Categories
Publication research

Resource: The Scholarly Kitchen podcast.

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is a “nonprofit organization formed to promote and advance communication among all sectors of the scholarly publication community through networking, information dissemination, and facilitation of new developments in the field.” I’m mainly familiar with SSP because I follow their Scholarly Kitchen blog series and only recently came across the podcast series throught the 2 episodes on Early career development (part 1, part 2). You can listen on the web at the links or subscribe in any podcast client by searching for “Scholarly Kitchen”.


Note: I’m the editor and founder of OpenPhysio, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on physiotherapy education. If you’re doing interesting work in the classroom, even if you have no experience in publishing educational research, we’d like to help you share your stories.

Categories
Publication research scholarship

Article: Which are the tools available for scholars?

In this study, we explored the availability and characteristics of the assisting tools for the peer-reviewing process. The aim was to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the tools available at this time, and to hint at new trends for further developments…. Considering these categories and their defining traits, a curated list of 220 software tools was completed using a crowdfunded database to identify relevant programs and ongoing trends and perspectives of tools developed and used by scholars.

Israel Martínez-López, J., Barrón-González, S. & Martínez López, A. (2019). Which Are the Tools Available for Scholars? A Review of Assisting Software for Authors during Peer Reviewing Process. Publications, 7(3): 59.

The development of a manuscript is inherently a multi-disciplinary activity that requires a thorough examination and preparation of a specialized document.

This article provides a nice overview of the software tools and services that are available for authors, from the early stages of the writing process, all the way through to dissemination of your research more broadly. Along the way the authors also highlight some of the challenges and concerns with the publication process, including issues around peer review and bias.

This classification of the services is divided into the following nine categories:

  1. Identification and social media: Researcher identity and community building within areas of practice.
  2. Academic search engines: Literature searching, open access, organisation of sources.
  3. Journal-abstract matchmakers: Choosing a journal based on links between their scope and the article you’re writing.
  4. Collaborative text editors: Writing with others and enhancing the writing experience by exploring different ways to think about writing.
  5. Data visualization and analysis tools: Matching data visualisation to purpose, and alternatives to the “2 tables, 1 figure” limitations of print publication.
  6. Reference management: Features beyond simply keeping track of PDFs and folders; export, conversion between citation styles, cross-platform options, collaborating on citation.
  7. Proofreading and plagiarism detection: Increasingly sophisticated writing assistants that identify issues with writing and suggest alternatives.
  8. Data archiving: Persistent digital datasets, metadata, discoverability, DOIs, archival services.
  9. Scientometrics and Altmetrics: Alternatives to citation and impact factor as means of evaluating influence and reach.

There’s an enormous amount of information packed into this article and I found myself with loads of tabs open as I explored different platforms and services. I spend a lot of time thinking about writing, workflow and compatability, and this paper gave me even more to think about. If you’re fine with Word and don’t really get why anyone would need anything else, you probably don’t need to read this paper. But if you’re like me and get irritated because Word doesn’t have a “distraction free mode”, you may find yourself spending a couple of hours exploring options you didn’t know existed.


Note: I’m the editor and founder of OpenPhysio, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on physiotherapy education. If you’re doing interesting work in the classroom, even if you have no experience in publishing educational research, we’d like to help you share your stories.

Categories
conference

HELTASA conference – day 1

Today was the first day of the HELTASA 2011 conference at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.Before I post my notes, here are 2 suggestions for the organisers that I think are important:

  • Internet access is essential, not a “nice-to-have”. I know you have a wireless network that we can all connect to, but the wireless network isn’t connected to the internet. If you don’t understand the difference, you have a problem.
  • Coffee and tea shouldn’t only be available for 2 periods of 30 minutes during the day. Sometimes we don’t go to presentations because we want to chat with colleagues. Coffee and tea works well in those situations.

Having said that, the first day was enjoyable, even after a rocky start. Here are my notes.

The changing environment for higher education: going global-staying local
Prof Donald Hanna

All organisations are part of and respond structurally to their environment

Knowledge is dynamic and generative

Changing a curriculum / organisation is like trying to re-build an aeroplane in flight

Need to move from isolation of knowledge to integration

Since Gutenberg, learning has been about “place”. Since the 60’s it’s been about technology, now it should be about “networks” (or maybe “relationships”?)

Using clickers via cellphone (interactive workshop)
JP Bosman, Marinda van Rooyen

Stellenbosch University using a modified instance of Moodle to collect data from students via web interface, rather than buying clickers

Encourage students to use Opera to keep bandwidth requirements down (cost of one exercise is less than R1 per student)

Every student in the pilot projects had web-enabled phones (unlikely to be the case in most South African universities)

Surveyed students prior to the pilot projects to ensure that no-one would be disadvantaged during the process

Demonstrated back-end funcationality for administering the polls / surveys

Created landing pages so that students don’t have to navigate through full Moodle installation to get to the exercise

Students must commit an answer, then discuss, then resubmit

There is a cost implication if students are using 3G, so free wifi needs to be provided by universities (crazy that some South African universities don’t have free wifi for students)

The digital age: changing roles of teachers in higher education in South Africa
Dr. RJ Odora

In 2009 South African had 4.5 million internet users

More assumptions about how today’s students are “different”. Quoting Prensky, 2001?

Self-administered questionnaire asking lecturers about their own perceptions of the use of technology as part of their teaching. Also included interviews with participants

Half of respondents felt that they were proficient in the “use of ICT to support learning”, but no comment made on what the “use of ICT” means

New roles for educators:

  • Facilitators: encourage active learning
  • Lifelong leaner: need to learn from students
  • Mentor: guide students

Teaching to disrupt
Prof Jonathan Jansen

Trying to introduce “civility” onto the campus, greeting students, trying to get a sense of who they actually are

Calling for greater integration of research and teaching

If students can pass your class without attending class, you’ve failed them as a teacher

It’s your responsibility to create spaces that are interesting and which engage students

What are the kinds of things that students need to know about, outside of their disciplines?

What are the big questions that students need to encounter?

Main point: Educational institutional failures are at the root of our social problems, because we don’t change the way that young people think

“Grace” is not something that happens automatically. What kind of thinking does it take to feel what it is to be human?

“The answer is NOT important”

Teach in ways that don’t remove emotion and the human spirit from the interaction

ALL first year students must do the UFS101 course

In service of academic identity
Amanda Hlengwa

Call for more social responsiveness, a “re-insertion” of public good into the curriculum

A deeper enquiry into the core activities of higher education could yield positive public benefits

Service learning / community engagement is one way to achieve this

However, “community engagement” is poorly defined and different universities engage with the concept in different ways

Service learning = practical component integrated with theory, there is a balance between “service” and “learning”

Service learning is part of a new social contract between university and community (What is new about service learning? How is this different to an apprenticeship model?)

Service learning (supposedly) bridges Bernstein’s horizontal (informal) and vertical (formal) discourses

Sometimes the knowledge structure of a programme works against implementing service learning i.e. it is not a “generic good”

Professional development of postgraduate supervisors: opportunities for renewal and change
Eli M Bitzer

Supervising someone through the postgraduate research process is the process by which scholarship gives birth to scholarship (Andreeson, 1999). I’m not sure I believe that scholarship is purely the domain of academics / postgraduate researchers

The traditional apprenticeship model may not be the most efficient approach for the purpose of increasing the production of doctoral graduates in South Africa (I dislike the concept of “production” in education). How can the apprenticeship model scale?

Should recognise and reward diversity in doctoral programmes

Changing needs and challenges regarding supervision:

  • Changing power relationships between supervisors and candidates
  • Increases in supervisor workload
  • Cultural difference
  • Increased awareness of students’ rights
  • Changing levels of student preparation and expectations
  • Increased monitoring of research quality and reporting
  • Increasing emphasis on doctoral completion and throughput rates

Variation in supervision approaches:

  • Apprenticeship: isolated, distance is a problem, “Atlas complex” i.e. supervisor takes responsibility for the work, power relationships
  • Group: sense of community, distributed power, interaction relates to quality, enculturation and identity
  • Team panels: experience mix, flexibility, delegation and acquiring supervisory skills, management challenges
  • Mixed approach: variation in supervisory roles and responsibilities

 

Can look at the specifics of the particular research project, and choose a supervision model based on that

Tools for planning supervision (Bitzer & Albertyn, 2011)

Supervisors conceptions of research (Brew, 2001):

  • Domino: Structural elements that link together in a linear fashion (process of synthesising so that things “fall into place”)
  • Layer: Data contains ideas linked with hidden meanings (process of discovering, uncovering, creating new meaning)
  • Trading: Products, end points, publications, networks are grounded (a “marketplace” where products takes place)
  • Journey: Personal existential issues and dilemmas as well as the career of the reseacher is emphasised (personal journey of discovery)

See also Supervisors’ conceptions of scholarship (Pearson & Brew, 2002), and Possible developmental outcomes for supervisors (Pearson & Brew, 2002)

Students and supervisors often have different conceptions of what “research” and “scholarship” mean

Guide students with questions rather than providing prescriptive advice

Categories
conference research

Innovative practices in education (colloquium)

Last week I attended a teaching and learning colloquium at Granger Bay, near the Waterfront. It was organised to showcase some of the teaching practices being used at the 4 teaching institutions in the Western Cape. I was fortunate to be invited to present one of the keynotes on Friday morning and since I’ve been thinking about PLE’s lately, that was the focus of my talk. Below you can see the graphical notes taken by Ian Barbour of the 2 keynotes of the conference.

[nggallery id=25]

Here are my notes from the 2 days.

Innovation through foundational provision and extended programmes: future trends, threats and opportunities (Professor Ian Scott)

It can’t go on with us doing “more of the same”.

Higher education is elitist, with a tiny proportion of the population being recycled through the system.

We are moving towards mass participation, with all the associated problems that this brings

Innovation = taking new approaches, doing things differently from the mainstream (creative solutions to problems)

The main difference between HEI that do well and those that don’t, is the attention of the institution (Carey, 2008). There is effort and professional accountability, systemic enquiry and research

Success = developing strong foundations and completing the qualification well. Not just about access. It’s dependant on complex issues e.g. teaching and learning approach, affective support, material resources

Future challenges in academic development:

  • Meeting the needs of the majority
  • Low participation and racially skewed
  • Poor and skewed graduation rate after 5 years = 30%
  • Under 5% of black youth succeeding in HE (unsustainable)
  • Makes little sense to continue on our current path, given the above stats

Who should extended programmes serve:

  • Mainstream students who are now failing or are dropping out for learning-related reasons
  • The majority of students who are not graduating in regulation time
  • But EP’s are reaching less than 15% of the intake, even though it’s a majority need (how can we justify the status quo?)

What can be done?

  • Extend the reach of EP’s in their present form, with a focus on improvement?
  • Move to a flexible curriculum framework with a 4 year degree as the core?
  • Can foundational provision be successful with limited student number, and if so, what are the limits?
  • How does this sit with the need for expanding the programmes?

If success is dependent on small numbers, we have a big problem

Institutional differentiation: Looked at stratifying HEI’s, but who would end up in the “bottom” levels. Moved towards “reconfiguring the institutional landscape” through mergers. But there is a danger of institutions losing their way, and not sticking to their mission. Is this a distraction from the central goal of producing more, good graduates?

Implications

Will differentiation lead to further polarisation of the student intake in terms of educational achievement? Because educational achievement is not potential, and is still polarised along racial, socio-economic lines.

Will there be pressure to remove EP’s from “research” universities? → which will result in less funding and educationally disadvantaged institutions becoming the “new mainstream”

Are these bad things?

To what extent can structural change, in itself, make a difference? Are there any alternatives?

Building student confidence through a class conference in an extended curriculum programme (Maryke Meerkotter)

Some students are resistant to the concept of evolution (in biology)!

Initially, 45 students split into groups and given topics for poster presentation. But it was too open.

Next year had more specific guidelines, with more focused topic (53 students), and individual talks about their own poster

This year, conference was very specific. 87 students, so much more structure was needed i.e. specific mammals were assigned to individual students. Questions had to be answered to prevent cut and paste.

Initial intent:

  • Relieve lecture stress
  • Students to engage with “irrelevant” content
  • Raise awareness of importance of course content
  • Allowed students to take ownership of the content, especially when assigned individual animals
  • Practice oral presentation
  • Exposed to poster making skills
  • To have fun trying something new

Initial scepticism and advice:

  • Doubt that it would succeed
  • Too much unnecessary work
  • Needs a good relationship with class, as lecturer should be confident that students can perform
  • Some envisioned chaos, so needed clear guidelines
  • Some advised no rewards, but students appreciated being acknowledged

Setting guidelines:

  • Holiday assignment
  • Written and verbal communication of assignment tasks
  • Guidelines about poster and oral presentations
  • “Computer literacy” = Powerpoint
  • Specific questions needed to answer in poster and presentation
  • Lecturer created a poster as an example, in subsequent years take the best examples of previous years
  • Provided rubrics for evaluation
  • Minimum requirements for posters, and not part of evaluation, so students who could afford more weren’t advantaged

Evaluation:

  • Oral presentations marked by lecturer and teaching assistant (reliability)
  • Audience tested at the end of each session (to ensure attendance of non-presenting students)
  • Posters were peer marked, using similar content as the marking group (each student marked 3 other posters anonymously)

Administration:

  • Assignment of topics
  • Find space for posters to be displayed
  • Due dates for posters to be mounted
  • Loading of oral presentations prior to talks (use email, caution with flash drives, time constraints)
  • Lecturer needs to listen and mark at the same time
  • Students were assigned posters to mark to avoid students marking their friends work

Empowers students to take ownership of course content, especially the “boring” courses. Recommended for small classes

Introducing concept mapping as a learning tool in Life Sciences (Suzanne Short and Judith Jurgens)

A lot of diversity in the course, in terms of student population

Some of the problems:

  • The gap between school and university
  • Testing of concepts reveals confusion
  • Basic concept knowledge is inadequate, lecturers want to make assumptions about what students come into the course with
  • Poor literacy levels for required university levels
  • Low levels of student success
  • Low pass rates
  • Unable to manage the large volume of content
  • Textbook content is “unfriendly”, not contextually relevant, language is inaccessible
  • Poor integration of knowledge
  • Don’t see how biology fits into scientific study
  • Don’t apply knowledge and strategies from other subjects, concepts are compartmentalised

Hay, Kinchin and Lygo-Baker (2008). Making learning happen: the role of concept mapping in higher education.

Concept map: an organising tool using labels to explain the relationship between concepts, the links making propositional statements of understanding. Can be interesting to see how different “experts” in the course see it differently. We need to first negotiate our shared understanding of the course before we can expect students to understand it.

Rationale:

  • To “deconstruct” faulty knowledge acquired at school and reconfigure it
  • Better grasp the relationship between all areas of study
  • Empower students with a learning and knowledge construction tool
  • Facilitate better use of the textbook

Don’t rely on one source

Facilitates textbook use:

  • overview of concepts and relationships
  • awareness of learning strategies
  • active use of resources
  • Assists with knowledge construction:
  • identified major concepts and links
  • identified gaps in school learning
  • useful as studying tool
  • knowledge construction can be individualised
  • Enables evaluation of student learning:
  • view of student understanding “at a glance”
  • encourage discussion of concepts and categorisation

Difficulties:

  • time consuming
  • high levels of collaboration between staff
  • not all student work visually / spatially
  • takes practice to do well

A genre based approach to teaching literacy in a university bridging course (Taryn Bernard)

How do structure a writing course to develop academic literacy, including other cognitive skills in the first year, among diverse student groups?

Students compartmentalise knowledge and find it hard to integrate into other courses. How can this be addressed?

Students want to feel as if they’re dealing with university-level content, and not high school content

Genre:

  • Text-type e.g. journal articles, books, essays
  • Abstract, goal orientated and socially recognised way of using language, limited by communicative purpose and formal properties
  • Social code of behaviour established between author and reader
  • “A term used for grouping texts together and representing how writers typically use language to respond to and construct texts for recurring situations”

Students need to be introduced to the “culture” of academic discourse

Genre-based pedagogy:

Student learning is affected not only by prior subject knowledge and by approaches to learning but also by the ability to deal with text genre (Francis & Hallam, 2000). An understanding of generic conventions increases success at university (Hewings & Hewings, 2001).

It’s important to validate prior knowledge, and many don’t see the purpose in academic discourse. Students sometimes feel it’s “too complex”

Quantitative literacy courses for humanities and law (Vera Frith)

UCT recognise information literacy as being an important graduate attribute

Quantitative information must be addressed in the disciplinary context

The more that content is embedded within a real-world context, the better

Students can be confused between focusing on the context, as opposed to the content e.g. placing emphasis on what they should be learning, with the contextual framework being used

The impact of horizontal integration of 2 foundation modules on first years knowledge, attitudes and skills (Martjie van Heusden and Dr. Alwyn Louw)

Earlier introduction to clinical placements have a significant influence on students professional development, especially in communication

Research assignments for first year med. students at SU:

  • Identify conditions
  • describe disorder
  • use correct referencing
  • submit to Turnitin with only 10% similarity allowed

Did knowledge improve? What about attitudes and motivation? Did it transfer to the 2nd year?

Research assignments contributed to improved student attitudes

Saw an improvement in writing and research skills

Assignments promoted self-esteem, increased background knowledge and allowed students to ask informed questions

Foundation matters: issues in a mathematics extended course

Important to be aware that students come into the course with mixed abilities, which affects how they perceive the course

Language support for communication skills of foundation Engineering students at CPUT (Marie-Anne Ogle)

Students ability to study is crippled by their lack of confidence in their ability to speak well

Problems:

  • Students don’t speak or hear English often
  • School teachers don’t give presentation training
  • Student lack self-esteem / confidence
  • Students don’t have an understanding of their own problems
  • Only 1 language lesson/week in a very crowded timetable

Rules:

  • Transparent goals
  • Everybody must talk
  • Students choose the subjects they want
  • Intensive reading programmes to support this
  • Students manage their own library
  • Students take over the class towards the end
  • Fun for self-motivation

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

Use of clickers in Engineering teaching (Daniela Gachago and Dr. Mbiya Baudouin)

Useful because:

  • Results are anonymous, instant, recorded for later
  • helps to increase attention span, keeps students focused
  • Every opinion counts, not just the correct one
  • Works well with interactive learning and teaching style
  • Direct feedback about students conceptual understanding

Good feedback tool for students, identifies misconceptions instantly that can be addressed immediately, students also become aware that others have similar problems i.e. they’re not alone

Important to use equipment to stimulate discussion

Mazur sequence (see also this transcript of Mazur presenting on using technology to engage students, as well as this video presentation).

You can forget facts but you cannot forget understanding

Use of clickers must be must be accompanied by discussion

“The more a lecturer talks, the less a student understands”

Students enjoy the experience of using new tools in class, very positive response, but they do need a short introduction

Challenges:

  • System takes time to set up, and technical troubleshooting not always easy
  • Can waste time
  • Questions need to be changed often
  • Type of question asked needs to change
  • Can have “clicker fatigue”

Using clickers as a tool in classroom instruction to facilitate student learning (Mark Herbert)

Focus not on what student don’t know, but what they require to develop into successful practitioners of the discourse

Students exposed to how knowledge is constructed, structured and communicated

Lecturers facilitate student learning

Students must prepare for lectures (but do they?)

Constructive feedback given regularly and as soon as possible

Class attendance improved

Student interaction can stimulate learning. Students will often find the correct answer when discussing among themselves, without lecturer involvement

Student confidence increased as a result of using clickers

Innovative pedagogical practices using technology: my personal journey (Ingrid Mostert)

Blended learning model for ACE in mathematics

Bulk SMS (e.g. Frontline)

Off-campus access can be hampered with slow loading times, different to intranet

Someone else has already solved the problems that I have. The more people who know about my problem, the quicker it’ll get solved.

Moodle has a module for mobile access, which allows students to participate in forum discussions through a mobile interface

Can use mobile tech to conduct surveys. Is there a cost for students? Yes, but it’s minimal relative to SMS

Sharing experiences make the load lighter

Exploring the extent to which clickers enable effective student engagement (Somikazi Deyi, Edwine Simon and Amanda Morris)

Use real world events / contexts to make coursework relevant. What is important to students? Use that as a scaffolding for the course content

Planning is important

Students engage more deeply with complex questions. We should challenge them and raise our expectations of what they’re capable of

Difficult to draw conclusions after one session. Need to follow trends over time

Realise that other people have different perspectives and world views

Try group voting as opposed to individual voting

Categories
diigo

Posted to Diigo 08/18/2010

    • Gregory A. Moses, a professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, has tried to reverse the “lecture-homework paradigm” in a computational science course. Instead of watching a lecture and doing homework later, outside the classroom, students study the lectures on their own time online. Class is a lab, with students solving problems under the supervision of faculty. Mr. Moses went from “not knowing the names of the students in his huge lectures to knowing which ones smoked and which ones didn’t”
    • In scholarship and research, having a ‘problem’ is at the heart of the investigative process; it is the compound of the generative questions around which all creative and productive activity revolves
    • But in one’s teaching, a ‘problem’ is something you don’t want to have, and if you have one, you probably want to fix it
    • Changing the status of the problem in teaching from terminal remediation to ongoing investigation is precisely what the movement for a scholarship of teaching is all about
    • many of us struggle to find the objectivity necessary to reflect and analyze the problem
    • Teaching problems are best solved intellectually, not emotionally
    • You can solve the problem on your own in the privacy of your classroom and be proud of the solution. But your colleague across the hall may have a better solution or may have figured out how that solution can be applied to other problems
Categories
education research

Research at South African universities

I just read an interesting short article discussing the research priorities of certain South African higher education institutions.  While some institutions rank highly and excel in specific areas of research, government does not seem to adequately support these institutions in terms of pushing those research agendas.

With the move towards a more scholarly approach to teaching and learning in higher education, and the concept of research-based learning gaining a foothold in academia, it’s difficult to deny that teaching and research are becoming two sides of the same coin.  While there’s still tension between finding time to participate in “pure” research and what is sometimes seen as the tedious task of undergraduate education, it seems that there may be a solution in the form of integrating research and teaching.

Here’s the link:
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20071108145540742