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Liberal Arts Voices Hanging Out on Google

Student Panel at LASTS11

Originally uploaded by LAUSatPSU

On Wednesday, September 28th at 4pm eastern, we in the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies office will take another step out into the great technological unknown by recording an episode of our Liberal Arts Voices Podcast live on a Google Plus hangout.

I hope that anyone interested in what we are doing in the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies office will join us. Here is a link to my Google Plus profile where you will find the Hangout when it is available.

The official guests on the episode will be leaders from the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council, a dynamic group of student leaders who have always been willing to engage with new technologies with me in interesting and enriching ways. That they will be with us for this experiment is only proper since they have helped us grow our community through Twitter and Facebook.

The impetus behind this experiment is first to perform what we preach about the importance of practice in learning about new technologies. We will see what Google Plus adds to our discussions on the Liberal Arts Voices podcast, and we will experience directly what it takes away.

The second reason for this use of a Google Plus Hangout is that I think the ease by which this technology makes face to face conversations public is very compelling. It is a simple broadcasting platform that can be used to raise the level of discussion online by adding the ethical dimension of the face. In our attempts to use technology to enrich the undergraduate experience in the College, it seemed timely to try to put Google Plus to work in this way. 
Finally, we now have a number of members of our community out in the “real world’ – as if we in Happy Valley don’t live in the real world. But I digress… In any case, these friends who were so engaged when they were physically here as students or staff members remain engaged in various ways. It will be interesting to see if that distance can be traversed by the G+ technology and we will once again be face to face, talking about the importance of the liberal arts.
I am looking forward to what this little experiment will bring. 


  • Katelyn Perry says:

    After we got past our exploding soda incident and our microphone difficulties, I thought it was fun! I loved, too, that former LAUC president, Sam Loewner, joined in.

  • Geoff Halberstadt says:

    I hope next time my technical difficulties don't preclude me joining in! I'd love to see an all alumni podcast of LA Voices… thoughts?

  • OK, deal. You and Sam and whoever wants to join us on G+ (we will open it to the public) should do a podcast. The only rule is that you need to be off site via G+ with a working video. (That video comment was directed at Sam too!). We can talk about the transition to the world of meaningful work.

  • Robert Turchick says:

    I thought the Google Hang Out on Wednesday was tons of fun, and a definite improvement to Liberal Arts Voices. I was most surprised at how easily connected the participants of the show were with other members of the liberal arts community. Once the videos were up and running, we had no problem moving from one member of the conversation to the next. No gliches. No stall time. Perfect visibility (with the exception of Sam Loewner, although we did get to see him at the beach).
    This experience, and brief conversations afterwards, inspired me to jump back into the world of social media. I certainly missed the constant news feed that twitter provides me, and I'm sure my followers can't wait to hear what I have to say once again (cheeky).

  • Geoff Halberstadt says:

    Sounds good! I will work on correcting my mic issues so that I can participate.

  • I know I can't wait. But honestly, I would like to hear more about why you left social media for a time. Did you feel like it was pulling time from other things? Do you have some strategies for how to modulate it if that is necessary.
    I agree with the ease of the G+ hangout. It really adds an important new dimension. I myself felt like it was difficult to keep the connections of the discussion with the different people who joined us. But that was part of the fun of it: we did not know who would come and where the conversation would go. I think that might be the dynamic spark we need to make the LA Voices (and now LA Faces) more dynamic. Perhaps it should be called LA Voices with Faces when we use G+.
    I am glad you liked it, because as I mentioned, I was worried that LAUC did not get enough time to talk about its initiatives. But you know you are always welcome on the podcast!

  • Sam Loewner says:

    Geoff, let's Hangout independently of CLA sometime to make sure that everything works properly. Also, to catch up on the important issues of the day and discuss the finer things in life.

  • Sam Loewner says:

    I think that's a great idea. I think it would be useful to discuss some reflections on our Penn State educations now that we've taken a step away from (well, sort of) the world of classrooms and exams.
    I also think there may be value in integrating G+ with the LAUS blog in some way. Perhaps, if technically possible, the students abroad who blog for LAUS could couple a scheduled Hangout (or some other kind of video) to complement their posts. There might be similar opportunities for students who are blogging about internships to host Hangouts with the assistance of the LAUS office.

  • Sam Loewner says:

    As we'd briefly discussed on Twitter, I'd also like to know about how you came to the decision to leave social media (parts of it, anyway). Given that a number of the organizations that I work with are government sector, there is an incredible amount of skepticism and distrust surrounding social media. That's one reason why I'm so interested in hearing a personal opinion (yours) on the topic.
    I echo the comments about regarding the ease of use and usefulness of the Hangout. As everyone gets more comfortable with using the tool, I think we'll move away from some of the problems and have more time to focus on the intended subject.

  • Rob Turchick says:

    Let me begin this comment by stating that I will never deny the usefulness and effectiveness of social media. I think the ability to project a message to thousands of people with one click is necessary in a society that has very little patience. When used properly, as in the G + Hang Out edition of L.A Voices, I think social media has the potential to be the "great democratizer" that it was, in my opinion, prematurely deemed.
    The problem to me is that social media is not always used properly, and I am willing to admit that the users are at fault here…In the past I have given too much agency to social media. There are a great many people who use this medium responsibly, and when that happens the benefits are great; as demonstrated by CLA. However, it is my belief that there are still far too many people completely detached from the things they say on Facebook or in the twitterverse (this feeling pertains to internet usage in general, though).
    Furthermore, the effects that social media seems to have on interpersonal skills is disheartening to me. I will follow up these comments with a blog at the LAUC blogging site. Hope to hear from everyone in the comments.

  • Liliana says:

    Unfortunately, much social media is spam. I agree that young people are having virtual relationships instead of real ones. People on Facebook and Twitter aren't always who they say they are. Everyone likes thinking they have an audience, even if what they say isn't very interesting.

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