Brazil/Chile’s Main Ministers fostering Higher Education Reformation

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation
with the bricks that others throw at him or her.”
  –David Brinkley

Courtesy of RedCuba.Files.Wordpress.com

When assessing the best way to possible to rebuild Brazil and Chile’s higher education model, the Ministers of Education will need fast-acting, logical ideas that support sustainable efforts to reconstruct an outdated university infrastructure. The current dysfunctional system which students continue to protest, minimally prepares those enrolled to enter a competitive, financially delicate, intricately complex, technologically advanced marketplace.

Of course in time all of South America’s ‘higher education’ head honchos will face a challenging transition as they revise how and what their campuses will teach the modern, digitally geared learner. So as these countries begin such a hefty urban overhaul, get to know the two main Ministers managing this reformation:

Chile’s Minister of Education …….. Harald Ricardo Beyer Burgos
Age- 48 ; Born in- Osorno, Chile
Alma Mater- Universidad de Chile
Political Affiliation- Independent
Entered Office on- December 29th, 2011
Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) website- www.MinEduc.cl/

Before he was Minister…
Prior to his new political position, Beyer previously served as Deputy Director for the Center of Public Studies (CEP), a public opinion poll company. He’s also served as Education Committee Coordinator, working with Chile think-tank organization, the Tantauco Group. In 2008, Beyer also worked closely with the Council Rectors of Chilean Universities delegation. But most importantly, in 2006 Beyer sat on the Presidential Advisory Council, convened at the time by President Michelle Bachelet, to help address the ‘Penguin Revolution’ student protests.

Students leaders fear concern that… although Beyer possess genuine academic leadership expertise, his background includes little political experience; therefore it’s likely that his committee will be unable to meet their demands for an end to Chile’s class-based education system.

Challenge(s) ahead… Planning/executing a proactive strategy that diplomatically albeit efficiently resolves how to deal with mounting student protests, which polls show carry a 70% national approval rating supporting their demands.

Courtesy of Imguol.com

Brazil’s Minister of Education …….. Aloizio Mercadante
Age- 58 ; Born in- Santos, Brazil
Alma Mater- BA-Economics, University of São Paulo ;
MA and PhD- Economics, University of Campinas
Political Affiliation- Workers’ Party
Entered Office on- January 24th, 2012
Ministry of Education (MEC) website- www.Mec.Gov.br/

Before he was Minister…
Mercadante’s political career really began when he helped establish his political party system ‘The Workers’ Party’ in 1980. He was later nominated to office as a São Paulo State Senator between 2003 and 2010. After accepting President Rousseff’s 2011 cabinet bid nomination, he served as Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation until 2012 when he changed responsibilities.

Students/Professors/Academic leaders fear concern that… Mercadante’s committee will fail to create an education environment that helps two million voting teachers gain access to more adequate resources, professional training, and technological skills. Sustainable, improvements will only take place when national structural polices begin to change.

Challenge(s) ahead… Designing/implementing unprecedented reform to improve almost every aspect concerning education that will better prepare Brazil to handle the 2014 World Cup, and 2016’s Summer Olympics. Mercadante will also need to build programs that help Brazil reach a 30% university enrollment target and a 98% goal to put lower education children into school by 2022. There’s also a huge ‘regional inequality’ discrepancy between the country’s Northern and Southern cities and anxiety about the 1.7 million 15-17 year-old students currently not attending school.

Tackling the many issues causing bureaucratic rift between a government and the country’s academic institutions will understandably require patience, confidence, and several Ministries of Education entering and exiting office terms, but it’s the gradual cost necessary to make long-term reformation a reality. However, if Beyer, Mercadante and Latin America’s other representative candidates initiate a pledge to collectively start making a effort to fix higher education, then the entire region’s academic communities will be better served by their collaborations. Because after all, it’s not a true ‘reformation’ until the Ministers decide to play a leading part.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

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Research Reading Rec: The Media in Latin America by Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando

“A book’s worth should be measured by what you can learn & carry away from it.”
— James Bryce

Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Media in Latin America ; Released April 2008
As Latin America media systems continue to study and utilize the latest trends/technology to build stronger digital networks across the entire region, at the same time both governments and corporations have been examining different ways this revolution will benefit their specific individual interests. In his latest manuscript, Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando approaches this exact subject with a country-by-country analysis that explores relevant aspects of the media in each society.

While analyzing the interrelationship of Latin America’s regional media to issues involving ownership, regulation policy, film, music, advertising and digital networks remains a Herculean task –Dr. Lugo-Ocando rises to the challenge and provides exceptional observations. Indeed, any student, professor, or researcher that’s pursuing research addressing international socioeconomic issues or foreign diplomatic relations needs to order this title post-haste.

And because Dr. Lugo-Ocando’s book provides such an extensive, comprehensive and critical overview of Latin America’s most important media systems, renown academic leaders were eager to voice their enthusiastic praise. Ramesh Jaura, Chairman of the Global Cooperation Council, has toted the book as a fascinating text which “provides a comprehensive insight into the modern Latin America media landscape.”  Additionally, University of Glasgow Professor Philip Schlesinger testifies that, “For those who want to understand the current realities that shape media performance from the Gulf of Mexico to the Tierra del Fuego, here is the ideal beginning.”

Other works written by Dr. Lugo-Ocando include such titles as: Statistics for Journalists (2011), ICTs, Democracy & Development (2009), and Glosario para Periodistas (2001).

About Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando ;
Lecturer in Journalism Studies @ The University of Sheffield
Although he practices as an internationally known faculty expert, teaching Journalism Philosophy and Practices at one of the UK’s leading communications programs, Dr. Lugo-Ocando formerly worked as a field correspondent for numerous newspapers, magazines and radio stations in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. He received a MA degree from Lancaster University, then his PhD from the University of Sussex. His main research interests include examining ideas addressing South American Media Democratization and the interrelationship between the developing World and ‘Digital Technologies’.

Outside his academic work, Dr. Lugo-Ocando currently sits on the advisory board of OXFAM-GB’s ‘Asylum Positive Image Project’; serves as an Associate Editor to the Journal of Latin American Communication Research, and the academic journal Temas de Comunicacion.

In between research projects or teaching, Professor Lugo-Ocando travels frequently to speak at global conferences and has recently delivered guest lectures at various campuses including: Columbia University (New York), the Universidad de los Andes (Venezuela), and IQRA University (Pakistan). Keeping in trend to engage inquiring audiences both on and offline, one can connect with Dr. Lugo-Ocando via LinkedIn or follow his Twitter feed – @jairolugo.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Student Spotlight: Camila Vallejo’s Commitment to reform Chilean Higher Education

“Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?”
— Anne Frank

Courtesy of K12.KN3.net

The first time one sees a picture of Camila Vallejo, it’s an easy mistake to think that she closely resembles Catherine Zeta-Jones, or perhaps she looks like a distant Chilean relation to newly-minted royal Kate Middleton.  The 24-year old, Universidad de Chile student looks poised, bright-eyed, conversational and mostly nonchalant despite a growing paparazzi following that began documenting Vallejo’s life ever since early 2011.  This spotlight attention which constantly exposes her leadership efforts to bring change to Chile’s higher education system, echoes a true-to-life reality that history’s most admired figures all learned intimately: for those who enjoy substantial privilege, there comes a great responsibility.

Last spring Chilean college students started organizing the demonstration in order to voice their discontent about the country’s universities shortcomings to policymakers, and quickly nominated Vallejo as the movement’s premier spokesperson. Aware that such a role required one to stifle their anxiety, maintain composure and act peacefully, she eagerly pledged a commitment to support the initiative. One year later, her involvement receives international media coverage whether she’s traveling to meet with other Latin America students or just grabbing a coffee while waiting to begin the next speaking engagement.  A interview feature for UK-based, The Guardian, reports that the events concerning Chile’s higher education carry big political implications, “Sebastian Piñera, Chile’s president, has just 22% public approval ratings, the lowest ever in Chilean history.” Apparently the girl from Ipanema needs to take the back seat, because the world’s attention recently shifted to studying a young reformer hailing from La Florida.

Courtesy of http://www.Lupa.Io

Comparatively, although the ‘@GurlFromIpanema‘ describes herself as a ‘world traveler/saleswoman,’ who loves art, cocktails, and salsa; @Camila_Vallejo’s credentials date back to 2008 when she began acting as a prominent counselor to ‘Fech’ – also known as the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile.  Shortly after this, she was voted the organization’s November 2010 President.  It’s a shining testament to her character as the 105 year-old student union nominated only one other female president. Although her bid to win another presidential term failed, her growing web presence will certainly prepare one to endure a political career long term. In addition to building an extensive YouTube archive, her Twitter account alone connects with 590,000+ followers.

Moreover, Vallejo’s online presence also expresses the empathy she feels toward similar movements taking place all over Latin America. This past summer when Mexican university students kicked off the ‘#YoSoy132′ movement to contest recent Presidential election results, Vallejo made a trip to the capital, ready and willing to lend assistance wherever possible. These collaborative moments reassure the lingering doubts she maintains about creating truly sustainable changes.  She frequently points out how “in Chile we are constantly hearing the message that our goals are impossible and that we are unrealistic, but the rest of the world, especially the youth, are sending us so much support. We are at a crucial moment in this struggle and international support is key.” Indeed, such efforts to band together as Latin America students proves an advantageous strategy as they try to overcome every new challenge involving higher education reformation.

So how will a University of Chile alum turned ‘media powerhouse’, with such an extensive, international reputation play her next move? A book deal seems more rewarding than a reality TV show, so that’s exactly what Vallejo set to accomplish right before the year’s end. In Janurary 2013, Vallejo’s new book entitled Podemos Cambiar el Mundo (We Can Change the World) will come out highlighting a collection of op-ed pieces she’s written, that outline the many problems plaguing Chile’s incredibly dysfunctional higher education system.  The book also discusses what Vallejo predicts will need to happen if South American countries want to adequately prepare future students to enter an increasingly, competitive, global financial market.  Not including the book pre-orders from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. the title already pre-sold 3,000 copies when launched earlier this fall.

Fortunately, modern emerging media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blogs allow a person to track the spotlight highlighting innovative education student leaders like Camila Vallejo, and support their efforts despite one’s physical address. And in watching Vallejo’s influence gain recognition more and more every day, it’s encouraging to know that her digital footprint serves as a positive reminder… any great change starts with a single, small action.

Buena Suerta mi Amiga y Continuarse!

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Brazil’s 2013 Plan at Hand: Fixing the Education Gap ASAP

“In the long term, most plans are of little importance but that said,
thoughtful planning is always essential.”
— Winston Churchill

This past summer, when the last 2012 London Olympics athletes finally left England with their medals in tow, and after the last Confetti gun was fired at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the whole UK let out a collective, appreciative sigh. Understandably worn out, her majesty’s government wasted no time in passing on the ‘Party Host’ torch (pardon the pun) to Brazil.  Their Southern Atlantic neighbor will spend the next four years serving as the official ‘Celebration Nation’ not just to the 2016 Olympics but also to the 2014 World Cup community.

Never mind Brazil’s infamous reputation concerning the ability to throw one fun carnival; that’s not exactly helpful when it comes knocking out a housekeeping ‘To-Do’ list many miles long.  Every Culture,  Tourism, and Engineering office continues to spend day and night strategizing ways to accommodate a guest list exceeding millions.  And forget the tea candles, place cards, or pressed napkins.  For now, the country’s education leaders will spend next year’s majority trying to fix the education gap that’s holding back amongst other things Brazil’s booming growth spurt.

While in São Paulo for BBC World News, Katty Kay’s latest report on this topic explains how looming concerns over slower economic growth, inflation, etc., stand to nullify every progressive educational benchmark Brazil’s surpassed since the early/mid 90s.  Moreover, the leading international research firm PISA, recently profiled national education systems, ranking Brazil 53rd.  It’s a concerning placement, taking into account that Brazil’s economy -now the world’s #6 GDP- just bumped the UK to spot #7 not all that long ago.  To point, Kay notes that if Brazil wishes to sustain noticeable progress, “it will require more than muscle to lift a country into modernity; they will need human resources too.”  And while it’s not an exact science,  the process to improve a nation’s ability to educate their domestic population needs to begin with reviewing all teacher feedback.

It’s extremely risky when a government, underestimates a teacher’s role (no matter the grade level) and their ability to influence the educational community locally, nationally, and abroad.  Speaking candidly with Kay about the subject, Priscila Cruz, a prominent Education Campaigner, reiterates that Brazil’s 2+ million teachers posses a great voting power.  In serving as the Executive Director to the organization, Todos Pela Educação, Cruz operates an invaluable company, using the latest technology and media to distribute countless necessary resources, in order to help any Brazilian teacher receive better professional training.  As a result when it comes to electing senior officials who have the power to change government policies concerning education, more teachers will cast knowledge votes.  Any social, economic, or political change relies upon the individual citizen’s ability to maintain a versed political understanding- all party loyalties aside.

As Kay’s article for BBC points out, it’s true that “over the past 20 years Brazil has done an impressive job of getting more students into the education system.”  However that success translates to a different problem, as enrolling more students, now requires schools to expand their class availability.  Furthermore, if teachers fail to receive extensive training before they actually start teaching their classes – the negative impact gradually trickles down and directly impacts every Brazilian student.  Although sophomoric, many young students voice their genuine understanding that gaining even the most basic education, acts as a passport that will eventually grant access to creating a successful future.  Such enthusiastic, insistent student potential deserves far more than an educational environment that underserves the teachers and their instructional materials.

Failing to implement such serious changes will not only hurt Brazil’s academic reputation internationally; there’s also weighty financial implications to consider.  It stands to reason that if Brazil’s working demographic isn’t sufficiently educated, then it will force the present and future commercial development to hire a labor force – not locally from Brazil – but more expensive professionals, eager to relocate overseas.  A Brazilian workforce lacking transferable skills, also jeopardizes the ability to diversify the nation’s economic activity.  It’s exceptionally dangerous for any country to rely on a single trade exchange, i.e. only exporting natural resources or supplying commodities to China.  Hence, if Brazil wishes to evolve past the ’emerging leader’ role then they must prepare to keep pace with Asia/US/European competition.

Without question, luck, timing and a rare geographic/coincidental proximity between two such monumental events like the Olympics and World Cup all give Brazil premium opportunity to show off the nation’s historic legacy and other strengths.  But in order to make this global presentation a truly successful, resonating performance they must first figure out how to redesign the way both lower/higher education rouses the population.  Once this internal enlightening begins, it’s only a matter of time before Brazil’s talent pool will flood into the market place.  It will serve Brazil well to follow their national motto more closely than ever over the next decade.  It’s an unremitting philosophy… Order first, then Progress.

Verdade, meus amigos, muito verdadeiro. // True, my friends, very true.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

@OliverStuenkel: A+ Media All Star and Int’l Relations Professor at Brazil’s Fundação Getulio Vargas Institute

 “When you learn from great teachers, you will grasp much more from their hard work
and commitment than from their lecture style.”
― William Glasser

Courtesy of PostWesternWorld.com

Before discussing the brilliant Dr. Oliver Stuenkel and his on-going contributing efforts to improving one of Brazil’s premier universities, the Fundação Getulio Vargas or FGV as it’s referred to abroad; let’s briefly review some historical context.  Flashback seven decades ago… give or take a year… to 1944.

Overseas, the Allie/Axis national leaders so anxiously desperate to resolve World War II’s problematic consequences spent the year’s majority drafting/revising/finalizing numerous surrender treaties.  But several thousand miles across the Southern Atlantic, FGV’s founding advisory board gathered at the very first assembly to discuss an entirely different world issue: how to sustainably improve their nation’s higher education industry. It’s a relentlessly complex subject yet today -now well into the 21st century- FGV’s current leadership still upholds that earnest commitment to maintaining an exceptional standard when it concerns their nation’s education rankings.

The FGV campus continues to explore, develop and execute progressive ideas, all influencing how a higher education infrastructure, adequately prepares students to begin post-graduate life successfully.  Every class gives students numerous opportunities to interact with invaluable resources, teachers deliver inspiring lectures about how to apply classroom instruction to careers beyond academia; Perhaps most importantly FGV continues to recruit top industry talent ‘turned’ professors, as the newest additions to a fast-growing, remarkable, faculty roster.

Courtesy of FGV.Academia.Edu/OliverStuenkel

In Spring 2011 when FGV approached Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, International Relations Professor extraordinaire, to join their convivial teaching troupe, his reply to their position inquisition was an emphatic yes.  It’s advisable to colleges worldwide, that whenever possible, hiring multi-lingual, internationally versed PhD, media savvy, all star candidates like Stuenkel will only help ennoble education’s foremost audience, the students.  Indeed, any student entering the lecture hall will undoubtedly realize upon finishing his semester course (as long as they’ve gone to class), that they’re all the more wiser, mindful, and discerning thanks to the good professor’s knowledgeable instruction.  Beyond the classroom, Stuenkel’a main media website PostWesternWorld.com, openly shares his latest research findings, thoughtful article readings, and other links to his recent contributing writing.  It’s a tremendous library that continues to curate new, enlightening materials.

Comparatively, PostWesternWorld.com’s social media presence needs a slightly bigger fan base before reaching notoriety similar to Sir Richard Branson’s or Elon Musk’s.  However, its overall audience engagement isn’t terribly shabby when it comes to their Twitter, and Facebook accounts.  Stuenkel often posts extensive information about how to help support diverse philanthropic endeavors, and shares interviews he’s given while attending different conferences worldwide.  Take a few minutes to check out his recent discussion with the GEG Africa Project, while attending at a policy-making symposium at South Africa’s University of Pretoria earlier this fall.  The conversation highlights his recent observations about Brazil’s evolving philosophy toward the changing dynamics impacting global economic governance.

Courtesy of GegAfrica.com

In the same way an apprentice painter hopes to study under an industry master like Henri Matisse, Oliver Stuenkel’s online/offline teaching will better prepare all scholars intent to make their life’s career achieve prominence as a CEO, Engineer, Diplomat, etc.  More importantly, a first-year FGV undergraduate stands to learn as much from Stuenkel’s expressive media presence, as does a corporate Vice President with twice the work experience.  PostWesternWorld.com exemplifies a truly creative way to disperse expert information to the masses, when one makes a choice to work diligently at featuring only the most reflective content using the right emerging media platforms.  Each tutorial reviews provoking question that any future leader needs to contemplate and debate.

Realistically, there’s no possible way to design a truly comprehensive course load that will provide all the ‘right’ answers to future generations.  But if campuses like FGV continue to appoint such influential educators like Stuenkel, then higher education will improve all the more quickly.  It’s equally important that professors also keep a healthy balance between developing their academic work while also helping to advance their respective fields.  Hence, partnerships that connect leaders like Stuenkel to international organizations such as CEBRI.org serve a larger social purpose.  The resulting conversations ideally bring up new suggestions to improve such community issues like urban planning, international relations, and education.

When reading over the numerous achievements Dr. Stuenkel’s CV outlines, its encouraging to know that his leadership continues to engage the commercial and academic environments simultaneously.  It’s largely inconsequential as to whether one absorbs his mentorship online via a podcast session or spends a semester abroad to take his classes.  In time, the students who understands why Stuenkel stresses that all lessons carry a global, applicable context will start a career, already significantly more observant than their less insightful peers.  This fact alone makes all of Stuenkel’s previous pupils a powerful force to contend with; and really who’d expect anything less knowing they’ve spent ample time studying under Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, a clear reflection to FGV’s best.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Be Sure to Bookmark: MondoTimes.com

“Always be a helpful source to someone; There’s no time like the present.” – J. E. Durst

Courtesy of MondoTimes.com

International classrooms, now more than ever rely on connectivity and networking to help supplement classroom materials, reading lists, and the overall student experience. Hotels often offer a ‘Concierge Service’ that’s available any time, day, night, 24 hours to anticipate their guests’ slightest need. The communications directory MondoTimes.com offers a similar idea.  It’s a terrific, FREE online resource that profiles 213+ countries and features 33,000+ media outlets.  Bottom line: it’s essentially a media specific, global Yellow Pages.

Similar to HelpAReporter.com or BulldogReporter.com, this site offers links to a country’s main media sources, publication information, and shows current circulation numbers.  Admittedly, the web design fails to appear aesthetically pleasing; it’s ad-a-palooza to the left and right sidebars. Moreover, even though MondoTimes offers free membership to the general site, the actual ‘Media List’ builder determines a fee then charges users to review specific contact details.

If you’re trying to keep costs down, just spend a few extra minutes creating a title list, then review the publication’s actual site to find the right reporter. WARNING: Reporters change contact information frequently so use LinkedIn to check things.

Courtesy of Facebook.com/MondoTimes

Other places to connect with this Boulder, Colorado company include their Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn pages; it’s overall Grade earns B+ / A-.
Pros: Helpful information, all in one place, strong Facebook presence, easy to navigate, clear categories and tags.
Cons: Messy layout, poor Twitter following, Freemium model beyond Title index.

Courtesy of MondoTimes.com

If you’ve worked with MondoTimes.com before or a similar tool that connects journalisitic / communications resources to the classroom, feel free to share your feedback thoughts below. I’m always keen to learn about new technology that helps develop international classrooms and education. Happy Friday friends, enjoy the weekend! — A.Montgomery ; @acmontgomery

Digital Education Collaborations & Campus Brands 2.0 | A Portfolio Assessment

As a 21st century student who consumes the ‘college campus’ brand primarily in a digital space through emerging media platforms such as —LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Fan Pages, blogs, YouTube videos, Skype Conversations and Twitter streams— it’s nostalgic to think back upon a day when tall glass cabinets held countless relics that illustrated a school’s history, progress, and pledge to future advancements. Today instead of looking at microfilm images in the basement of a school’s main library, a newcomer to campus can just as easily click through a Flickr album online and enjoy these scanned in photographs whenever they like. And in-depth research assessing the changing trends in educational collaboration, notes that constantly evolving technology and social networks are undoubtedly the key factors behind the shifts taking place among students, professors, and administration staff internationally.

In order to achieve a stronger, more profound understanding when it came to studying modern day educational collaborations, I needed to approach the analysis at hand several ways. Therefore by combining a holistic review that included a mirco-level scholastic case study, a real time interview between two international students, a video database inventory journal and a collage interpretation related to all of the above, I began to see clearer connections that brought a myriad of unique academic institution cultures separated by continents and oceans together across the vast and open Internet range. Each artistic development within this portfolio bridges typical spaces that can be found at any given University, but goes beyond the concrete elements and instead focuses on highlighting the community narratives which speak to certain qualitative insights that had been previously buried and remained unknown.

Yet despite this expansive review of colleges from around the world, lingering questions remained long after I had completed the finishing touches and revised the last sentence. Where were the campuses that even with the technological advances and media rich content readily available online for learning, were still struggling to help teach their campus populations and engage in an effective dialogue beyond the classroom, and why were they struggling? Reluctantly, these questions must wait for now.

Monologue tangents that impede inspiration, philosophical influence, and historical context aside, during any process proper credit should be awarded to those helpful people, places and things that proved the difference between a quality resource and an eminent resource. With this particular portfolio compilation, everything that sprang forth creatively can indeed be traced back to one awe-inspiring article. In February 2010, higher education resource website CollegeSurfing.com posted the selected winners that would be honored in the inaugural Web 2.0 College Olympics. In keeping with Olympic tradition gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the most innovative campuses that were using a gamut of social media platforms to engage the campus community. With such a convenient sample pool already processed and organized for me, I culled through the recipients and selected LaTrobe University, located in Victoria, Australia for the subject of my first portfolio piece.

Opting to use the case study formula and show how LaTrobe University used online communities and social media vehicles such as iTunes University to develop interesting educational collaborations fit perfectly together. Breaking down an outline in this manner juxtaposes the commerce/finance perspective and social initiatives (i.e. education) against one another and more importantly slates the more ‘humanitarian’ goals against the corporate goals. As campus brands slowly begin to resemble Fortune 500 models, it was important that I not only studied educational collaborations as an initiative that leads to a higher return on relationships amid a university, high school, or elementary campus between parents, teachers, students and staff but its also paramount to consider how educational collaborations lend way to a return on investment as well.

In one particular example, it was interesting to interpret how LaTrobe University placed such a high internal value on their various social media milestones and celebrated what long terms effects this would have on their university (i.e. increased enrollment, better relationships/tax brackets from government, more research grant development, etc). In addition to using certain social networks like Twitter and Facebook, LaTrobe’s iTunes University channel offers an extensive podcast library. In preparing to design the sound piece for this portfolio, I decided that the podcast medium would be the best. My thinking being, that if it worked for LaTrobe so well, perhaps I would be just as fortunate.

Using a combination of free software for download called Audio Hijack and Skype (both were free, very cost effective) I worked with two international students from Hong Kong and Sao Paolo respectively to capture their thoughts and insights about educational collaborations and how digital media affects the way they engage and consume their individual campus programs. In asking Sam about how he consumes a campus brand and what types of collaborations took place in his program, he responded that when certain, traditional standards and protocol between a student and professor, coach or admissions counselor certain formalities fall away as everyone starts using online channels like Twitter DMs, Facebook Fan Page wall posts, LinkedIn messaging, or something else to communicate important, pertinent information around campus.

On the other hand, Elisa shared that she used a university’s active (or lack thereof) social media presence as a way to a gauge and rank a school’s overall quality. In the above portfolio element, I was only able to listen and experience educational collaborations taking place at LaTrobe University from a peripheral vantage point. However, by discovering a way to produce a short podcast program, in the future I’ll be able to create more pieces like this interview with Elisa and Sam. Perhaps over the next six months, I can strive to create my own podcast series that represents a set of conversations about education, collaborations, and digital communities with a point of contact at each school recognized in the Web 2.0 College Olympics.

Let’s take a moment and review a couple of interesting, and even somewhat shocking facts about YouTube before we get ready to discuss the next installation within the portfolio. According to reports from industry sources like Mashable and YouTube’s homepage as of February 2011, “YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, who rack up an estimated 92 billion page views each month; On average there are more than 400 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link, and Facebook over 150 years worth of YouTube videos are watched every single day.” One must also consider that when it comes to Internet bandwidth, in a 24 hour period YouTube will use a percentage, the same percentage that in 2000 was sufficient to operate the entire Internet. So we’ve discussed the hard numbers and facts, but how does that relate to educational collaborations and analyzing how current students consume a campus brand. Well when YouTube is the #2 search engine platform behind Google, it’s clearly evident that online videos play a pivotal role when it comes to collaborating and debating within the academic context.

The revised collections of 12 videos that I selected all represent unique stories and illustrate a narrative about how two, three, or 44 people came together through networks, connections, and colleagues to help make the world’s learning environment better for students. Business leaders are lending a hand to help principals, superintendents, and deans back new programs and progressive additions to out dated curriculums; other volunteers continue to donate their time so that future generations will enter the work force with an adequate skill set that will help them personally and professionally. Students are also using the online sharing video sphere to showcase their campus’s diversity, student demographics, and extra curricular programs. Again, each video selected for this highlights an aspect of learning that incorporates some type of digital educational collaboration.

To bring everything full circle, the last component in this portfolio series is a custom designed image that features the word ‘Learn’ spelled out where each letter represents a certain theme to accompany the phrase, “Learn through Leadership, Excursions, Application, Risk, Now.” The Internet and Adobe Photoshop were the two primary materials used to make this piece. In working with collages in the past, I was challenged to translate an analog process and duplicate it using only digital tools such as screenshots, editing buttons with Photoshop and of course numerous creative common photos from digital archives like Flickr and Bing.

Not deterred nor intimated that I was going to need a mouse instead of scissors, glue and paper, I started the process by making canvas molds so that each letter ‘background’ piece would be consistent. I did not want each ‘letter’ piece to be the exact same font so I then selected a different style for each character. Cutting out pieces from pulled images online was actually much easier than I anticipated and through the course of designing the pieces I became obsessed with the lasso tool so that my shapes were not reduced to sharp edged rectangles and plain circles.

When any artist comments on their work, viewers sometimes feel like they’re learning about some special secret that took place backstage, or behind closed doors. Take a look at the black and white backdrops behind each letter. Each piece is a photo from different campuses represented in the Web 2.0 College Olympics article. Thankfully, these images put the final touch on this expression supporting my thoughts about digital educational collaborations and the new ways students are consuming campus brands.

Today’s instructors, study abroad coordinators, students and governing school officials stand at the beginning of a new and vastly different landscape than history’s ever seen before now. In order to solve global concerns like HIV/AIDs, Global Warming, and World Hunger future leaders must not only be proficient when it comes to technology but more importantly, they must know how to use certain online tools at their disposal which will make learning, collaborating and preparing for a future in the work force all the more easier and exciting. Accordingly, shifting patterns in student life, emerging online community platforms, and expanding networks that bring global virtual resources together despite geographic limitations will also affect campus brands around the world. In preparing students for their forthcoming professional aspirations, mentors, professors and colleagues must also prepare them to serve as world citizens; the two roles are not mutually exclusive. Digital educational collaborations must lay a strong, knowledgeable foundation.

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