Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Booming Job Market Creates Demand for College Degrees… Gig Economy Offers College Job Opportunities…AI Software Overlooks Qualified Candidates

Booming Job Market Creates Demand for College Degrees

Nearly two years into the pandemic, the weak job market for college grads has turned into a job boom, with hiring well above last year’s and in some cases, upsetting prepandemic levels.

Although many internships, recruiting, and job fairs still occur in virtual settings, employers are hot on the trail for college grads—a situation underscoring the benefits of holding a college degree. Recently the chief US economist at global forecaster Oxford Economics said in a New York Times article that college grads have seen a faster rebound in job acquisition than those holding only a high school diploma.

Part of the reason for this phenomenon is that those without college degrees typically work in sectors that have been hard-hit by the pandemic, such as the hospitality and restaurant industries. However, office jobs frequently do not require on-site presence, which has led to the current demand for new hires.

Gig Economy Offers College Job Opportunities

Now that students are back on campus, many seek part-time jobs that can fill empty wallets. Enter the gig economy, which is providing cash-poor students with opportunities for part-time work, outlined below.

Taking class notes. Students can upload and sell class notes via three sites: StudySoup, NexusNotes, and Stuvia, for which notetakers earn between $250-$500 per class per semester. The bonus is that taking better notes translates to better performance in the course.

Tutoring. Whether it’s algebra or Spanish, tutoring students who have fallen behind during the pandemic can be a great way to earn extra cash. Sites for online tutoring are Wyzant and VarsityTutors.

Assembling furniture. Lots of people who buy furniture that requires assembly would rather pay someone to do the job. Posts for jobs like these can be found on TaskRabbit.

Charging scooters. Electric scooters and bikes need charging. Scooter companies such as Bird and Lime hire “chargers” and “juicers” to pick up scooters, charge them, and return them to their stations.

Source: Kristof, K. (September 21, 2021.) Job options for college students besides food delivery. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com

AI Software Overlooks Qualified Candidates 

Employers who have adopted software to aid in the hiring process are losing millions of qualified candidates due to AI’s inherent limitations, according to a Harvard Business School study.

Automation can effectively identify candidates and manage some aspects of the hiring process, such as scheduling interviews and even conducting background checks. However, while useful in routine functions, the software overlooks many who would qualify for jobs, leaving gaping holes employers need filled.

The culprit is automatic filters and overblown job descriptions. For example, say, a retail outlet is looking for a clerk whose responsibilities would include sweeping the store floor but has labeled that task as “floor buffing.”  If “floor-buffing” doesn’t appear on a résumé, that résumé will be passed over, no matter how well matched to the position. Consequently, companies from Amazon to IBM face unfilled positions.

Replacing paper applications with online submissions started in the 1990s and was designed to democratize hiring. But the huge numbers of online applications resulted instead in an inability to accurately sift through résumés. Using AI was seen to be a way to alleviate the problem, but it has led to unintended consequences.

Source: Dill, K. (September 4, 2021.) Companies need more workers. Why do they reject millions of résumés? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved fro

Upholding Grading Rigor During the Pandemic… Microsoft Updates and Expands Emoji… #CareerTok Funnels Video Résumés

Upholding Grading Rigor During the Pandemic

To fail or not to fail? That is the question haunting many professors as they grade during the pandemic.

In a recent Inside Higher Ed post, Prof. Deborah Cohan answers the question, Should we uphold pre-pandemic assessment standards? with a resounding yes. Students may fail even in a pandemic, she notes, but more important, we must reward those who work hard and turn in excellent work.

She explains that blanketing all students with As, not penalizing late work, and being available for endless revisions is self-sacrificial teaching, leading to no winners at the finish line. Cohan says she has noticed an uptick in the number of students claiming to be “confused” and “stressed” and argues these are the same students who ask peers where and from whom the easy As come.

Cohan says instructors need to “put the monkey on the students’ backs” and force them to find the answers while not handing out good grades as a matter of course. Otherwise teaching becomes an empty charade.

Cohan, D. (2021, Aug. 25.) Upholding rigor at pandemic U. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com

Microsoft Updates and Expands Emoji 

Emojis have evolved since they entered into the language in the late 1990s: The characters have morphed from ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to 🤷 to help electronic communications better employ subtleties while not losing professionalism. Or so says Microsoft, which recently refreshed its emoji offerings to “support the new landscape of work.”

A recent article in Medium spells out the differences in Microsoft’s new emoji collection, which includes 3D designs and animation, partly in response to remote work. These enhanced emoji offerings evolved to better telegraph thoughts and feelings, especially important when in-person work is impossible.

According to emoji publisher Microsoft, the characters can help workers express humanity by softening or intensifying tone and by adding playfulness. The emoji library now includes 1,888 images designed to enhance communication.

Anderson, C. (2021, July 15.) An emoji for your thoughts. Medium.com. Retrieved from https://medium.com/

#CareerTok Funnels Video Résumés

A new program has enabled college students and grads to use TikTok to both find work and network. Using the hashtag #TikTokResumes, the program works much like a personal essay, but instead of writing, users submit videos.

While a small sub-section of job searchers are employing the medium, the majority of employers are not biting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the videos may have negative implications. After all, the video puts a face to a name, which might lead to unconscious bias based on appearance, age, or race.

Nevertheless, the phenomenon is part of a trend according to which some recruiters are moving away from cover letters and résumés to other formats, especially when seeking to fill public-facing positions requiring charisma.

Lorenz, T. (2021, July 19.) Job-hunters, have you posted your résumés on TikTok? The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com

 

 

 

It’s Okay to Network Without Drinking… Getting Students to Do the Reading… How Instructors Can Help Student Well-Being

It’s Okay to Network Without Drinking

People don’t consume alcohol for a host of reasons—medication interactions, mental health, or other disabilities—and non-drinkers may not want to share those reasons in professional settings. Nevertheless, many networking opportunities center around drinking, with comments such as Come on, just one often a recurring chorus.

Consequently, those who avoid consuming alcohol should prepare comebacks to questions or comments about their status. If asked to take a drink, the abstinent networker should be able to leave it at an even-toned Thanks, I’m good. The more specific response, I don’t drink, begs a follow-up Why? In this case, the best response is to remain poised, avoid sounding defensive, and move onto another topic.

Moss, H. (2021, July 8.) How I navigate networking events as a person who doesn’t drink. Fast Company. Retrieved from https//www.fastcompany.com

Getting Students to Do the Reading

Do your students ignore assigned readings? If so, try one or several of the strategies below to encourage compliance.

Grade. Assign evaluative summaries of readings or give reading quizzes. The more weight awarded to reading goes toward final grades, the more likely students are to do it.

Don’t summarize. Avoid doing the work for students by covering the reading in depth during class.

Integrate readings into class sessions. Discuss and encourage questions about readings or put students into groups to discuss main takeaways with prepared prompts.

Assign less. Undergraduates respond best to a “less is more” approach.

Suarez, F. (2021, July 12.) 5 weeks to a better semester: Who’s done the reading? Chronicle of Higher Education Newsletter.

How Instructors Can Help Student Well-Being

Isolation, loneliness, and anxiety mark many students’ experience of higher education since the pandemic. Without taking on the role of therapist, instructors can help their charges by heeding a few tips.

  1. Don’t overwhelm students. Many students already feel they have lost out on learning opportunities and are playing catch-up, so make review a part of teaching practices. Use empathy when communicating during class and in online communications to help students feel supported.
  2. Focus on the process of learning. Students may not understand that struggling is part of learning. Remind them about the process of acquiring knowledge and provide opportunities for them to take multiple stabs at assigned work.
  3. Offer a “big picture” of curriculum. Throughout the term, make connections between the course content and what students can take away from learning activities.

Imad, M. (2021, July 8.) Pedagogy of healing: Bearing witness to trauma and resilience. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com