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Could blogging be seen as a scholarly activity?

This are me thoughts from reading:

An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging for digital scholarship
Heap & Minocha (2012),


Fig.1. Digital Scholarship with a nod to Martin Weller‘s book of the same name. (Created in 2011)

By stripping back the paper what do I learn from this paper:

  • about blogging and digital scholarship
  • about devising the research question(s) and method of research.

This quote from Axcel Bruns is wrong in relation to blogging.

‘Were originally more popular amongst journalism and business context’ Bruns (2007)

In fact, from my experience from 1999 onwards, journalists were highly dismissive and didn’t cotton on to blogging as a valid way to share their opinions for several years. The exception being financial journalism where breaking views on markets were fed, blog like, to subscribers,

Fig.2. An excerpt from my own early blog.

I was reading blogs in 1998, did some Dreamweaver training and if I’d got my head around FTP uploads I may have been up an away in 98 rather than 99 when I heard of Diaryland and joined the platform soon after it started.

Fig.3. An excerpt from a blog created by Claire Z Warnes in 1998

Over the next 4 to 5 years I saw a massive growth and influx of what by modern terms would have been described as journals, creative writing, fantasy, role play and social networking.

Fig.4. How I saw blogging in 1999/2000

I question why bloggers are defined by the institution they are at – the blog is more personal, like the noticeboard at someone’s desk in the bedroom or study, or a diary or journal they carry about with them, whether electronic or paper.

Fig. 5. We should stop seeing blogging in isolation – forms of ‘keeping a journa’, for whatever purposes, is as old a writing itself.

Little is ever mention of a history of keeping diaries, a writer’s journal or other kind of daily record for reflection or in scholarly circles to record the iterative process of a learning journey or a piece of research. John Evelyn was a diarist. Was he scholarly? What about Pepy’s he was keeping an historic record? For whom did Lady Anne Clifford keep a diary if not for an historic, even a legal record, of her rights to her father’s estates? (Lady Anne Clifford kept at a diary late 1500s into the 17th century).

Was Virginia Woolf using herself as the subject of an internal discussion?

What did Anais Nin learn and share about her writing as well as her personal journey, a journey that was shared with Henry Miller and that a couple of decades was taken by the filmmaker Francois Truffaut. As someone who had kept a diary since he was thirteen and had been typing it up and putting on disc for nearly a decade, the move to the web was a natural one.

  • for personal reflection (e.g. Xie, Fengfeng, and Sharma 2008)
  • collaborative working (e.g. McLoughlin and Lee 2008)
  • developing writing skills (e.g. Warschauer 2010)
  • flexible usage of blogs to suit the individual blogger’s needs, such as
  • a space for reflection, to seek peer support, or both (e.g. Kerawalla et al. 2008).

I read blogs and corresponded with writers who were using the format to try out chapters of fantasy novels, to share poetry, to test webdesigns even to meet and indulge in intimate chat, role play and even cybersex. (Early blogs were the forerunners of a lot to come).

Whilst some of this activity isn’t within the parameters of ‘scholarly’ practice, certainly from a creative writing point of view self-publishing was.

From personal experience there were those exploring their personality, who were lonely, depressed or bi-polar.  Most studies in English speaking countries … yet it was presumably going on elsewhere. And where does someone who is using writing in English in a blog to learn English stand in terms of being a student and a scholar?

Defining scholarship in the digital age

Boyer (1990) developed a conceptual framework which defines ‘‘scholarship’’ as a combination of teaching and research activities. In particular, he suggests four dimensions to define scholarship: discovery, integration, application and teaching.

Fig.6. Another excerpt from a blog for young writers created by Claire Z Warnes in 1998 when she was 17 herself.  (I think she went off to study Computer Sciences)

The earliest bloggers played a teaching role, for example Claire Z Warnes set up a series of web pages to encourage and support young writers in 1998. She was teaching, they were exploring through reading, writing and sharing just as if they were meeting face to face in a classroom.

Boyer’s dimensions constitute an appropriate starting point for researching digital scholarship (Weller 2011).

Pearce et al. (2010) elaborated on Boyer’s (1990) model to theorise a form of digital/open scholarship, arguing that it is:

  • more than just using information and communication technologies to research,
  • teach and collaborate,
  • embracing the open values, ideology and potential of technologies born of peer-to-peer networking wiki ways of working in order to benefit both the academy and society.

Which is exactly what Claire Z Warnes (1998) was doing, indeed, as some remaining posts that can be viewed show, it was as if she were becoming the Dean of one of the first online creative writing classes.

In relation to the research here’s the problem that needs to be addressed:

There is a lack of empirical evidence on how the openness and sharing manifested in blogging can influence academia, research and scholarship. (Minocha, p. 178. 2012)

Discussion

‘We have found that blogs seem to occupy an intermediate space among established writing forms such as peer-reviewed academic papers, newspaper articles, diaries, blurring the private public and formal informal divide ‘. (Heap and Minocha 2011).

There is a growing awareness of blogging as a writing or communicative genre in academia and research and as a new form of scholarship (e.g. Halavais 2007).

  • to ensure validity of work through established forms of publishing,
  • to integrate blogs so that research findings reach more readers
  • to enable sharing information without time lags involved in formal publications.

The next steps in our research (according to the authors of this paper) are to validate the effectiveness of the framework (they developed) as a thinking tool about digital scholarship, and for guiding the practice of blogging in academia and research.

REFERENCE

Heap, Tania and Minocha, Shailey (2012). An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging for digital scholarship. Research in Learning Technology, 20(Supp.), pp. 176–188. (Accessed 28th February 2013 http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/19195 )

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar

 

Creativity Residential School : day two : 14 hours 25 minutes

In the right context with the right people role play can be used to help see or experience a problem from a different perspective. Here however, Virginia Woolf and friends pull off a hoax and a treated as royal guests on one of His Majesty’s battleships.

So many people describe this OU Business School module (B822 : Creativity, Management & Change) and the residential school I am currently attending as something that changed their lives; I’ve been waiting for that moment, or for a series of insights to congregate and like a celestial choir sing something special.

I was up at 5.00 am and writing (of course), taking a swim at 6.45 am in the pool here at the Heathrow Marriott, into an Elective at 8.00 am and the first Tutor Workshop at 9.00 am.

The second workshop kicked in after lunch at 1.30 pm then from 7.00 pm three more hour long electives in a row.

At no stage was I ever tired or bored, indeed I feel embarrassed even writing this, the very thought!?

Too much new, too important, too interesting, too interested. Like my second week at nursery school: amongst friends, secure, allowed and expected to have fun. Alert.

It was in the very last cessation today, during an hour of guided relaxation, shoes off lying on the conference room floor, lights out, soft music playing that  my unconscious gave me a two word tip and did its best to visualise the love my children have for me and I have for them. I’m still trying to see what love looks like: white, a slightly crumpled unopened rosebud the size and shape of chicory but made of paper, or tissue. I tried (in the semi-conscious dream-like state that I was in) to cup ‘love’ in my hands as if I was scooping up water but it proved illusive, like a cloud.

After we were brought out of our semi-unconscious state (I fell asleep momentarily three times) we were all asked to share what we experienced; I eventually chirped up with the word ‘profound’.

The detail of the day is here too, all typed up with pictures (courtesy of iPad and iPhone) of flip-charts, post-it notes, finger-paintings and slides. This will take a week to prepare as posts.

‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ : Residential School : day two : 14 hours 25 minutes !

In the right context with the right people role play can be used to help see or experience a problem from a different perspective. Here however, Virginia Woolf and friends pull off a hoax and a treated as royal guests on one of His Majesty’s battleships.

So many people describe this OU Business School module (B822 : Creativity, Management & Change) and the residential school I am currently attending as something that changed their lives; I’ve been waiting for that moment, or for a series of insights to congregate and like a celestial choir sing something special.

I was up at 5.00 am and writing (of course), taking a swim at 6.45 am in the pool here at the Heathrow Marriott, into an Elective at 8.00 am and the first Tutor Workshop at 9.00 am.

The second workshop kicked in after lunch at 1.30 pm then from 7.00 pm three more hour long electives in a row.

At no stage was I ever tried or bored, indeed I feel embarrassed even writing this, the very thought!?

Too much new, too important, too interesting, too interested. Like my second week at nursery school: amongst friends, secure, allowed and expected to have fun. Alert.

It was in the very last cessation today, during an hour of guided relaxation, shoes off lying on the conference room floor, lights out, soft music playing that  my unconscious gave me a two word tip and did its best to visualise the love my children have for me and I have for them. I’m still trying to see what love looks like: white, a slightly crumpled unopened rosebud the size and shape of chicory but made of paper, or tissue. I tried (in the semi-conscious dream-like state that I was in) to cup ‘love’ in my hands as if I was scooping up water but it proved illusive, like a cloud.

After we were brought out of our semi-unconscious state (I fell asleep momentarily three times) we were all asked to share what we experienced; I eventually chirped up with the word ‘profound’.

The detail of the day is here too, all typed up with pictures (courtesy of iPad and iPhone) of flip-charts, post-it notes, finger-paintings and slides. This will take a week to prepare as posts.

 

A room of my own

Virginia Woolf isn’t the only one; married, jobs and kids you still need a space to escape. I once had a study, then the shed, make do now away from home in a bedroom with a family too far from home like the A’ Level R.G.S. Boy I once was. A Residential School beckons; thing is I like e-learning. When I want, often in the middle of the night or on a bench looking across the English Channel at Cuckmere.

Virginia Woolf. A Room of One’s Own. Emancipation and writing fiction

A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own.’

Why in order to write fiction in 1920s a woman required £500 per annum and a room of their own.

‘A Room of One’s Own’ became interesting once it got going. For me it read too much like an extended ‘Thought for the day’ on BBC Radio 4.

It couldn’t have been read; there is too much circumlocution, this ‘inner conversation.’

Read ‘A Room of One’s Own’in one sitting, as I did today in less than four hours.

It is a stream of consciuoness, the kind of thing that can manifest itself into openly talking to yourself or a second inner or sometimes distinct self.

For now some quotes. I’m certain to use and develop these ideas somewhere though.

‘Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.’

I liken Woolf to a fine antique box, carefully padded with foam and felt, in which there are a few gems, the value of which I do no appreciate. As for Hitler, I’m beginning to find account of his politicking as boring as the record of Bill Clinton’s rise to power. (I’m reading the Ian Kershaw biographies).

I find start to get to the kernel of her argument, hidden two-thirds of the way through ‘A Room of One’s Own.’

‘That serves to explain in part the necessity that woman so often are to men. And it serves to explain how restless they are under her criticism; how impossible it is for her to say to them this book is bad, this picture is feeble, or whatever it may be, without giving far more pain and rousing far more anger than a man would do who gave the same criticism. For if she begins to tell the truth, the figure in the looking-glass shrinks; his fitness for life is diminished’.

Here’s a quote to provoke!

‘How is he to go on giving judgment, civilising natives, making laws, writing books, dressing up and speechifying at banquets unless he can see himself at breakfast and at dinner at least twice the size he really is?’

This was written in the 1920s. I can hear the clack-clack of a typewriter, is it that? Or did she write it long-hand while looking out on her garden down the road from here at Rodmel? Her house in Rodmell is three miles down the road, I am often there, by the river, pondering her drowning in the River Ouse.

Women were only just beginning to shake off the shackles they had worn for centuries. The process is not yet complete, though the role of the ‘Alpha Female’ who has a career and babies while her HUSBAND looks after the children at home is becoming more prevalent.

‘The looking-glass vision is of supreme importance because it charges the vitality; it stimulates the nervous system. Take it away and man may die, like the drug fiend deprived of his cocaine.’

I like this image. How dependent men are on woman for their success and confidence. My father was like this. He needed his girlfriend/wife/mistress to adore him – to put him on a pedestal. As soon as he shamed himself (had an affair, got caught) he ditched his wife of the time to start afresh. He couldn’t live with partners who might perceive him as diminished (though he tolerated his children once we were adults, probably because we couldn’t help but love him however he behaved).

There’s more. I’ll keep these quotes together here for ease of reference; there uses are many.

‘Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.’

In 25 years time I hope audiences look back on what Virginia Woolf had to say here. Perhaps there’s an excuse to look back at the last 75 years?

On writing fiction

This applies to anyone trying to write fiction. I will use this when, having had a novel or too published I start to lecture on the subject.

‘Fiction, imaginative work that is, is not dropped like a pebble on the ground, as science may be; fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.’

On mankind and their dominance of the arts. Why must men be superior? Would the world be a more peaceful and less competitive place if men stayed at home and raised the kids instead of waging war (corporate and international)?

‘For here again we come within range of that very interesting and obscure masculine complex which has had so much influence upon the woman’s movement; that deep-seated desire, not so much that she shall be inferior as that he shall be superior, which plants him wherever one looks, not only in front of the arts, but barring the way to politics too, even when the risk to himself seem infinitesimal and the suppliant humble and devoted.’

Why it doesn’t count unless you’re paid to do it:

‘Money dignifies what is frivolous if unpaid for.’

I like this.

I’ve written from a woman’s point of view before and should do so again.

‘A great mind is androgynous.’ Coleridge. ‘It is when this fusion takes place that the mind is fully fertilised and uses all its faculties.’

On writing. I apply this thinking to what I look for in a diary.

‘The whole of the mind must lie wide open if we are to get the sense that the writer is communicating his experience with perfect fullness.’

I go along this for ALL writing I admire. It is a criteria I try to apply to picking my ‘favorite diaries’ to read here.

‘So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only a few hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in defence to some Headmaster with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.’

I’ll find a use for this too.

‘Intellectual freedom depends upon material things.’

If only I could earn enough to do this:

‘By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.’

Be oneself .. think of things in themselves.

When does a diary become a blog and is it diminished as a result?

In the Guardian Review, March 2003, William Boyd discussed the journal

‘There are many sort of journal: journals written with both eyes fixed firmly on posterity and other that were designed never to be read by anyone but the writer. There are journals content to tabulate the banal and humdrum details of ordinary lives and journals meant expressly to function as a witness to momentous events of history. There are journals that act as erotic stimulants or a psychoanalytic crutch and there are journals designed simply to function as an aide-memoire, perhaps as a rough draft for a later, more polished account of life and so on. But buried within these varying ambitions and motivations is a common factor that unites all these endeavours – the aspiration to be honest, to tell the truth. The implication being that in the privacy of this personal record, things will be said and observations made that couldn’t or wouldn’t be uttered in a more public forum. Hence the adjective “intimate” so often appended to the noun “journal”. The idea of secret diaries, of intimate journals, somehow goes to the core of this literary form: there is a default-setting of intimacy – of confession – in the private record of a life that not only encourages the writing of journals but also explains their fascination to the reader.’ William Boyd

I’ve written here often enough about why we blog.

I’d love to hear what you think. Why do we do it? The ‘we’ being the obsessive journal writers. I’m trying to gather ‘you’ (vous i.e. plural) into this debate.

William Boyd’s to Ten Journal Keepers

James Boswell http://www.jamesboswell.info/literature/boswells-london-journal-1762-1763

Keith Vaughan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Vaughan

Paul Klee. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Paul_Klee

Evelyn Waugh http://evelynwaughsociety.org/about-evelyn-waugh/diaries-letters/

Gilbert White http://www.infobritain.co.uk/gilbert_white_biography_and_visits.htm

Cyrical Connolly http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/cyril_connolly.html

Virginia Woof http://www.woolfonline.com/?q=diaries/vw/overview

Edmund Wilson http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/books/reviews/12446/

Valery Larbaud http://m.eb.com/topic/330472/Valery-Nicolas-Larbaud

Katherine Mansfield http://www.tusitala.org.uk/blog/katherine-mansfield-the-journal-and-the-collected-stories/

‘It mimics and reflects our own wayward passage through time like no other writing form.’

‘You have to be dead to escape the various charges of vanity, of special-pleading, of creeping amour-propre.’

My diary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diary

My record.

My journal.

My aide-memoire.

My lies.

My ties.

My deleterious exploits.

I’ve been at for thirty years; that isn’t a boast, it’s an confession. What Boyd says is true too, there’s no value in it until I die.

I wonder why? Often. But I do it anyway.

To save events in family life and to capture memories that may serve some literary purpose.

In the past I thought I might achieve something, it would become the record of a successful anything.

I can’t even do this properly.

What next?

I have details from estate agents (realtors) in France; I fancy a change. Different language, different culture, better weather – I should know. I’ve lived and loved there.

On vera. Il faut …

And the words fail me, I’ve not spoken French for five years and not written it for a decade.

Norman Mailer left a comment in my blog

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wg-boiHyA9Y/TpCC-H9a7WI/AAAAAAAAHuM/33PrP1vZs2o/s400/The%252520Spooky%252520Art%252520Norman%252520Mailer%252520SNIP.JPG

I’ve been blogging since 1999.

In 2003 I went through a Norman Mailer phase.

I read everything and would post thoughts. Looking back at this diary and its 15,000+ pages I stumbled across a comment that is by all accounts from Norman Mailer himself in which I quote him regarding the writing process and how you live the life of a fictional character for many years. His comment suggests that it had been years since he had lived one of these characters and he thought it was about time he did so again.

I regret not picking up on this. His opinionated and sometimes rambling novels appeal to me as they often read like a diary: unedited stream of consciousness like Proust, Henry Miller, Haruki Murakami or Virginia Woolf.

I find reflection spiralling out of control into an extra-terrestrial maelstrom of thought that has nothing to do with the ‘job at hand.’

At the macro level reflection for me is on the scale, and of equal significance to Douglas Adams and ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and the Meaning of Life and Everything.’

I find reflection spiralling out of control into an extra-terrestrial maelstrom of thought that has nothing to do with the ‘job at hand.’

At the micro level, the job at hand is a tiny part (10%) of a TMA in a unit, of a module of an OU Course.

My mindset has to be of a myopic jeweller with some gems and a gold band.

I don’t mean to trivialise it. On the contrary. I worry how in my life reflection has never imposed itself. I see, I feel, I do. If I reflect it is to look in a mirror and accept what I see, not try to change it.

Reflection has been hijacked by educational institutions. Don’t have time to mark a student’s work, get them to mark it themselves  … and then judge their ability to reflect on what they have done.

I think you can take from this that I don’t value reflection as a tool to assess a student. As a tool to gauge a person’s position, as a coach or facilitator to build on that person’s personal view of themselves – brilliant. But to give it a mark, pants.

Given that for the seventh or eighth time in the last two decades I have been advised that I am skewed towards action and visualisation I have to wonder how I can, or do, generate this amount of verbiage.

I am transcribing a dialogue between characters. I have a scene in my mind’s eyes as I type. I even see people, from the OU course, tutors, others … friends, as if attending a garden party.

For me reflection has to be, as it has been taken twenty years to engrain itself, the kind of introspection, sharing and reflection, fictionalisation and admonition, of Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Virginia Woolf and Proust. I favour, absolutely, the indulgence of a Proustian ‘Involuntary Rush’ and its relevance to the person in this state. Serendipity. Where is there space for it if we are shunted down a dead track, into a Waste Land.

I go with Kolb and Cowan, their cycles and spirals. I favour the hurricane, the tornado over the spinning top. Which is what this is, spinning a top through a set of questions: what happened? What next? So what?! And then, I suppose, not a lot, or a lot, you defend your position, you stick, you retreat or move forward. Is this reflection.

Stopped by a Police Motorcycle on the A1 South of Gateshead my mother turned to her children and said, ‘cry,’ look uspet.’ And in due course, the traffic cop, seing three miserable children and a harassed Mum let her off the speeding fine.

Was that micro reflection on her behalf? Is this a Proustian ‘involuntary rush’ on mine.

Where lies this in education? Everywhere, especially in education social networking, which I have hated and now smile at. Reflecting on the whiffs of conversation I dared pick up as my daughter typed into Facebook with the speed of criminal law court copyist. The bulk of what her generation are learning is being done this way – socialising, homework, the entire mess of life a 21st century melange which says to me the OU is not right to say I am wrong, when I may be proved right and ‘they’ haven’t a clue.

I suggested to someone today that I would like to do one MA after another, five years a time, ’til the day I day. The OU can have my money and my mind. This is a little boy in a sweet shop.

Next up History of Art … with the OU, while doing an MA in Fine Art.

Then a return to History, 1066 to the Restoration for starters. Or Modern or Contemporary History? I fancy the First World War and have trunks (literally) a libary of books and other resources and artifacts on that one.

Geography, and all that it embraces.

English Literature and creative writing.

And French, once I’ve mastered the written language.

and kite surfing, and paragliding …

In your dreams mate, in your dreams.

How talking to yourself makes you smarter.

Fig.1  Anais Nin, like Virginia Woolf, and most recently Will Self … write a ‘stream of consciousness’.

Your inner voice.

The Voice of Reason. Robson. (2010)

I was initially attracted to this edition of the New Scientist as the cover story offered to shed light on the value (or otherwise) of  what some term ‘stream of consciousness’ others ‘this voice in our heads.’ Of what value is it?  And if I can type as fast as I can think it is this a true reflection of what I am thinking, at the pace at which I am thinking it – or does the process lose something in translation? Using how we think and what we verbalise is given value here, which ought to bolster the views of H.E. institutions that ‘reflection’ has a purpose. The article also explains why we need to give things terms, though I’m also always curious to know why certain words last while others do not. If I’ve understood the ideas correctly then there is a suggestion that loose terminology, words for concepts that are not clear or still debated, are counter-productive, we need to be clear that our interpretation of a word, even something as simple as the colour yellow compared to orange, or hues of the colour blue, match the understanding that others have.

‘On average, 70 per cent of our total verbal experience is in our head.’ Boroditsky (2010)

Language helps us to think and perceive the world.

Naming objects helps us categorise and memorise them. Lupyan (2010)

i.e. things (concepts and objects) are more easily thought about if ‘verbalised’ through having a name.

However, labelling can also bury the detail. Lupyan (2010)

i.e. we humans work best at the macro rather than the micro level of terminology?

‘Labelling objects helps our minds build a prototype of the typical object in the group at the expense of individual features.’

Language shapes perception, argues Gabriella Vigliocca of University College London. Vigliocca. (2010)

The pumpkin test. 80% got the object from seeing it alone. 85 % of those who saw it and were told its name got it. While those who had what they could see in one eye ‘scrambled’ only achieved 75% suggesting that a visual with a verbal clue helps to anchor the object in the mind.

‘It seems that words prime the visual systems of our brain, conjuring up a mental image when it is seen’. Vigliocca (2010:32)

Boroditsky (2010b) recently found that Russian speakers, who have two words for different shades of blue, really are faster at discriminating between the different shades than English speakers. (The once discredited Whorfian hypothesis). The effect disappeared when they repeated a long number to themselves, as this interfered with their linguistic capacities.

Fundamentally, knowing the name for something helps identify it. Lupyan (2010)

‘It seems that our inner voice changes the way we experience the world. Language is like augmented reality – an overlay that changes how we think, reason and see’. Clark (2010:33)

With the above in mind I started the following list with a view to developing reasons for not using the word ‘stakeholder.’ With no end of this list in sight I may need to change my opinion, I may not like the word, but it works. But does it? Whilst ‘stockbroker’ I can see embodies a specific group of people, ‘stakeholder’ for shifts constantly, like a cloud forming under a summer sun.

  • employee
  • shop floor worker
  • management
  • owner
  • director
  • boss
  • line manager
  • people
  • brother
  • colleagues
  • stakeholders
  • staff
  • McWorkers
  • office staff
  • blue collar
  • white collar
  • sisters
  • champions
  • participants
  • slave labour
  • sweat-ship workers

‘Up to 80% of our mental experiences appear to be verbal rather than visual or emotional.’ Hurburt (2010) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

‘It’s like a guidebook that has been developed by thousands of people before you, who have figured out what is important for to survive and adapt to our environment.’ Clark (2010)

Do you work with the radio on or off?

With the TV on or off? Or in an Open Plan office? Do you prefer a library or study? Can you work as you commute? Or on holiday?

Based on what we have learnt above what impact might this have on what you are thinking?

Does it depend on how easily distracted you are, how focussed? Work (study) in an environment that is relevant to the task and this enhances it whereas work (study) where verbal noise is a constant distraction and you cannot (or could not) work so well?

REFERENCE

Clark, A (2010) Language and Cognition, University of Edinburgh.Interview for New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept  2010)

Boroditsky, L (2010a) Interview for New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept  2010)

Boroditsky, L (2010b) Quoted in the New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept  2010) from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 104, p7780

Hurburt, R (2010) Quoted in the New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept  2010) from Psychological Medicine, vol 24 p385.

Lupyan, G (2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept  2010) from Psychological Science, Vol 18, p1077.

Lupyan, G (2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept  2010) from Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, vol 137, p348.

Robson, D. The Voice of Reason. pp30-33 Cover Story. New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept 2010).

Vigliocca, G (2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 2776 (4 Sept  2010) from Psychological Science, vol 18, p1007.

 

What is academic writing?

Elaborately Cautious Language

’In every day life we cheerfully use language as a blunt instrument for cudgelling our way through the cut and thrust of events around us. However, in academic writing language is meant to be used more like a scalpel, cutting precisely between closely related arguments, so that they can be prized apart and analysed in detail.’ Northridge (1990:29)

An academic text is not a narrative – it is an argument.

An academic text aims to be unemotional, detached and logical.

Whilst I can understand applying this to a TMA or ECA, this is surely not the required or desired approach in what is called a Blog? And for writing in a forum, should we reference everything? It doesn’t half interrupt the flow of ideas. If talking over coffee or a glass of wine would we cite references we knowingly made? The lines distinguishing the spoken word to text or TXT or blogging and messaging are blurred if not broken.

Manage Feelings 2.6 Northridge (1990:31)

Find ways of:

* building upon your enthusiasms
* avoiding sinking into despair
* making the topic interesting
* accepting specialist language
* accepting academic text styles
* constructing valid criticisms

My preferred approach to reaching:

* cafe
* walk
* pool
* while travelling (trains, planes, ferries and yachts)

Though surely not

* in bed
* on the kitchen table in the middle of the night
* in the pub
* on holiday

(though this can be exactly what I do/have done)

IDEALLY

* a room of my own

(married life, children and a modest home have left me with a cluttered shed or lock-up garage packed with the contents of our last house – we moved three years ago).

Approaches to Reading

Skim paragraph ahead, then read more slowly using the ‘mile stones’ to guide you.

Skimming – about the text
Reading – follow the argument

Lighting skim – very fast.

I typically ‘light skim’ the last chapters of a Stephen King novel, as the plot becomes ludicrous yet I feel an obligation to have glanced across the page in case at some stage sanity returns (it never does). Though the story will reach a resolution.

Intensive Study – very slow

Something new, something I don’t understand. Something I need to understand or want to understand. But never the small print of a bank overdraft facility. Probably the diaries of Anais Nin and the novels of Henry Miller. Probably the history of WWI, as I need to glean info from it for my own writing. And of course the books and papers I read for H807 (Innovations in E-Learning) and will read for H808 (The eLearning Professional).

Is it making me think?

Am I getting a better grasp of the subject?

‘The underlying purpose of reading is to develop your thoughts; to weave new ideas and information into the understanding you already have and to give new angles to your thinking.’ Northridge, (1990:34)

My reading speed, 300 wpm? i.e. far to quick, but is a page a minute that fast? it does depend of course on the writing style and my familiarity or otherwise with the concepts.

The purpose of reading = ‘rethinking’ Northridge, (1990:34)

I like that ‘re-thinking.’ So building on what you now already, whether or not you think you know much at all … or know a great deal.

Rethinking:

* To develop your thoughts
* To weave new ideas and information into the understanding you already have
* To give new angles to your thinking

The point of reading:

‘The point of reading is to be able to understand what you read and to be able to get back the ideas at some future point when you need them again.’ Northridge, (1990:38)

The point of taking notes:

‘Taking notes forces you to think; to ‘grapple’ with the ideas in the text as you read them, because you have to decide what to write down and how to say it.’ Northridge, (1990:44)

I don’t grapple at the note taking stage, I find it more mundane than that, I do desire a tussle at some stage, which is why I can find the manner in which we engage asynchronously (its nature) somewhat tame. I don’t recommend debating online either, or getting into an argument (or even a heavy discussion) … when in Elluminate, messaging or anything else.

This is why the face-to-face tutorial at least, fellow students over a beer in the MCR or in a formal debating chamber ideas gain a voice, that becomes your Word, and your Voice.

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