A day at SSCA: Creative ideas, enhancing learning, and Twitter

This year Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) is currently taking place in Memphis, Tennessee. Needless to say there is a lot of history here and with SSCA holding the conference in The Peabody Hotel we are within walking distance of several historical sites. Another trip is necessary, but I digress.

Due to the nature of the conference attending every panel is not a possibility, but below is a recap of some of information and ideas shared by panelist.

Positive Encounters with the student kind: Creative ideas to help spark student interest and increase communication in the interpersonal classroom and beyond (Sponsor: Interpersonal Communication Division)

This panel focused on positive communication strategies to help students better understand different forms of communication. Panelist offered some of the following suggestions.

  • Have students keep a journal regarding specific conversations. Within this journal make the focus of two of the conversations on nonverbals. In essence, they must record a conversation they can not hear, such as a Facebook or Twitter conversation. Students must then focus on the nonverbal cues and what they suggest about the conversation (e.g. compare and contrast).
  • Using bonus points as positive reinforcements: provide points for buying the book, make it clear in the syllabus that you can award points at will, provide bonus points for 100% attendance, post reading quizzes (1-2 questions) that students answer and bring with them to class, and/or provide stickers on graded work for clever assignments and good work.
  • Have students review a children’s book to apply a communication concept, as these books, from the students point of view, are less intimidating.
  • Use pictures of activities from around the world to show students their levels of ethnocentrism. Only allow students to write what they see in the picture the first time around. Then discuss the correct response and why it is so.

Deep learning strategies: Enhancing learning and positive communication in the classroom (Sponsor: Instructional Development Division)

This panel focused on deep learning strategies to promote understanding through experience, reflection, and practical activities.  (Panelist suggest faculty read the book “What the Best College Teachers Do” by Ken Bain.)

  • Make sure students learn the fundamentals. When teaching the fundamentals don’t just talk about it one time, do it constantly.
  • Debunk students misconceptions regarding communications.
  • Foster joy. Why focus on the what the students got wrong as oppose to what they got right? Remind them this is a safe place to make mistakes.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice.
  • Focus on one aspect of deep learning and build a corresponding assignment.
  • Self concept art project: Motivates students to communicate in a visual/holistic approach. Have students 1) build a collage to represent them in relation to others, 2) draw/paint picture to meet same goal, 3) draw a “life tree” to represent this.

(Sidebar: Consider watching the video Teaching Teaching Understanding Understanding to learn about deep learning. It can be found on YouTube as a three part series.)

Best practices: Twitter, new media, and positive communication (Sponsor: Vice President)

This roundtable discussed Twitter and its implication for usage in professional, pedagogical, and educational settings.

  • Consider a separate account for students to follow you.
  • Reiterate to students that personal usage is based on perceived importance.
  • Some of the panels pet peeves for Twitter users: unsolicited opinions (i.e. the “intruder” has no context of the conversation); being asked to follow others; auto tweets, as they are impersonal; individuals are following you but they don’t tweet.
  • There are three types of users on Twitter: Literalist (write down literally what they are doing), Networkers (Gatekeepers. They re-tweet useful information), and facilitators (engage people in the conversation). Although individuals tend to dominate in one of the categories tweeters transition in and out.
  • This is an ideal way to engage shy students.

Looking forward to day two 🙂

View the conference convention book for panelist names and university affiliations.

1 Comment

Filed under personal thoughts, research

One response to “A day at SSCA: Creative ideas, enhancing learning, and Twitter

  1. Awesome……I Love It!

    Most people talk about Twitter in terms of getting to know people, building lists and using followers. But for marketers and business owners, that’s just the start.
    You’ve only got 140 characters to work with, so you have to be concise. This works in your favor because it simplifies your message in the same way an AdWords headline does. Simple is good.