I’ve recently done some readings by people like Steve Godin about tribes. When using the term”tribe”, he (and others) are referring to a group of like minded people who share common views and compassion for each other. I like to think of it as a “collective identity” in which all members identify with one another.

At this point in my life, I belong to many tribes: librarians, graduate students, alums of my college, members of my group of friends. By digging deeper, I can easily find other tribal components of my identity, but let’s just start with these.

In my current profession, I feel strongly connected to other library professionals through professional events, social networks, and even daily communication.

As a graduate student, I am frequently interacting with others in the course module as well as through email.

I communicate with other alums from my college on a fairly regular basis, but with there were more communication.

I see my friends as often as possible.

It seems to be the case that the moe connected we are, the happier we will be. I find that with all these tribes, I get out as much as I put in. I have benefitted immensely in some cases.




For-Profit Education (Links to an external site.)

I found this article on Twitter a couple of days ago and felt compelled to share it. Full disclosure: I worked at a for-profit college for almost seven years. During this time, I gained a lot of worthwhile experience, but also solidified my position against for-profit education.

I met all kinds of students. In some cases, they were motivated and bright but lacked the opportunity to attend a traditional college. This was usually due to financial reasons, time, or they just felt they would never graduate, However, many other students were admitted without the ability to complete the work.

Is it better to provide the opportunity to these students? This was a question I often pondered. More accurately, is it ethical to do so?

In recent years, a lot of major national newspapers have published articles on the high costs of college. Sometimes it is attributed to bloated administrations, other times it is explained by the fact that so many people are attending college.

I find myself growing increasingly worried about the status of higher education. More people than ever are attending college, but not all of them should be. Some solutions I have heard include the following:

  • Tighter legal restrictions on admissions (requiring entrance exams and standard levels of qualification)
  • Restrictions on student loans by career choice (seemingly fascist, but I understand the sentiment)
  • Requiring accreditation (another good idea).

Any thoughts are appreciated!

How do I motivate online students?

This question popped up in Quora recently:  (Links to an external site.)

How do I motivate online students?

I think this question works both ways. Obviously, this question was asked from the perspective of an instructor. An online student might just as easily ask how to stay motivated.

For both student and instructor, the amount taken away from an online class is directly proportional to the amount of effort and time one puts into it. The advice in the answer is directed at both professors and students. Some of the points include:

  • Engage with the professor/students
  • Make time for the course
  • Stay motivated
  • Keep communicating

Overall, the advice seems pretty obvious, but I find that I could take some of it myself. I must admit that the amount of time I have available to concentrate on school varies from week to week.

These qualities make me wonder about the extent to which a “social” component of a class determines the level of motivation. In other words, interacting with others keeps everyone on task.

Personally, I am much more motivated when I interact with others. Education is definitely not a solitary, “lock yourself in an ivory tower”-type of endeavor.