The oldest story in the book [2]

I am a big believer in the pedagogic power of narratives. So, unsurprisingly, I am always interested in how others narrate their points in their (online) courses and learning tools. Here are a few interesting examples that I have saved for my own reference. The blurbs are mostly in the developers’ own words. Hmmm, it feels like this summer I am just making mixtapes one after another here.

The Hero’s Journey in Higher Education (Robert Farmer, Innovative Practice in Higher Education): This paper outlines and makes the case for a new, twelve stage narrative approach to the design of university modules. The twelve stages in the narrative approach to module design mirror the twelve stages which comprise the hero’s journey in myth and legend, as discussed in the work of Campbell (1993) and Vogler (1985). See also “the quest for the PhD” (McCulloch, 2013).

Game of Research (LSE): This game functions like Snakes and Ladders in that players will roll a dice and count squares along the board. However, in this version the ‘snakes’ contain a research-related setback and the ‘ladders’ have a positive research-related activity. See also the PhD Game.

E-learning Training on Prevent (HM Government): This offers an introduction to the Prevent duty and explains how it aims to safeguard vulnerable people from being radicalised to supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves.

Responding to Hate and Extremism (Centre for Hate Studies): A suite of digital training modules which will equip you with evidence of ‘what works’ in challenging hate and extremism and in supporting those affected by it.

Facing Facts Online: With this course you will explore what hate speech is and why it is difficult to define. You will get an understanding of the harm of hate speech on individuals and on society.

Bad News (DROG): In this game, developed as a publicly accessible media literacy tool, you take on the role of fake news-monger. Your task is to get as many followers as you can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site.

NRKbeta: Norwegian news site that has made readers take a quiz before commenting

UnBias Awareness Cards: News feeds, search engine results, and product recommendations increasingly use personalisation algorithms to help us cut through the mountains of available information and find those bits that are most relevant, but how can we know if the information we get really is the best match for our interests? The EPSRC-funded project team have developed an educational toolkit, including the said Awareness Cards, to help (young) citizens learn how to assess the trustworthiness and fairness of systems that heavily rely on algorithms.

The Legislator: License to Bill (Daily Show): In this game, released in the aftermaths of the 2019 El Paso shooting, your objective is to get gun control legislation passed by the Congress. It basically involves navigating through a series of decisions in order to get your bill passed — culminating in an intense showdown with Mitch McConnell himself as the final boss.

Skills and literacies, everyone’s favourite words

# Skills is not a dirty word (Leonard D. Pertnoy, Missouri Law Review, 1994)

# Hacking is a mindset, not a skillset (Tanya Snook, LSE Impact Blog, 16 January 2014)

# Effects of postgraduate medical education “boot camps” on clinical skills, knowledge, and confidence: A meta-analysis (C. Blackmore et al., Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 2014)

# In conversation with Sir Ken Robinson (August 2015)

# UK Engagement Survey: universities have limited impact on students’ ‘soft’ skill development (THE, 10 December 2015)

Responses of more than 24,000 undergraduates indicate limited development in areas such as creativity and citizenship over course of degree.

# Academic superheroes? A critical analysis of academic job descriptions (Rachael Pitt & Inger Mewburn, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 2016)

# Null effects of boot camps and short-format training for PhD students in life sciences (David F. Feldon et al., PNAS, 2017)

# “Students should encounter research or activities linked to research and innovation at all levels of higher education to develop the critical and creative mind-sets which will enable them to find novel solutions to emerging challenges.” (Paris Communiqué, 2018)

# Media literacy – everyone’s favourite solution to the problems of regulation (Sonia Livingstone, LSE Impact Blog, 8 May 2018)

# Future graduates will need creativity and empathy – not just technical skills (Natalie Brett, The Guardian, 20 December 2018)

# Our soft skills can keep robots in their place (Ed Conway, The Times, 18 January 2019)

# RT @timeshighered It’s time to start calling soft skills “power skills” @RBC CEO Dave McKay tells #TeachingEx (5 June 2019)

# Digital literacy demands new thinking from higher education (THE, 2019)

Students have a heightened confidence in the digital space that is not necessarily matched by their competence.

The writing must go on.

The new session is approaching, and I am planning to do more on the writing front this year, especially for the benefit of post-fieldwork students. This post is simply to keep in one place bits and bobs that have inspired my plans. You can think of this post as a sequel to my ‘productivity hacks‘ and ‘big qualitative data‘ posts.

# Reverse outlining (Rachael Cayley, 2011)

# Living in a writing dystopia (Joli Jensen, 2013)

# Do you have quotitis? (Nick Hopwood, 2014)

# Writing together by the fireplace (2014)

# Importance of managing the logistics of writing (Jamie Bartlett, 2018)

# The vicious circle of overwork in academia (Ryan Cordell, 2018)

# Painting the town red (Anthony Ocampo, 29 January 2019)

# Snowflakes, crystals, fractals, and other metaphors for thinking creatively about [nonlinear] writing (Annette Markham, 2019)

# RT @AcademicsSay Being an academic is basically just saying “I’ll finally get that paper written this summer” until you die (9 July 2019)

# Writing over the holidays (Chris Smith, 2019)

# RT @Used_For_Glue I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the aim of the first draft is not to get it right, but to get it written. (22 July 2019)

# 곽재식의 어떻게든 글쓰기 (2018)

Staying afloat

One of the questions I get most frequently from students upon their return from the field is “What now?”. They come back gloriously with tens of hours of interview recordings, pages after pages of ethnographic fieldnotes, and gigabytes of photos and news clippings, and they all say — understandably — that they feel overwhelmed by the challenge ahead of staying afloat and making headway in that sea of unstructured data.

RT @JessicaCalarco Doing qualitative research often feels like playing Jeopardy – you can see the answers (i.e., the patterns you find in your data), but you don’t always know the question (i.e., the problem those patterns solve). (21 December 2018)

I share with them well-established tips such as ease into it, embrace the messiness, keep an audit trail, put oneself in the reader’s [examiner’s] shoes, read what you want to write et cetera. These tips have all been highly appreciated, but then there are every now and then situations where students are still looking for something more concrete and readily usable in their research while I consciously try to be less prescriptive and more ‘Socratic’ (so to say). Those situations always feel to me like we are communicating back-scratching coordinates.

While I maintain that I shouldn’t be, and cannot be, too prescriptive, I thought I’d put together a nice ‘mixtape’ of resources for them. More will be added on.

For code-based theory building (as in GT)

For ‘Big Qual’ analysis 

For thematic analysis

For framework analysis

For discourse analysis

What we mean by a ‘case’ when we say we do case studies 

Then and now

Just came back from a conference on “migration, mobility, and borders”, organised by and for our doctoral researchers. Interestingly, I was invited to give a ‘career talk’. My immediate suggestion was to bring in a career consultant instead, but for a combination of a couple of reasons, I ended up doing the talk. Come to think of it, I have been living and working among doctoral and early career researchers for almost 15 years, while being required to monitor the latest developments in the sector, so I told myself that I might indeed have one or two things to say about for their benefit.

Considering the theme, I prepared my talk along the lines of the increased expectation of (early career) researchers to be available/willing to be globally mobile. That is just one of the many, previously non-existent expectations imposed on the current generation of PhD candidates. I included this image (as a GIF) in my slides because every time I see it, I think of them. I honestly do.

Here are a couple more items that highlight how far things have changed in the PhD game.

# 2015 advice for your 856-year-old Ph.D. (Christian Sandvig, 5 August 2015)

Academic superheroes? A critical analysis of academic job descriptions (Pitt & Mewburn, 2016)

100 years of the PhD (Bogle, 2017, Vitae)

# The UK doctorate: history, features and challenges (Deem & Dowle, 2018 [email of 12 January 2019)

# “How I Got My First Academic Job, 1965 ed” (@profmusgrave, 20 March 2019)

# Thesis declaration, now and then (source: Got this off Twitter two months ago, but despite my best efforts, I can’t trace back to the original link. Let me know!)

+ Speaking of thesis declarations, see also Stephen Hawking’sone that broke the internet.

Politics of counting [2]

A little new collection for an upcoming module. 🤓

# Using hierarchical categories in qualitative data analysis (Richards, T. & Richards, L., in Kelle, U. (ed.), Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis: Theory, Methods and Practice, 1995)

# The Social Life of Numbers: A Quechua Ontology of Numbers and Philosophy of Arithmetic (Urton, G., 1997; see also The Social Life of Things, Appadurai, A., 1988; The Inbetweenness of Things, Basu, P., 2017)

# Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You’re Doing It (Beck, H. S., 1998)

Where Mathematics Come From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being (Lakoff, G. & Nunez, R., 2001)

# Standards and Their Stories: How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life (Lampland, M. & Star, S. L., 2008)

What is SNA using qualitative methods? (Crossley, N. & Edwards, G., methods@manchester, 3 January 2012)

Data not seen: The uses and shortcomings of social media metrics (Baym, N. K., First Monday 18(1), 2013)

Oh Ordinal data, what do we do with you? (Petty, N. [Dr Nic], Creative Maths, 8 July 2013)

The Tyranny of Numbers: Why Counting Can’t Make Us Happy (Boyle, D., 2014)

Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World (Alexander, A., 2014)

Scientific method: Statistical errors (Nuzzo, R., Nature, 2014; see also related articles published in 2015, 2016, 2017)

# Most psychology papers can’t be reproduced (IFLScience, 28 August 2015; crossposted 29 August 2015)

Measurement: A Very Short Introduction (Hand, D. J., 2016)

# The Quantified Self (Lupton, D., 2016; see also Seeing Ourselves Through Technology, Rettberg, J. W., 2014; Self-Tracking, Neff, G., 2015; The Qualified Self, Humphreys, L., 2018)

Surveying immigrants without sampling frames — evaluating the success of alternative field methods (Reichel, D. & Morales, L., Comparative Migration Studies 5(1), 2017)

Computer says so. ([yawningtree], 7 February 2017)

# List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to BuzzFeed (Liam Young, 2017, crossposted 1 September 2017)

Addressing the challenges related to transforming qualitative Into quantitative data in qualitative comparative analysis (de Block, D. & Vis, B., Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 2018)

How to sample networks using social media APIs (Coscia, M., 11 December 2018)

# Missing Numbers: a blog on the data the government should collect, but doesn’t [a blog about the gaps in government data] (Powell-Smith, A. (c) 2019)

The four dimensions of feedback [2]

Have been having a challenging couple of months. A bit of a work-life balance crisis, if you like – because there has been no life!!! Exaggeration aside, all in all, it feels like September 2004 has been toppled.

While barely bumping through this autumn term, I must admit there have been a few high points too. One definite one was an anonymous comment in a student survey report circulated in-house recently. It said: “[…] She is also extremely professional when expressing concerns or having to remark a downside of a paper. […]”

I have had one-to-one meetings with hundreds of students since I joined the School, so I would never know who this respondent was. There were also other equally nice comments in the report. Nevertheless, I think this particular sentence just struck me because it was about something that I happen to care about and want to do well.

I once saw a tweet that summarised my stance on this topic in a way I couldn’t better, so let me simply pin that one here.

RT @seankross Strive to create a world where peer review feedback sounds like you’re trying to help your peer improve their work and less like you’re writing a product review for a blender. (21 December 2017)

“Fake news”, academia style

I believe the title says all. 

This is something I always mention when I do a session on literature review, but now my collection has grown too big to fit within one single slide, so here we are.

Fostering interview researchers in an interview society

Challenging, no doubt, but one good thing is that there is never a shortage of resources for classroom discussions.

Fox News interview with Reza Aslan (July 2013)


Fairytale prisoner by choice: The photographic eye of Melania Trump
(Kate Imbach, Medium, 16 April 2017)

Trump gave an ‘impromptu’ interview to the NY Times. Did it grill him hard enough? (Keith Wagstaff, Mashable, 29 December 2017) — in reaction to Excerpts from Trump’s interview with The Times (The New York Times, 28 December 2017)

Uma deserves better (Anne Helen Petersen, 4 February 2018) — in reaction to This is why Uma Thurman is angry (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, 3 February 2018)

My precious

I am someone who just has to have a knick-knack box. I have always had one since, well, as far as I remember. Much of that compulsion has now gone digital. I see my Tumblr page in particular as my virtual knick-knack box and treasure it more than any other spaces I have carved out in this vast digital world.

My only complaint, however, is about its search function. It sucks. So this post is to move one of my collections from there to here for easier navigation. I have collected quite a few ‘pedagogical gems‘ over the past couple of years. <puffed with pride>

Learning Theory (crossposted 7 Feb 2016)

Course Workload Estimator (Center for Teaching Excellence, Rice University)

Learning Designer (UCL)

Rubistar: Create rubrics for your project-based learning activities (via ALT, 23 May 2019)

Cognitive bias cheat sheet (crossposted 4 December 2016)

Media Theorised (crossposted 25 March 2017)

E-International Relations

An Illustrated Book of Bad Argument (crossposted 27 December 2013)

Theoretical Framework (Rockinson-Szapkiw, n.d.; see also: RT @dakami
I think this maps to time. Theoretical frameworks talk about how we got here. Conceptual frameworks discuss what we have. Analytical frameworks discuss where we can go with this. See also legislative/executive/judicial, 28 September 2018)

Tea Consent (Blue Seat Studios, as part of a campaign by Thames Valley Police, 12 May 2015)

A timeline of earth’s average temperature (xkcd, 2016)

Timeline Tools (Florian Kräutli, 8 April 2016)

DH101: A highly opinionated resource guide by Miriam Posner (crossposted 30 June 2017; see also a series of technical tutorials that she has written)

How we helped our reporters learn to love spreadsheets (Lindsey Rogers Cook, The New York Times, 12 June 2019)

Final list of keywords for digital pedagogy in the humanities: Concepts, models, and experiments (edited by Davis et al., 2017, via @miriamkp)

How to choose a research method (Eva Nedbalova, NCRM, 2017)

Which stats test (crossposted 15 June 2017)

Discovering Statistics (crossposted 7 February 2014)

Decoded: The “how” behind the numbers, facts and trends shaping your world (Pew Research Center)

Spurious Correlations (Tyler Vigen)

Seeing Theory (crossposted 1 March 2017)

Data Viz Project (Ferdio, 2017)

One Dataset, Visualized 25 Ways (crossposted 6 February 2017)

Fundamentals of Data Visualization (Claus O. Wilke, free e-copy of a forthcoming O’Reilly Media book)

Fundamentals of Gephi (Alan Shaw, 2018)

Introduction to Social Network Methods (Robert A. Hanneman & Mark Riddle, 2005)

An intro to topic models for text analysis (Patrick van Kessel, Pew Research Center, 2018)

The Philosopher’s Web (via Open Culture, 20 October 2017; see also 14 July 2016 and 25 July 2013)

How to get that pdf (via @elotroalex [Super useful list of #openaccess strategies to help you find that PDF, including sci-hub (with the legal caveat, of course)], 2 March 2018)

Dissertation Calculator (University of Minnesota Libraries)

How to write an article in no time (Anthony C. Ocampo)

***

And to the makers of these — I heart you.