Reframe: Research in Media, Film and Music (@_REFRAME)

reframe

This looks interesting:

REFRAME aims to offer a range of scholarly and related creative and critical content – from relatively ephemeral or responsive forms of research output (project blogs, online film and video festivals, conferences and symposia, and audio and video podcasts) through to fully peer-reviewed online serials and monographic publications, and digital archives and assemblages.

They’ve just published The Tablet Book, developed from a 2013 symposium which was responding to media reports that 2013 was ‘the year of the tablet’. Available open-access.

Cyber-abuse of academics via @timeshighered

Image Credit: Stockfresh

Image Credit: Stockfresh

People really have to get an idea that there are human beings behind all screens – here’s some comment on the particular situation for academics:

My experiences, it seems, are far from unique. I am working on a joint University of York-University of Southampton research project; in our survey of 240 higher education sector professionals, some two in five respondents said they had been subjected to online abuse in their everyday working lives. The problems ranged from general bad-mouthing to extreme forms of sexual and physical victimisation, and 62 per cent of this group reported that their abusers were known to them offline.

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Call me Dr!

phdgradI thought this was a really interesting piece – knowing even what job title, etc to go with the sweated over title can be hard enough, if we can’t even use Dr … then what… it’s not posturing – it’s 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration – fulfilled!

This scene perfectly illustrates a disturbing trend I have noticed in academia, one we should end very soon. It has become popular to rob academics with the title of “Dr” of their titles in professional settings where its use is entirely appropriate.

I first noticed this at a large academic conference where my work was to be presented. On the registration form, I wrote my name as “Dr Becky Lee Meadows”. When I received my name badge at the conference, it said simply “Becky” in large black print, with “Becky Meadows” in smaller print below. When I asked about my missing title, I was told that the conference administrators did not allow the use of the title “Dr” because other conference participants might find it intimidating.

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Meetings: Good or Bad?

mhgnVuOI was fascinated by this piece in Times Higher Education about the power (or otherwise) of meetings. I have been to my fair share of tedious meetings, but also find regular meetings, particularly if they are focused on decision making, incredibly valuable – decisions it would take me hours to make on my own can be done quickly… and in many ways the question about what people are doing (note the obviousness of getting the laptop out) are similar to those about what students are doing whilst you are teaching … are they engaging with what you are doing, augmented with material online, or are they off doing something else (and is that something we, as lecturers, need to worry about?)

However, enjoy this rant, and recognise some of the negative possibilities of meetings:

This brings me to my second point about meetings: avoid, at all costs, the obvious. Don’t insult your attendees’ intelligence. Don’t read the minutes to them or bore them with reports that they could read on their own. And don’t say something that could easily go unsaid. None of this is an easy trick to pull off with academics; in my limited experience, I either overestimate the knowledge of my listeners (like most academic articles do) or infantilise them (like a lecture course gone wrong).

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Lecturing on an Ocean Cruise: Sounds Good!

Cruise LinerWell, there’s an idea:

The scholar on stage holds the status of entertainer, putting on a show for a paying audience whose scores will determine whether their lecturer’s short-term contract is renewed.

Fear not: this is not a vision of some dystopian future but rather an unusual, and fascinating, break from the day job – with azure waters and plenty of sunshine thrown in.

For Kathleen Lynch, associate professor in the department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, lecturing on a cruise ship is “the very best kind of outreach experience possible”.

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Academics Writing Too Fast?

Fast Typing

Interesting piece … look out for the words that are used!

We all know that academics, under constant pressure to publish, are writing too fast, with little time and even less inclination to craft their prose as scholars of old might have done. Consequently, it is easy to complain about declining aesthetic standards, but this does not get to the heart of what is going wrong, particularly with academic writing in the social sciences.

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Bridging the gap between academia and Wikipedia

Press Release from JISC: 

Wikipedia LogoJisc and Wikimedia UK are collaborating on a project to bring the academic world and Wikipedia closer together. This will create opportunities for researchers, educators, and the general public to contribute to the world’s freely available knowledge.

Jisc, the UK education charity championing the use of digital technology in education and research, is supporting this initiative so that the widest possible audience will benefit from the world-leading projects that it supports. These include open educational resources, online repositories of research, and collections such as the 19th century newspapers archive andManuscripts Online, which holds British written and early printed materials from 1000 to 1500AD.

Wikimedia UK is the national charity supporting Wikipedia and its sister projects such as Wiktionary and Wikiversity. It works with professionals in universities, museums, libraries, and other institutions to improve the knowledge that those projects make freely available. It is investing in this project to involve more of these experts in improving Wikimedia projects for everyone’s benefit. This project is part of the charity’s wider commitment to higher education, shown through efforts such as their annual EduWiki conference and participation in the global Wikipedia Education Program. The charity recently appointed its first education co-ordinator in order to gain greater focus on higher education.

This is a national project, based at the University of Bristol. It will train experts in their workplaces and also run ‘editathon’ events which will be open to the public. Dr Martin Poulter, who is a Wikipedia editor as well as a professional creator of educational materials in the university, will be an ambassador between the two communities. This will include working with Jisc’s communities to identify specific topics for development.

Peter Findlay, Jisc programme manager said: “We at Jisc are delighted to be working in partnership with Wikimedia UK to allow people to take full advantage of Wikipedia’s sophisticated open publishing systems. Our communities have worked hard to develop academic rigour but equally Wikimedia’s community has developed a rigorous approach to publishing crowdsourced knowledge; it makes perfect sense for us to join forces for the advancement of teaching, learning and research.”

Jon Davies, chief executive of Wikimedia UK, said: “I’m pleased that we are working with Jisc on the Wikimedia Ambassador project. Both the academic and Wikimedia communities are committed to the pursuit and sharing of knowledge. Bringing the two communities together can help demystify Wikipedia to people who work in higher education, and at the same time create and improve Wikimedia content by encouraging more experts to edit.”

The project is jointly funded by Wikimedia UK and Jisc and will run for around nine months.

San Jose: Blended Learning?

Image Credit: iStockphoto

Image Credit: iStockphoto

Another interesting story connected with MOOCs, but also dealing with wider questions re academic skills, etc.:

After five years during which funding for public universities in the state has been slashed by about $1 billion (£650 million), Samuels says, the sector is now being told to solve its problems with a “magical techno- bullet”.

He argues that the proposal to replace bricks-and-mortar courses with online ones is “part of a larger culture of bashing teachers” and a way to circumvent academic control and its careful development of curricula.

“It’s taking away attention from our real problems,” he argues.

However, despite such arguments, the momentum seems to be with forms of web-based provision, particularly massive open online courses.

“Faculty have been resistant to change for some time,” says Gabi Zolla, vice-president for programmes, research and policy at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, a not-for-profit organisation that is pressing universities to award academic credit for students’ life and work experience. “This isn’t new. It doesn’t mean that early adopters can’t change the tide.”

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