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My favourites » 1129 - Ali's (student) blog

February 14, 2006

You know Rev's taken over your life…

Writing about web page http://www.warwickrev.org

…when typing the word 'relevance' you type 'revelation' without realising!

February 08, 2006

Automatic counting…

Does anyone know of any Firefox extensions or suchlike that can count the number of words on a webpage, or specifically, words highlighted on a webpage?

Before you suggest copy and pasting into a word-processing package, I've thought of that, but I was hoping for something a bit more immediate.

[Edit: I've just found one here – seems to do the trick!]

November 29, 2005

whimsical? Maybe not!

Follow-up to Whimsical Wishlist from 1129 - Ali's (student) blog

My dreams of a road train around campus may actually happen (see Campus Development) – ok, I may be 40 by the time it is implemented – but how cool is that!!

I'm not convinced it would be free though…

November 28, 2005

My snowman

Writing about I'm sooooo excited!!! from 1129 - Ali's () blog

As there were no spare computers in the office I went home at lunchtime and thought I'd build the first snowman at my new house.

Here he is looking noble:

and here he is looking a bit like a teddybear:

Any ideas for names?

November 22, 2005

The unattractiveness of essay writing

Writing about web page http://library.warwick.ac.uk

At the moment I'm meant to be 'comparing and contrasting a single and multi-strategy research study'. We were allowed to choose which studies to compare, so I did, and that's where my problems started…

I had a bit of a panic this morning as I [a Computer Scientist at heart] didn't know where to find a single-strategy research study without reading a lots of studies just in case it was single strategy. I'm guessing Sociologists know loads of case studies off the top of their heads, but I didn't so panicked…then prayed [In reflection should have prayed first, but was too busy panicking…] anyhow…

Decided to make use of the E-resources on the Library website, I used Blackwells no academic reason for this just that two of my friends have worked for them I searched for 'online' and 'education' and came up with over 1000 papers. I chose a random one, entitled 'Online technology in rural health: Supporting students to overcome the tyranny of distance' amazingly it was a single study research project.

As I had to compare and contrast two studies I thought I'd find another study, similar but multi-strategy – I thought I did, called 'Interactions in cyberspace: an online focus group' – but having read the study it's not so I need to find another one.

3 hours gone…

Problem is that the 2nd case study I looked at was so interesting that I didn't really want to write an essay on it I actually wanted to read it…as it related to my last post about joining online communities.

Here's a few snippets,

In traditional focus groups, Nyamathi and Shuler (1990, p.1285) suggested that a degree of 'social posturing' occurs. That is, particiants may be forced to be compliant with group opinion…it was not a problem in this study


Nyamathi and Shuler (1990) beleived that the role of the 'moderator' in a focus group is to control discussion. With this study, participants made it very clear when a member was dominating and 'control' came from within the group. The group quickly censored any insensitive comments.'

Guess that tallies with the use of Blogs and their comments here…

If anyone wants to read the full article, it is available via ATHENS from a journal called: 'Methodological Issues in Nursing Research' –
'Kenny, A K, 2005, Interaction in Cyberspace: An Online Focus Group, Blackwells Publishing Ltd'

as you can see I can't quite remember how to do journal references off the top of my head yet!

November 08, 2005

What makes people 'tick'?

Writing about web page http://www.warwickrev.org

I've foolishly agreed to do a Pause for Thought tonight.

Last week I had a great idea about this – involving the idea of community and talking about blogs, Revelation websites and messageboards, media team, WIM, National Rev etc…but now I'm thinking of talking about my PhD research and what led me to do it.

Personally I'd prefer to find out about a person and what makes them tick than to know about different ways of joining Rev communities.

This led me to my next thought – surely you have to know about people before wanting to join a community?

For example, this blog community – the most commented on blogs tend to be where people tell you the innermost details of their lives, for example, Mat Mannion and Casey whereas blogs that talk about other people and tasks, such as Innovating Research! and Neighbourhood #1 hardly get any comments…

Arghh…what shall I do?

Hell's Kitchen USA

TV image
Hell's Kitchen USA
Not rated

If you've been watching this show then you'll know where I'm coming from with this thought:

To be a successful head chef do you have to be rude and demeaning to your sub-chefs?

Last night, the editing made the audience assume that Michael (the guy who went on to win Hell's Kitchen) only became effective as a head chef when he started being insulting and aggressive towards his team…

November 05, 2005

Whimsical Wishlist

Some of these are more likely to happen than others…

  • The Traffic lights next to Blockbuster coming from the A45 to Earsldon to be re-programmed, so I don't have to wait at them for no reason every evening.
  • Free road train around campus
  • Everyone to have and use their blogs
  • Single sign-in for every website in the world
  • Funding for my PhD
  • Less cynicism and grumpiness
  • Silent fireworks
  • Sociology books not to be on the 5th floor of the library

October 31, 2005

Communicating Online

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

I went to Casey and Rob's Graduate School Course on Saturday Web-publishing for Postgraduates and even though it meant getting up for 10am on a Saturday morning it was well worth it!

What happened?

Casey spent the first hour and a bit talking and demonstrating how to write for the web with some very useful handouts. The hardest bit was making us describe our research in 50 words to 'our friend's mother', which involved lots of crossing out and starting again. I felt so sorry for the Science students who had so many acroynyms to explain to us before they got past their titles!

Rob O'Toole finished off the session showing us the various technologies that Warwick offers to Postgraduates, such as ePortfolios and of course, these blogs.

The most useful part of the session was the discussion on consideration of audience – Rob demonstrated that Google highly-rated University webpages, so it was important to maintain the 'correct' image on the web – i.e professional on an ePortfolio if you want potential employers to take you seriously.

What did I get out of it?

apart from the free tea, coffee, water and biscuits (very important for a early Saturday morning)

  1. Ideas for developing my ePortfolio for the wider world
  2. A new desire to write on my blog
  3. Rethinks on the webpages and external websites I maintain.

Unfortunately, I still waffle on my blog…


My prelimary title for my research is:

An investigation into the use of online resources to encourage PDP and reflective learning in Universities

October 28, 2005

More Rev bloggers!

Writing about web page http://www.livejournal.com/users/micrognome/

I've just persuaded the lovely Kelly from Aberdeen Revelation that she wanted a blog, so here is her first entry. As you can see, she has a good body, but needs some love…

My life in a graph!

Writing about Life sucks and then some more from [TBA]

Well, seeing as Thor's done this – I thought I'd do it to! It's not too bad to look at – although it's not accurate.

I think my friends and family score went down as my Mum died two years ago and 3/4 of my grandparents have died…so it reckons that I have no family. That's not quite true though as although a lot of my family are in Cardiff, my aunty and cousins are only 20 minutes away from campus, so I see them regularly.

Finance-wise looks amazing, probably because I said I was working – and it didn't matter if I was a temp or not and they didn't ask how many days a week I have a job for! In real terms, I've got less money to spend that when I was an undergraduate and waitressing in Pizza Hut…hmmm…somedays I really miss that time in my life!

Spirit life – looks good – probably because I'm Christian and the questions kept asking about faith and morality…yet another reason why it's great to be Christian.

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

October 06, 2005


Writing about web page http://www.useit.com/alertbox/designmistakes.html

Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005
I agree with what is said about usability, but surely a website that doesn't look as dull and text-heavy as that will make it more visitor-friendly and therefore more useable?

Me and Research

I went to my first day's lectures yesterday and already have an assignment to do.

1500 word written report:
'Describe the extent to which your own research interests reflect or derive from your personal/lifestyle experiences and/or your social position and state how the research which you do might be influenced by the 'values' that you carry'

My problem is that I can see too many links between myself and what I want to research! No idea how I can fit it all into 1500 words…

October 04, 2005

Bangor Rev road trip

Writing about web page http://www.rev.org.uk

Despite yesterday's mammoth blog entry I didn't mention my Revelation weekend trip to Bangor (the one in North Wales not Northern Ireland), so here goes:

Travelling This didn't start too well as I had forgotten that I had parked in University House car park instead of Westwood and therefore didn't have any change to get out. I did test the entrance/exit system by putting my unpaid for ticket into the machine (I was trying to leave after 6pm so I thought it might be free), unfortunately for me, and the queue of cars behind me, it wasn't, so I had to reverse out and ring Thor to bring some money to get me out. I was giving Thor (plus Rich and Nikki) a lift to Bangor as well so didn't feel too bad about ringing him!

Tea We got to Bangor at 11pm after stopping at Keele Services for KFC (a tradition for Revelation road trips) and meeting Kelly (from Aberdeen Revelation) at the station.

Warning Do not try and drive around Bangor to find a parking space with 5 people, luggage and a saxophone in a car with a 1.2 engine – the hills are far too steep so you may end up rolling backwards!

Singing We spend most of Saturday learning songs ready for the concert on Saturday evening. I can't really remember much about it as I was so tired, but photos of the concert will be on the National Rev website soon.

Sunday We were performing at the Church where we had been sleeping and rehearsing so went to their morning service. It's a bit difficult to describe as it was quite different to all the other churches I have visited. Highlights include: the length (3 hours), the free worship (member of congregation starts singing a song – everyone joins in – then music group join in), Jess falling asleep and snoring during the service.

October 03, 2005

Structure, Sociology and Sense

I did intend to go to bed about half hour ago so I'd be wide awake and lively for Societies Fayre tomorrow, but decided my brain was too active to fall asleep.

Feeling a bit lost at the moment, I love structure, but at the moment I've got so many things going round in my head that I can't structure anything to make any sense – arghhh!

Ok…this is my first blog entry on this blog – I'd prefer it to be more to the point and less waffle, but looking at the rest of the blog entries tonight I think I can make an exception. If you are reading this and thinking 'woah – too much text' be thankful that this is not the "test" entry that everyone seems to do on their first entry – it's as if people expect the Warwick Blog technology to work for everyone else, but not for them!

Right – so first entry – this is me. I'm Alison – and I've just joined the Sociology department as a postgrad research student. It's still surreal at the moment and I'm not quite sure what I've let myself in for – after 4 years of Computer Science full of maths, logic and programming to sociology with seminars and essays. Bit of a change!!

It's been really amusing this week seeing the faces of those I do and don't know, when I tell them what I'm doing. The reaction ranges from complete disbelief and horror to the congratulatory smiles with the unsaid look of 'well, don't know why you did computer science in the first place?!'

In some ways I'm quite flattered that people see me first as a geek but I've also been quite shocked by how weird I feel being back in Uni doing a subject where people enjoy having pointless, small-talk conversations and want to look at you when they talk to you.

I had my induction day on Wednesday. As you would expect it was pretty boring, especially for those of us who had been at Warwick for our undergraduate degrees! There's not much to report except that there was a big handout given out explaining how to register online for modules, and a lot of other bits of paper handed out, with loads to read, not used to that!

I had my first seminar on Thursday – that was scary.
It was philosophy and social theory so I thought I'd throw myself in the deep end. I've always desperately avoided philosophy and had vowed, many years ago, to never do philosophy (although I had also vowed never to become a Christian, but didn't stick to that either) so I succumbed, deciding that it would actually be a sensible thing to do (like becoming Christian) so 9am, Thursday morning, I was in a small room with 10 other people – arghh!

It was plugged, on the induction day, as a 'free-for-all, anyone welcome, whatever academic background' course so I thought it would be ok. Then within 5 minutes the 'what do you do?' discussion became a 'evolution vs creation' discussion (cringe), everything I had tried to avoid just happened.

Although, after the initial panic of 'what the heck am I doing here?' and 'please don't ask me to talk about anything complicated' had gone away I discovered that I was enjoying myself and spend two hours listening to what was being said and things actually making more sense in my head. I didn't say anything, but it was a really good feeling to be in an academic setting for 2 hours and not being bored, but feeling quite excited about the subject!

Really should go to sleep now – apologies for anyone trying to follow my chatter. There's lots more I could say about my first week (the seminar, in particular), but that's enough to get my blog started!