First Impressions


We have been getting into the swing of things here and I thought it would be good to stop and make sure I knew what I was trying to get out of this whole experience.

First, often learning comes with a set of expectations and guidelines, that we define and categorize experiences in order to determine completion of a set of goals. Sometimes these can be simple, sometimes personal, sometimes academic. Personally, my hope is that I can mix the three of these to create a realistic set of goals for a unique experience.

So, here are my learning objectives for the Global Perspectives Program:

Learning Objectives:

  1. To once again engage the European Landscape and culture this time through the lens of Switzerland and higher education.
  2. To learn from others as our engagement of the world and phenomena is based on personal experiences.
  3. To take this experience and translate it to a meaningful experience for others

I constantly use the phrase “Look, listen, learn” as a guide for how to engage a unique situation. The first two objectives are a direct translation of this thought process. The first is to look, and listen to what others have to say about their experiences so that I may then (as the second suggests) learn from them. The last objective is to then help others to learn, who were not able to come with us on the experience.

We have been given a wonderful opportunity through the graduate school to not only learn from each other as we prepare, but to also learn from the combined experience of an philosophy and method of education and its history. While we have a strong set of traditions at Virginia Tech, there is a much longer set of traditions at the schools we will visit.

Since I believe there is a phenomenological method to the creation of knowledge and independent sets of experiences to build this knowledge, it is important to build such knowledge through shared experiences. Virginia Tech’s relative time as an institution is much shorter, suggesting we still could have much to learn and grow from others.  I am glad that we have such schools in Europe with long traditions that continue to remain leaders both here and abroad that are willing to work together.

It could be so easy to fall into a set of expectations and not move forward as the world becomes more digital. Therefore, I want to learn how they now engage the internet and the digital world and see what sort of example they set for newer institutions in their countries as well as the United States.

Therefore, my GPP Research Topic is:

At Virginia Tech and other academic institution in the United States, social media is quickly becoming or has already been a method for communication and outreach. In this mindset, how is social media engaged in various universities in Switzerland and Italy?

Who is using these services and how are they used (consumption or dissemination)?

What are the perceived benefits of these types of social media, or any actual recorded benefits?

Is there a perceived potential for such technology in higher education in the future?

With the design or use of social media is there an increased perception of efficacy for the university?

Are there signs of dependence on social media; for example it using during work hours?

This is my start to the discussion about GPP 2015, and look forward to learning more about the program.



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