10 Ways to a Killer BlogFrom: yizmo, 10 months ago
Presentation of Robert and Maryam Scoble about how to blog well. The Blog Business Summit 2006 is a conference and seminar series focused on business blogging.
I attended a Graduate School workshop the other day on the PhD Examination process... really valuable session for those of us approaching the final stretch of the thesis journey..
In another session, I was invited to talk to new PhD & EdD students about some of the key issues in the doctoral process. Someone asked me who I was writing my thesis for... I was initially quite taken aback by the question. To me, it was obvious - the examiners! However, a couple of the other doctoral candidates had quite different perspectives on this... answers ranged from writing for themselves, to writing for a community within their discipline and so on...
But, if we look at the thesis itself - in Australia - that document is the final, examinable piece of written work from however many years of research it has taken you to arrive at - that's what 3 annonymous examiners will read, independently of each other, and base their reports and subsequent recommendations on... So - why wouldn't I be writing my thesis for my target audience? My examiners?
Now - back at the exmaination workshop - Dave Boud, Dean of the Graduate School - referred to a paper: " 'It's a PhD, not a Nobel Prize': how experienced examiners assess research theses" Mullins & Kiley (2002) (full reference below) !
This is a must read for any Australian PhD candidates preparing to sumbit their thesis!
The paper reports on a study of experienced examiners (having examined at least 5 theses over the last 5 years) and their processes for making judgements... !
Here are a couple of findings I found valuable:
In the discussion of the results Mullins & Kiley summarise the final judgement of a thesis as being determined by:
And the final comment sums it up really...
" A PhD is three years of solid work, not a Nobel Prize..." (p.386)
So - bummer - for all us who thought there might be a Nobel Prize at the end of the journey...
Reference: Mullins, G. & Kiley, M. (2002), It's a PhD, not a Nobel Prize: how experienced examiners asses research theses, Studies in Higher Education, 27, 4, pp.369-386
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The world has changed (in case it hasn't been brought to your attention lately!)!!
At UTS, in the Faculty of Education, all new Doctoral students will be using elgg Spaces as a Research Journal!!
This is huge - when only 3 - or was it 4 years ago? - my work with weblogs in education was.. well, viewed with suspicion or skepticism!!
Now we are embracing them as part of the Doctoral process and the contents will be submissible as part of a portfolio of evidence! Wow!
I did a workshop with the students on Saturday - and once everyone has logged in (a few technical hitches) - they're all preparing enthusiastically for the writing tasks ahead of them!
It's exciting - and thanks to Alison Lee for acknowledging the value and added dimension weblogs can provide the students throughout their doctoral process!
I'll write more on this as they progress...
CyberBabel Wiki: a dynamic bibliographical review of online intercultural communication managed by Leah MacFayden from The University of British Columbia, Canada has just been launched and is described as a "...new and evolving wiki-based resource which compiles research and writing about culture and communication in online environments." - based on a research project in 2003 and published in 2004: "Communicating Across Cultures in Cyberspace" - which is reproduced on the wiki...
There's an extensive (and growing) Bibliogrpahy page as a valuable resource - I suggest you start there and then follow the links to the other pages listed across the top of the Bibliogrpahy - the navigation sidebar doesn't show all of these on the main page - so they could have been missed if I hadn't jumped straight to the Bibliography....
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Here's my abstract:
Title: Reflections on pedagogy: Reframing practice to foster informal learning with social software
In educational contexts, as social software has evolved in both sophistication and ease of use, the adoption rates have increased with a growing number of supporters claiming the weblog and associated technologies are the most significant technological development in online learning since the introduction of enterprise level Learning Management Systems, yielding an opportunity to transform learning and rethink traditional teaching processes.
While informal learning can be viewed as an ambigous yet highly desired outcome of many educational programmes, univeristy graduate attributes and corporate capabilities increasingly espouse the essential functions in the learning processes for individuals to achieve personal and professional success. At the core of these attributes and processes is the ability to consciously learn and reflect upon experiences in social contexts - beyond the boundaries of the classroom and institutional learning.
Yet there is little evidence to suggest that incorporating technologies into existing learning environments has resulted in any significant change in learning processes. Consequently, to reflect and question our underpinning pedagogical principles when creating a learning environment that fosters the development of informal learning is the potential presented by the integration of social software into our teaching practices, rather than simply replicating or renovating traditional pedagogical strategies. The challenge will be the paradigm shift, for both the educator and learner, to the perspective that social software is the enabler that aims to augment social interactions and enrich the learning experience.
This paper will present a pedagogical strategy, developed by the author from 5 years of practice and informed by PhD research, that provides a framework for facilitating informal learning processes using weblog and associated technologies. The paper will be a mix of underpinning theoretical principles and reflections of the strategy in practice, drawing upon specific examples from a recent experience in the organisational learning context. Issues will be identified that inhibited learners when attempting to create the informal learning environment with social software and strategies to address these concerns will be examined.
Accompanying the paper will be a link to a wiki where the participants from the learning programme referred to will be able to contribute some reflections on their own practice and learning experiences further expanding their collective, informal learning processes.
I'll upload segments of the paper as it develops - and will make the wiki available closer to the date of the conference.
EARLI SIG 9 Phenomenography and Variation Theory
7th-9th December, 2006,
The University of Hong Kong,
Hong Kong SAR, China
The EARLI Special Interest Group 9 Phenomenography and Variation Theory invites you to participate in the forthcoming workshop between the biennial EARLI conferences. The workshop will be held from December 7th to 9th, 2006 at the Faculty of Education of the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
The theme of the workshop is "Phenomenography and Variation Theory: The Ways Forward". The presentation format can be paper, symposium, roundtable discussion or interactive workshop.
Proposals for paper presentation, roundtable discussion and interactive workshop should include the following information:
1) Title of the presentation;
2) Name(s), affiliation(s), address, and email address;
3) Summary of 500 words; and
4) Abstract of 150 words.
Symposium proposals should include:
1) A description of the issues and their importance (maximum 500 words) and
2) Abstract of all participants' presentations (maximum 150 words each).
Submission is by email in either pdf or Word format and should be sent to the Conference Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for submission of proposals is June 30, 2006.
All proposals will be reviewed by an academic panel which consists of experienced SIG 9 members. A notice of acceptance will be sent by email no later than July 31, 2006.
The conference language is English. Opportunities to publish papers following the workshop may be available. Further details will be posted at a later date.
Registration fee: HK$1,000 (equivalent to approximately Euro 106/Swedish Konor980/Aus $176). The registration fee will cover conference bag/folder, the abstracts, lunches, coffee and snacks in the mornings and afternoons during the workshop.
June 30, 2006 Deadline for submission of proposals
July 31, 2006 Notice of acceptance
August 15, 2006 Registration deadline for participants
September 1, 2006 Deadline for conference fee payment
If you would like to get more information regarding the workshop, visit our website at http://www.edu.hku.hk/earli/
For further enquires, please send an email to the chairs of the organizing committee, Ming
Fai PANG at email@example.com or Mona HOLMQVIST at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doctoral Programme 2006
Oxford (UK) - 15-29 July
ooh - now this looks like something my PhD could benefit from....
"...the Programme will bring together students from around the world to study with leading academics in the field of Internet Studies and to share and discuss their research. The Programme is designed both to stretch the thinking of all students on a range of issues central to the work of the Institute through seminars and lectures and to provide valuable advice and support for students' own research. Its aim is to enhance the quality and significance of students' thesis research and to establish a peer network of excellent young researchers."
oh oh, "young researchers"...now I wonder if they're talking about the age of the person, or the stage in their research career?
At UK1200 it's not particularly affordable for PhD students...plus an airfare from Australia .... however, as I generally spend July in Europe, perhaps it's worth considering....the value of studying cross discipline, globally and at Oxford is really rather appealing!
Applications close 20th Feb, 2006
University of Sydney is hosting a Phenomenography Interest Group Symposium next week (Tue 6 & Wed 7 December).
Interested in Phenomenography? I had been asked to present my research but...well, you know what, I'm just not 100% confident that phenomenographic methodology is appropriate for my work.
The trigger for the symposium is the visit of some of our international colleagues. The symposium has been designed to be of interest to experienced and inexperienced phenomenographers alike and particularly to research students. Key features will include:
A panel of international visitors;
• Discussion of key issues in phenomenographic research identified by symposium participants;
• 'How to' sessions for research students;
• Student presentations of work-in-progress, accompanied by friendly and useful feedback;
• Discussion of applications and limitations of phenomenography and its usefulness for higher education in particular.
After my PhD assessment presentation that included some lively debate about research methodologies, I'm starting to question my choices...mainly stemming from my underpinning research perspective that is strongly interpretivist ethnography (Denzin, 1997).
The challenging issues (read: troublesome) is the reporting of data.....
So - I'm attending the 2 day symposium with a very open mind...and the need to be reassured (or is that convinced) that phenomenography is not slighty too positivist for me..
Interested in Phenomenography?
I had been asked to present my research but...well, you know what, I'm just not 100% confident that phenomenographic methodology is appropriate for my work.
About half way through your PhD candidature at UTS, you are required to have your progress assessed.....
"This is to ensure that candidates are equipped with the knowledge and research skills to carry out their proposed research program, and have made sufficient progress to make it likely that they will finish in the prescribed time."
In other words - just to check how you're getting along.....
The process involves a presentation of a 1 hour seminar - which is not formally assessed - but attended by 3 supervisors - selected by your principal supervisor.
The seminar is about presenting your ideas and engaging in dialogue, and getting feedback that can further inform the research process. I've attended a number of these - as support to fellow PhD candidates and out of interest for my own presentation. Generally there has been very valuable and open discussions occuring - so really, there's nothing to be worried about.....yeah right!!!!
Now - the 2nd part - the written assessment:
A 10,000 word paper for the assessment panel that includes:
"...clear research questions, a comprehensive and critical literature review, a rationale for the research, an outline of and rationale for the research methodlogy, a discussion of ehtical considerations, a clear indication of a research schedule, and a consideration of possible problems...initial studies [findings] may also be reported."
So - the date is set - Friday 25 November.....and somehow before that time I need to mark 150 odd end of semester papers, present at the Learning Technologies 2005 conference (this week), chair the National Training day symposium, get to Melbourne for my mother's 80th birthday....and a few other things ....phew!
Tonight I'm presenting to the Community of Scholars on the preparation process for the Doctoral Assesment - hmmmm - should be interesting .... better plan that now....
I spent some time the other day with Dr Dan Kaczynski ( a visiting scholar at UTS from Uni of West Florida) exploring the advantages of using Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS) - in particular NVivo.
Well - I must say - I'm gobsmacked! I had previously looked at NVivo as a fairly basic system that really wouldn't add any value to my data analysis - which was looking like a long manual process....how wrong can I be!!!
Firstly - the debate about qualitative data analysis and research methods for textual analysis lagging behind quantitative practice is probably fairly well grounded - just how many software titles can you cite....? Exactly!
Dan has a short paper "Qualitative Research Analysis for the Future" to be published in November 2005 issue of GradNews (it's not there yet...) that succintly positions the debate of methods and the blending of theoretical orientations. He believes that the QDAS provides researchers with sophisticated options and features for analysis that could transform educational research in the future!
So - now I'm trying to get access to NVivo. It's not a cheap piece of software - even with academic rates - but I'm working on that....pretty excited by the functionality Dan showed me!