I'm generally pretty comfortable with Martin Weller's writing, whether in blog or journal article form. But this bit rubs me the wrong way: "working in academia, blogging performs a different function for me – I write research papers and books which is the place for the carefully argued work. My blog felt like an antidote to that in a way – a place to put out half baked ideas and quick posts that are knocked off in-between other things." My first (very unfair) thought was, "well, that's a bit snobbish."
For my own part, I don't care where I publish - I've written more publications this year because my employer, after years of not caring and even discouraging publication, is now counting them as team research deliverables. But my best bits might be found anywhere. The other bit is that I don't think of my ideas as half or fully baked. The idea is what it is, and the crust that forms around it is more often than not some sort of rationalization after the fact. Each to their own, I guess, but in a career where I've read hundreds of thousands of articles (and highlighted 30,000 of them in this newsletter) I would never assume that the best and most fully-formed ideas are found in academic articles or in books - and that this is a prejudice that academia would do well to correct sooner rtaher than later,
I was listening to Rory McGreal on the L&L podcast yesterday and he talked about how his journal IRRODL is focused on learning, as opposed to learners, and how he wanted to see evidence that learning is taking place. This is laudable, to be sure, but it's not clear how to do it. As this article says, "Whenever we try to directly measure what students have learned, what they have gotten out of their education, the effect is tiny, if any. We can see the overall effects, but we cannot show directly what it is, how it is that we’re changing the kids." And my thinking is that if this is true, then what does that sayabout the papers in the journal (or anywhere else, for that matter) that make claims that students are learning this or that?
Forget the content of these sites, which is a product of the times. Rather, consider the methodology, which is to use "low-cost automated story generation" technology to create networks of local news outlets. Why is this relevant? Because the idea is not far removed from online course sites of the same design (after all, the connectivist MOOC and Moncton Free Press have the same basic design). And this points to a dystopian future of online learning producing courses "typically during election cycles—and create and amplify material to support political outcomes." The trend is already entrenched in local media - how long before it becomes entrenched in education?
This is a set of summary notes and audio recording from a seminar that focuses on publishing and early-career researchers (ECR). It is worth pauding to think about what we are teraching students about research. "Research assessments overvalue outputs and ignore processes. They also tend to focus on extraordinary and positive findings, to look at individuals rather than teams, and to be based on competition, thereby discouraging scientists from being realistic, collaborative, and open."
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