28.8.08

[dmu on telly]

On September 1st a new ad. for DMU will go live on Channel 4, E4, ITC2 and Dave. I've just seen it on the DMU website and it's pretty good! And, best of all, it's created by students and shot on campus (check out the bridge over the canal and the lovely cobblestone path)! The scene with the motion-capture suit is quite exciting too. I'm all for uni-patriotism but perhaps that's just reflective of my Canadian background where we all collect everything from mugs, jogging pants, backpacks, pens and jackets embossed with our uni logos...

Now...where's my IOCT jumper?


Annoyingly there's no embed link on the dmu ad. so you'll have to click here if you'd like to watch it. The mini-documentary on the making of the ad. is a fun viewing too.


Edit on 12 Sept. 2008 (thanks Kate): the link doesn't seem to work unless you're on the dmu intranet. Try here instead: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/applicants/ug/television-advertisement/


26.8.08

[new media, romance and evidence]

"Mobile phones, BlackBerrys, emails, social networking... Never before has it been so easy to cheat on a partner. But has technology made it simply too difficult for philanderers to cover their tracks?

*****

In today's world, to function as an effective member of 21st-century society, we have to engage with a bewildering array of electronic gadgets, few of which we fully understand. We stomp digital footprints all over the place, and the unforeseen result of engaging in the information age is that it is becoming harder to have secrets – and, as a result, it is harder to cheat on each other.

Day-to-day actions, such as taking the bus to work and buying a magazine on the way, used to be ephemeral. But today, every journey, every communication, every penny spent, is logged and stored. As we move through life, we leave millions of specks of electronic evidence. Stored on hard drives and mainframes, this data acts like specks of DNA sprayed across the bedsheet of cyberspace. It's all there waiting to incriminate us."

Read the whole article at the Independent.




23.8.08

[employment opportunity - Kairos is hiring]


Kairos - An online academic open-access peer-reviewed journal that focuses on digital and multimodal practises and pedagogy. They're hiring a Praxis section assistant editor(s) and a Reviews section assistant editor(s).

Get applications in by Friday, September 19, 2008. Interviews are scheduled for soon after. The start dates is November, 2008.

21.8.08

[blackberry bold: i want it!]

It has a camera, gps (with turn-by-turn directions), music, video, wifi (!!), high-speed HSDPA and and and...I want one! annoyed that we're only getting it in November while in Canada they get it today!



competition for the iphone? i think so.

from the telegraph:
"iPhone 3g: If the iPhone had the ability to edit documents on the go, it would be the perfect business device. As it stands, it is probably better suited to consumers, but its ease of use, superb multimedia capabilities and the ability to add software make it one of the best all-round handsets on the market.

BlackBerry Bold:The BlackBerry Bold, quite simply, does more than the iPhone. It looks better than any of its predecessors, too, but email and professional uses are always going to be the priorities for this device. If they're your priority as well, then it's a superb machine - carrying it says you mean business."



18.8.08

[transliteracy and education]

Thorough article in the Times Higher on transliteracy and new media in education. The reporter, Hannah Fearne interviewed my ph.d supervisor Prof. Sue Thomas for her thoughts on transliteracy and breaking academic barriers. Some interesting bits:

"Research has a habit of turning up surprising or controversial findings, and none more so than this: Britain's universities are populated with illiterates.

Academics at De Montfort University are researching the nature and impact of a new kind of literacy: the sharp end of modern communication known as "transliteracy". The term describes the ability to read, write and interact on a range of platforms. Think of the media's teenage stereotype, a young girl watching Hollyoaks on television while simultaneously discussing its plotlines on the social networking site Facebook, listening to music on MySpace and texting her friend to discuss home study.

***********

At De Montfort, Sue Thomas, a professor of new media, is more interested in the impact that transliteracy is having on higher education and pedagogy. In these terms, many academics are in essence illiterate, says Thomas. Most would admit it, even taking a certain pride in their part-removal from the world of e-communication. This matters if they find their teaching relationship with hyper-transliterate students breaking down because of an inability to communicate fully with one another.

Thomas believes that if academics cannot show themselves to be transliterate, they will lose the respect of their students. "University is about sharing knowledge," she says, and students expect it to be carried out on their terms, in the ways they are used to. "There is still a huge cultural barrier for some people. We find quite often that librarians and e-learning staff are very open to this, but when you go within the humanities and you look at traditional areas such as English, there is a real resistance to technology."

***********

Academics will eventually be forced to take note because the gap of understanding will lead to further confusion. One of the most tangible dangers of the chasm is a loss of authority over plagiarism. As Thomas explains: "Lecturers who maybe don't understand the web very well will probably be very stressed about recognising plagiarism. Students are also very stressed about wanting to use the web as a resource but are worried about being accused of (breaking rules)."

Thomas believes that as transliteracy shoots up the higher education agenda, academics will be forced to adopt new forms of communication in their teaching. As an indication of how seriously the issue is being taken, the National Union of Students has confirmed that it is carefully monitoring attitudes towards communication and technology."

Read the full article, "Grappling with the Digital Divide, here.

13.8.08

[sonic and digital literacies]

As I think about the kinds of things I'd like my pilot group to read while enjoying various brain scans (this is an experiement in the works) I find myself trying to make sure I'm not too text-centric. I'm working in the online environment (mostly) and that means there is often recourse to images, sounds, video, text (which in my experience is often quite visual too) and of course there's some kind of haptics. But I find I almost forget about sound...sounds odd saying that because as I write I am listening to myself, how can I *forget* about sound? Is it more likely that I'm so immersed in sound that I just navigate through its presence (as is the case for certain students according to Michelle Comstock and Mary E. Hocks) Cornstock and Hocks ask how might educators engage this kind of sonic sensitivity in their own writing (composition) classrooms. It seems that this might be similar to what Ximena Alarcon is doing with her research into sonic environments and memory. Ximena did her ph.d at DMU (in Music Technology and Innovation.) and now she is working on a Leverhulme Trust - Early Career Fellowship 2007 - 2009. For her ph.d Ximena created an ethnography based artwork. "Twenty-four volunteers participated in the project, sharing their (deep) feelings, spontaneity, curiosity, interest, and passion for discovering how sound is important in their life. Sounds included in this project have been selected by them, after a process of travelling, recording, listening and remembering."

Ximena's current project stretches the sonic environment to Paris and Mexico, this time comparing these results with the London one's which formed the base of the ph.d.

There are blogs devoted to Ximena's field work in Paris and Mexico and on the Mexican blog there's an interesting comment from one of the volunteers. She has just listened to sounds from the London Underground while navigating Ximena's "ethnographic artwork." She notes the sound of the bells (doors opening and closing I presume) and notes that hearing the sound means she visualises the tube" in action" (my translation):

"Lo que llama en particular mi atención son las campanas en la parte del corredor, la combinanción de imágenes y los sonidos hacen realmente imaginarte un mundo en moviemiento"
I wonder if this synesthetic response is something that might be made visible with brain scanning research and is it something we (as educators) can work into our teaching? I suppose this aligns with Ong's thinking that sound "emanate[s] from a source here and now discernibly active, with the result that involvement with sound is involvement with the present, with here-and-now existence and activity
" (qtd in Michelle Comstock and Mary E. Hocks)

I'll look forward to reading what parisienne/parisien commuters think.




11.8.08

[gender and literacy]

Sure women and men are different and sure our brains work differently but I didn't realise how drastically different. In a presentation on boys' writing and ict that I found at the Nottinghamshire Primary ICT Framework site there is a really interesting image of a girl's brain *at rest* and a boy's brain *at rest*:



"In the resting female brain, we find just as much neural activity as in the male brain that is solving problems."

10.8.08

[digital literacy: what is it and do we really need it?]

I'm reading "Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?" and while I'm scrolling through the article I'm googling some of the researchers mentioned (Rand J. Spiro, Elizabeth Birr Moje and Linda A. Jackson) and looking up some of the reports and studies. I'm also skimming through Research in Research Quarterly and Journal of Research in Reading (and complaining to myself loudly because of the 12 month embargo) and examining brain scan images. Obviously I'm reading and obviously I'm doing it in a manner different from print. But is it better? Better than what exactly? I think this is where my difficulty lies. It seems, as with the NYT article, that this is a vs matter. Print vs digital. Reading vs surfing. Literacy vs adequacy. But it isn't a simple vs issue is it? The video included in the NYT article shows a white affluent family. Each family member enjoys reading but the mum says reading for her is *quiet* and requires a comfy chair: "I can't curl up with my computer." But is this part of a quantitative assessment of online reading? Is it a feature of literacy per se? I wouldn't disagree with anyone that reading online and reading in print are different. But can we generalise and say that all reading online is different from all reading in print? Can we compare Manga online to its offline sibling? I think we could even find suitable comparisons between some early more text-based hypertext stories and print novels. Maybe instead of citing the differences we should be looking at the similarities as that might form part of the base of new literacies education and assessment. Ken Pugh says that reading in print encourages a more reflective stance, allowing time for rumination. Well, would that not only hold if students/readers are encouraged to do so. I know I've skipped to the good bits in books before {of course this is firmly in my past :)}. Do we reflect on what we read *only* when we read in print? Reading online is not always just about the "short bits" that Pugh refers to. Take a look at the project "Evaluating The Development of Scientific Knowledge and New Forms of Reading Comprehension During Online Learning" run by Dr. Donald J. Leu and Dr. Douglas Hartman. Their main research questions addressed the effects that "varying levels of intensity of Internet integration into seventh grade classroom science instruction." Their general findings suggest that:

"Internet integration generates greater online reading comprehension ability. Our results suggest it is better to have no integration or high-intensity integration of the Internet for developing concept knowledge, but not low or moderate intensity integration. Our study also provides preliminary data that suggests online and traditional reading achievement tests are not correlated."

  • internet integration in a seventh grade science classroom resulted in higher achievement levels in online reading comprehension. This was true for both the ORCA-IM and ORCA-Blog; two assessment instruments with good psychometric properties. Each assessment required students to locate, evaluate, synthesize and communicate information on the Internet.
  • Conceptual knowledge development in science was greater among students in the high-intensity Internet integration group and the control group.
  • Consistent with new literacy predictions, we found no association between either of the measures of traditional reading comprehension (January and June DRP)and the measure of online reading comprehension (ORCA-Blog). No evidence of gains on a test of traditional reading comprehension following treatment.


Of course there are different kinds of reading too. Sometimes we read for information (and then maybe on the 'net we have quicker access to more resources) and sometimes maybe we're reading for the whole tactile and sensory experience and then we want our comfy chairs and crisp pages. But as educators, parents and leaders we need not only to address the different reasons our students/children etc... might read but also how. As Gay Ivey, a professor at James Madison University says “I think they need it all.”

7.8.08

[employment opportunity - lecturer art & design]

Jobs at Norwich School of Art and Design

Senior Lecturer in Games Art & Design

This post is available as either:
One full time post of 35 hours per week, 52 weeks per year
OR
Two posts of 17.5 hours per week (0.5FTE), 52 weeks per year

£31,136 - £41,410 p.a. (pro-rata)
(Job evaluation pending)

As a key member of the Games Art & Design Course team you will contribute to the academic development delivery of the FdA/BA (Hons) Games Art & Design awards.

The successful candidate will be expected to have a broad understanding of contemporary context for Games development and design and will contribute to the learning, teaching and assessment within the FdA/BA (Hons) programmes.

As a practising professional, you will be active in research and knowledge transfer, using these skills to inform the quality of teaching excellence.

Reporting to the Course Leader, Games Art & Design, you will need to demonstrate experience of teaching at HE level, appropriate technical skills and knowledge and an awareness of the creative and cultural industries.

Closing date: 5th September 2008

Interviews to be held: 1st October 2008

For an application pack please email jobs@nuca.ac.uk or contact Human Resources on 01603 756243.



6.8.08

[employment - research positions]

Localisation is the adaptation of digital content to culture, locale and linguistic environment. The Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL) is a large Academia-Industry partnership, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and Industry Partners, with over 100 researchers developing novel technologies addressing the key localisation challenges of volume, access and personalisation. The major research strands within the CNGL are Integrated Language Technologies (ILT), Digital Content Management (DCM), Localisation Technologies and Processes (LOC) and Systems Framework (SF).
We are currently recruiting:
Post-Doctoral Research Positions:
3 Post-Doctoral Positions in ILT (MT, NLP)

1 Post-Doctoral Position in DCM (Ontology Induction)

3 Post-Doctoral Positions in LOC (Workflow, Translation, Multilingual Content)

Post-Doctoral positions are fixed term contracts.

Salary: €38,623-45,401 per annum (depending on experience).

Starting dates: now – November 2008.

PhD Studentship Research Positions:
5 PhD Studentships in ILT (MT, NLP)
5 PhD Studentships in DCM (IR/IE, QA, Ontology Induction)
8 PhD Studentships in LOC (Workflow, Translation, Multilingual Content)

PhD positions are typically for 4 years.
Stipend: €16,000 (tax free) plus payment of registration fees.
Starting dates: now – November 2008.
CNGL provides state-of-the-art research facilities and supports travel to present at conferences.

Please visit
http://www.cngl.ie/vacancies.html for more detailed information on each position. The successful candidates will join well established research groups at Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University of Limerick, Ireland.

Deadline for applications: 31st August 2008 To apply send CV and contact details of 2 referees to info@cngl.ie quoting the appropriate reference (see http://www.cngl.ie/vacancies.html). Please also use for informal inquiries.


4.8.08

[first day of work]

Welcome to me...to the life of a *real* person and not a student (even if it was doctoral!).

Today is my first day of work and I've already found the stationary closet and have piled my desk with a myriad of fluorescent highlighters, coloured pens, pink and yellow post-its and even, yes, a pencil! I've located the coffee maker and the fridge and have settled in nicely. Now that those important first-day things are out of the way, I'm diving into the minefield of scholarly publishing - issues about open access, electronic or not or both, impact factors, citations and the like. Through my browsing I've come across The Scholarly Kitchen, an excellent blog on, well, all things scholarly and publishing. Today's blog post at the Kitchen hits a major question in academia today: what to watch. Should academics (publishers, researchers, writers) keep an eye on issues like those I mentioned above or should the focus move to the reader, funding bodies, "author talent" and the like?

Kent Anderson, author of this post at Scholarly Kitchen, mentions an article I read recently in Science on the nature of electronic publishing. That Science article noted that readers *use* (key word here) online resources rather differently from print ones:

"Online journals promise to serve more information to more dispersed audiences and are more efficiently searched and recalled. But because they are used differently than print—scientists and scholars tend to search electronically and follow hyperlinks rather than browse or peruse—electronically available journals may portend an ironic change for science. Using a database of 34 million articles, their citations (1945 to 2005), and online availability (1998 to 2005), I show that as more journal issues came online, the articles referenced tended to be more recent, fewer journals and articles were cited, and more of those citations were to fewer journals and articles. The forced browsing of print archives may have stretched scientists and scholars to anchor findings deeply into past and present scholarship. Searching online is more efficient and following hyperlinks quickly puts researchers in touch with prevailing opinion, but this may accelerate consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon."
Anderson has picked out some responses to the Science article and it's interesting to see the high value readers/users are putting on notions of accessibility, usability and personalisation:

"I]f a paper isn’t on G[oogle] S[cholar], and I haven’t seen it in another publication, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist. . . .

Basically, if I can’t download a “free” pdf, the paper doesn’t get referenced. I do go from time to time to the library for mission critical papers, but the time it takes to get a paper is on the order of 30 min to an hour. A massive waste of time.

[O]ften older papers aren’t worth referencing, the 80’s and 90’s probably saw more invalidation of old research than the entire preceding century in total (in the biological sciences anyway). And this decade will probably be more than the 80’s and 90’s combined, the pace of research is just that much faster, and that many more people doing it. You don’t reference a 1970’s paper that is half wrong, you reference the 1998 paper that examined the 70’s one and refined the concepts."


I wonder how these kinds of comments affect impact factors/"mono-metrics" and what this means for the new generation RAE which is supposed to be more fair.


3.8.08

[identity and punctuation]

What punctuation mark are you?




You Are An Exclamation Point



You are a bundle of... well, something.

You're often a bundle of joy, passion, or drama.



You're loud, brash, and outgoing. If you think it, you say it.

Definitely not the quiet type, you really don't keep a lot to yourself.



You're lively and inspiring. People love to be around your energy.

(But they do secretly worry that you'll spill their secrets without even realizing it.)



You excel in: Public speaking



You get along best with: the Dash




Try the quiz for yourself here.