A quarterly newsletter for ISS students, alumni, faculty and staff

Vol. 1, Issue 1                   Spring quarter  2018


Inaugural Issue!
Mel Wensel and Deborah Porter, ISS Co-directors

 

 
 
We are delighted to introduce the inaugural issue of The Integrator, a quarterly newsletter which we hope will be a resource for all members of the ISS community. Integrated Social Sciences began as a bold experiment to create an online bachelor’s degree completion program with the academic rigor and integrity of traditional programs at the University of Washington.
 
Three years and 165 graduates later, ISS is demonstrably fulfilling its primary mission of expanding access to a University of Washington undergraduate degree while maintaining high academic standards. 
 
Public acknowledgment of the program’s excellence is evident in an independent education ranking site that lists ISS as the premiere online social science program out of twenty institutions that offer a similar degree completion curriculum.
 

Did You Know?
ISS Newsletter Team

 

 
ISS Recently completed a comprehensive account of the program’s evolution, illustrated by survey-generated quantitative data, anecdotal evidence, and statements from the students, faculty, and staff.  We’d like to thank everyone for participating in these surveys!  We are using this data to recognize our strengths and to understand where we can still improve.
 
Importantly, the data highlighted the diversity and richness of expertise our students bring to their studies—one of our program’s greatest strengths. This “Did you know?” space will be devoted to data-based snapshots of our community. This issue shines a light on the age span of ISS students, which ranges from 20 to 69. Looking at our total student population, roughly one third fall into the 21-30 and the 31-40 age groups each, while another third of our students join ISS after being away from school for 20, 30, or 40 years.
 
AGE RANGE OF ISS STUDENTS:
 

Portfolio Voices: Keywords
Daniel McConnell, ISS Academic Adviser and ISS Alumnus '17

 

 
The ISS Portfolio courses are meant to move students from solely consuming social science information and checking off boxes on degree requirements, to gathering and creating their own social science hypotheses and findings with meta-reflective essays. This column will feature students’ own words about their intellectual journey.
 
Given the centrality of the “keywords” concept as an organizing principle of the ISS degree, it is fitting that this topic should initiate the series. Here is a reflection by ISS alumnus and the newest member of the ISS advising team, Daniel McConnell, on how the concept of “keywords” changed his intellectual journey:
 
“I’ve always had a keen interest in the motivators of human behavior, a curiosity that led me to the ISS degree, so I chose keywords that I expected would assist in breaking down complex social systems to the scale of individual action. For example, I decided on the keyword "gamification" because, during my career at Microsoft Xbox, I saw how powerfully motivating badges, leaderboards, experience points, and collection sets were in changing individual (and group) behavior. As I’ve often thought about becoming a teacher, I was also interested in researching gamification in education, specifically the pros and cons of implementing the “stickiness” found in games to the classroom and the interplay between intrinsic motivators and extrinsic rewards.
 
The keywords project also made me mindful of the overlap in themes found between social sciences disciplines and prepared me for readings in my thematic courses. I felt grounded by my gamification research when we began to discuss neoliberal governance and personal responsibilization. My keyword “incentive” became a lens I used to examine the power dynamics between groups and the political policies informed by ideology. As I reflect back on my time as a student in ISS, I see I was motivated by the opportunity to choose, gratified by applying this learning to future endeavors, and delighted by how my keywords prepared me for my courses.
 
This is the beauty of keywords.”
 

ISS Innovations
ISS Embedded Librarian—Reed Garber-Pearson!  

 

 
The embedded role of social science librarian Reed Garber-Pearson in the ISS core courses is a forerunner of online pedagogy.  Students are first introduced to Reed in the orientation course through a video, and they interact directly with Reed through coursework that includes an introduction to accessing library resources, identifying and evaluating types of sources, and a discussion on confirmation bias in research.
 
Reed has also integrated research skills throughout the five core courses, including citation practices, advanced database search techniques, and finding and using media in portfolios. Embedding library sciences into social science pedagogy ultimately trains students to engage in responsible digital citizenship, to access information for various purposes, and to use social science research skills to enhance and make impacts in their professional and personal communities. 
 

ISS Community Spotlight
Chelsea Spitzenberger and Danielle Manis, current ISS students
 
 
Starting in Fall 2017, Chelsea and Danielle joined the UW Libraries PCE Student Advisory Board (SAB).
 
What interested you about the position on the SAB?
 
Chelsea:  “As online students, I think it can be challenging to know the role the Library can play in helping us with our research needs. I was interested in participating in discussions about how to best communicate the role of the Libraries to other ISS students, and to also provide feedback about research needs/challenges we encounter in the ISS program.”
 
What do you hope to accomplish in this role? 
 
Danielle:  “If I were designing an outcome, I would probably be advocating for either an orientation survey to see how comfortable students are with online library research and document retrieval, or an assignment that would teach students about various types of resources and how to access them online. If nothing else, just sharing an ISS voice with the libraries seems important as ISS students are coming from unique circumstances and are different from even other PCE programs.”
 
What recommendations do you have for your fellow ISS students when it comes to research and utilizing the UW Libraries’ databases and services? 
 
Danielle:  “Don’t be stubborn or afraid to ask questions. There are people at the libraries available to help all the time (literally 24/7)! And use Reed as a resource we are lucky to have that position available to us!”
 
Chelsea:  “One thing I’ve learned from being on the SAB is how committed the UW Libraries are in helping us to be better researchers. My recommendation would be to browse the ISS UW Libraries webpage and to not be shy about reaching out to them for help when you need it.
 

ISS Bulletin Board: News, Events, and Announcements

 

JUNE GRADUATION CEREMONIES

ISS students who applied for graduation in Autumn 17 or Winter, Spring, and Summer 18 are eligible to participate in UW Commencement on Saturday, June 9, 2018 and the ISS Graduation Celebration, on Sunday, June 10, from 10 am – 12:30 pm.

All 17-18 ISS graduates, their friends and families, and ISS faculty, are welcome to attend the ISS celebration on Sunday! 2017-18 graduates RSVP here
 
 
AMAZING ALUMNI
ISS FACULTY IN THE NEWS
INNOVATIVE ONLINE ADVISING