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Internet Marketing and Web Development in Higher Education and other tidbits…

Help Me, Help You: Keeping your edge in High Ed

20 Nov 2008

written by Kyle James

Help Me, Help You: Keeping your edge in High Ed

The following is a guest post by Jonathan Steffens who hails from the University of Missouri where he serves as a Internet Administrator Expert since 2005.  Prior to the move to Higher Education he fancied himself a freelancer in Silicon Valley serving clients such as Cisco Systems, IBM, Webmethods as a multimedia and web technologies consultant.  Jonathan blogs at Vagabond by Nature and you also connect with him through Twitter, LinkedIn, or Flickr.  This is the seventh post of the .eduGuru Blogger(s) Search Contest.

help me Help Me, Help You: Keeping your edge in High EdLike most professions it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day projects, politics, and assignments inside Higher Education. However, sometimes especially during holiday breaks or slow Fridays we do get some breathing room to catch up or sometimes step forward in our professional lives.

It Starts With You

Now most you by merit visiting this blog (or reading it on your favorite RSS reader) likely suffer from the same addiction as me with information overload from RSS feeds, Twitter, email and number of other sources that provide a swell of ideas, useful tricks, and inspiration. Now in order to leverage that bit of information you came across, rather then filing it away or sending it to bookmark oblivion. You need to TAG it, try using these handy addons from delicious, Remember the Milk, or your own Get Things Done process. The important part is that you classify the article/idea to help you later act on it.

Handy Resources to fill your plate

Now in case you haven’t had your fill of sources, let me point out a few good feeds to add to your inspiration toolbox that vary on your role:

Graphic / UX Design

  • Smashing Magazine – Showcasing some of the best designs and web techniques around to inspire us all.
  • PSD Tuts – Staple of the Envato network, excellent resource for photoshop tutorials.
  • Boxes and Arrows – Take usability to next level with these indepth articles.

Marketing / Social Media

  • Traffic’d – Social media Marketing is what they do [period]
  • SheGeeks – Feeding your social media and Web Addictions
  • Alumni Futures – Quite frankly one of the best High Ed authorities on marketing with emphasis on technology.

Professional Development

  • Freelance Switch – We’re all ‘freelancers’ at heart aren’t we? Helpful tips managing your personal brand.
  • Lifehacker – Improve your life, not just your career with tips ranging from DIY projects, personal finance, to software tricks.
  • Freelance Folder – Another read for perpetual multi-tasker and everyman in the office (or home office).

Web Design / Coding

  • Net Tuts – New from Envato, has quickly become indispensable resource for coding how-tos.
  • DZone – Digg-style mashup of latest greatest coding and design articles on the web.
  • Vandelay Design – Alittle of everything to give you tuturials, tips, and lots of inspiration.

Preparations

bookmark tips Help Me, Help You: Keeping your edge in High EdOnce you found a task from your varied sources you need to quickly tag it with the type of action or category (see catagories above for example). I prefer to cross tagging such as DIY (Do it Yourself) with Office Upgrades or Inspiration and Web Design to aide with some quick context when you revisit the task later.

Just like attending a conference, schedule the time for yourself to work on these individual projects – such as a slow Friday afternoon, a quiet holiday break. And in case your boss wonders what your up to – reassure them this is to develop your skill set just like conference or training seminar and doesn’t cost them a dime.

Why it Works

The key to making this work, is that you select projects that interest and challenge you, especially if you haven’t flexed those skills in a while or EVER!

For instance, take a tutorial on creating a movie poster in photoshop – can increase your understanding in typography, graphic layering, and help you ace that next graphic invitation or HTML email.

Or try that integrating your favorite social media service into your portfolio or blog – not only will it help professional site it will give you the skillset to deploy the same integration in your next project website.

Finally, take the time to write that guest blog you’ve been itching to do to highlight your latest projects and expand your ability as copywriter and educator.

All these actions help to benefit value as working professional and build on your existing strengths to both your employers and yourself – so encourage each of you to make the time to pick a new fun project for the holiday season.

Sound off below and share your tips for professional development, everyone has method to organize the maddness – what’s yours?

The content of this post is licensed: The post is released under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license


About the author

Kyle James

Kyle is the CEO & Co-Founder at nuCloud and formerly the webmaster at Wofford College. He also spent almost 4 years at HubSpot doing a range of jobs including inbound marketing consulting, sales, management, and product management.  Kyle is an active contributor in the social media spectrum. Although his background is technical, he claims to know a thing or two about marketing, but mostly that revolves around SEO, analytics, blogging, and social media. He has spoken at multiple national conferences and done countless webinars on topics ranging from e-mail marketing to social media and Web analytics. He's definitely a fairly nice guy.

Ways to Connect with Kyle

Kyle's Blog Kyle's Facebook Kyle's LinkedIn Bio Kyle's Twitter Account Kyle's Foursquare Kyle's Flickr Photos Kyle's YouTube Profile Kyle's SlideShare Presentations

This post was written by - who has written 274 posts on .eduGuru


  • http://doteduguru.com Kyle James

    If there is one thing that we need in this internet crazy information age is organization and ways to organize the things that matter.

  • http://justin-hopkins.com Justin Hopkins

    Tagging this ‘toread’ and ‘tocomment’ for later :)

  • Mike Henderson

    Delicious and Google Reader help me tame the madness. When I go to pull the link for a bookmark I keep asking myself: “What did I tag that in?”
    Thanks for the resources Jonathan!

  • http://www.alumnifutures.com Andy Shaindlin

    Thanks for the link, Jonathan (and Kyle). Not sure I’d say my focus is on marketing, but if marketing and communications professionals in higher ed can get something useful or inspiring from Alumni Futures, then I consider it a success!

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