Summer Melt

Great article this morning in the Chronicle of Higher Education on Summer Melt (link to the article). In Extension it’s not our direct mission to change the summer melt issue…but yet, my hypothesis is that Extension probably could be a significant factor in reducing summer melt.

Let me back up a bit and define summer melt.  Summer melt is the term used to describe the number of youth that may apply to attend a specific institute of higher education, and then, for some reason or another, never show up on campus. Some may be first generation college attendees and be overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork, rules, deadlines etc. that are precursors to actually attending college.  UNL has recently made steps to try to overcome the issues experienced by first generation college students. Others may not have a really good idea of where precisely they would like to go, or what they want to major in, and get overwhelmed by it all, or apply for multiple schools and are hanging on the option that their first choice will get back to them….and some will….however, some students throw in the towel when they don’t hear back from their first choice.

So this morning, in the Chronicle of Higher Education there was an article about how Georgia State is now using technology to help “personalize” the college bound summer before a students first year.  They call their system “Pounce”, after their mascot.  Their system is built upon the existing student system that maintains records about financial aid, tuition payments, housing payments etc., and sends text message reminders to students who have not yet finished tasks.  So, for instance, if a student has not yet paid their housing deposit, it would send just that student a text to remind them that the due date was coming up soon…..this is different from the systems employed by many post-secondary institutions which send text messages to everyone, whether they have completed the task or not.  The problem with the later is that students get overwhelmed when they receive too many communications from an institution, and then, these communications come off as impersonal.  The former system, since texts are not sent to those individuals who have completed tasks, appears much more personal….because it doesn’t make mistakes by reminding you to do something that you’ve already done.  Somehow the system knows what you are doing.  🙂

I suspect that Extension could aid in reducing summer melt. As members of our communities we know our kids well.  We know who in the family is facilitating getting the youth to school the first year….mom, dad, aunts, uncles. And, frequently we know when a family has sent off a tuition or housing payment because they are discussing it with us because they know that we are affiliated with UNL. I would think that would be helpful in reducing summer melt.

I wonder if anyone has ever done a research project to determine is 4-H youth are less likely to become victims of summer melt than non-4-H youth?  Wouldn’t that be interesting?  Maybe we should be sharing more of the administrative dates with our Extension staff so they can personally help with this issue?  Of course though, if I had those dates, I would probably sit down and set up a text message to go out to the youth in my area on a specific date…..ahh, without knowing what the students have done to date, I would be contributing to the overwhelming problem….except that, students in my area would see a text from me, someone they know!  Hmmm, more questions…now I’m wondering if it’s the personalization factor that is the influence?  If so, maybe we should be overlaying our messaging system not just with information about what has been done, but also with our 4-H database, so that current 4-Hers who enroll would receive automatic messages via their local extension office contacts?  🙂


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Automating Social Media

If you missed today’s webinar on Automating Social Media, taught by John Porter….you’re in luck….I remembered to record it!

Here’s the link to the PDF.

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10 Easy Strategies for Boosting Student Engagement

Just received an email announcing this webinar to boost student engagement.  The webinar will be held on March 8th at 11:30 – 1:00 CT.  For more information and to register Click Here.

Posted in Delivery Strategies, Teaching, technology | Leave a comment

Paradigm Shifts in Education/Workforce Development

I read a very diverse range of materials…and today while I’m not registered to participate in the SXSWedu conference in Austin, I was perusing the conference agenda and the session information.  I found it interesting that several representatives from the XQ The Super School Project will be presenting.  The XQ Super School Project has moved from a national competition to a national movement to reimagine high school. I find the project intriguing as many of it’s proponents have discussed the need for radically changing the traditional for-credit classroom into more of an informal education environment for learning…. in my mind, moving toward what the Extension model has done well for a long time. I also find much of their materials fascinating in that I believe that it really does represent the trends I’m seeing in technology, workforce development, the public schools and in the communities I work and play in. I can’t speak to whether I wholeheartedly believe in the XQ project because I’m just not familiar enough with it.  I can say however that I think some time reflecting on how we are educating and working is always a good idea. This morning though I found myself spending some time ruminating on some of their materials.

In particular, I found the following XQ chart fascinating. While we don’t know definitively what the future workforce will look like and what jobs will be in the future, we can identify some trends that will shape those jobs.  Makes me wonder whether we should be starting a competition/movement to discuss how these changes are going to effect Extension as a national endeavor.

Jobs that were once performed by humans are quickly being replaced by machines or sent to lower-cost markets. What does this mean for young people’s future work lives and the demands they will face? Here are some examples of the shift in requirements from the old paradigm to the new knowledge economy.
Old Paradigm Knowledge Economy
  • Follows orders
  • Product driven
  • Climbs the corporate ladder
  • Boss creates directives, and change takes time
  • Face-to-face meetings in the office
  • 9 to 5
  • Lifelong employment
  • Resume
  • Commutes to office
  • Completes given tsks
  • Domain specialization
  • Co-creates plan to achieve goals
  • Customer driven
  • Seeks leadership opportunities
  • Team responds quickly and strategically
  • Office? What office?
  • Flex time
  • Changes jobs often
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Works remotely
  • Pursues goals creatively
  • Agility across domains


Posted in Communication, Delivery Strategies, Teaching, technology | Leave a comment

Google Phone

Here is a link to the webinar from earlier today on how to use Google Phone.  Unfortunately, I forgot to hit record right away…but at least you can see the part where he talks about how to actually implement it’s use.

Austin Duerfeldt was our presenter, and if you have questions you can contact Austin.

Posted in Apps, Communication, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Automating Social media: Tips, Tricks, Do’s, and Don’ts

Trying to manage multiple social media sites for your work (or personal) life?  It can be time-consuming and overwhelming to get posts on multiple sites, but there are automation tools to help kill multiple birds with one stone with just one click.  Learn about some cool tools to generate automatic posts, schedule posts for optimum effect, and easily curate articles and news to share with your followers. 

Save the Date: February 13th @ 10:00 CT

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: (Sound will be through your speakers)

Clinician is John Porter.


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For decades when the weather turned cold I would have one recurring dream….that time was running out, I needed to wake up, it was time to break ice for the cattle.  🙂 Last night though that dream changed.  I still dreamt I could feel the cold in the air, could hear the wind howling outside my window, and well had a sense of urgency that I needed to wake up and take care of things….but this dream was different…..I didn’t need to break ice for the cattle, I needed to get my Activity Insight done!  Okay…I’m poking fun about this a bit.  But yes, ’tis the season to work on our Activity Insights.

I’m not here to give you advice on how to write your Activity Insight…but rather to encourage you to utilize your Activity Insight more intentionally as a planning tool.  This year I challenge you to finish your Activity Insight, then set it aside until after the holidays, then to pick it up again and read it.  Read it not for what it says…but for what is missing or for what you believe could have been done better.  Read those workshop evaluations again.  Evaluations aren’t just to assess what impact you made in what the client learned, they can also be used for some introspection.  If you are doing the same Extension program(s) again in 2018, how are you using those evaluations to change your teaching to improve the clients learning?  Say what….YES…I’m challenging you to improve your teaching to IMPROVE our CLIENTS LEARNING.  Are there areas of your Issue Teams logic model that aren’t being addressed by you or anyone on your team?  Are there potholes in your road map?  🙂  Let’s be more intentional about our teaching so that we are better addressing our learning objectives and our clients needs, and so that we can make an even bigger impact in 2018.

Here’s hoping that 2018 is full of intentionality for you!

Posted in Communication, Evaluation, Teaching | Leave a comment