menus for ease of use, or try making your most important links (to PDFs and videos) open up in separate tabs.
- Use images and videos to break the canvas:
- Your website is flat. Get used to it. Flat surfaces are good for skateboarding, but on the internet, generally everyone’s surfaces are flat. Break the surface of your space, and separate yourself from the crowd, with well-placed pictures and videos. Maybe a video tutorial of your website or a talking head is what you need. Just be sure not to overlook the power of colors when breaking the canvas. They’re subtle, but they still help to liven things up.
Of course, there are plenty of other things I learned during my internal audit, but they’re a bit more specific to my needs. I’d be happy to share them with you, but you’re going to have to drop-in or make an appointment (go.miis.edu/dlcappointment). See you soon!
Graduate Assistant: International Environmental Policy and Business Administration, Summer 2013
Greetings folks! I’m a purveyor of nature awareness and gratitude. A believer that making music, a dose of science-fiction, and a splash of hot sauce go a long way in moving me in the right direction. I love to brainstorm and help folks hone their ideas. Let’s talk environment, or any subject you want! Lets build community, integrate all this nutty technology, and laugh heartily all the while!
Specialties: Miradi, Natural History, Facilitation, Fun, Idea Generation, Zócalo
Graduate Assistant: Environmental Policy and Business Administration, May 2013
I’m a grad student by day at MIIS, and a standup comic by night. I’m interested in how multimedia and storytelling can help movements and causes create effective messaging. I also work on MIIS Radio, covering local professional conferences and writing features about environmental issues. Come by the DLC any time to find out how technology can help your career!
Specialties: Audacity (audio editing), iMovie, Storyboarding, the environment, fast talking.
Graduate Assistant: International Environmental Policy Student, May 2013
I’m very excited to be working with the Digital Learning Commons. My strengths are in Geographical Information Systems and Geographic Positioning Systems. I have worked in the United States in conservation and in Asia in English Education.
Specialities: GIS, GPS and Miradi.
Web Content Developer
I am originally from North Dakota (so come see me and you can say you’ve actually met some one from there). I have a decade of experience as a television reporter and photographer. I am putting those skills to use here at the DLC. I graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.
On a personal note, my lovely wife Melanie is a student in the TESOL program at MIIS and we just had our first child in January. I look forward to meeting and working with all of you this year on your video and story needs!
Specialties: Final Cut Pro, Making Videos, Story Writing/Telling, Anything sports related.
New Media Development Specialist
I currently serve as New Media Development Specialist, a fancy job title that basically means I have the privilege of managing www.miis.edu and working on social media projects to promote the Institute. I also get to work on fun student-driven projects like MontereySTART (our micro-philanthropy platform), MIIS Radio, and MIIS L10N.
I came to the Monterey Institute in 2007 to pursue a master’s degree Middle East conflict resolution and development and to perfect my Arabic speaking skills. Since then, I’ve become thoroughly distracted (alarmingly so) by my life-long passion for web and social media.
Specialties: Web Project Management & Design, Blogging, & Social Media.
Program Manager of MIIS Lion
I’m the current (2012 – 2013) Program Manager of MIIS Lion – a localization start-up where students can put what they have learned in class into practice. I was also the Japanese Project Manager of the organization a year ago, and my interests include languages (learning or translating!), social media, and marketing.
I am a MATLM 2013 candidate in the Japanese program. I have never lived in Japan, but I spent 12 years studying Japanese and ended up working for Japan National Tourism Organization after obtaining my B.A.. While working for JNTO, I realized my career goal/dream is to fully integrate language/localization services with marketing. I am excited to take on new challenges and expand our organization further this year!
Graduate Assistant: Masters in Public Administration & International Education Management, Spring 2013
I love helping people learn new technologies and master skills. I can tackle anything from presentation design to web development. I really enjoy helping people brain storm and bring their ideas to life.
Specialities: Keynote, net-working, presentations, project planning & development, social media.
Graduate Assistant: Masters of Public Administration, December 2013
I’m interested in helping people learn how to use technology to improve their work and to pursue personal interests. I’m especially interested in working with Ofﬁce and iWork programs to make more interesting and compelling presentations and documents. Most of all, I love working with people to focus their ideas and ﬁgure out how to make things happen. I try to see every interaction as an opportunity for both people to learn from each other.
Specialities: iWork and Office, Data Analysis, Tech Troubleshooting.