Archive for the ‘Academic researchers’ Category

Stories of a dinosaur

May 7th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
I am still in Porto, at the Faculty of Engineering , in the University of Porto. Yesterday I did a short presentation about the use of Social Media in Higher Education for the eLearning @FEUP workshop. I mainly focused on some projects I have been developing at the University Salford, but everything went so quickly [...]

What’s the role of narrative inquiry in my research project?

April 8th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
Well, this is a question many people have been asking me. This is equally a question I ask myself. Simply because it is still hard to articulate my purpose and choices in such a way it becomes clear enough to those who ask. As Einstein once said, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t [...]

It’s all in the connection!

March 16th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
This is what started to be a very short post where I aimed to share D’arcy’s really interesting video about ‘How do you connect to people online’?, which Irmeli Aro shared with me via FB.   But I ended up tying it with today’s session on social media to raise of researcher profile. How do you connect [...]

Reviews, quality and the development of communities of practice in academic networks

February 27th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I have just spent the morning reviewing proposals for the Vocational education and Training Network strand at the European Conference for Educational Research.

I have never enjoyed reviewing papers. I worry that my own knowledge of the subject is often too little, still more that I only have an abstract idea of what comprises quality.

However, as a community building process, I find it more interesting. I haver been involved with VETNET for fourteen years. In the early days nearly everything used to be accepted. But as time went on a discussion emerged over improving the quality of VETNET and a formal review procedure was developed.

VETNET remains a somewhat traditional academic conference with paper and sumposium presentations. I suspect that the community’s desire for Vocational Education and Training to be taken seriously as a part of mainstream education research has tended to make us somewhat conservative in our approaches to formats and quality.

Over time as a community we have started defining quality indicators – even though they may be contested. We have had long debates about the relation between research focused on a particular system or country and its relation to wider European agendas. We have discussed how important the quality of language (English) is in assessing a contribution? Should leeway be given to emerging researchers to encourage them to contribute to the community? How important is a clear methodology when considering a submission?

This years debate has been over work in progress. It started innocuously enough with one reviewer emailing that he was concerned that many submissions referred to research which was not yet finished. Should we only consider completed research with clear results, he suggested? This provoked a flurry of replies with major differences between the reviewers. Some agreed with the original email; others (including myself) saw presentations based on work in progress as a potentially useful contribution to the community and a means of researchers testing their ideas in front of a wider international audience. In the normal way of things this debate will be reviewed at the VETNET board meeting at this years conference and revised guidelines agreed for next years conference.

In this way I think the review process does work well. It allows community rules and standards to emerge over time.

The other big change in the review system has been the use of an electronic reviewing system ‘conftool‘. The major benefit is to support the management fo the review process. VETNET receives some 120 proposals each year. The use of the system ensures every paper receives at least two reviews. More interestingly it makes transparent where there are disagreements between reviewers, providing a view showing the overall score for each proposal and the span between reviewer’s scoring. I was allocated nine proposals to review. Four of them have already been reviewed by a second reviewer. And somewhat to my surprise the span between my score and the other reviewers was small (the highest of the four was 1.7 (however the other reviewer has recommended rejection of this proposal and I have recommended acceptance!).

I welcome that when we have finished our reviews we are able to see other reviews of the same submission. This provides for me an opportunity for reflection and learning – and strengthens the potential of the academic review  becoming part of the process of community emergence.

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Message to the readers

January 26th, 2010 by Ilona Buchem

Hello everyone,

My name is Ilona Buchem and I will be writing here on how ICT is changing educational sciences and education research today. I titled this blog “Paradygmat” which is a Polish word for “paradigm”.  With Pontydysgu aiming at enhancing diversity and multilingualism, I will be writing here in Polish, my mother tongue. I hope that those of you, who can’t understand it, will be able to do so with the help of online translation services.

But let’s get back to the term “paradigm”. Based on the philosophy of Thomas Kuhn, “paradigm” refers to a set of practices, such as methods of observation and interpretation, which define a scientific discipline during a particular period of time. When limitations of basic assumptions in a particular field are recognized, a paradigm shift occurs. The existing paradigm is enlarged and frontiers of knowledge are pushed forward. For example, the printing press, Gutenberg’s invention and the making of books changed the culture and affected the scientific revolution. Similarly, information and communication technologies, such as social media or mobile devices, are driving a new paradigm shift today.

So in this blog, I would like to focus on how educational sciences are shifting towards more openness, interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration, discourse beyond traditional boarders, stronger interactions with practice etc. I would like to discuss with you the impact of scientific peer online communities, interdisciplinary research, collaborative scientific writing, new practices and formats of conferences and symposia, to name a few.

I am looking forward to discussing these interesting topics with speakers of Polish and speakers of other languages! Hope we will enjoy it and learn from each other!

Greetings,

Ilona Buchem

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Changing Practice

January 12th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
Today’s been a complicated day, if for nothing else because I hate chairing meetings!!!!!  On top of that this was a meeting that touched on a very sensitive area: changing practice. Although this allows me to kind of stick my nose into someone else’s practice and look at ways how it could be improved, especially [...]
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    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

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    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

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    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

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    News from 1994

    This is from a Tweet. In 1994 Stephen Heppell wrote in something called SCET” “Teachers are fundamental to this. They are professionals of considerable calibre. They are skilled at observing their students’ capability and progressing it. They are creative and imaginative but the curriculum must give them space and opportunity to explore the new potential for learning that technology offers.” Nothing changes!

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    RT @noamchomskyT "When economists insist that they too are scientists because they use mathematics, they are no different from astrologists protesting that they are just as scientific as astronomers because they also use computers and complicated charts." — Yanis Varoufakis

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