I have to spend the better part of this weekend preparing materials for the next session of my HR Technology course at Rochester Institute of Technology as part of the Master's program in Human Resource Development.
The course, one of very few in the country with a 100% focus on HR Technology, has been in existence for about three years, and each time I prepare and deliver the course I try to change and enhance the content, structure, and assignments to keep the course fresh and interesting, and to attempt to provide to the students an accurate and relevant overview of the current set of technologies and the latest thinking of how Human Resources professionals can better leverage technology in their organizations.
Or I could roll out the same set of content as the last time and rely on the old Einstein line alluded to in the title of the post. Short version - Professor Einstein gave the same exact final exam two terms in a row, a student asked him if that made sense, since savvy students would always connect with kids in the prior class to learn about the exam content. Einstein responded with 'Yes the questions are the same, but now the answers are different.'
Anyway, we cover the basics, Core HRMS, payroll, time and attendance stuff. We then spend quite a bit of time on Talent Management tools, like performance management and succession planning. Finally, we wrap the course with a look at new collaboration technologies and ways that technologies and social networks can be used to further organizational objectives. We do quite a bit of hands-on work and get to try and test several really cool technologies.
And do you know what my past students have consistently wanted me to focus on in much greater detail?
Helping them with their personal LinkedIn profiles.
The second we start discussing LinkedIn in an organizational context, its power as a corporate recruiting tool, and the importance of groups, answers etc. in employer branding efforts, at least two thirds of the class will ask for advice and guidance on completing, (and in some cases creating), their personal LinkedIn profiles. Many of the students are in an active job search, or will soon be in search mode once they complete the program, so this kind of personal and practical knowledge is way more important to them than me waxing philosphic on the benefits of SaaS deployment of HR Technology.
So when that happens, I will carve out some time to spend on LinkedIn profiles, as well as some other places where students can consider for building up an online identity and reputation that can benefit them in their job searches. I am certainly not an expert on this, but I give it a shot.
The whole 'LinkedIn' discussion though takes me to a more interesting question though:
As the instructor should I be talking about and stressing what is 'important' or what the students really need to know?
Postscript - Since I know I will have to have the 'How to make a better LinkedIn profile' discussion again soon, if you have some tips or links to good resources, tutorials, etc. please let me know in the comments.