Archive for the ‘BACHA Byte’ Category

#ACPA11 BINGO

When you can’t be at the conference with everyone else, the next best thing is following the #ACPA11 twitter back channel.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the #NASPA11 #SAbingo game. Feel free to visit the link and play that board too!

So the players might be different, but the game and rules are the same.  Tweet #SAbingo & #ACPA11 when you find a item on the bingo board, and if you have a camera phone, take a picture to send with your tweet.  I’ll post all of the tweets from our players on the blog.

Thank you to everyone who sent me suggestions and new ideas. I am working on a special #sachat board right now for all of the frequent twitter-ers out there, so stay tuned.

Below the board are a list of wonderful ideas I received  that didn’t make it this time around.  Often times they didn’t make it because they might be hard to capture on camera.  Thanks again for all who contributed :)

I’ve seen the error in my ways, and already updated the board. Thanks to Nikki Laird, @JennyDukes, @clconzen, & @ssandstr for insisting I include a hairspray reference.  Just needed to watch “Good Morning Baltimore” to be  won over! ;)

#ACPA11 board

Thanks Matt Petersons (@MattyP_654), @JennaMagnuski, Emily Harris, Sara Sandstrom (@ssandstr), Kevin Thompson, & the #NEACUHOma social for the squares used above.

Some of the other great ideas I received:

  • Detective Munch (from @ssandstr)
  • Someone who describes themselves as a “people person” (#NEACHOma social)
  • A exclusive invite to a special scholars or association dinner (#NEACHOma social)
  • School branded pen from Alaska (#NEACHOma social)
  • Bow tie (#NEACHOma social)
  • Crab Cakes (#NEACHOma social)
  • 15 free 512MB jump drives that you can only fit one powerpoint slide on (#BGSUcsp)
  • A presenter who references their own literature in a session (#NEACHOma social)
  • A presenter who uses wikipedia as a reference (#NEACHOma social)
  • Domino Sugar (@ssandstr)
  • Person ducking out of a session to go on Ace of Cakes tour (@ssandstr)
  • Interview tables with table cloths, an inflatable mascot, stuffed animals and full color brochures set up that would rival a Macy’s storefront during the holidays (#BGSUcsp)
  • A “best practice” suggested or presented that is already ubiquitous
  • Outdated Livestrong style event bracelet that matches outfit (#BGSUcsp)
  • Someone who claims to be “6 degrees away from Arthur Chickering”  (#NEACHOma social)
  • Someone going around and randomly shaking hands of people he/she doesn’t know (#NEACHOma social)
  • Someone charging their phone in the convention center hallway (@ssandstr)
  • Patty Perillo (@ssandstr)
  • A facebook photo that breaks the golden rules of “professionalism”
  • Candidate saying something inappropriate in a bathroom (#NEACHOma social)
  • ACPA green water bottle from 5 years ago (#BGSUcsp)
  • Calendars – 3-4 different ones detailing every offices campus events (#BGSUcsp)
  • Tattoos – Like “Chickering’s 8th vector” (#BGSUcsp)
  • 3 half sandwiches, pasta salad, 2 cookies, 1 pickle and a bag of chips balanced on a tiny plate or napkin with a drink in the other hand during a social where someone is trying to avoid buying a real meal (#BGSUcsp)
  • Late-night run in with a stumbling health or wellness educator who hasn’t practiced what they preach
  • @IrmaPelt, @LeahWescott, or @brodytruce from the CronkAnd the competition has started…tweet me your #sabingo finds!

 

@jessfaulk I just saw Forney at registration #acpabingo #acpa11Sun Mar 27 15:00:25 via TweetCaster

 

 

Things to pack for next year: Big Names in Higher Ed/Student Affairs Bingo cards. Dea Forney for the cover-all #ACPA11Mon Mar 28 20:13:33 via Twitter for Android

 

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The BACHA Byte: Stretch your creative muscle at work!

The job we do as student affairs professionals can be very process oriented and straightforward.  Let’s face it; conduct meetings and health and safety checks wouldn’t really be any better liked if they came in a splashy font, or colorful paper.  But luckily, we also get to express a creative side through flyers, newsletters, websites, and programs.  If you are anything like me, you cherish these moments because they allow us to enjoy the simplicity of just making something look great, and possibly the excitement of learning something new.  To those of you take joy in these creative moments; I wanted to share a few new tools for your artistic expression.

Disclaimer: As I am a mac and iphone/ipad user many of my tips fit those platforms.  If you are an android, blackberry or PC user and have great programs to share please let me know and I will share them with our readership in the next BACHA Byte!

Type Drawing
http://itunes.apple.com/

Free to try, $1.99 for the iphone, $.99 for the ipad

The first time I found this program I was so excited about the possibilities.  This is a prime example of a program that will make you look like a photoshop genius with very little work.  Use Type Drawing to outline a shape, write a word, or add a comment to a photo.  See my examples of ways in which you might use Type Drawing to jazz up your flyer or add something new to a newsletter.  There is an incredible amount of modification you can do within the program, from selecting fonts to varying the size of the text based on how fast you are drawing with your finger.    If you have an iphone you must try it.  If you don’t find it useful, you’ll at least have a lot of fun!

Toon Paint
http://toonpaint.toon-fx.com/
$1.99 for iphone

You won’t be able to use this program without wanting to try it on every photo in your library!  You’ve probably seen tech geeks with cartoon photos of themselves on facebook or on the web and wondered how many hours they would have to spend in Adobe Illustrator to make those wonderful graphics.  Luckily for you, you will not need to spend more than 5 minutes converting a photo of you or your students into a fantastic looking cartoon.  Download this iphone app to create cartoon versions of your staff for the next RA selection process, or just to modify your own facebook photo.

cf/x collage
http://www.cfxsoftware.com/

Mac, free demo, $29.99 to buy

This program I found quite by accident when I was asked to help pull together a photo collage for a colleague that was leaving the college.  I was trying to find a way to put together over 50 photos in a creative and classy way without spending my entire weekend on it.  cf/collage came to my rescue!  The demo of the program is a lot of fun to work in, and while it doesn’t provide all of the bells and whistles as the full version, the demo version did allow me to switch photos around the collage with ease and resize images.  I do however want to forewarn you that printing or saving to PDF from the demo version will give you large watermark across your whole project.  If you are working on a small project however, a screen shot of your finished work could capture what you need (as it did for me).  This program can come in super handy for those end of the year gifts for the RA or RD staff!

Shape Collage
http://www.shapecollage.com/

Mac/PC, free demo, $25 to buy

Another program I stumbled upon in my search for the right collage program.  I was barely able to scratch the surface on what this program can do.  I am still quite amazed with the level of complexity in this program for only $25.  Again, come out with any product using Shape Collage and your boss will think you spent days working on the project.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell them that it only actually took you 15 minutes!  With a free demo of this product, it is 100% a must try!

I hope that you enjoyed this small listing of programs to help expand your tech repertoire and teach you that amazingly creative student affairs solutions are only a few downloads away.

Enjoy!

Jess Faulk
Technology Chair BACHA
Director of Residence Life, Simmons College
@jessfaulk
http://www.jessfaulk.com/

The BACHA Byte: 
The environmentally friendly, organized, and forward-thinking digital office

For every person who loves paper, there are two who absolutely hate it.  Every office has at least one of those folks who feel like they can’t remember to get the task done without a print out of a email in their hand, but I would venture to guess that more and more of us are becoming comfortable with digital systems of organization.  Yet despite our love for digital, it doesn’t solve the problem of living in a world still so dependent on paper.  Perhaps you are at an institution that still has paper housing applications, triplicate withdrawal forms, or paper break sign up sheets.  All of that paper has a home in one of the hundreds or possibility thousands of student folders in your office.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I’ll take you through 4 steps that my office has taken to go digital, be greener, and much more efficient.

1.    Get your housing applications online
Housing applications were the most important aspect of our digital transition.  While I assume that most institutions have already gone online at this point, I imagine there are a few institution still struggling with paper apps each year.  Whether it’s a stubborn IT department, or just not taking the time, you can really improve your student experience one you get those apps online.  Not only do students see paper systems as archaic, there is a tremendous delay in collecting information if students have to send it by mail, especially since many of them probably don’t bother to buy stamps regularly.

How: Large schools clearly can purchase software systems to manage applications, but if you are a small school or on a budget you can try the following approach.  We worked with our IT department to create a form that is emailed to a main email account whenever a student fills it out.  At the bottom of that application is a “comma delimited” line of code which allows us to import the information to an excel spreadsheet, making the information easy to work with.  If your IT can’t help you set this up, you may want to consider going to an outside provider for forms such as google.com or wufoo.com.

2.    Create digital (shared) student folders
Once getting applications online, the next step is creating digital folders.  File applications, judicial documents, and any important email correspondence in a student’s folder for easy reference.  Being online you can create quick shortcuts to these files to other places, such as a main judicial file.  So instead of creating 5-6 paper copies of an IR for each student involved, you just get to create a quick link to one file.  We have also made our “Resident Student efolders” accessible to the Student Life Deans office.  This allows for better information sharing between professionals that need to track a student’s progress, or look up his or her history.

How: On our department shared drive we have created a folder with each student in resident’s last name and then first name.  While it can be a bit tedious to create, you can make the process faster by formatting your excel spreadsheet to be in the format you with wish to paste into each folder name.  Each summer we will archive folders for students who have moved off campus or graduated just like we would with paper folders.

3.    Transition all office forms online
Moving to online forms is probably the single most important time saver for our office.  When I first started at my institution we had many paper systems, triplicate forms and paper break sign ups.  Even when we did allow students to submit emails as part of the process, it would sometimes take 2-3 emails back and forth with a student to get all of the information we needed.  Forms solve that problem.  They don’t let a student press submit until they have filled it out completely, and when the information is submitted it comes to you nice and neatly in a spreadsheet format!

How:  Our office is a heavy user of google forms.  While we could work with our IT department to create forms similar to our housing application, we know that each time we need to create a form can be a time consuming process, so that more formal type of form is reserved for applications that don’t change much.  Simple forms, such as Thanksgiving break sign ups, or interest in becoming an RA are all created using google docs form creator.  The best part about this type of form is once you download the information into an excel spreadsheet you have a clean document ready for mail merging emails to students, or emailing to other departments.
4.    Scan all paper & shred or archive what’s left
As I am sure you are aware from your own office not everything can be made digital.  You might be wondering, “What about judicial documents that have a signature on them or Room Condition Reports (RCRs)?”  Part of this problem can be solved by scanning.  Many offices have copy machines that also serve as printers.  If your copy machine does this it probably also has the ability to scan documents.  If you aren’t sure, check with your IT and see which nearby offices may have this ability.  Consider doing this also with your notes from meetings.  How many different notebooks do you have with scribbles of meeting notes?  If you keep each topic on a separate page, it is very easy to scan this page to save in a folder online for easy access later rather than flipping through dozens of pages trying to find the right one!

How:  If you can pre-set up emails in your scanner, do so.  We keep a bin to collect anything that needs to be scanned and our student Office Assistants will periodically scan all of the documents in the bin and file each document in their respective student folders.  After scanning, all paper with either be boxed to be sent to the college archives or shred.  RCRs are not something we have been able to eliminate altogether, but we have been able to cut down on waste.  Instead of making the usual duplicate or triplicate RCR we instead put a statement at the top telling students that if they wanted a copy they can request it from the RA who would make them one.  Very few students hold onto those RCR copies, so it is best to offer the option rather than waste all of the extra paper.  This also saves the RAs time.  They get to fill out one copy of an RCR, make two copies and they then have a copy for each roommate to sign at the beginning of the year.  You could even consider making this one form with two signatures if you don’t have a lot of mid-semester moves on your hands.  You can scan these RCRs too, or if you have a few small filing cabinets left, keeping those RCRs together by year might be your best option.  A lot less file cabinets, no more paper piles!

If you have any questions, or have your own paper eliminating tips please share them with us on the comments below. Good luck cutting the paper out of your life!

The BACHA Byte: The Office Techie

Welcome to the regular tech column of the BACHA online newsletter.  My passion is in teaching tech, so I invite you will come with me on a journey into the exciting (and sometimes intimidating) world of emerging technology.  Each issue we will explore a new topic, or a possible use for software you may have never know even existing.  It is my goal to make your live easier, and in the process, maybe we will have some fun as well!

As the writer of the tech column, I have a confession to make – I am a wannabe techie.  Yes, it is true; I don’t know everything there is to know about the tech world.  I especially don’t know everything there is to know about the intersection of tech and the Higher Ed world.  Now I am sure there are a few of my colleagues that would disagree with that statement.  Folks at work tend to think of me as the tech guru.  Every campus or student affairs department has one, a person who knows just enough about computers, social media, or smart phones that everyone else has given them the default role of office techie.  So here is the big secret, they don’t know everything either!  We are just faking it, and figuring it out along the way.  Anyone can do, it just takes a passion for learning.  Clearly we all have that or we wouldn’t be in this field.  It also takes curiosity and patience.

For every techie or wannabe tech out there, we started with questions: How does this work?  How can I use this to make my life easier?  What is all the fuss about this new [blog, twitter program, iphone app, etc.]?  I am sure you have pondered the same questions.  But the difference between the office techie and the non-techie is that they have the patience to figure out the answers to those questions.

I want to encourage all of you to rethink your relationship with technology.  Don’t be intimidated by it.  If you didn’t know how to run a staff meeting, advise an organization, or do a judicial, you wouldn’t just step aside and let someone else do it for you right?  Well, then think of technology like you think of these tasks, as an integral part of your role as a student affairs practitioner.  Listen, learn, practice and have patience, just as you would in conquering any other aspect of your job.

If that common sense doesn’t convince you, let me try intimidation.  According to Student Affairs Advisory Council (2010), 93% of teens are online, spending an average of 25 hours on the Internet per month.  They send and receive an average of 2899 texts per month.  In a 2008 NASPA study of college students, it was found that 83% of students own laptops, 94% own cell phones, and 91% of students own or plan to purchase internet-capable cell phones.  Students live and breathe new forms of communications and we need to engage with them if we want to reach our student body.

For this first column, I am going to simply start by introducing you to some wonderful online resources that can get you thinking about how you and your institution may want to engage with tech.  Hopefully many of you have already heard of these wonderful resources and have bookmarked may more sites.  I would be excited to share these resources with the larger tech community.  Please message me via twitter at http://twitter.com/jessfaulk or email me at web@bacha.org.  Enjoy the following links with my commentary on why you should check them out!

SA CollaborativeThe Student Affairs Collaborative: Giving student affairs peers a platform to connect, share, and learn.
http://thesabloggers.org/
This site is a conduit to a larger student affairs community on line.  Visit the SA Blog to read reflections by other student affairs practitioners, or to see what is happening during the weekly student affairs discussions on Twitter.  Search #sachat every Thursdays at 12pm and 6pm to see what folks are talking about.

breakdrink.comBreak Drink: Quenching your thirst for Professional Development
http://breakdrink.com/
This site really made me feel as though I were not alone.  I immediately thought, you mean there are other student affairs professionals with a passion for teaching technology?  I am home.  Check out this site to listen to podcast on the latest social media topics and to find out when their next fully on line conference will take place.

Inside Higher EdInside HigherEd: Online source for news, opinion and jobs for all of higher education
http://www.insidehighered.com/

Fascinating articles on all things in higher ed., not just technology.  Watch out, you could spend hours reading articles and listening to podcasts.

Sources:
Student Affairs Leadership Council, Managing IT in Student Affairs Organizations (2010):
“Profile of Today’s College Students,” NASPA. 2008. (accessed January 7, 2010); Salaway, Gail, Judith Borrenson Caruso, and Mark R. Nelson.

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