All entries for November 2021
November 17, 2021
Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/special-issues
The second workshop in the Anthropocene writing development special issue project tackled peer review and exposed some of the common fears of early scholar authors.
Today was the second of my two part writing for academic journals workshops. I’ve been providing these sessions as part of the Anthropocene and more than human world project, which is tied to the special issue of Exchanges by the same name we have scheduled for 2022. It’s rather a lovely and mutually beneficial arrangement: I deliver training to a group of early career scholars from around the world in academic writing, and in return they all contribute articles to an issue of the journal. Given this helps satisfy both our journal’s primary mission of exposing new scholarly discourse from emerging voices, and provides the opportunity to support their authorial development, I couldn’t be more pleased to be involved. Plus, as those of you reading this who know me, I’ve never been one to shy away from the opportunity to speak publicly about academic publishing! 
I was originally invited to give a single three to four hour session as part of the workshop series. However, I concluded given these were being delivered online, and because I am well aware how fatiguing it can be to engage with training for even an hour, let alone for four via Teams, splitting them into two shorter sessions was a more satisfying solution. I think, reading between the lines in the comments from the participants that they recognised and were appreciate of this too.
Whereas the first workshop looked at creating impactful titles and abstracts, before moving on to building the framework of your draft article, today’s second session moved beyond these themes. Hence, we looked at elements such as effective editing, polishing and proofreading, alongside dealing with and responding to peer review feedback. There’s always lots to say about peer review, and I know it’s one of the areas many new scholars approach with considerable trepidation, so it is always worth exploring some more. In this way though, the two halves of the workshop were specifically designed to take the delegates on a journey from inception to delivery of their published article. Albeit in a slightly compressed mode. 
Additionally, by splitting the workshops in half, I was able to give the delegates the best part of two months to absorb and reflect on the first workshop experience, and begin to develop their article drafts. As a result, I designed this second session to run a little shorter because I wanted to give more time over to addressing the attendees’ questions and authorial concerns informed by this writing developmental experience. I am delighted to report they certainly didn’t disappoint as there were some excellent questions and comments, and I regret we couldn’t have been in the same room to continue some of these over a coffee and cake afterwards. 
One of the two hands-on exercises I had the delegates work through today, was intended to offer a moment of catharsis and revelation. In this they exposed their fears and trepidations concerning writing an article - any article - at this early stage of their academic career. I’ll be picking up on and returning to these comments and suggesting a few answers in a subsequent post and episode of the podcast. What was satisfying to spot, and I hope comforting for the delegates, is none of these fears were unexpected ones. Each were exactly the sort of thing I would expect to be hearing from relatively inexperienced authors.
I came away from the session invigorated and delighted by the discussions, and I hope some of that transferred to the delegates as well – it is always difficult to tell conclusively via teams. However, from the exceptionally positive comments and those delegates I spoke to during the session, I think I can file these workshops under the heading: major success.
Personally, I have considerable confidence that both workshop sessions will have gone some way to answering the delegates’ concerns. Alongside this I hope they will have strengthened the delegates’ resolve, confidence and self-belief that they can and will be able to write excellent articles which have something significant to say. Because, having read their abstracts, I firmly believe each and everyone of them does!
My thanks to Dr Catherine Price for leading on the project, and inviting myself and the journal to participate, and of course each and every delegate for their good humour, patience and engagement with the practical exercises! I await your articles with not inconsiderable interest.
 Or, to be fair, speak loudly publicly anyway.
 At the back of my head there’s a weeklong summer school which would seek to decompress what was covered in these workshops, and actually deliver a publishable paper at the end of it. I think I’ll hang on until post-COVID times to look into that though.
 Note to potential collaborators, provide me with coffee/tea and cake and I will talk for hours with and about publishing and early career scholars.
November 15, 2021
Writing about web page https://t.co/PJm1ssqckY
It is not every day I get to trumpet the arrival of a new journal, but today is very much an exception. Last week saw the launch of the Journal of PGR Pedagogic Practiceon the Warwick Press journals platform. I can't claim Exchanges or myself played an especially large contributing role, and any praise for its content and operations deserves to go entirely to the editors and Board of the new title.
That said, at least one of the lead editors for the journal is a graduate of Exchanges’ associate editors programme. As a consequence, I spent a very enjoyable hour with earlier this year reflecting on my experiences and talking through the practicalities of running a journal title with him. I believe I've also agreed to act as an advisor to the journal team in the future at the point they need some more input. Not that they needed to have asked, as I’m always happy to help support the Warwick Press family of journals in whatever capacity I can. Nevertheless, I think we can claim a slender slice of the kudos pie for ourselves this time.
Of course, now their first issue is out, the greatest hill to climb lies ahead: getting the second issue together! Certainly, so many newly launched scholar-led journal initiatives flounder at this stage once the initial enthusiasm wears thin. And beyond that too lay a series of foothills which will continue to rise from the mists as each subsequent issue approaches. Or maybe that's just my experience running Exchanges - especially this year which has felt like a sprinting marathon at times rather than the light jog running the title usually represents.
Nevertheless, a huge congratulations to our 'sister' J.PGR.PedPract! Long may you attract interesting and insightful articles, thought and comment!
I am pleased to report the Accolade session on education podcasting, organised in collaboration with Exchanges, certainly exceeded my expectations. All of my panellists were as expected excellent contributors and I am naturally deeply grateful for the time and enthusiasm they provided over the hour-long discussion. I was, perhaps, even more satisfied in how I did not have to work my way through many of the pre-prepared panel questions, as those which arose from the floor came so thick and fast. As a consequence, I think the debate was more dynamic and wide ranging along with hopefully being more directly applicable to the audience’s interests.
The session’s format, such as it was, featured introductions from each of the panellists, highlighting their own take on podcasting. What was unexpectedly delightful from a contextual as well as a performative standpoint were the ways each introduction seemed to seamlessly flow into the next. I would love to suggest this luscious flow was directly the outcome of my careful curation of the panel members. However, I would counter it was most likely primarily a serendipitous outcome from gathering an assemblage of knowledge enthusiasts in one place and time. Nevertheless, the manner in which the panellists resonated with each other reinforced nicely why each was there alongside demonstrating from the outset how they would be contributing different perspectives on higher educational podcasting within education.
For my part, I was happy to have a few moments to chip in the odd comment, although from the outset I made it clear I was there as a ringmaster rather than performer for once. Understandably, keeping the conversations managed took up a little more of my main focus, additionally perhaps diminishing the pressure to contribute anything myself!
Regretfully, such was my focus on enabling the conversation I wasn’t taking any notes of the debate. However, thanks to the joy of a Teams based discussion, I was able to capture most of the questions asked. Hopefully, were you not present, the reader will be able to gain an appreciation of the discussions that were consequently sparked through the selection below:
How did you get into educational podcasting, as a creator, user or listener?
In what ways has podcasting played a role in your educational or research practices?
Do you have to pay to upload podcasts to, for example, Spotify?
Can we talk more about the technologies, platforms and techniques for creating a podcast?
Are people willing to listen to podcasts on multiple platforms, or are there ways to distribute them more widely from their original, native, upload host?
Have you experienced any barriers to introducing podcasts as part of the curriculum or within modules? E.g. as a form of assessment, as well as an information resource.
How can you make a podcast with a guest who is not in the same room as you? Is it best to interview via video and extract the sound, or are there other ways to capture good quality audio/performances?
What's the best length for a podcast? Especially in the light of guidance for recording 'long' lectures to chunk them into 10-20 minute segments.
What is your favourite podcast to listen to, and why does it appeal?
From the comments on the day, it was clear the session was very positively received by the audience, which is a credit to everyone who was involved. Hence, I think everyone who attended - including panellists - felt they gained something of interest from the discussions.
Additionally, I am exceptionally pleased in the way the Exchangesbrand has once again been able to be associated with the organisation and hosting of a useful workshop session. Hopefully this is not the last we will hear of podcasting within Accolade or indeed Exchanges itself! Perhaps we will be able to return to this topic afresh in a year's time and see what other lessons or experiences we all have to share by then.
Useful Related Resources:
A few links were shared during the session which included:
- Digital assessment in the Faculty of Arts: https://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/dal/digitalassessment
- DAL Showcase 2021: https://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/dal/studentawards/2021/
- Representing History Podcast Assessment: https://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/dal/digitalpedagogylibrary/dpl1
November 09, 2021
Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/ias/postdocs/accolade/calendar/autumn/
This Thursday I’ve the pleasure of hosting an Accolade Roundtable panel on educational podcasting. During the session invited panellists will share their personal experiences and perceptions on how they have engaged with podcasting within various higher educational and research contexts. Following this introductory exploration, the floor will be opened for participants to ask questions, add comments or share their own experiences with podcasting. The majority of the session though will be shaped through participant insights, comments and questions.
Hosting this panel naturally stems from my experiences creating and hosting the Exchanges Discourse podcast, but for once I’ve the pleasure of sitting back and let my invited guests hold forth. A bless’d relief for those who might be tired on my voice, perhaps, but more importantly an exciting opportunity to hear lots of different views on podcasting as a medium for professional development, research outreach and educational impact.
I am deeply grateful to the various panellists I reached out to who were able to participate, and a few who weren’t as they helped steer me towards others who were able to attend. For the session our panellists will include: Arun Ulahannan (Institute for Future Transport and Cities, Coventry University), Jessica Humphreys (Academic Development Centre, Warwick), Jim Judges (IT Services, Warwick), Julia Gauly (Warwick Medical School), Naomi Waltham-Smith (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, Warwick) and Rebecca Stone (Faculty of Arts, Warwick).
Some of this wonderful group are podcast creators and hosts, some have participated in podcasts as guests, and most if not all have found ways to incorporate, apply or embrace podcasting within their professional practice. While the panel is only an hour long, with so many engaging and interesting personalities on the panel, I suspect it will be a fun and informative session. I’m currently sitting here writing some provocations to get the conversation flowing, but I suspect I won’t need to use many of these before the audience start firing off their own inquiries. At least, that has always been my past experience of chairing Accolade sessions.
Will we inspire members of the audience to take up their own podcasting mics? Perhaps, although this is not the principal aim! Nevertheless, what the session does hope to provide is for everyone to gain a better understanding of educational podcasting principles, techniques and practice. At the same time, I would hope the audience and panellists alike will develop a greater appreciation for how, when and where podcasting can enhance pedagogical and research practices. Moreover, if nothing else, the delegates will become more aware of the ways in which podcasting can form a component of their career development strategy. And perhaps along the way we’ll all emerge with an awareness of some great academic podcasts we can all enjoy and from which we can profit.