Category Archives: Services

956353_98a5e9e3

Tips for a Personal Website

Building your personal website can seem like the most daunting task in the process of building your web presence. But it doesn’t have to be! There are a number of sites and services, many of them free, that provide a framework and templates that let you quickly and painlessly build a personal site.

So, why build a personal website? For one, résumés are boring. No pictures, no videos, no flare, and very little personality. On a website, you can link to work samples and presentations (from your beautiful new Slideshare profile), you can easily link to your LinkedIn profile, and you can imbue the site with your personality. Moreover, it shows potential employers and connections that you are technically savvy, which is important in the 21st century economy.

In addition, résumés are static. As soon as you hand (or even email) someone your résumé, they forever have that version of it. However, if you include your personal site’s URL on your résumé or business card, your connections will have access to a dynamic, up-to-date (hopefully!) source of information.

Finally, a personal website is searchable. Remember, an important part of building web presence is controlling what results people find when they Google your name, and so your site provides a lot of relevant context that will be indexed with your name.

Convinced? You’d better be. Below, I’ve listed some tools to easily make your new personal website. Needless to say, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start.


Sites.miis.edu          sites-dot-miis-logo-c

As a MIIS student, you are able to create your own site on the sites.miis.edu domain. To set yours up and get started, go to sites.miis.edu, and click on “Create a Site” in the upper-right of the page. Once you’ve got your site registered, the content management system (or CMS) that you’ll use to build your site is WordPress, so I’ll direct you to that section for more information on using that platform.

***Note*** If you decide to use sites.miis.edu, know that your domain will expire six months after you graduate (or otherwise discontinue) from MIIS. At that point, you’d have the option of either moving your site to a new domain (which isn’t as complicated as it sounds) or letting your website disappear into virtual nothingness.

MiddCreate             middlebury-logo

Another option for MIIS students is to create your site at your own domain by using MiddCreate. MiddCreate allows you to create your own subdomain (for example: amycollier.middcreate.net) for free and install open source web tools on it, such as WordPress, Known, Omeka, Drupal, MediaWiki, etc. This gives you the flexibility to create as many sites as you want on whatever content management system you like, as well as have full creative control over its appearance. MiddCreate is hosted through Reclaim Hosting, a company that started out of the University of Mary Washington.

***Note*** If you decide to use MiddCreate, you will lose access to your domain six months after you graduate (or otherwise discontinue) from MIIS. You then have the option to 1) pay Reclaim Hosting $45/year to keep everything, 2) download your entire site to store on your computer, or 3) move everything over to another hosting provider.

WordPress                Wordpress-logo-hoz-rgb

WordPress is a great content management system that is as simple or sophisticated as you need it to be. It is also one of the most widely used website platforms on the MIIS campus and in the DLC, meaning that there are a lot of people who can offer a great deal of assistance with WordPress sites. To get started, you just signup, choose a theme (this does a lot of the design legwork for you) and fill it with your content.

WordPress sites created through sites.miis.edu are limited in the themes they can use, but you will have access to some plugins and can edit the PHP code behind your site to a degree.

Installing WordPress on your MiddCreate domain will give you full functionality (just like if you were to use WordPress.org). This means you can upload and install any theme or plugin, edit the PHP code, and have access to your site’s files.

If you create your own WordPress.com account, your site will be hosted for free on WordPress.com and you won’t have to worry about purchasing a domain or losing access. However, this means that your site URL will by default include “wordpress.com” and you won’t be able to upload any custom themes, plugins, or modify the PHP code.

About.me                  

About.me offers a simple, one-page personal website, that serves more as a landing page to redirect viewers to other pages, such as your LinkedIn profile. You could build this as a starter page while you’re working on a more comprehensive personal site, or you could use it in addition to your personal site in order to drive traffic and provide yet another relevant Google search result.

Wix                             Wix.com_Logo

Wix is another popular content management system, and it has a free version. Like WordPress, Wix offers myriad pre-made templates that you can use and fill with your personalized content. If you want to get more adventurous and customize your size further, the themes do offer some flexibility. One great feature that Wix offers is being able to control how your site is viewed on different devices; you can optimize your site for mobile devices vs. desktops. A downside to using the free version is that your site will have a small advertisement.

Weebly                      

Weebly is similar to Wix; you choose from pre-made themes and fill them with your content. Weebly is advertised as more e-commerce friendly, and the interface is more beginner-friendly. Weebly also offers a mobile app that allows you to edit your site. The site offers free options, but many of the more advanced features requires a subscription.


Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that provide strategies for building a website. Enjoy!

6611693853_f5d26cf8a2_b

Tips for Slideshare

Slideshare is a visual platform that allows you to upload files and presentations. Once uploaded to your Slideshare profile, you can share these files on your LinkedIn profile, your blog or personal website, or anywhere else you see fit. The site is owned by LinkedIn and so it syncs particularly well with that service. Below are some tips for making the most of your Slideshare profile.

  • Start with what you have. Look through the presentations, papers, and reports that you’ve already written, whether for academic or professional purposes. Filter through these and find the ones your proud of, and decide which ones will be relevant to your professional identity. Polish them as needed (for instance, remove the typical academic heading with your name, your professor’s name, and the due date) and upload them to your Slideshare account. These presentations are now searchable with your name, and can be easily shared on other web platforms.
  • As you make new content, remember that Slideshare is a visual platform. So, stay away from text heavy presentations. Create content with your Slideshare audience in mind, making the content clear, interesting, and concise for a viewer clicking through slides. Also, make sure to have an interesting cover slide that will draw people in.
  • On each file you upload, make sure it ends with a way to contact you. Even better, add a “call to action.”

Finally, as is the case with all the platforms I’ve recommended, remember to be consistent. Whether it’s once a week, once a month, or bi-monthly, determine how often you’re going to create content, and stick to it. This will help drive your profile up in search results, and will ensure that your profile consistently has the latest and most up-to-date content.

linkedin-1007071_960_720

Tips for LinkedIn

LinkedIn is widely used in the professional world, with 94% of recruiters reporting that they use the site to vet candidates. So, it’s very important to have as part of your professional identity.

For professionals and job-seekers building web presence, LinkedIn is an absolute must. The site is widely used in the professional community, and provides a medium for you to make your credentials and skills easily searchable. However, it’s not enough to have a LinkedIn profile; follow these steps to make sure your profile is an asset to your web presence, rather than a disservice to it.

Custom URL

First things first, you’re going to want to customize your LinkedIn profile URL if you haven’t done so already. To do so:

  1. Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
  2. You’ll see a URL link under your profile photo like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. Move your cursor over the link and click the Settings icon next to it.
    • Note: “Update your public profile settings” will show up if you don’t have a public profile. Learn how to enable your public profile.
  3. Under the Your public profile URL section on the right, click the Edit icon next to your URL.
  4. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  5. Click Save.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/87/customizing-your-public-profile-url?lang=en

Photo

Your LinkedIn profile photo should be a high-quality headshot of you in professional attire. Smile! Also, choose a picture where you’re making eye contact with the camera. It may seem trivial or silly, but this will help future employers get a sense of your personality, and feel a connection. This is enormously helpful, as employers search for someone with good fit for their organization. Also, as you’re taking the photo, remember that LinkedIn will crop it to a square.

Headline

Your headline, which will display beside your photo in search results, is your 120 character hook to draw potential employers and connections to your profile. The default on LinkedIn is for your headline to be your current employment. Personalizing it will add a personal touch, and it will differentiate your profile. According to LinkedIn, your headline should say what you are, who you help, how you help them, and give proof of your credibility. LinkedIn also warns of the four deadliest headline sins: having a cheesy headline, a confusing one, a boring one, or a desperate one.

Still looking for inspiration? Here’s a template to get you started:

I am a [subject matter expertise] who
[does what] for [client, company audience, project]. The proof is
[experience, education, GPA].

Summary

Your LinkedIn summary is a 2,000 character opportunity to introduce yourself. Other elements on your LinkedIn profile are fairly rigid and straightforward; your summary is an opportunity to show some personality!

So, now that you know why you should write a summary, here are some tips for writing an effective one:

  • Tell people what they can expect from you; describe what you do for someone unfamiliar with your job, and tell the world why you’re credible in that role.
  • Fill it out! Use all 2,000 characters if you can.
  • Break it up with headers, sub-headers, and graphics.
  • Include your contact info at the end. Some people also add some personal interests or hobbies at the end.

Got writers’ block? Here are some template ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

Experience & Education

This is the more straight-forward part of your LinkedIn profile. Use these sections as a dynamic, fleshed-out résumé. Keep your career goals in mind while you work on these sections, and tailor your profile accordingly; if you’re an aspiring translation freelancer, you may decide to not include your former career as a concessions stand attendant.

As you work on these sections, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to link to the company or institution.
  • Use prose, not bullet points.
  • Keep entries to a 2-3 sentence summary.
  • Start with an overview.
  • Front load your achievements. Is there a project or major win you can brag about?
  • Describe how you brought value to your team

Media

Once you have the aforementioned basic elements of a LinkedIn profile, you can snazzify and supplement your profile by adding media, such as PDFs, videos, and images. You can add these generally, or associate them with a particular position.

(If you want to extensively integrate media with your LinkedIn profile, I highly recommend setting up a SlideShare profile that you can connect.)

Groups/Following

Now that you have a gorgeous and dynamic LinkedIn profile, you need to use it! Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry or background (for instance, the MIIS Alumni LinkedIn group), and post periodically in these groups so that professionals in your industry begin to see your posts. Also, consider following companies and organizations in your field, especially if you’re interested in working for them.

More!

There are many more ways to improve and better use your LinkedIn profile. For instance, you can create a localized profile in another language, add a video, and search/apply for jobs.

google-plus-1007069_960_720

Tips for Google+

it’s important to do what you can to impact what results people see when they search for you. That’s why it can be important to consider maintaining a Google+ profile. Moreover, if and when you have a virtual interview via Google Hangout, your profile will be visible, and you want it to complement your awesome interview.

Pretty much everyone uses Google, and Google prioritizes its own pages in its search results. So, make sure you have a Google+ profile, and a complete one. You may be like me and countless others that set up a Google+ account, worked on it for an hour, and didn’t go back for years. However, employers finding an out-of-date or incomplete profile will do an incredible disservice to your web presence. This will likely be one of the first results Google lists, so make sure it provides a good first impression. You don’t have to make this your primary profile or website, but make sure that you link to these from your Google+ profile; make it easy for those searching for you to find the information you want them to find.

Tips for Using Google+

Below are some wise tips I’ve gathered from the four corners of the world-wide web. Enjoy.

  • Use a headshot for your profile picture
    • Many users choose to use a picture of their dog, car, or their very blurry pixelated face as a profile picture. Using a professional looking headshot (à la LinkedIn) will set you apart and set a professional tone for your profile. Keep in mind that Google will crop this into a circle, so be sure to adjust your photo so it frames your face well.
  • Use a high-quality cover photo
    • Your profile picture, while important, doesn’t take up a great deal of real estate on your profile. The cover photo, however, spans across the entire upper page. So, be sure to use a professional picture (not too busy or distracting) that is high-quality enough that it won’t pixelate. Google recommends using 2120 x 1192 as the dimensions.
  • Accessibility settings
    • Decide how much information you want people to get from your profile, and whether people will be able to contact you through it. Adjust your privacy settings accordingly.
  • Fill out your profile story
    • Leverage your story on your profile to help you introduce yourself on your terms. Be sure to use keywords and links relevant to your field; Google will index this information, which will help improve your search-ability. Consider using the same text as your LinkedIn summary.
  • Share content
    • When you post relevant content (articles, blog posts, etc.) to your profile, it simultaneously demonstrates to searchers that your profile is up to date and that you are informed in your field. Some people even think that as you post more, Google will index your material quicker.

Sources:

  1. https://blog.kissmetrics.com/personal-google-plus-account/
  2. https://authoritylabs.com/blog/8-tips-help-improve-google-profile/
  3. http://www.blogtyrant.com/google-plus-tips/
  4. https://designschool.canva.com/blog/google-tips-quickly-boost-results/

Building Your Web Presence

So, you want to build you web presence. But where do you start? Let this resource series be your guide to developing a web presence that will help you achieve your professional and personal goals.


First, assess where you are

To get where you’re going, you need to start where you are. So, first we have to figure out where you are. Whether you call it egogoogling, reconnaissance, or a vanity search, it’s a good idea to start by seeing what your web presence currently looks like. This is especially true when you’re entering the job market or preparing for a jump to new employment. This process will enable you to identify results you want to highlight, any you’d prefer to remove or bury, and what kinds of presence you’d like to build.

One more note before we get going: it will be best to Google yourself in a private browser window, ensuring that you aren’t signed in to anything (especially Google). If you can use a browser or computer you don’t typically use, even better. The reason for this is that Google tailors its search results to you, based on your Google account and cookies that have provided Google information over time. If you are signed in, or even just using your usual browser, Google will show you different results than it would show other users, as it tries to guess what kind of stuff you want to see. This is important to keep in mind as you move forward; just as Google tries to guess what YOU want to see, Google will be guessing what employers, colleagues, or others want to see based on THEIR account settings and viewing history. So, you’ll never have a perfectly clear picture of what someone else is seeing.

With that in mind, it is now time. GOOGLE YOURSELF! Search for your full name—with and without middle name—and also search for your family name, any nicknames you might use, and any other variations you can think of. Search for your name in conjunction with other identifiers, like your hometown, phone number, address, email address, or employer. For instance, if you regularly comment on a blog, Google your name in conjunction with the username you use. Google “[your username]” “[your real name]”, including the quotation marks. This will force Google to return a very specific result that contains both sets of words, to see if the two names can be linked. In addition, think of and search for personal descriptors; for example, if Joe sits next to Lucy on a flight and introduces himself as a student at MIIS in the MBA program, Lucy could likely find him online with that information. So, think through how you introduce yourself, and imagine how people could find you with that information. This provides an excellent opportunity to both revise your “elevator pitch” to include information people could use to Google you, and to build your new web presence to reflect the information from your intro.

Google search operators

You can use special search operators to narrow your search results to find particular results. Google itself is a good source for this “language.” This can be useful if you’re looking for a specific source, or if you’re looking for your name in conjunction with something else. Experienced web searchers (like the HR departments at the companies you’re applying to or the paranoid mother of your new roommate) will likely utilize these operators.

What do I look for?

You can go as deep as you want here, but remember that Google search results can go on and on. Keep in mind that the vast majority of people won’t look beyond the first page of search results. A good rule of thumb is to check the first three pages of the search results.

First, assess how many of the results are actually you. Second, evaluate the value of the results that are you. How could these results affect your reputation? Any drinking pictures from social media posts? Old angsty blog posts from high school? Besides reputation, also check for accuracy; do the generated results provide an up-to-date picture of the brand you’d like to project? Check for positive results you’d potentially like to boost, including professional profiles, articles about achievements, or connections to prominent organizations. To sum it up, you’ll be compiling a list of results you’d like to bury and others you’d like to boost. In the next step, we’ll identify gaps.


Next, plan what you want

Before you decide what you want, what do you want your web presence to do for you? How do you want to “brand” yourself to the world? Are you primarily interested in building a portfolio, making your accomplishments and work more accessible? Do you want to cultivate a reputation relevant to your current or desired career? Do you want to present yourself as a creative educator, a driven entrepreneur, a no-nonsense finance specialist, or a culturally-savvy interpreter? How can you leverage your web presence to express your personality?

Keep these (and other elements you discover along the way) in mind as you move forward to the building phase.


Now, let’s make it happen!

Building your web presence, when looked at for the very first time, can seem daunting and overwhelming, even with a plan for what you want. All web tools are not made equal, and so some are a particularly good place to start when you’re establishing your online identity. Below, I’ve suggested an order you can go in if you’re looking for some structure; following this path will help you grow from newbie to web presence master!

First things first

If you don’t have up-to-date Google+ and LinkedIn accounts, those are the best places to start.

Widening your gaze

Once you have the essentials out of the way, you can supplement those with a Slideshare account, personal website, and by adjusting your use of social media and email.

Going the Distance

Now that you’re a web presence pro, here are some ideas for ways to continue to improve and cultivate your identity.


Finally, keep it up!

5137992620_5ae53dbafb_oDesigning and curating your web presence is an ongoing project. As you continue to develop personally or professionally, be sure to tweak your web presence to reflect that. Maintaining your presence doesn’t have to be hard or cumbersome. Heck, it can (and should) even be fun!

Best of luck!

 

Want more advice?

If you have questions, feel free to come in to the DLC. We’ll be happy to help.

IMG_9745

You helped us help you

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:

  1. Some students demanded that we offer training on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Staff Management software, like Salesforce, Asana, and Basecamp.
  2. 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.
  3. Excel training in workshop format will remain in high demand every semester.
  4. Making websites (in e-portfolio/blog format especially), infographics, and digital storytelling methods are coming in increasingly high demand.
  5. 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.
  6. TLM students continue to request that we teach them how to build apps.
  7. Many of you don’t feel comfortable navigating Apple computers
  8. 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

infographic-intro

DLC Data Fall 2014

J term is a time for reflection, evaluation and planning in the DLC. As a graduate assistant, I was tasked with compiling the statistics on DLC usage during Fall 2014, collected through three online booking systems. The data focuses on three service areas that the DLC provides: individual consulting sessions, digital recording booths as well as the community Design Sp@ce.

infographic

Appointments Statistics

Through the online appointment system, users can select a time/day, a service, and a graduate assistant or staff member to work with. We offer four general service areas: Audio and Video Help, Blogging and Web Tools, Instructional Technology, as well as Presentation and Graphic Design. There is also an “other” category if the topic doesn’t fall under one of the pre-established categories.

The data from the online appointment system shows that during the fall semester, we served a total of 93 unique users, who booked 232 appointments through the online reservation system. We logged a total of 116 hours of consulting sessions.

In terms of the popularity of topics, Blogging and Web Tools was the most popular category as 59% of the consulting sessions were on this topic. Audio and Video Help came in second, with 26% of the total sessions. 8% of the sessions focused on Presentation and Graphic Design. Instructional Technology represented 3% of the documented appointments, however, this statistic does not reflect appointments booked outside of the system. 4% of the sessions were on other topics.

In terms of frequency of appointments throughout the semester, October was our busiest month, with a total of 78 appointments. While we were ramping up in September when the online booking system was first introduced, we logged 33 appointments. In November and December, we logged 64 and 57 appointments respectively.

Recording Booth Statistics

We have two recording booths, which can also be reserved through an online booking system. The data shows that during last semester, 50 unique users booked a total of 176 recording sessions which lasted about 300 hours.

A closer look at the schedule reveals that as the semester progressed, the booking steadily grew, culminating in the most appointments in December, which accounted for 40% of the total sessions. Based on our observation, recording booths were used primarily as a quiet space for Skype and phone calls, Adobe Connect sessions, recording voiceovers for Podcasts, Camtasia screen capture projects, and video editing.

Design Sp@ce Statistics

The Design Sp@ce has proven to be a popular choice for hosting events and classes on campus. During Fall 2014, we hosted a total of 59 unique gatherings which included 8 graduate courses, 27 events, 17 meetings and 4 workshops. Among the 59 gatherings, 18 were recurring. Recurring classes were the norm, as 7 out of 8 classes were scheduled multiple times during the semester. Among the 27 community events, there were receptions, potlucks, movie nights, morning yoga, weekly dance club, blood drives, presentations, guest speaker sessions, etc.

This diversity of events demonstrates that the DLC continued to be a campus event hub while the Holland Center was being renovated . The 17 meetings were mainly class discussions or club meetings. The majority of the 4 workshops were sponsored by the DLC, with a focus on popular topics such as WordPress and screen capture. The space was also used for other purposes such as video filming.

Infographic

Below is the infographic representation of the statistics, made using Piktochart. Infographic stands for the graphic representation of information or data. Piktochart is a website that allows users to easily create an infographic chart through using the existing templates or creating their own. Piktochart is very user friendly with its drag-and-drop feature. Once the chart has been created, it can be either downloaded as a static image or pdf file or viewed online which shows the interactive features.

New Appointment System at the DLC!

appointment-booking-screenshotWe have a new appointment system for booking one-on-one appointments with any of our team members in the Digital Learning Commons.

It’s a very straight-forward 4-step system, intended to make the appointment booking process smoother and easier for everyone.

See below for more details on how it works.

Click here to try it out and book an appointment with someone on our friendly team!

Step 1: Service

First, you pick the category that best matches your need. The five categories are:

  1. Audio & Video
  2. Instructional Technology
  3. Presentation & Graphic Design
  4. Blogging & Web Tools
  5. Other

Note: If you choose the “Other” category, you are not guaranteed an appointment time. We will need to follow up with you to clarify your request and guide you to the person who can best help you.

Step 2: Employee

Second, you choose the team member you want to work with. Each team member has slightly different areas of expertise and software knowledge, so pay attention to their description, if you want to work with specific software.

Note: If you want to schedule an appointment with a full-time staff member—Bob Cole, Evelyn Helminen, or Melissa Jennings, and cannot find availability using this system, you can email them directly to set up a custom appointment.

Step 3: Time

Third, you pick a time for your appointment. The availability calendar will change, depending on which team member you chose to work with. If you cannot find a suitable time, you may have to go back a step and try to book with someone else. If you would like to schedule more than 30 minutes, you can book two appointments back-to-back.

Step 4: Details

Finally, you fill out your name and email address, and explain as much as you can about what kind of help you need. This will help us prepare to assist you as much as possible. After booking, you will receive an email confirmation with the details of your appointment. Your confirmation email will also contain a link to cancel your appointment, should you need to do so. A team member will follow up with you if they need to clarify any details of your appointment. Otherwise, just show up at the DLC at your scheduled time!

Click here to try out our new system and book an appointment!

Project Development

Have a project you need to develop? We offer a single point of contact to help guide you through the project planning and development process. We have a wide range of expertise with a mixture of specialities to support your project needs.

Workshops

Discover skills that set you apart!  Join us for our hands-on interactive workshops in The Commons located in McGowen (it’s a treasure hunt to get there). We host a series of workshops regularly on Tuesdays andThursdays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the DLC and other locations on campus.