Millennials, Communication, and Job Growth Hot Topics at FACC Convention
“Today’s college students are part of the millennial generation, and they are very different learners than previous generations,” said Josh Murdock, Instructional Designer, Valencia Community College, during his presentation of “Millenials, Social Media, and Education: Connecting with Your Students.” The educational session was one of many held during FACC State Convention.
According to Murdock, the millennial generation is generally defined as those who were born between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, and the group has never known life without computers. Millennial students learn at a fast pace and want to be interactive while they learn. This has given them the ability to effectively use networked digital communication technologies such as Facebook and Twitter for more than just personal connections.
“The goal of educators should be not to disregard social media, but to make it a powerful tool instead of a useless distraction,” Murdock said. “The millennial generation is used to getting information fast and shifts rapidly from one task to another. We do not pay attention to things that don’t interest us.”
Murdock, a member of the millennial generation himself, began using Facebook in his curriculum after he discovered his students checked their Facebook pages more than they checked their student e-mail. He created his own Facebook group pages for his classes and uses them to remind students of upcoming assignments and events as well as inspirational tools. “I’m able to stay more connected and engaged with my students through Facebook than through e-mails alone.”
“83 percent of all companies use Facebook, and there are even some universities that now require their journalism students to take a class on Twitter,” Murdock said. “It is beneficial for educators to embrace social media. The millennial generation will shape the economic and social dynamics of the next decade.”
Another informative session during the FACC convention was “Diagnosing and Correcting Communication Breakdowns In (and out of) the Classroom and Office” with Susan Houts, speech faculty, Brevard Community College. The session focused on the seven elements of communication: the speaker, listener, channel, context, message, interference, and feedback. “Each element of communication impacts the others,” Houts said. “If there is a problem with one element then there will be a communication breakdown.”
Houts presented tips to understand and interpret each element to effectively communicate and avoid a communication breakdown. “Sometimes, just acknowledging that one person’s experiences and point of reference is different from another’s will provide for better communication,” Houts said.
“Enrollments are Off the Charts…What about the Jobs?” provided convention attendees with an update on the latest employment projections for Florida. “Florida is projected to gain more than 1.1 million new jobs between 2010 and 2018,” said Bill Dobs, Labor Market Expert and Economics Manager for the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. “The industry sectors projected to gain the most new jobs are professional and business services, education, and health.”
The top three occupations currently in demand that require an associate’s degree are registered nurses, computer systems analysts, and computer software engineers, but when comparing the top 10 fastest growing occupations between 2010 and 2018, all require some degree of postsecondary training. These jobs include health care workers, veterinary technicians, employment and recruitment specialists, financial advisors, and heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers. “Colleges might see an increase in enrollment in these areas over time,” Dobbs said.
During its state convention, FACC provides educational sessions and workshops for attendees. Seminars are held on a variety of topics that pertain to many different areas of the state colleges and education.