The Qualities of Great Leaders

July 30th, 2015 by
Leadership (Pedro Ribeiro Simoes via Flickr.)

Leadership (Pedro Ribeiro Simoes via Flickr.)

Mike Giorgione is a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral and founder of LeadingLeaders. He shared some thoughts about leadership as part of the Alumni Expert Series presented by the Penn State Alumni Association, World Campus Alumni Society, World Campus Blue & White Society, and Alumni Career Services Office.

In thinking about what makes for great leadership, we can start by discussing what it does not look like. Great leadership isn’t putting oneself ahead of others. It isn’t someone who lets his or her ego get in the way, or puts one’s own goals before the mission of the organization.

On the other hand, here’s what great leadership is:

Caring about your people and the organization. Understanding the responsibilities that come with the position, as well as the authority and accountability that you have. Many people want the authority — and maybe the responsibility — but forget about the accountability that goes with it. You must be able to stand up when things go well, and also when they don’t go so well.

Three Leadership Qualities

Know yourself.

What is your leadership style? You should probably have more than one. Different situations with different people require specific skill sets. A good leader must know how to use the right style for that situation.

Know what your strengths are and use them to your advantage. Recognize your weaknesses and figure out how to mitigate them.

Live your mission.

Believe in the organization you lead. Understand your mission, principles, and values. You should arrive at work each day happy, passionate, and driven in a positive way. You should care about your organization’s people, profits, success, and reputation. People can see in your eyes and your heart if you enjoy what you do. If you aren’t passionate and motivated about what you’re doing, people can tell.

Lead your people.

You must lead people with compassion. Learn what they want in life, and what their motivations and priorities are. You must know how to not only discipline people appropriately, but also how to reward them appropriately.

Developing a team is one of the most important things you will do as a leader.

So, what’s the most important thing a leader should do? Develop other leaders! If you view leading your team as cultivating future leaders, you will always be looking out for them and thinking about what will benefit them. You will look for ways to challenge them. Give them tougher assignments and help them grow. This makes them even more productive and more efficient at what they do, which in turn also benefits the entire organization. Helping your team members develop strong skills and attributes makes a stronger team.

The ultimate goal of any leader should be to prepare others to eventually take your job. This is how you build a strong, healthy organization with a long-term future of success.

Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about your organization, the people you are leading, and how you can serve them best.

Online Security: 9 Tips to Protect Your Personal Information

July 30th, 2015 by

by World Campus HelpDesk Staff

Protecting your personal information against identity theft is important for online students and all who use the Internet. Fortunately, you can take action in simple ways to protect your personal information with Penn State and other services you use.

Follow these Internet safety recommendations from our Penn State World Campus HelpDesk to safeguard your personal information:

1. If you have used your Penn State password as your personal password for email, online shopping, online financial activities, or other online services, you should change your Penn State password.

To change your passwordlog in to work.psu.edu and use the “Change Your Password” tool under “Password Expiration Information.”

2. Follow Penn State’s best practices to create a strong password.

3. Do not use your Penn State password for non-Penn State services.

4. Do not click on any links in emails asking you to change your password. Instead, enter the URL into your browser on your own to visit the website directly.

5. Verify emails and links in emails you get from your social networking, school, or bank sites. You want to ensure that the emails and links are valid. If you are suspicious, do not click on the links.

6. Beware of attachments in emails from unsolicited email addresses; these can contain viruses.

Mobile Worker

Mobile Worker. Michael Coghlan, Flickr.

7. Never share your Penn State user ID or password with anyone or provide your Penn State credentials to any non-Penn State service. No one from Penn State will ever ask you for your password.

8. Be prudent about what you post online. Never post information such as your Penn State ID, password, driver’s license, Social Security Number (SSN), bank account, or credit card data.

9. Install a reputable anti-spam and anti-virus application to protect your information — and keep it up to date. Penn State allows you to download Symantec antivirus for free with your student account. Visit downloads.its.psu.edu and find the Symantec Antivirus program for your operating systesm, under “Virus Detection/Spyware Tools.”

Feel free to contact the World Campus HelpDesk with any questions or if you need assistance changing your password.

Links We Love: July 30, 2015

July 30th, 2015 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. World Campus student, Monica Rodriguez Keller, visited campus for the first time this July.

2. Seats for Servicemembers offers donated football tickets to the Penn State-Army West Point game on October 3.

3. Whooo’s cute? This baby owl!

4. The EvoLLLution featured an interview with Dr. Craig Weidemann, Vice President for Outreach and Vice Provost for Online Education at Penn State about the development and delivery of online programs.

5. Comedy Central’s Key (1996 Penn State graduate) and Peele ran a clip of TeachersCenter,which focuses on what it would be like if we obsessed over teachers the way we do athletes.

 

Links We Love: July 24, 2015

July 23rd, 2015 by
Links We Love: July 24, 2015

Links We Love: July 24, 2015

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. Taking a walk in a natural setting can reduce stress and anxiety.

2. A fuzzy puppy plays on Old Main’s lawn courtesy of Penn State’s Twitter account.

3. Penn State grad plays pivotal role in partnership between ESPN and Special Olympics.

4. We dare you not to smile while watching this baby goat video.

5. Our friends at Shaver’s Creek have a new WeatherSTEM device, a solar powered system to measure wind, rain, UV radiation and soil quality.

Links We Love

July 9th, 2015 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. Some helpful tips on using sunscreen.

2. Bob, the golden retriever, has 8 birds and one hamster as his buddies–and a great Instragram account!

3.  YUM! The Berkey Creamery’s newest flavor is Birthday Cake. Find out more details on the Creamery’s 150th anniversary!

4. Use this new app for navigating your way through the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

5. What place does an Apple Watch have in the classroom?

 

Utilizing Penn State’s Interlibrary Loan System

July 3rd, 2015 by

The Penn State Library’s Interlibrary Loan System can help you with accessing course materials at a distance. The system allows you to search all the libraries associated with Penn State (University Park and all branch campuses) in order to locate an item to be sent directly to you. If you live within the continental United States, you are able to request the following materials to be delivered right to your door:

  • circulating material (books, DVDs, CDs) located at any Penn State library
  • articles from journals located at any Penn State library
  • circulating material (books, DVDs, CDs) and journal articles owned by other libraries

You will be able to find books (or other materials) here that professors suggest as alternative readings for your course assignments. Being able to locate and request this material can help you secure what you need for your courses.

Library Books. Faungg, Flickr.

Library Books. Faungg, Flickr.

Signing up for the delivery service is a two-step process:

  1. Check to see if you need to register with the Libraries. If you’ve registered for classes you should already have an account, but you can check by going to My Library Account. If your information isn’t current, update it.
  2. Register for ILLiad services. Enter the address where you want the books to be delivered. Choose “World Campus” in the Campus Location drop-down menu box and “World” in the Pickup Location drop-down menu box. Scanned articles and book chapters will be posted to your ILLiad account.

Once the Libraries have your address information, you can request your materials. Here’s how you can start that process:

  • To request materials from the University Libraries, search for your item in the CAT, then choose “I Want It.” In the “pickup location” drop-down menu, select “World Campus.”
  • To request books from Pennsylvania academic libraries, search via E-ZBorrow, then select “World Campus” from the pickup location drop-down menu.
  • To request materials from libraries around the world, search in the WorldCat, then choose “Request Item via ILL” to have the information imported into an ILLiad request form. This request is attached to your ILLiad profile which already has “World” as a pickup
    location.

When searching, if you come across an article that isnˈt available in full text, select the “Get It!” button, then choose “Consider Interlibrary Loan.” This will have the article information imported into an ILLiad request form. When Libraries staff receive the article you want, it will be posted to your account for your reference.

Loans are shipped via UPS Ground for fast delivery, but delivery times will vary based on where your materials are being shipped.

Books found in the CAT have a semester loan with two renewals. Books requested via
E-ZBorrow have a 4-week loan with a 4-week renewal. Books borrowed from other libraries have the loan period determined by the lending library.

You can ship or mail the books back to the library. A return mailing label is included with each book. Or, if you live near a Penn State campus, you can drop the books off at any Penn State library.

If you have any questions, please contact the Penn State Libraries at UL-ILLIAD-SUPPORT@LISTS.PSU.EDU or call 814-865-3480. Visit the Penn State University Libraries website for more information.

Links We Love

July 2nd, 2015 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. The “We Are” sculpture, gift of Penn State’s Class of 2013, was installed on University Park campus this week.

2. Learn 12 ways to defuse a workplace conflict by Inc.

3. Independence Day recipes, crafts, and decorations to get you feeling festive by Better Homes and Gardens.

4. Check out the 6 questions to ask Siri and her hilarious responses.

5. A fine feathered friend from Cyprus who “tweets” a familiar Penn State phrase.

 

Faculty Focus: Josh Kirby

July 1st, 2015 by

We recently caught up with Josh Kirby, lead faculty member for Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) online programs at Penn State. Here’s our conversation:

Please give our readers a sense of your background and how you arrived at your current position at Penn State.

I’m new to my role as the lead faculty member for LDT online programs at Penn State, but when I began my employment in this role in February 2015 I was returning to a university and faculty that I know and respect. From 2001 to 2007 I was a master’s and doctoral student

Josh Kirby

Josh Kirby (Photo by Trish Hummer)

at Penn State University Park, in the instructional systems program. From 2007 to 2010 I was the instructional design coordinator for online programs at the Penn State School of Graduate Professional Studies at Great Valley. I coordinated the efforts of the engineering faculty at Great Valley, converting their initial concepts for a systems engineering master’s degree into a successful and well-ranked program. Following Penn State Great Valley, my spouse and I hopscotched to Ohio and Wyoming, and then back to Pennsylvania for career opportunities in our respective areas of expertise. By training and by interest, I am an educational programs administrator — I like to design, deliver, and administrate educational programs, as it fits well with my instructional systems background and my personal desire to always be in the thick of things.

Can you explain what a degree in Learning, Design and Technology entails?

Our master’s degree (MEd) in Learning, Design and Technology prepares students to be critical evaluators and decision-makers related to educational technologies and learning resources. We attract a broad range of educators, including K–12 teachers, corporate/organizational/military trainers, curriculum developers, instructional designers, and higher education personnel. We aim to produce skilled professionals who will understand design and development processes, evaluate the qualities of technologies and resources for learning, and relate those qualities to their organization’s educational goals.

The LDT MEd degree program features courses in systematic instructional development, instructional development for course management systems, educational game design, integration of mobile technologies into learning contexts, as well as a few courses to expose students to current trends and foundations in the design of technology for learning. Our students gain both practical skills as well as a deeper understanding of the field, its history, and its trends. Our course selection is tailored to not only prepare students for work in today’s learning design field, but also to help them adapt to the world of constant innovation in educational technology.

What do you believe are some of the best qualities of the Learning, Design and Technology program offered by Penn State World Campus?

I am most proud that the faculty teaching our online courses are the same faculty who are teaching the residential courses for doctoral and master’s students at University Park, who are actively engaged nationally and internationally in the research of learning design and educational technology, and who — despite their professional successes — are committed parents, community members, and friends. Our students notice the quality of our faculty from the beginning of their studies. When teaching, regardless of venue, the LDT faculty members are knowledgeable and principled, and they have high expectations for themselves and their students.

I also appreciate that our program continues to grow and evolve in sync with the fields of LDT as a whole. Our Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Educational Technology Integration continues to be extremely popular, attracting students who are looking for that mid-career boost to their understanding of a dynamic educational landscape, as well as students who aren’t quite sure they want to jump feet first into a master’s degree program. (By design, if you complete the certificate, all five courses will transfer directly into the MEd in LDT program. More than half of our MEd students started as certificate students.) Given the success of our certificate in educational technology integration, we have additional specialized certificates currently in the approval process, helping to ensure that we are meeting the needs for many different education, training, and design professionals.

What do you think is the most important consideration when developing an online course?

Online course materials need to facilitate the learning processes of many different people and preferences. If the course is active, with interesting hands-on projects and collaborative explorations, then the course will appeal to a broad array of learners. But I do not discount the importance of theoretical and historical foundations, especially for advanced learners (like graduate students in higher-education settings). If we can find meaningful readings, substantive multimedia resources, and engaging projects and blend them together in a way that has a palpable flow, then we will have a good course. Possibly the most important consideration when designing an online course is iteration — version 1 of the course will not be as good as versions 2 or 3, so design processes (and educational systems) must incorporate additional time for revision after the first run of a course.

What have you learned from teaching World Campus students?

I appreciate the extraordinarily broad range of student experiences and circumstances that bring them to pursue higher education with us. Some are finally getting the chance to further their education after years away from their past educational experiences. Others need the flexibility to do what they need to do at home with their families, or on the road with their careers. We have teachers looking for their first master’s degree as a requirement for their teaching license, and teachers looking for their second master’s degree as a means to enhance or change their career path in education. We have military students learning about LDT because it directly relates to their military missions, and some who seek a new opportunity for the next stage of their careers after active duty.

What I have learned is that we need to be broad in our awareness, but focused on delivering the best content and learning experiences to our students. The students chose Penn State because of the quality and reputation of our online learning opportunities offered by World Campus, and because of the national and international regard that has been earned by each academic program, my program included. We have a responsibility to deliver the best resources, the best practices and perspectives, and the best efforts of our field and our faculty to those who trust us enough to place (to some extent) their careers into our hands. My World Campus students have made me strive to be better myself, and to lead my peers toward continuous innovation and improvement. My constant contact with students who I teach and who I advise provides me with an ongoing source of motivation that I can use to fuel the thinking of myself and my colleagues.

What do you do for fun?

My spouse and I recently welcomed our first child to our world, so my fun of late has been moments of joy followed by hours of household tasks to care for the others. If there is ever to be a “new normal” to be had in the near future, then I will return to my outdoor travels, particularly hiking, backpacking, and canoeing. Of all the things that I can give to my child, a deep understanding of our connection to the natural world tops the list, and fun things like an aptitude for digital technology and science can come later. I continue to serve as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America at the local, area, and national levels of leadership in that organization —where I have a deep-seated love for advising youth (ages 14 through 20) who are elected officers at each of those local, area, and national levels. While at home I enjoy cooking and preparing great meals and learning from those failures and successes — I was on a substantial “success” streak, but that streak was recently broken by a very bad recipe (from a published cookbook, no less).

To learn more about the Learning, Design, and Technology MEd and certificate programs, please contact Dr. Kirby at edtec@psu.edu or call the online programs’ office at 814-865-0473.

Race Recap: Lessons Learned at NASCAR

June 29th, 2015 by

Several Penn State World Campus students attended the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 Race at Pocono Raceway to celebrate a new partnership with Axalta Coating, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings, and sponsor of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

Rooftop Deck View at NASCAR Race. Photo by Chase Kelly.

Rooftop Deck View at NASCAR Race. Photo by Chase Kelly.

World Campus students joined peers from the Smeal College of Business and the colleges of Engineering and Communications at Penn State to get exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the pit road and other areas of the race track. They had the opportunity to interact with Axalta executives, NASCAR drivers Gordon and Danica Patrick, and each other for a unique experience that took learning to the next level.

Here’s a recap of our studentsˈ experiences about the event:

Chase Kelly, Information Sciences and Technology

Our weekend was simply outstanding! We got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the inner workings of the racing world, along with meeting NASCAR legends Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham and the wonderful and courteous executives of Axalta Coating Systems. We made new and lasting connections with both World Campus and Penn State University Park staff and students.

Chase Kelly starting the ARCA Race. Photo by Chase Kelly.

Chase Kelly starting the ARCA Race. Photo by Chase Kelly.

To top off the ridiculously cool weekend, they grabbed me at the last minute to wave the green flag to start the ARCA race on Saturday! Now that was AWESOME! This experience will stay with us for a lifetime and all thanks to Penn State World Campus!

Beth Fahey, Psychology

The weekend was full of shared stories about being a student at Penn State and connecting with business executives who gave us the inside track on marketing a company as well as marketing ourselves. Meeting current on-campus students was a great jolt to my already palpable excitement of being a Penn Stater. They were all curious about being an adult learner and what it looked like for us. They were all very supportive and excited to meet the World Campus students who were present. We exchanged tips about ANGEL, textbooks, and balancing time requirements — all shared concerns for college students everywhere. Meeting actual Penn State faculty and staff was also a treat. They were truly interested in what we had to say and our concerns as online students.

Penn State Students at NASCAR Race. Photo by Beth Fahey.

Penn State Students at NASCAR Race. Photo by Beth Fahey.


Nicole Swient, Information Sciences and Technology

Being actively involved in discussions from top representatives from Axalta, MRN Radio, and the Pocono Raceway, I learned that a lot more goes into NASCAR than just car racing. I didn’t realize that at this moment my future career options would be forever changed. After meeting many Penn State alumni who were working at their dream jobs, we learned of the intricacies of the business. It opened my eyes to the potential career options that NASCAR has to offer. The highlight of the event included discussions with Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick. And when the main race began on Sunday, it was exciting to see our Penn State Sprint Cup racecar driven by Jeff Gordon.

World Campus students at NASCAR race. Photo by Beth Fahey.

Penn State World Campus Students at NASCAR Race. Photo by Beth Fahey.

I’ll always remember this weekend. It was fun to spend the weekend with amazing people and to learn about the overall business of NASCAR racing. As a Penn State World Campus Blue & White Society member, I can say that I feel a lot more connected to the traditional campus after this event. As I continue to pursue my degree at Penn State, NASCAR racing and the other organizations surrounding NASCAR will be potential options for my future career.

 

Balancing Act: Finding Success with Online Classes

June 29th, 2015 by

Ah, the freedom of learning from the comforts of your home. How wonderful does that sound? There would be no need to get up at a certain time or find yourself stuck in traffic jams. Better yet, you can stay in your comfy clothes and drink coffee at your leisure while still completing course work. Sounds amazing, right? And if you plan and execute properly, you could also find yourself in this same position.

So how does one plan, implement, and prepare for successful online classes? As mother of three children, student at Penn State World Campus at least three-quarters of my time, and intern part-time in human resources for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, I have a lot on my plate. But despite my numerous tasks, I still maintain my honor roll status. Here’s how I manage my time — and maybe my tips will help you achieve the best possible experience with your own course work.

We all have the same amount of time in each day to accomplish everything with success and minimal stress. It takes a lot of work at first, but soon you can develop a forced habit. Over time and with scads of advice from successful peers, I have learned to use these exceptional strategies that I will share with you, in the hope that you, too, can succeed!

  • Focus is vital as you prepare for each and every day. It takes only a few minutes to prepare for the next task, or the subsequent day, and you will be glad you did —especially if something unexpected comes up. Live each day on task. This will grow sustainability in your progress while, at the same time, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment. Try a little meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to get rid of negative energy or unhealthy toxins in your body before starting your day.

    Focus

    ihtatho for Flickr

  • Be prepared for the unexpected — you know, those inconvenient accidents, errors, and equipment malfunctions that may pop up when you least expect them. I live with this philosophy: Never wait until later because when later comes, so does the mayhem. Even if you have plenty of time to get an assignment finished, it is better to start early and finish early. Be late for being early, if need be (Thank you, SpongeBob). As I prepare for the following day, I think about what needs to be done, what I can get ready now, or what can wait, etc. Then I execute my plan.
  • Plan out your day, whether that involves your course work, errands, things not school-related, or family affairs. I cannot stress this point enough. To implement a plan of attack will give you direction and help you complete all necessary online course work, as well as accomplish your tasks effectively and efficiently.
  • Minimize stress. When you are not prepared, your stress level will increase. Stress will consume so much of your energy that completing your course work will become labored, ultimately impacting your quality of course work. How do you minimize stress? You can alleviate this by delegating assignments around the house to other household members, concentrate on what needs to be finished in order of importance, and at the same time recognize when you need a break. If you are mentally exhausted, you will mostly likely start making mistakes. Rest for a few minutes or take a walk. Returning after a bit will leave you feeling refreshed and focused again.
  • OHIO (Only Handle It Once). When you have assignments to complete, it is best to work on them and, when finished, put them where they belong. I know that with time constraints, integrating this idea this can be difficult; however, it is vital to be proactive in organizing your work. It is easy to misplace, lose, or destroy whatever we have worked so hard on. I think of this as an adult version of picking up your toys after playing with them. Now you know why it is a good practice to start now if you haven’t already. Once an item is in your hand, put it where it belongs when you are finished.
  • Treat yourself. Finally, please give yourself some free time to relax and unwind from the day’s activities. You are worth it and you certainly deserve it.

I hope I have offered good strategies to help you achieve a positive outcome in your online learning. I have become successful in my endeavors by practicing these rules. I hope they will do the same for you as well.

Namaste —
Cheryl Horvath is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in labor and employment relations from Penn State World Campus.