20 Signs That You Might Be a Cyber-Professor

Every so often, I try to lighten things up on my blog. This is one of those times (so please don’t read too much into these statements). Plenty of people write about how the digital world is changing young people for better or worse. This post is a reflection on how the digital world is changing those of us in academia, creating a new breed of faculty member who is comfortable using the words “tweet” and “peer-reviewed” in the same sentence, sometimes sees the digital world as a place for rich intellectual discourse, and has a global connection of colleagues largely held together by social media and other online networks.  With that in mind, following are twenty signs that you might be a cyber-prof. If 10 or more of these describe you, there is little doubt that you are a cyber professor. Welcome to higher education life in the digital world.

Feel free to add some of your own ideas in the comment area.

  1. You can list more Twitter chat hash tags from memory than authors of books that you’ve read in the last three months…or it is at least a close match.
  2. You find yourself wondering if academic journals need more pictures or interactivity so that more than a dozen other scholars will read them.
  3. You’ve pondered the fact that you can can have more people read your work if you post it on a blog and send out a Tweet about it than if you get it published in a top peer-reviewed journal.
  4. You describe this “rich and thought-provoking discussion” with a fellow academic and it took place in the comment section of a blog or a Twitter stream.
  5. You find yourself smiling at the phone, Ipad or computer screen as much as you do to people you pass in the hallway at school.
  6. You’ve taken a selfie at an academic conference with a scholar whose work you’ve appreciated over the years.
  7. When giving instructions to students about a paper or project, you’ve comfortably invited the students to, “text me if you get stuck or have any questions.”
  8. You learn more about leading academics in your field by reading their Wikipedia page or Academia.edu profile than by learning about them at meetings and conferences.
  9. You Tweet or update your Facebook status with commentary about the joys and challenges of your students amid grading papers / reviewing student work.
  10. You wonder how you might reach a level of academic accomplishment that warrants you having a Wikipedia page.
  11. You are more concerned about what shows up on RateMyProfessor than the University course evaluation.
  12. You judge coffee shops and lunch locales by the quality and presence of wifi more than the quality of the food and drink.
  13. You celebrate acceptance of a paper, presentation or book proposal with your Twitter connections or Facebook friends before you talk to your colleagues down the hall (or you tell your colleagues down the hall via Twitter or Facebook).
  14. You’ve heard of open peer review, peer-reviewed blogging, or you’re interested in publishing your next peer-reviewed paper with your blogger pseudonym or your Twitter handle.
  15. When your biography is included in conference details, you insist on including your Twitter handle and a link to your blog.
  16. You’ve received inquiries for consulting or speaking through your blog or social media.
  17. You’ve contemplated how you can turn Periscope or Meerkat into a powerful teaching tool, and wonder if you can use the number of hearts received from Periscope in your portfolio for rank and promotion.
  18. You’ve found yourself writing/typing LOL in the sideline of an essay that you are grading.
  19. You’ve experimented with a back channel in a presentation or lecture…or at least you’ve thought about it.
  20. You know how to teach from the beach, and you’re proud of it.


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About Bernard Bull

Dr. Bernard Bull is an author, professor of education, Vice Provost of Curriculum and Academic Innovation, podcast host, and blogger. Some of his books include Missional Moonshots: Insights and Inspiration for Educational Innovation, What Really Matters: Ten Critical Issues in Contemporary Education, The Pedagogy of Faith (editor), Adventures in Self-Directed Learning, and Digitized: Spiritual Implications of Technology. He is passionate about futures in education; educational innovation; and social entrepreneurship.