International Educator - March/April 2018 - 23

through a website in part because they wanted something accessible to students before, during, and after traveling abroad.
The School of Social Work will maintain the website going
forward-something planned early on, Kowatch says. "If you don't
have the sustainability question answered [from the beginning],
it's not a worthwhile project," she says.
Following the Resilient Traveler website, the University of
Michigan is now working on another open access resource: a
MOOC on community engagement abroad. The project similarly
began as a way to address a specific problem. Lopez had seen that
the university had about 30 student groups working in international communities and repeatedly asking the same questions.
The MOOC, housed on EdX, will feature five core modules
covering topics related to project management, social identities,
and collaborative leadership to help those working in community
engagement abroad. It is designed to answer the specific questions of
a traveling student or, for those interested in the entire five-module
course, it offers a certification. Lopez expects it to launch in 2018.

Dealing With Data
With each new module or orientation, new social media account,
or database portal, new information is gleaned from users.
Metrics can be pulled on who is using which systems and at what
time of day. And as data accumulates, systems administrators can
tweak what they're doing to better serve students. At its most
basic, that can take the form of trial and error on social media
posts. If a post doesn't play well, staff can reframe it and try again.
But while the ease of accruing data may help systems to be
more effective, it can also yield way too much information. In
a university setting, more information hardly sounds like a bad
thing but it risks obscuring the most helpful trends. For Christina
Trombley, the executive director for Drake Online at Drake
University, the answer lies in identifying the purpose of the data.
In other words, she says, it's about "identifying what's really interesting compared to what I need to know to make decisions."
In practice it looks something like this: "If we see that the
majority of our students are signing on [to an online program]
after 6 p.m. at night, does that tell me I need to switch my operations? Do I have technical support after 6 p.m. at night? If I don't,
is that problematic?"
Knowing what information is useful can be challenging when just
beginning a project-or, in the case of Vermont, an entire electronic
checklist designed to make it easy to see which students have done
which task. "You want to make sure you're catching everything, but
no one has time to do that or the resources really," Trombley says.
"When you're first starting out, even I still have to fight against that
tendency to just run reports to feel like I'm on top of everything."

Knowing the Purpose of the Data Can Help

She's doing her dissertation, using pre- and postcourse data-gathering with students in the university's Global Understanding course,
which was recognized with a NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Spotlight
Award in 2016. She's looking at what effect the course has on the
students' self-reported intercultural competency. The results could
help the university adjust the course.
Since launching in 2003, the course has used teleconferencing
to link students with universities overseas for a few weeks at a time.
Then the students will switch to another country. Right now, East
Carolina has 42 international partners. "As technology has advanced,
they've constantly been using new [technologies]," Morris says.
That's true of more traditional study abroad programs at the
university too, where simply connecting through Facebook or
teleconferencing is allowing students to meet before ever boarding a plane. "Starting those connections prior to departure, those
students are familiarizing with their fellow participants with their
host culture," Morris says. "Once they get there, hopefully they're
more prepared to experience what they're about to experience."
At one predeparture meeting for students heading to Nicaragua,
students told Morris they were going to use WhatsApp to share
information. At another meeting, a different group told her they'd
use GroupMe. She'd never heard of the text message platforms,
but she's trying to be open to the changes-in the same way that
universities ask students to remain open while traveling abroad. In
the end, it will make for a more rewarding trip on both counts.
"If you look at 10, 15, 20 years ago, a lot of these technologies
didn't exist," Morris says. "The world is becoming more connected.
And sometimes you just have to listen to the students and see
what they're using." n

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Social media statistics round up:
https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/social-media-statistics-2017
EdTech Review's social media in education round up:
http://edtechreview.in/data-statistics/2523-social-mediain-education-statistics
Educause's Technology Research in the Academic Community:
https://www.educause.edu/ecar/technology-researchacademic-community
The Chronicle of Higher Education's "The Digital Era":
https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/50-years-of-technology
NAFSA's Technology Member Interest Group site:
https://nafsatechmig.com/
EdTech Magazine:
https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/
University of Michigan's Resilient Traveling site:
https://resilient-traveling.umich.edu/

At East Carolina University, Whitney Morris, the coordinator of
faculty-led study abroad, is gathering information with that in mind.
M A R .+ A P R . 2018 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

23  


https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/social-media-statistics-2017 http://www.edtechreview.in/data-statistics/2523-social-media-in-education-statistics http://www.edtechreview.in/data-statistics/2523-social-media-in-education-statistics https://www.educause.edu/ecar/technology-research-academic-community https://www.educause.edu/ecar/technology-research-academic-community https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/50-years-of-technology https://www.nafsatechmig.com/ https://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/ https://resilient-traveling.umich.edu/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - March/April 2018

From the Desk of
Frontlines
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Canada
Quick Questions
Feature: Using Technology to Reach Students Where They Are
Feature: Global Connections, Staying Local: Online International Education Continues to Grow As an Alternative—and Support—to In-Person Study
Feature: Getting to Work How Career Services Offices Are Helping Students Launch Their Careers
Feature: How Assessment Approaches Measure Up
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment
International Education Leadership
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover1
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover2
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 1
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 2
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 3
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 4
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 5
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 6
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 7
International Educator - March/April 2018 - From the Desk of
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Frontlines
International Educator - March/April 2018 - In Brief
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 11
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 12
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Global Spotlight: Canada
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 14
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 15
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Quick Questions
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 17
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Using Technology to Reach Students Where They Are
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 19
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 20
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 21
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 22
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 23
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Global Connections, Staying Local: Online International Education Continues to Grow As an Alternative—and Support—to In-Person Study
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 25
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 26
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 27
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Getting to Work How Career Services Offices Are Helping Students Launch Their Careers
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 29
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 30
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 31
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: How Assessment Approaches Measure Up
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 33
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 34
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 35
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 36
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 37
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Education Abroad
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 39
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 41
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Enrollment
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 43
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 45
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Forum
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 47
International Educator - March/April 2018 - In Focus
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover3
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nafsa/ie_20191112
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nafsa/ie_20140910
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