Beyond the Individual

collective-effort

Image Credit: Flickr and State Library of New South Wales

As the end of this project looms, I have, week by week, seen the possibilities that having a blog and engaging with the academic community through another format can have on my impact as a researcher. The idea of crowdsourcing a research project that involves data seems to be a great idea and I think I would have a go at joining in with one of the projects, particularly those offered by Run CoCo and Zooniverse, the archival projects appealed to me the most. I can see that joining in to decipher a manuscript or discovering a new star could become quite a hobby, never mind the potential for knowledge acquisition. However, the idea of using crowdsourcing in the classroom as a tool for a project does appeal to me and I would need to think of a way of implementing this process to act as a learning aid for my students outside the classroom. It’s definitely something I will put some thought into.

I have regularly used software such as Facetime and Skype to virtually attend seminars when I couldn’t make it to the venue. The ability to do this is invaluable for me as I don’t live particularly close to my institution and for the last two years I wasn’t able to attend all the seminars I wanted to due to external circumstances. Although it can be frustrating when they disconnect or distort speech etc., the benefits definitely outweigh the cons for me. I haven’t tried the other software and I am interested in using Adobe Connect to help organise a workshop day that I am planning to organise with other members of my funding body. As we are all based in different parts of the country, it would be great to use a tool like this to make the planning process easier. I also think that text chat could be an interesting means of getting students to ask questions in seminars that they don’t want to voice, particularly if they are anonymous. Any technology that can further the learning process in a positive way is worth implementing and is something I am very keen to do.

Doodle polls have always been part of my academic experience because it is stupidly difficult to find a time when all the PGR’s are free and on campus. Without this function I fear we would never have met each other beyond the occasional nod across the corridor before we scuttle back to the isolated cave of our thesis. This can also be a really useful tool for teaching and I wish I had set up one for my presentation groups this semester as they have turned out to be an admin nightmare! Similarly, google drive can also be an invaluable piece of software when trying to organise a group of researchers or students, as it means you can edit and exchange ideas without creating hundreds of versions of the same document. Collaborative projects and joint student assignments can become a much smoother process and I have used these for many academic and personal projects. I have also used Dropbox for years, but only as a storage option as I haven’t had the opportunity to use it as a collaborative tool. However, after having a look I still think Google Drive is the best tool for working on a project with others.

Currently, I have a few projects in mind that would massively benefit from these tools. I already use most of them but I think my teaching could benefit from the inclusion of google drive, doodle poll and live chats.

More soon!

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