One of my goals for this year is to have a bit of a data analysis refresher. Sometimes I wonder if I may be in a bit of a SPSS-Gephi-nVivo rut! (A useful rut, nonetheless).

My current to-do list includes general use of R and Tableau, and epistemic network analysis and structural equation modelling in particular. Although I have used it before, I’m also hoping to find some time to get properly reacquainted with the Digital Methods Initiatives’ latest tools too.

I find it always helps to have data to play with (not just artificial problem-sets type data). I’m planning to have a good look online for open datasets in Education and Educational Technology-related topics. I’m aware that openly publishing datasets is still quite niche – but there is a growing body out there.

I’ll be looking first of course at Figshare, and UK HE institutional repositories. But is there anywhere else I should be looking? Is there a particular place where US institutions post open datasets, for example? Do you know of any particular projects which have released data openly, either through platforms or just on their websites? (No need to recommend the OER Hub, they are already on my list of course 😉 ). I’d be very interested in any recommendations, and will share what I find at a later date.

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Recently I looked out some of my old external hard drives. I was looking specifically for old files related to a side project from years ago which never reached fruition but I’d like to revisit (as it would be a lot easier for me to do now than it was then – anyway, more on that later!).

The files on the hard drives go way back, through the TLRP-TEL Research Programme (~2008 – 2012), right back to my first research job on the Cambridge-MIT Institute Plant Sciences Pedagogy Project (2005-2008). This was my first academic research post, just a couple of months after finishing my masters in Plant Pathology. My role in the project involved working within Plant Sciences, to conduct educational research into undergraduate teaching and learning within the department, and develop e-learning resources to support it.

As it was my first experience of educational and technology-enhanced learning research, it was accompanied by a range of vocabulary which was new to me. This must be quite a common experience for people getting started in educational and pedagogic research; Education, as a research field within the Social Sciences, shows a high level of heterogeneity in terms of researchers’ subject backgrounds (as shown in this chart – figure 4.3 from David Mills’ chapter in McAlpine & Ackerlind’s ‘Becoming an Academic’).

To help with this transition, I kept a document where I noted the words which were new and unfamiliar, as a working glossary, and I came across this when I was excavating the old hard drive. It was interesting to look back at the words which seemed unusual then but are now all so familiar. It made me wonder to what extent the glossary reflected trends in the field at the time – some of the concepts I’m sure are not as prevalent now as then – and how the glossary would look if it was being constructed today.

The list included the following (minus my slightly cringey notes 😉 ):

Action research

Activity theory

Andragogy

Behaviourism

Belief (as in the work of Posner)

BERA

Bloom’s taxonomy

Boundary objects (Wenger / CoP)

Bourdieu (esp. ‘habitus’)

Brokerage (Wenger / CoP)

Case study

Cognitive

Communities of Practice (Wenger)

Concept map

Constructive alignment

Constructivism

CPD

Deep learning (converse surface learning)

Didactic

Discourse analysis

Dweck

EARLI

E-learning

Emic

Engstrom (See ‘activity theory’)

Epistomology

EPSRC

ESRC

Ethnography

Ethnomethodology

Etic

Evidence based (Evidence informed)

Focus group

Gestalt

Habitus (see Bourdieu)

HEA

Hierarchy of needs

Humanistic

Intensional networks (Nardi et al., 2000)

Lexis

Liminal

Maslow – Hierarchy of needs

Meta-cognition

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

Ontogenesis

Ontology

Pedagogy

Phenomenology

Piaget

Polanyi (Tacit knowledge)

Practitioner

Reification

Reflexivity

RLO (Reusable learning object)

Runaway object (Engstrom)

Russellian

Self-efficacy

Self-regulation

Sfard (metaphors for learning)

Social capital

Social constructivism

Stenhouse

Structuralist

Surface learning (converse deep learning)

Tacit knowledge

TEL

Threshold concepts (Meyer and Land)

TLRP

Triangulation

VLE

VRE

Vygotsky

Wenger

Of course, fourteen years later, it’s not possible for me view the field in the way that I did then. I’d be really interested to hear from others though – which were the words which stood out for you when you started out in educational research? What would be on the list now, that wasn’t then?

Over the summer, I’ve been busy working on my SRHE project (with my now nine-month-old research assistant). I presented initial results from the first part of the project, focusing on how academics’ identity and information sharing is refracted through different social networking platforms, at the Social Media & Society conference in Copenhagen in July. It was my first outing to Social Media & Society, and was a very interesting and enjoyable conference.

Since then, I’ve been working on qualitative analysis of the free-text questions from the survey, which asked academics to give examples of interactions through social media that they had experienced and perceived to be of high impact. It has taken me longer than I expected to do the coding, due to having more responses than I’d expected – very happy to have more data though and thank-you all who took part!

I’ve been using an open coding approach to characterise the different types of high-impact interactions through social media as perceived by academics, but I’d like to also be able to compare the results to more ‘institutional’ definitions of ‘impact’. I note that the UKRI website seems to distinguish broadly between two types of impact – ‘academic impact’ and ‘economic & social impact’, while the REF Impact Case Studies lists eight ‘impact types’, including ‘Political, Health, Technological, Economic, Legal, Cultural, Societal, and Environmental’. The UKRI definitions (only two categories) aren’t very specific, while the REF list sounds more like a proxy for subject area. What am I missing? Are there any other ‘official’ typologies I should be aware of? Many thanks 🙂

I’ve been updating my CV recently, as I’ll be resuming the academic job hunting soon, looking out for posts (possibly part time) starting from the Autumn onwards.

However, I don’t like my CV as it stands; it doesn’t seem to give a clear picture of who I am, how I got to where I am today, or how the items on it make sense together. I suspect that some readers get to the undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, and write me off straight away when I’m applying for Education/Social Sciences positions. (I also suspect that the increasing reliance on online forms for university HR may even filter me out before a human reads it – but that’s a different post for a different time 😉 ).

So, I decided to experiment with making a timeline-based version of my CV. I’m still tweaking it, but I think it does help to show how everything fits together. I’ve not included non-peer reviewed publications, posters, or presentations (yet) as there are a lot of them – but I might add them, as they do include a wider range of activities (e.g. not just formal conferences but also some teaching). I may also add another filter for skills, as well as research methods, and collaborators.

Although some would probably say I should not foreground it, I have included my two periods of maternity leave. There weren’t obvious gaps on the timeline which would have called for an explanation around mat leave, but it felt wrong not to include them – they are a big part of who I am, and keeping going with my PhD and staying research active through them was a major challenge.

Any feedback would be welcome – what else should I add? What is, or isn’t, coming across well in this format? The timeline can be viewed by clicking on the picture below, or the following link (opens in a new tab): http://www.katyjordan.com/cv.html

Last year, I was honoured to receive one of the Society for Higher Education’s Newer Researcher Awards. With the funding from the award, I am carrying out a project this year to build upon and test a model of public-professional academic identity online which emerged from my PhD research. The main data collection phase is an online survey, to explore the types of information academics share online through different platforms, and academics’ perceptions about online audiences and high impact interactions through social media.

I had to modify the timeline of my original project plan due to maternity, but I am very excited to now be able to launch my survey! The survey takes around 15 minutes to complete and can be accessed here:

https://openuniversity.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/sharing-social-media

All participants who complete the survey and leave a contact email address at the end will be entered into a draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher. The survey will remain open until 14th May. Your participation would be greatly appreciated and please feel free to share the link with others too – I will be promoting the survey online over the next few weeks but any help to get as wide a reach as possible would be great. Many thanks, and looking forward to being able to share the results in due course!

Recently, I wrote a short paper about the use of cookies on UK Higher Education institutional websites. This is something which I think is interesting as it links the representation of Universities online to broader issues about data capitalism, privacy and information flows.

I used a tool called Tracker Tracker from the Digital Methods Initiative to survey cookies used by UK HEI websites, and discussed the findings in a short paper for a conference. Alas, the paper did not get accepted for the conference, but two of the three reviewers felt it was a decent short paper on a timely issue, so I have uploaded it to SSRN, abstract below and paper available here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3142312

Degrees of Intrusion? A Survey of Cookies Used by UK Higher Education Institutional Websites and Their Implications

The use of institutional websites to represent Universities online is ubiquitous within the UK Higher Education sector. The institutional website provides a single point of entry for anyone seeking information about an institution; as a digital representation of the university, from elements of a prospectus to showcasing research outputs, its potential audience is wide ranging. However, the use of cookies potentially changes the relationship with the audience, as they allow tracking of users and targeted interactions with the institution particularly through social media platforms. While the use of such data collection and marketing is standard for commercial websites, to what extent is this appropriate and what are the implications for the Higher Education sector? This work-in-progress paper will provide an initial exploration of this question through a survey of cookies used by UK Higher Education institution websites.

For most of the year, we’ve been preparing to move house, and finally completed last week. The new house is great, but doesn’t have an existing phone line, so no proper internet access for now. This has been a bit weird for me, usually being permanently online, but it is probably just as well really, as we are expecting a baby within the next four weeks.

So I’m about to disappear from social media/work things for a few months. I’ve managed to get everything up to a point where I can leave it for now; I plan to be ‘off’ Twitter and checking emails around once a week only to respond to urgent work issues, until at least January. I am planning a pilot test run of the survey for my SRHE project in the meantime though, so I can be sure it is all ready for the main launch when I return to it properly at the beginning of March – if you would like to help out by giving it a go, let me know!

The train gets it.

Consequently, the job hunt is also on hold until the spring (this is why I stopped applying for one year posts a couple of months ago – it just wouldn’t have made any sense with the timing of baby). I’ve been on a bit of a mission to get caught up with papers from my PhD and other recent projects, which has been going well (& a couple more currently out for review, fingers crossed!), so hopefully this will give my CV a bit of a boost for the spring. And of course, if you have anything coming up next year needing a postdoc or collaborator, do bear me in mind 🙂