What is the cloud?

I really like this quick overview “what is the cloud”.  Thank you serverpoint http://pinterest.com/source/serverpoint.com/ and Crystal Cuenta http://pinterest.com/weird/ for sharing.



NAFSA 2012 Local Area Team in Houston courtesy of Pat Willer's nafsa blog

preparing for nafsa 2012  nafsa folks are blogging their hearts out to help us get more out of nafsa annual.  thank you to all of the hard working #nafsa12 folks on local area team (lat).

Effective Uses of Social Media

I am learning more about Social Media everyday.  I like using it for professional reasons.  The following blog is giving me some great ideas about how to use it at nafsa 2012 in houston.

Do you know how to be the social media baby that everyone wants to play with?


nafsa 2012 conference – you are invited to technology session

Hello International Education Colleagues:

Would you like to get some fresh tech ideas and tips so you can join 21st century before 22nd century arrives?  Join me, Louise Baldwin from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Kristalina Karsen from Houston Community College System at NAFSA 2012 technology session.  Details below:

Use Technology to Enhance ISSS* Efficiencies & SEVIS Reporting
*ISSS – International Student & Scholar Services
Friday, June 1, 2012 at 3:15

photo credit renjith krishnan

Ms Louise Baldwin, Associate Director, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ms Jodi Barnhill, International Data Coordinator (SEVIS Coordinator), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ms Kristalina Karsen, Manager, OISS, Houston Community College System Offices of International Student Services
Ms Amanda Majure or delegate from University of Houston

NAFSA12, Houston, Texas
I look forward to seeing you in Houston!

photo credit ted hermann
anderson japanese gardens, rockford, illinois


google+ – have you tried it?

Have you tried Google+ ?

Technology is not always the answer – techno tip 10 in countdown

photo credit Danilo Rizzuti

10…9…8…It’s about 10 weeks until NAFSA Annual 2012!

Each week I will be posting a technology tool (or idea) and tips that staff from international education offices may find useful.

Number 10: Technology is not always the answer.  I know.  It is counterintuitive these days to state this, but it is true!  Consider the following 8 bits before you byte the technology hook.  Example:  Your office would like to automate student requests.

picture by Sujin Jetkasettakorn

Bit 1: Understand the process.  How can you determine if a technology solution is needed without understanding the process?  For example, what is the workflow for a student to request an immigration document?  Is the current process working?  If so, then, what are the goals of making a change?  Who are decision makers and stakeholders? Where do you fit in this heirarchy?  Need help with boosting your project management horse power?

Paul "Ripples Guy" Wesselmann

Paul "Ripples Guy" Wesselmann

Bit 2: Understanding requires communication.  Yes, likely, you will need to step away from your computer and talk to people. The best form of communication remains face-to-face.  I know.  I too was disappointed, but once you realize that you don’t have to like meeting with people, you just have to do it, then, it becomes easier.   If it is impossible to meet with stakeholders for process in person, then video chat/conference would be next best channel.  If you (or your colleagues) need help with communication skills, I know of a phenomenal leadership trainer, Paul Wesselmann, who can help.  See: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ripplesguy  Also, see Mike Schaffner’s article at: http://mikeschaffner.typepad.com/michael_schaffner/2011/01/comm.html

Dale Carnegie

Bit 3: Communication requires listening.  I know.  This is shocking right!  Not only do you have to meet with other human beings, but you have to listen.  However, if you master truly listening to others, people might actually start listening to you.  I most admire Dale Carnegie’s skills and writings in this area.  I highly recommend learning and following his guidance.  http://www.dalecarnegie.com/  True listening requires practice.  Behavior modification takes at least 30 days.  Or, if you have your colleagues perform electro-shock on you each time you are not listening, you might be able to cut this down to a few days!

Bit 4: Document the process and ensure that all of the stakeholders agree that this is, in fact, the current process.  These types of exercises work best with worker bee input, but then require queen bee sign off.  Writing awesome documentation is challenging, but begins with understanding that no one actually wants to read what you are writing; they simply want to find answers to their questions.  I highly recommend developing documentation skills.  It is good for you, your organization and your career.  When documenting, remember that some folks understand pictures better than words (flowcharts, for example.)

Bit 5: Do some research.  Find out how colleagues at other universities handle this process.  This can be a wonderful experience and incredible time saver.  If appropriate, take a road trip to visit colleagues at another ISSS office to view their process and technology.  No travel budget, no problem.  Schedule a conference with freeconference. com or use skype.

Bit 6: Identify requirements.  How is identity of student verified (security)?  If student currently presents photo id, how can you verify identity online?  How about other staff accessing student request information?  What information is needed from student?

photo credit digitalart

Bit 7: Drill down.  This involves defining requirements and determining priorities.  Likely, it will be helpful to categorize requirements into must-haves, should-haves and nice-to-haves.

Bit 8: Is a technology solution needed?  Or can existing process be tweaked and solve problem?  What will your office gain?  Professional image?  Efficiency gains?  Better service?  Propose possible solution(s).  It is good to run ideas past others in your office.  Include staff from all areas of your office heirarchy, if possible.

Now,  armed with these 8 bits, you are ready to byte at technology.

great user interfaces make people happy

And, then also consider:

Bit 9: Build in quality on the front end rather than testing it in on the back end.


Welcome to my technology blog.  I am looking forward to sharing technology ideas that are transforming my life on a daily basis.  However, I still maintain that the human brain is the most amazing technology.  Finally, our society needs more good human brains to create better user interfaces.

Great technology blog

I am in love with Ruth Marie Sylte’s Manitou Heights blog.  http://manitouheights.com/  Crossing Cultures & Bridging Divides in the Information Age…with Tea.  I think that Ruth’s blogs are fascinating.


I love her nafsa 1995 story.  http://rmsylte.visibli.com/share/ajvs0g  It is very relevant in 2012 because many ISSS professionals and offices are struggling to transform their business practices to effectively communicate with millenials.

She has inspired me to jump off of the blog cliff and write about my technology experience and wonderful things that I learn everyday from my internationals student and scholar services (isss) and IT colleagues.

Beginning tomorrow, I am going to start blogging about the top ten technology tools that isss professionals don’t want to live without.  At NAFSA 2012 in Houston I will be co-presenting a session with colleagues University of Michigan, Houston Community College and University of Houston.  If you’ll be at NAFSA, consider attending: Use Technology to Enhance International Student and Scholar Services Efficiencies and SEVIS Reporting, June 1st at 3:15.

I can’t wait to get started tomorrow.  Hope to see you at my new technology eight bits at a time blog.