Archive for October, 2011

Dissemination 2.0

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

This is the abstract for the workshop I am running in the afternoon session of Research Practices 2.0 event on Saturday. The downside is I don’t get to see the sessions @jennifermjones and @mark_carrigan are running at the same time! However, we will each be feeding back in the plenary that follows.

In what ways can I use social media to disseminate my research?
What are the potential benefits and risks involved?

Social media are providing new spaces for disseminating research work, enabling new forms of dialogue and engagement with different audiences, through various formats and media.

In this interactive session, you will be able to discuss and develop ideas about sharing your work online. Drawing on specific examples of social media – such as blogging and content sharing sites – we will explore how they can challenge and support established forms of research dissemination and publication. We will identify potential reasons for not wanting to share work online, and how we might address this by discussing different stages and contexts of PhD study, and core and peripheral research activities.

#RP2Nott Programme

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

We’ve now finalised the timings for the Research Practices 2.0 event on Saturday. Looking forward to a busy day.


Research Practices 2.0
Social and Participatory Media in Academic Life

Saturday 29th October 2011
Business School South, Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham

9.30–10.00 Registration & Coffee

10.00–10.30 Introduction Session
(Lecture Theatre A25)
Claire, Andy & Emily

10.30–11.30 Morning Sessions
(A24, A26, A06, A07)
Lead Facilitators – Warren, Claire, Jennifer & Kat

11.30–12.00 Coffee & Networking

Sign up for the afternoon sessions
Opportunity to watch participant videos in A08

12.00–12.45 Plenary
(Lecture Theatre A25)
All Facilitators

Reporting back from morning sessions
Open discussion and questions

12.45–1.45 Lunch

Opportunity to use the IT Suite A03 and watch participant videos in A08

1.45–2.30 Afternoon Sessions
(A06, A24, A26, IT Suite A03)
Mark, Jennifer & Andy plus IT drop-in facilitators (Claire, Emily & Kat)

2.30–3.00 Coffee & Networking

Opportunity to use the IT Suite A03
Fill in assessment forms

3.00–4.00 Plenary
(Lecture Theatre A25)
All facilitators

Reporting back from afternoon sessions
Open discussion and questions

In Our Time, On Our iPods

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

The BBC has now released a podcast of every edition of Radio 4’s weekly broadcast In Our Time. Whilst we’ve been able to ‘listen again’ to these for a while, this is the first time the complete archive has also been made available to download.

In Our Time invites experts to discuss topics within its wide remit of cultural, historical, philosophical and scientific themes. It’s a simple format, largely unaltered since it was originally broadcast in 1998. The discussions, hosted by Melvyn Bragg, are largely convivial and rarely confrontational, but regularly feature some of the best academics, intellectuals and literati in their field. Read the terms of service and use appropriately folks.


Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The Research Practices 2.0 one-day event is fast approaching on Saturday 29th October. This is the culmination of the project and internship programme that developed out of the Graduate Centre workshop sessions I conducted with LeRoy Hill. It also compliments a web resource (to be located on the University of Nottingham Graduate School site), which we will be launching at the event.

In addition to me, Claire Mann and Emily Buchnea from the project team, we are delighted to have @WarrenPearce, @jennifermjones, @mark_carrigan and Kat Gupta (@mixosaurus) helping facilitate the event. Most of them contributed to the video interviews we conducted, which will constitute a significant part of the web resource.

We had a meeting yesterday to finalise a collaboratively-designed workshop session that we will be running in the morning across four groups. Later in the afternoon, me, Mark and Jen will be leading three separate sessions focused on more specific practice contexts. In addition, there will be opportunities for attendees to use a ‘drop-in’ IT clinic and to view the videos. We are looking at filming the plenary sessions for later inclusion on the web resource.

It was good to see the 100 places taken up within a week or so of publicising the event. We have a considerable number on a reserve list that we’d love to accommodate, but many more would compromise the interactivity of the sessions.

We wanted the event to be as inclusive as possible so it’s particularly satisfying to see attendees from across the disciplines. And whilst this project has been developed primarily for the University of Nottingham doctoral community, it was always our intention to make both the web resource and the event accessible to external PhD students and researchers. So it’s great we have a good representation from a number of other (primarily East Midlands) universities.

Pitching events like this is difficult. People will come with a range of experiences, competences and perspectives on social media, and different assumptions and expectations of the event. We hope to be responsive and collaborative by creating an informal and interactive environment for discussion and an opportunity to listen to and share experiences of using social media.

I’ll be blogging more on this, before and after the event, in the next few weeks.

ECEL 2011

Monday, October 10th, 2011

I’ve recently had my paper, ‘Negotiating Doctoral Practices and Academic Identities through the Adoption and Use of Social and Participative Media,’ accepted for the 10th European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL 2011) at the University of Brighton, 10-11 November. This will be an early opportunity to present some of my original research contributing towards my thesis. I’ve reproduced the abstract below:

This paper describes current doctoral research into how PhD students are using social and participative media (web 2.0) in their academic studies. It examines the role these media can play in identity-formation and induction into academic scholarship and professional development. The practice-context and situated approach of this study challenges some of the dominant discourses and idealised concepts within the educational technology field to address the significant gap between the potential of web 2.0 and the reality of low rates of adoption and use.

The study reconciles social media adoption and use with the self-efficacy and heterogeneity of doctoral practice. By taking an ecological approach, it recognises that doing a PhD requires the negotiation of multiple and interrelated academic and peripherally non-academic contexts. Such an approach legitimises doctoral practices beyond those related purely to thesis-development, and challenges models of doctoral education defined by a trajectory of increased participation and enculturation within a single, localised institutional research community. In addition, rather than focusing on one particular tool or platform, the study adopts a holistic perspective to social media that recognises the multiplicity, interrelatedness and transiency of web 2.0.

The empirical research uses a small sample of social sciences, humanities and interdisciplinary PhD students as participants. Adopting a qualitative approach and mixed-method design, data were collected through the observation of online activities across a range of social media, participant-reported accounts, and a series of in-depth participant interviews. Activity theory is used to support a grounded and recursive approach to analysing participant-produced digital artefacts, field notes and interview transcripts through open coding and thick description. From these data, an analytical framework of interrelated object-oriented activity systems was generated with which to identify and describe shifting patterns in social media practice through key phases in the participants’ doctoral experiences, and across a range of practice contexts.

Emerging findings indicate the role of social media in contributing to, and revealing, the tensions inherent in negotiating multiple and interrelated practice contexts through boundary crossing and interdisciplinary activities. The study reveals how participation in emergent online research networks and communities is enabling new forms of professional academic engagement, often beyond the immediate scope of thesis-related work. It examines how this contributes to the participants’ mapping of the research field by providing additional insights into the socio-cultural infrastructure that underpins academic discourse. It also highlights how the development of doctoral social media practices and identity agendas are influenced by localised research cultures and often compromised by ambiguous or perceived audiences.

Three years of excuses and it’s still crap

Friday, October 7th, 2011

tara fergie

The protest banner displayed by Manchester United supporters in the Winter of 1989-90 indicated that, after three years in the job, manager Alex Ferguson had failed to bring the success the club deeply craved. It has become part of footballing lore that Mark Robins’ goal against Nottingham Forest in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup that season saved his career. This may or may not be true, but United went on to win the Cup and over the subsequent years Ferguson has become the most successful manager in the history of English football.

This reminds me that preparation and hard work are often not recognised until everything comes together; that after three years of my PhD, I will soon have something to show for it; and that it might just possibly lead to something bigger.