Media Madness

Yo! I hope everyone’s having an amazing day! Today I’d like to talk about a product whose use has increased exponentially in the last decade, and that product, my friends, is social media. Social media has become one of the most widely recognized and globally used platforms in the modern age, showing no signs of slowing down. Many of us use social media on a daily basis for hours at a time, but it can also serve as a distraction from our daily duties. Students are quite prone to using social media as a means of avoiding tasks they deem as tedious or boring. As a result, faculty members in higher education have begun utilizing social media platforms to keep students engaged in learning.

 

A study by King, Greianus, Carbonaro, Drummond, and Patterson (2009) showed that integration of social networking into an inter-professional team course in healthcare caused growth in communication skills. Sadaf, Newby, and Ertmer (2012) conducted a study questioning soon-to-be teachers on whether they plan on using social media in upcoming classes; about 51% percent reported that they will, believing that it will increase student engagement. Many graduate students utilize blogging sites such as Ning as a tool to communicate on each other’s work and share information (Brady, Holcomb, and Smith, 2010).

 

Despite there being some apparent use for social media social media in the classroom, some faculty disagree with at the very least, the platform being utilized. In a study by Roblyer, McDaniel, Webb, Herman, and Witty (2010), faculty were less likely to use Facebook in the classroom, stating that students communication about coursework was the least likely to happen on the platform.

 

In this modern world, social media doesn’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. While many view it as a distraction, the new generation of educators have been raised along side it and understand how to properly utilize it. By incorporating social media in to lectures and other educational settings, we can potentially revamp an ancient and outdated system. These are just my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Until next time,

Dr. Chaos, signing off

 

 

Future of the University

Higher education is not a perfect system. There are many flaws at an individual university level, a national level, and a global level. Reevaluating the education system is should be a priority and is something that I plan to contribute to as a faculty member. Of all the things I wish to see change in the future, perhaps what I’d like to see the most is abandonment of the standardized testing system. In my eyes, it makes no sense to spend around 12 years in primary school, only for one singular test to define and limit your options for higher education. This system is in place in countries across the globe and has been for several decades, despite more and more evidence that the scores earned in these exams do not accurately reflect individual intelligence or problem solving skills. Furthermore, the immense amount of pressure placed on students to be successful on the exams is crippling. Excessively trying to make sure students perform well on these exams almost ensures that they won’t. When you limit a student to a silent, fluorescent-lit room and ask them to complete hundreds of (intentionally misleading) multiple choice questions that most adults couldn’t, the results are going to be tragic. Then to limit the student’s higher education options based on this absurd test with outlandish conditions, it just doesn’t seem to be the greatest way to go about it.

I believe that if we develop a more reasonable means of evaluating student skills and knowledge instead of a standardized exam, we can open more doors for youth and allow them to attend universities that better suit their needs.  We should want more students attending colleges; a higher education rate often leads to better jobs and incomes, and perhaps with time, a more intelligent society. Standardized tests themselves are (in my opinion) a misnomer. People do not learn in the same manner as others and education can differ from classroom to classroom. There is no set standard of teaching that that leads to 100% retention. With that being the case, then there should not be a standardized exam but a more personalized exam, catered to evaluate the individual student rather than hundreds of students that actually partake in this exam.

Open-access: The Key to Graduate Student Success

Good afternoon all! I’m here with another topic, and that is open-access journals. Let’s jump right in! Now as you all may or may not know, I am a 2nd year PhD student in the field of food science. A big part of being a grad student is READING PAPERS! Yes, in order to become the future researchers of the world, we grad students must constantly being aware of the scientific advances made in the past. We build our knowledge on the foundations set by our predecessors. Unfortunately, in this world, nothing is free, including knowledge. Many journals require a subscription fee or one-time charge to view the entire article. These prices can be as low as $25 or rise above $100! Now being graduate students, we aren’t exactly rolling in cash, so for us to pay for each article we’d need to read would be just short of impossible. Some universities work out a deal between journals and the library to provide access to students so long as the students remain on the campus server. This is easily feasible by larger universities such as Virginia Tech, but smaller universities have a harder time footing the bill.  Alternatively, there are journals that provide free access to all of their articles; these are known as open-access journals.

 

In my field, I often use manuscripts from the Journal of Nutrition published by the Oxford University press. Now, the Oxford University press (OUP) has made it their mission to widely disseminate the highest quality of around the world, and what better way to do so then to provide articles for free. Some journals under the publishing body have even improved their impact factors and allow for drop box submissions. The OUP aims to continue providing free access to some of its journals and gradually increase the numbers.

 

Providing open-access is critical for the success of graduate students and the creation of new scientists throughout the world. I believe that what the OUP does is a step in the right direction of promoting and evolving the current education system. As always, these are just my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours! Leave me a comment!

 

Until next time,

Dr. Chaos, signing off.