Posted by Helen on 2 January, 2013
Shared via CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
Towards the end of last term I attended the ‘Support for researchers’ event hosted by the M25 Consortium.
It was very nice to be in Senate House and to meet lots of new colleagues. The discussion sessions clearly showed that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to research support. Longer time in the discussion groups would have been useful but unfortunately it was only a half day event. I have summarised the three speakers below and included some questions raised in discussion.
Miggie Pickton & Nick Dimmock (University of Northampton) started the event by talking about collaboration between the Library, Graduate School and the Research Office at Northampton. The Research Support Hub is a joint initiative between the three teams. It is a WordPress hosted blog, designed to be a one-stop shop for researchers needing information about funding and training. Nick described how there had previously been a very scattered presence and no single place for researchers to find information. The site has only been live since October 1st but has had a good response. There are eight regular contributors and categories/tags are used to maximise discoverability. There is also a section which links to other University blogs and a FAQ page to avoid repetition and aid enquiries.
The repository (NECTAR) is a mutual interest between the Research Office and the Library. The Research Office provides the administrative support; the Library covers the technical issues, metadata and IPR. NECTAR is the main source of data for the REF. In terms of disseminating research, the team are involved in an annual poster competition, annual research conference, and measuring impact.
Benefits of collaboration were increased visibility and increased perceived value of Library services.
Miggie concluded with some tips for making collaboration work:
- Share common goals and common interests.
- Actively look for opportunities to collaborate internally
- Communicate frequently and share knowledge and expertise
- Present a shared point of view at formal committees.
Jenny Evans (Imperial College London) discussed the Research 2.0 programme at Imperial. A version of this programme has been running since 2008 but it was only in 2011 that it was integrated into the professional development course for students. The six-week programme was delivered face to face and online, covering productivity, networking, developing an online digital identity, and legal & ethical issues. The advantage of the course was that it raised the profile of the Library and allowed researchers and staff to build their network and collaborate. It was regarded as innovative. However, the blogging part didn’t work so well. Because the course was part of mandatory Graduate School training it was hard to get the researchers to finish the course or stick to deadlines.
Jenny was also involved in filming five interviews with academics about their use of Web 2.0 tools and technologies. The interviewees were at various stages of their career and the aim was to show researchers how a ‘real’ academic was using such tools. The video can be found here.
Jenny’s talk raised a number of issues including:
- Should we give students guidelines on what technology to use?
- Should the focus be on the specific tools or the output?
- How do you evaluate success with Web 2.0 workshops?
Tahani Nadim (Goldsmiths) recently completed her PhD and gave a short talk about her experience of research support. Tahani felt that the Library has a role to play in signposting throughout the PhD, not just at the start. Induction week can be overwhelming and information quickly forgotten. The PhD is an incredibly solitary venture and it is hard to imagine how subsequent years will pan out. Tahani suggested that videos of different stages of the student experience would be useful. She also suggested that Library pages need to answer the question “I need help with…”. Too often they can be buried and messy, when they really need to be simple and clean. The difficulty with a PhD is that you often don’t know what help you need until you need it! This means that problems are often figured out amongst colleagues and the PhD cohort; an informal and valuable network for recommendations.
A number of discussion points were raised:
- How can the Library’s expertise and resources be used to support research?
- How can the Library actively participate in the university’s research culture?
- What role can they play in advising on version management?
- What about students who aren’t part of the daily research culture?
Posted in Service Delivery | Tagged: postgraduates, research, Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Andrew Dunn on 24 April, 2012
Tony Churchill gave a presentation at DL Forum on Tuesday 24/4/12 on lecture capture. He talked about a project funded by Echo 360 – a supplier of lecture capture software. The project looked at uses of lecture capture software beyond simply recording and posting lectures for students to revisit.
The project looked at taking recorded lectures and cutting them up into 15 minute snapshots which can then be used a subsequent year to support students’ learning. The snapshots could be posted in VLEs before face-to-face lectures to provide students with background knowledge and free up time in lectures for more interaction and discussion. Recordings of face-to-face lectures can be used to support DLs.
Short snapshots of lectures can be made publicly available and used as effective recruitment tools.
Denise Sweeny reported on a lecture capture project going on at the University of Leicester at the moment. Using Adobe Connect and/or open source software OpenEyA (see www.openeya.org for more information) lecturers from Media and Communication and from Chemistry have captured 5 hours of UG lectures and 12 hours of PGT lectures and have posted them in Bb with no guidance or instructions on how students should use them. This term they will measure use of the captured lectures using Bb Analytics, focus groups, an online questionnaire and extended interviews. They want to measure how often the lectures are accessed and how students use them. They will also gather data on student demographics and their preferred modes of study.
If you want help and advise on capturing your own teaching sessions contact Simon Kear firstname.lastname@example.org in BDRA.
Posted in Projects, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Technology & Devices, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: information literacy, teaching, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Leave a Comment »
Posted by emmakimberley on 5 January, 2011
On Monday 13th Dec Terese Bird and I paid a visit to the British Library to take part in an assessment session for the Growing Knowledge exhibition. The purpose of the Growing Knowledge exhibition is to showcase ‘innovative research tools’ to researchers. The exhibition space itself provides a futuristic space for experimenting with new technologies. Attractions include a tweet-o-meter, computers with 2, 3 and 4 screens as well as a touch screen, and a Microsoft Surface. The idea is to evaluate how researchers are working in different ways: we’re doing more things at once, so do we need more screens to support the multi-faceted nature of research work?
The exhibition room
As part of the evaluation we were let loose to play with the research tools on this range of devices. Terese Bird and I used the touch screen computer to look at some of the academic initiatives online, including the Allen Brain Atlas, Semantic Web Applications in Neuromedicine, Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts and the Journal of Visualized experiments. Each of these shows ways in which the web is being used by scholars in diverse fields for research, collaboration, visualisation and dissemination.
Terese has identified the Microsoft Audio Video Indexing System (MAVIS – a software system using speech recognition technology to allow searches of audio and video files) and the Galaxy Zoo as her stand-out tools in her blog post about the day. Both of these tools facilitate research that would be arduous or even impossible without them. My own favourites were the Journal of Visualised experiments and the eDance project.
JoVE leads the move toward making the communication of research more visual by presenting research methods in video format, thus “allowing the intricacies of new methods to be demonstrated far more effectively than is possible in text.” This is the kind of knowledge that really benefits from being shared in non-written media.
The eDance project has developed tools for collaboration between performance and practice-led research in dance, enabling researchers to chart movements in three dimensions. While I didn’t have time to gain a full understanding of how these technologies can be used, they seem symbolic of a shift in ways of thinking when it comes to research in the Arts. The idea that description and comment can happen on the artwork itself, rather than as a separate piece of writing, surely has implications for research into any kind of visual or moving-image text.
My favourite piece of hardware was the Microsoft Surface, which displayed a digital version of the 19th century Garibaldi Panorama – the world’s longest painting – and shows how the challenges of viewing and collaborating on such an artefact can be overcome.
Microsoft Surface Table
As a whole, the exhibition raises questions about the role of libraries in storing and curating digital heritage and in supporting new academic behaviours, some of which are discussed in the podcast of the British Library debate: Is the physical Library a redundant resource?
Posted in Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: library 2.0, research, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | 1 Comment »
Posted by emmakimberley on 7 July, 2010
Yesterday I attended a workshop on the uptake of e-infrastructure services in the arts and humanities at KCL. In a growth area mainly developing through the science disciplines, the aim of the day was to assess various services and resources that can be used by arts and humanities researchers as well as looking at the barriers that prevent use. The workshop facilitators had recently run an e-uptake study, comprising interviews with researchers and research support professionals, and are interested in exploring the potential use of e-infrastructure in arts and humanities subjects. A database of their findings is available here.
e-Infrastructure services explored include: digital curation, text mining, the UK Data Archive, various grid computing services for researchers, Virtual Vellum, and a JISC-funded virtual research environments project working on ancient documents (eSAD).
Some main points from the day:
- Infrastructure includes tools and resources, but also needs to include training and dissemination opportunities.
- Barriers to use include lack of funding, lack of knowledge of projects, and lack of understanding of which technologies may be useful.
- Training alone won’t encourage use of services
- It’s easy to provide support…
- …but hard to provide the kind of support that helps potential users know which technologies to use.
- Worked examples of uses in each discipline are essential: proof of value will encourage further use.
The consensus was that these resources have great potential to help arts and humanities researchers, but that there are still many barriers (both practical and psychological) discouraging engagement.
Posted in Research Support | Tagged: digital, jisc, research, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | 3 Comments »
Posted by selinalock on 27 November, 2009
A few weeks ago I asked if anyone could recommend an alternative to using wikis in a teaching session. A few ideas were suggested including using twitter to get comments from, and interaction among students. An appeal to twitterers also yielded the idea of using www.etherpad.com
I decided that I would try out etherpad as it allows simultaneous (real-time) online document editing, which would allow me to achieve the same kind of aim as I had with using a wiki. That is to set students tasks using the online document and then get them to make comments on the results of those tasks during the session. The free, public etherpads expire after a week, but I wasn’t expecting the students to go back to the documents after session. I was just after something that could be used as a primer for thinking and talking online about issues surrounding the use of Wikipedia, tips for using search engines, sites they would recommend for their course etc.
Etherpad itself turned out to be a very useful tool with interesting features: I created 10 version of the same document and split the class of approx 68 (I think only about 40 actually showed up) into groups. The software coped very well with the simultaneous editing and there were other useful features such as a chat function at the side of the document, and a time slider feature so you could review all the changes that had been made.
Some of the students thought it was an interesting way to run a session, but I had not banked on the anonymous nature of the software causing issues. Basically, once the students realised it was anonymous because they didn’t have to register to use the documents there was a lot of inappropriate behaviour – posting of inappropriate links, deleting of the whole document while other students were trying to use it, using the chat facility to comment on one another etc.
So, overall I think Etherpad could be used in interesting ways in the classroom, you just have to be careful what ground rules you lay and what groups you use it with!
Posted in Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: computer science, information literacy, information skills, software, students, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, wiki | Leave a Comment »
Posted by emmakimberley on 17 September, 2009
I’ve been mulling over some of the main recurring points from the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 09 and their impact on my own practice as someone who engages with researchers. Here is a brief list of qualities that participants in Vitae 09 thought development activities should seek to encourage:
- Ability to operate in a web 2.0 environment (for dissemination, collaboration, networking…)
- Recognition of the value of both blue-skies creative thinking and applied research
- Dialogue across disciplinary boundaries (This involves presentation and communication skills: researchers being able to present their ideas in accessible and jargon-free language.)
- Participation and support from academic role models (Students are more likely to use their training if they see tangible evidence of its usefulness around them.)
- Provision of physical and virtual spaces encouraging creativity, community and dialogue.
- Getting students to be reflective and to analyse their own needs (E-portfolios were suggested as one method of encouraging this.)
- Training that prepares future academics for new academic behaviours (VLRs, new devices and platforms.)
- Recognition that preparedness to cope with change and challenge is more important than any particular set of learned skills (Training needs to be flexible rather than prescriptive.)
- Important role of emotional/motivational support in postgraduate research students (This can be done through events and networking opportunities, a focus on the writing process in workshops, providing alternatives to the formal supervision system etc.)
Can anyone add to these?
Posted in Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: postgraduates, research, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | 1 Comment »
Posted by emmakimberley on 14 September, 2009
The plenary speakers were each concerned with reminding researcher developers of their formative role in equipping future researchers with the skills needed to enter a changing research environment in the digital age. Interdisciplinarity, web 2.0 and blue-skies research were high on the agenda.
Prof. Ian Diamond (chair of RCUK) emphasised that the UK requires a research force who think across disciplines, as well as achieving excellence in their own fields, in order to face the new challenges ahead. These researchers need to be “responsive to new knowledge, new technologies and new strategic economic and social needs”.
Prof. Brigid Heywood (Pro VC for Research and Enterprise at the OU) shared her vision of a future researcher capable of reacting to a fast-changing digital academic environment, embedded in an active research community, interacting with other academics and the public on both local and global platforms. This researcher engages in a range of new academic behaviours in a web 2.0 environment. Examples of projects included:
Prof. Alexandre Quintanilha (Director of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Porto) urged the academic community to place less emphasis on the traditional methods of evaluating the quality of graduate training (publication output, funding, etc.) and to focus on training researchers to address some of the major challenges of the 21st century. These challenges often require a mixture of blue-skies thinking and applied thinking, as well as an interdisciplinary approach, involving research methods that have been seen as risky, vague and a threat to disciplinary foundations. Prof. Quintanilha outlined the obstacles facing postgraduates who wish to enter these areas of research that are the most valuable in terms of long-term impact, but frequently also the most challenging in terms of immediate career progression (because of difficulties in publishing and getting funding because they cross evaluation boundaries; unclear departmental affiliation; accusations of lack of focus), and called for graduate training programmes that recognise their role in producing what the research community needs:
- Curious, imaginative people willing to move across disciplinary and geographical boundaries to follow their dreams
- People excited about tackling new challenges
- People prepared for the complex challenge of tackling major world problems of the 21st century
All three speakers agreed on the importance of developing communities of researchers across disciplinary boundaries, championing academic role models who visibly practise what they teach, and training future academics to be adaptable and responsive to the challenges of a new digital research environment.
Posted in Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: conference, future, Open Access, postgraduates, research, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Leave a Comment »