I’m pleased to share that a study I contributed to—Gayservatives on Gab: LGBTQ+ Communities and Far Right Social Media—is now available (open-access!) through the Social Media + Society journal. Dr. Evan Brody is the lead author on the study, and we were lucky enough to have support from PhD student Mehroz Sajjad. Here’s the abstract for the study:
In the United States, LGBTQ+ individuals are often imagined as inherently politically progressive, but this assumption overlooks the experiences of self-identified LGBTQ+ conservatives.
As my tenure application continues to make its way through that process, I’ve thought a lot about how grateful I am that my unit is the right size pond for this fish.
In a training last week, we discussed the trend of journals’ checking manuscripts with plagiarism software. People shared examples where editors couldn’t accept perfectly good reasons for authors to reuse material unless a certain software score was also reached.
The Black Friday email I got from ClassDojo today is representative of everything wrong with the ed tech industry.
I’m pleased to share the publication of a new chapter of an edited volume. The chapter in question is “I"m a French teacher, not a data scientist”: Culture and languages across my professions, and it’s part of a volume called Cultures and languages across the curriculum in higher education. According to the CLAC Consortium, Culture and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) is a:
a curricular framework that provides opportunities to develop and apply language and intercultural competence within all academic disciplines through the use of multilingual resources and the inclusion of multiple cultural perspectives.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2022 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion to present research with Amy Chapman on how the reactionary DezNat movement on Mormon Twitter conceptualizes and claims—but ultimately problematizes—religious authority in the online sphere. We presented in one of the sessions sponsored by the Mormon Social Science Association and were lucky enough to have some good conversations and receive some helpful feedback.
Yesterday’s conference presentation went well, but despite a nagging suspicion that I’d prepared too many slides, I didn’t take the time to trim and wound up skipping a chunk of the talk. Alas.
Doing a research presentation at a conference today. The slides are essentially a fancy HTML doc (thanks to remarkjs), and I’m proud that I figured out how to get Font Awesome SVGs to display in-line with text.
Sounds like my tenure application has completed unit-level review and is on its way to college review. I guess there’s time for a sigh of relief before I start holding my breath again.
Kiddo is coming with me to class this afternoon, which is fun—but complicated by the fact that my lecture today is the most controversial and ‘adult’ of the semester for this class. Still, maybe a kid will have important insight on controversies surrounding content moderation?
I feel like I am constantly fine-tuning how I do assessments in my classes. I want to trust students and avoid policing them, but I’m frustrated when they respond to this approach by acting like it exempts them from attending class and participating.
In my second-to-last year of grad school, I was asked to give a research talk as part of my program’s prospective student day. My talk was representing the “educational technology” part of the program, and the incomparable Kristy Robinson gave a talk reresenting the “educational psychology” part (to this day, when I’m struggling with a bout of imposter syndrome, I still remind myself that my grad program let me present alongside someone of Kristy’s caliber, so I must have something going for me).
Just made a pact with an academic colleague that we wouldn’t hold back from telling each other that it’s time to retire and make room for new faculty.
Josh is doing important work here—the kind of work that edtech researchers often don’t consider as being in their purview. Glad to see this getting coverage.
link to ‘School Facebook Pages and Privacy Concerns: What Educators Need to Know’
Since the beginning of COVID-19, I’ve been dismantling a lot of my productivity and organization systems, trying to put less pressure on myself to get things done and be more mindful in how I spend my time. Several months ago—I cannot remember exactly when—this culminated in taking email off my phone and pivoting away from the excellent Things 3 task management app to a more paper notebook-driven approach to keeping track of what I need to get done.
The best figure I’ve ever included in a scholarly publication was a screenshot of a joke I made in a tweet and was especially proud of. The screenshot happened to demonstrate a Twitter feature I was trying to explain, which seemed justification enough.
I am rereading through old FoxTrot comic strips and bookmarking all the tech ones I think I might use in lectures next semester. Wish I’d done this years ago.
I’m taking the lead on the format and details of a small academic organization’s first online conference. I’d love to hear from folks who have attended successful, truly international online academic conferences about what made them work! All advice welcome!
I put in an earbud an hour or two ago so I could listen to music while preparing class readings, and I’m only now realizing that I never hit play.
This morning, kiddo was pretending to be a robot, so when I needed her to switch her attention from, say, getting dressed to brushing her teeth, I’d have to pretend to “reprogram” her before she’d cooperate. This got me wondering if she was maybe old enough to try some basic programming activities—something like LEGO Mindstorms. I think that she’s probably still a bit young for that sort of thing, but it made me excited about doing this sort of thing in the future.
See, I get the impression that it’s increasingly district, school, and legislative priorities that are driving tech choices. I agree that teachers ought to have the agency, but I don’t know that’s the case.
link to ‘The Essential Tech Question for Schools: What Are the Teacher’s Objectives?’
Generally, I discourage my intro to data science students from tackling questions they can’t answer at their level of programming, but sometimes I get so interested in the question that I end up writing the code for them so I can see what they do with it.
Really important story here, and glad to see George Veletsianos quoted. I’ve long been an advocate for developing assessments that are impossible to cheat at, but I don’t know if that’s the entire (or even a practical) response to GPT-3. We are continuing to develop technologies whose societal effects we are not prepares for.
link to ‘Students Are Using AI to Write Their Papers, Because Of Course They Are’
Jeff Huber, the longtime Director of the School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky, is stepping down into a regular faculty role at the end of this academic year. I’m serving on the search committee to find a new Director, and I’m happy to share that the official posting for the job is now live. If this sounds up your alley, feel free to apply, and if this isn’t your kind of job, please help share the posting with folks who might be interested.
This “Don’t Fly Solo” board has been up in the hallway of our building since before I was hired. I took a picture of it back in December 2017, when I was here on a job interview. It was one of the most prominent signs (no pun intended) that this would be a friendly and fun unit to work in, which was one of the biggest considerations on my mind when I decided to accept the job (though the adventure of changing disciplines and the convenience of living closer to family shouldn’t be discounted).
There is so much of both horrible and hopeful in this story. The way we’re normalizing surveillance is really worrying, and I’m glad some people are fighting back.
link to ‘Pluralistic: 07 Oct 2022 “Don’t install spy on a privacy lab,” and other lessons for university provosts – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow’
As kiddo’s school year has gotten into full swing and mine has gotten busier, I’ve spent less time griping about her school’s use of ClassDojo. However, I’ve also become increasingly annoyed at the fact that the weekly update email I get from the company always has the subject line “What did your child accomplish this week?” The body of the email is divided into two sections: The number of “points” that my child was assigned, and the number of “stories” that my child appeared in.
This week, I’m hurriedly putting together some revisions for a book chapter on data ethics that I’ve been working on for an open access volume on ethics in educational technology. I’m excited about the volume, and I’ve really loved writing the chapter, so it’s kind of fun to be doing these revisions, even if I waited for the last minute to do them.
One reviewer suggestion that I’m particularly grateful for is to elaborate on a sentence I wrote arguing that “learning management systems allow us to monitor students in invasive ways that would be unimaginable in a face-to-face context.
I’ve been skeptical of writing manuscripts in Markdown or LaTeX for ages, but today I found myself asking where the “code editor” was in Word, so maybe it’s time to give it a try.
Just wrote in an email that the worst part of academia is when my breaks from school don’t line up with my kid’s. I wrote it flippantly, but I don’t think I’m too far off.
Dunno why Canvas took blockquoting out of their WYSIWYG editor, but joke’s on them, because I know where the code editor is and what the right HTML tags are.
I’m currently on a search committee for the new director of our School of Information Science, and it’s kind of neat that academics get to hire their own bosses. My students’ minds were blown yesterday when I explaned this.
There was a brief period of publisher generosity early in COVID times where I snagged so many PDFs of books my uni library usually doesn’t have access to. Still making my way through them.
I have been writing a lot about ClassDojo recently, spurred by a combination of my professional concerns about the app and by my frustration that my kid’s school is now using it. Last week, I was pleased to see a new report from the United Kingdom-based Digital Futures Commission about not only ClassDojo but also Google Classroom. I’m sure my kid will have to use this latter software as well, so it’s good to be aware.
Maybe it’s because of my area of research, but I think the headline here is misleading. Being a teacher on TikTok is one thing, and I’m not opposed to that. Putting your students on TikTok is entirely different, and I struggle to see that being ethically justified. Josh’s research is absolutely the right reference point here.
link to ‘The Tricky Ethics of Being a Teacher on TikTok | WIRED’
I just got paid by a journal after they accepted one of my papers, and as happy as I am about this, it is so far out of my normal academic experience that I feel disoriented.
Thanks to the magic of the internet, I often listen to Francophone radio stations while working (most often French and Swiss—Radio-Canada doesn’t support streaming outside its own apps and sites). This is a great way to keep up with my French, and because there seems to be a minigenre of Francophone songs critiquing social media (Stromae’s Carmen comes to mind, but there’s at least one other whose name I can’t remember right now), it sometimes ends up being professionally relevant as well.
I’m very glad that figuring out my office phone is not a prerequisite for tenure, or else my application would be in real trouble right now.
Yesterday, I complained about Apple putting artificial limitations on what its hardware and software can do in terms of music syncing in order to make more money out of its consumers (and, probably, keep music companies happy). As I was writing that, I was thinking about similarities with the business model of a lot of mobile apps—let people download the app for free, but keep bonus features (or even the best features) behind a paywall.
This ‘Black Mirror’ class comes out of my department—happy to see a colleague get credit for such an interesting class!
link to ‘List of 5 unique classes offered at University of Kentucky | Lexington Herald Leader’
This is my issue with CS education efforts, especially ’teaching people to code.’ It’s narrowly focused on technical skills and not broader social and ethical reflection. I’d never argue that programmers shouldn’t work for defense contractors, but I’m uncomfortable with associating them so closely with CS education.
link to ‘‘Girls Who Code’ Team Up With Tomahawk Missile Maker Raytheon’
C’est dommage de perdre un tel prof. Je ne suis pas de près la situation des profs en France, mais vu combien de problèmes il y a aux États-Unis, ceci ne m’étonne pas trop. Il est peut-être temps de relire « Le hussard noir ».
link to ‘Rentrée : Le désespoir de « MonsieurLeProf », l’enseignant le plus célèbre des réseaux sociaux’
What a mess of a story. School safety tech is edtech, and like edtech, a lot of it appears to be more posturing and theater than effective practice.
link to ‘‘The Least Safe Day’: Rollout of Gun Detecting AI Scanners in Schools Has Been a ‘Cluster,’ Emails Show’
Exciting news! This still leaves a lot of research behind paywalls, though.
link to ‘US government to make all research it funds open access on publication | Ars Technica’
It’s a work from home day, but I put on real work clothes to meet with a student, only for them not to show. I think it was genuine miscommunication rather than irresponsibility, but still grumpy that I’m in a button-down shirt right now.
I’ve thought a lot about “community” in online spaces over the course of my (still-short) academic career. Early drafts of my dissertation had a lengthy discussion about the benefits and disadvantages of Étienne Wenger’s community of practice framework (which emerged from Wenger’s work with Jean Lave) as compared to James Paul Gee’s affinity space framework. From a research perspective, I tend to prefer Gee’s space-focused perspective and agree with many of his arguments for why it makes more sense to use that language in an online setting.
I’ve been grumpy about ClassDojo all week, and this is the only thing that’s made me feel better about it—BECAUSE THIS IS SO MUCH WORSE.
link to ‘A Tool That Monitors How Long Kids Are in the Bathroom Is Now in 1,000 American Schools’
The new semester at the University of Kentucky starts on Monday, and I am flailing to try to get my data science course ready to go—including putting together an open, alternative textbook for my students. I’ve been borrowing heavily from Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein’s Data Feminism for my textbook: It’s a fantastic resource, and I’m hoping my students take a lot from it.
Of course, my kid’s semester has already started, and I’ve already blogged a bunch about my frustrations with her new school’s use of ClassDojo this year.
I’ve been getting “Welcome to Canvas during this difficult time, here’s some documentation” pop-ups for nearly 2.5 years now. Only way to dismiss it is to accept a cookie, and I use relatively locked-down Firefox, so I may just see it for eternity at this point.
We had a short unit retreat this morning, and then I spent more time catching up with colleagues after the retreat than the retreat itself lasted. Both remind me that I work with great people.
It’s helpful to hear that the university is theoretically willing to bring back a mask mandate… but I don’t know that I see it happening.
link to ‘University of Kentucky COVID guidelines for fall 2022 semester | Lexington Herald Leader’
I hadn’t realized so many academics were working with data brokers. It’s kind of scary! The EFF has some good points here about so-called “data for good”—and rightly brings up that ethics review boards should be thinking about this sort of thing.
link to ‘Bad Data “For Good”: How Data Brokers Try to Hide in Academic Research | Electronic Frontier Foundation’
Got happy news this morning that a paper that may be one of the most important research projects I’ve worked on has been accepted into an open access journal! Making it hard to focus on my semester prep.
Appreciate Joshs’s reflections here—espeically as it relates to disciplinary and language differences within education.
link to ‘Some Thoughts on the Open Scholarship in Education (OSE) Working Meeting | Joshua M. Rosenberg, Ph.D.’
I hate myself for creating a ClassDojo account, but kiddo’s school is going all-in, so not sure I have the choice. First observation is how confident the app is that it can make me pay extra for free software I don’t want to use in the first place.
I spent most of the summer working from home, so I’m working in my campus office for the first time in over two months today. Nice to be back, but I also didn’t realize how many software updates were waiting for me!
Spent part of this morning reviewing proofs for a chapter-length autoethnography that is not going to add much to my CV but may be the most personally important thing I’ve ever written. Really excited to see this so close to print.
Last night, my spouse and I took kiddo to her new school to find her classroom, officially meet her teacher, and all that fun stuff. While we were there, we got confirmation of what we’d heard earlier: ClassDojo is going to be used in all classrooms this year as part of a school-wide initiative. It was helpful to talk to kiddo’s teacher about this. She understood my concerns, she had her own trepidations about being required to use ClassDojo, and she honestly wasn’t sure how she was going to bring it into the classroom.
Really leaning into ethics and justice elements of data science in my fall class, and I’m wondering how much pushback I’m going to get. I’ve taught about racism, sexism, and colonization in games in another class with very few complaints, but this feels different somehow.
Masnick’s critiques of Pearson here are better than anything I could have written.
link to ‘Absolutely Terrible Textbook Publishing Giant Pearson Wants To Make Everything Even Worse With NFTs | Techdirt’
Some really worrying privacy implications in this kind of edtech—and edtech as a discipline doesn’t care nearly enough about this kind of thing. Makes me worried as a scholar and a parent.
link to ‘Kids Are Back in Classrooms and Laptops Are Still Spying on Them’
Two of my major projects for the summer have been updating my website and submitting my tenure dossier for consideration. One specific thing I’ve been meaning to do at the intersection of these two projects has been to include a modified research statement on my website as well as a list of my publications along with links to PDFs for all of my research, ensuring that it remains accessible to everyone.
Ugh, Pearson. Why do we keep thinking about ways to make digital textbooks worse than physical ones?
link to ‘Pearson says NFT textbooks will let it profit off secondhand sales - The Verge’
My issue with computer science education isn’t the idea of computer science education—it’s that it’s overwhelmingly driven by workforce and economic concerns instead of concerns related to citizenship and democracy.
The past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about a memory from my junior year of college. It was the end of a semester, and on top of all of my own finals, I was teaching FREN 102 for the first time, so my end-of-semester was busier than it had been in previous years. I don’t remember all of this busy time, but I do remember specific parts of taking my online FREN 362 (French Civilization II) final while sitting in the office shared by instructors from the Department of French and Italian and the Department of Scandinavian Studies.
Kiddo starts at a new school this year, so we got the chance to all go as a family today and get introduced to everything. Kiddo got to meet teachers and other kids while we filed into a meeting to fill out a ton of paperwork and learn about how this school does things. For years, I’ve been wondering when my research in educational technology (and, increasingly, critical research on social technologies more broadly) were going to become relevant as a parent with a kid in school, and it looks like it’s going to be this year.
I’m not a big fan of journal metrics, so I hate myself a little for including them in the research statement for my tenure dossier.
One of the highlights of the summer has been getting an article accepted in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. This article takes as a starting point Cragun and Nielsen’s argument (also published in Dialogue) that:
what is really at play in the debate over the use of “Mormon” is legitimacy.
Cragun and Nielsen are writing in 2009, at a time when Big Love is on the air and the April 2008 FLDS Temple raid is (or was recently) on the news.
Over the past several months, the University of Kentucky has been pushing us to set up profiles on a new research analytics platform. The platform looks… fine, but I’ve been irritated with some of how the platform works and curious why UK is so keen on having us fill out our profiles. It’s felt from the beginning like this is something more for UK’s benefit than for our individual benefits as faculty.
Disappointing to see academics implicated in the Uber Files. It’s a compelling example of how research funding is contingent on public and private interests. Of course, public interests are generally less worrying than Uber funding research perceived to be positive and profitable, but there are still times I have questions about the NSF’s priorities.
link to ‘Uber paid academics six-figure sums for research to feed to the media’
I’ve seen a number of headlines about how a post-Dobbs world changes the game for online privacy, but this is the first one that I sat down to read. School surveillance software is scary enough without this possibility, so let’s not make it worse. I can’t believe that this software gives schools any benefits that outweigh the heavy cost to students’ privacy.
link to ‘After Dobbs, Advocates Fear School Surveillance Tools Could Put Teens at Risk – The Markup’
I’ve also been thinking recently about small but important influences on my career, so it was a real treat to read Punya’s thoughts here.
[link to ‘A (Wheatstone) bridge to the past – Punya Mishra’s Web’](https://punyamishra.com/2022/07/07/a-wheatstone-bridge-to-the-past/?utm_source=rss
I don’t really understand what the Publons platform is, I’ve always been skeptical of it, and the more journals try to convince me to sign up for it, the less I’m likely to change either of the first two things.
I just barely microblogged something about what I want to say here, but over the past hour, it’s been nagging at me more and more, and I want to write some more about it.
I was introduced to academia through educational technology, and I was introduced to educational technology through a class at BYU taught by David Wiley. This class was not about educational technology, but David’s passion for Web 2.
This summer, I’m remixing an alternative textbook for my Fall intro to data science class, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how helpful Creative Commons-licensed journal articles are proving. Shows that “open access” is only part of license’s benefits.
Really enjoyed this coverage of Josh’s work! I haven’t ever done Bayesian work, so it surprised me how closely the ideas in the article resembled thoughts I’ve been having about positivism and other research paradigms.
link to ‘Coverage in EdWeek of a recent article on uncertainty in science | Joshua M. Rosenberg, Ph.D.’
May I never become as self-important as this professor emeritus who can’t respond to a simple email without making claims about how many global conferences he’s organized and belittling the organization I’m writing on behalf of.
Just sent proofs for an article I’m pleased with to a bucket list journal, so it’s been a pretty good day.
I’m not going to link to it, but I am fascinated by a recent post on the Gab blog where Andrew Torba announced some new features to help Gab users push back against research on the platform. Not only do I have two or three ongoing projects using Gab data (one is in the very, very early stages and—ironically—uses Gab blog posts), but some of what Torba wrote also aligned with some of the (fortunately mild) trolling my co-author, Amy Chapman, and I have experienced because of my work on the far-right-influenced DezNat hashtag in Mormon Twitter.
My unit (the School of Information Science) at the University of Kentucky teaches all of the composition and communication courses for the College of Communication and Information, and I just received word this morning that we’re hiring a full-time lecturer for these courses. I feel conflicted about the existence of the lecturer position at UK, but I can say with some fconfidence that lecturers are valued, respected members of the SIS faculty.
Gun violence can’t be solved with educational technology—and make no mistake, all of this is edtech.
link to ‘Schools Are Spending Billions on High-Tech Defense for Mass Shootings - The New York Times’
Prepping a Fall class and feeling torn between wanting to make a lot of improvements and not wanting to burn myself out by reinventing wheels from previous semesters.
Setting up a Canvas course gets meta when you’re doing it for a class on web content management.
Logging into Zotero for the first time since (early) grad school reminds me why I don’t like reference managers.
Really appreciated George’s post here. Looking forward to trying these out in future slide decks.
link to ‘Diverse and inclusive stock photos for your next presentation, learning design, etc – George Veletsianos, PhD’
I’m happy to report that a paper of mine (in collaboration with David E. Williams at the University of Saskatchewan) has just been published in The Internet and Higher Education. We topic modeled 77,514 tweets from 59 academically-themed but anonymous or pseudonymous Twitter accounts. This resulted in five broad topics, and we followed up with a qualitative analysis of the 100 most-representative tweets from each of those topics to generate some narrower codes.
I have some regrets about being a week late on this article review because I took my kid camping—but not a lot, to be honest.
Solid thinking by researchers I respect and admire. I especially appreciate the point that no solution exists outside politics.
link to ‘The Silver Bullet of Anti-Shooter Educational Technologies — Civics of Technology’
Kiddo catches a glimpse of the ref list for the research statement I’m preparing for tenure: “Why does it say Greenhalgh so many times?”
This kind of social media surveillance has been bothering me for years. I’m happy it’s getting some attention, even if the impetus for that attention is such a tragedy. This is edtech and our discipline needs to treat it as such.
link to ‘Software to detect school threats online is costly but mostly ineffective.’
Today, I heard from a student that I had a couple of semesters ago asking for a letter of recommendation for a master’s program. I only had the student in one class, his attendance was spotty, and I didn’t have a lot of sustained interactions with him, so I am questioning whether I would be the best letter writer for him. However, while I said as much to the student in my reply, I also told him that despite all of that, I would still be willing to write him a letter.
Reviewer 1 has missed the key argument and main throughline of my paper, and even though the editor says I can ignore them, it’s still making me SO MAD.
This article may make its way into a chapter I’m writing on how assumptions about education shape our understanding of what appropriate data collection looks like. As Audrey Watters has written, this kind of thing is very much edtech, and we need to be critical about how we deploy it. Even if it did work, I’m not sure the surveillance would be worth it. If it doesn’t work, all the more reason to be skeptical.
Like in many PhD programs, my comprehensive exams included an element that was intended to help me prepare for my dissertation proposal, dissertation, and dissertation defense. Building off of my research interests and experiences up to that point, my advisor wrote me a lengthy question asking me to define and describe simulation games—the intent, of course, being that at least some of this could be worked into a literature review for a dissertation.
Why can’t we just learn to assess differently? There’s so much about proctoring software that ought to be worrying us.
link to ‘Accused of Cheating by an Algorithm, and a Professor She Had Never Met - The New York Times’
I got word that a recent publication of mine was now published in an issue of Learning, Media, and Technology. It has actually been available online first for the past ten months, but since I haven’t been good about blogging about recent publications, I figured this was as good a chance as any to write a post about it. This piece is called “Lifting the Veil on TeachersPayTeachers.com: An Investigation of Educational Marketplace Offerings and Downloads” and is a collaboration with Catharyn Shelton,Matt Koehler, and Jeff Carpenter.
I am, technically speaking, a STEM educator, but the reason I get so cranky about STEM hype is that these disciplines cannot on their own address the problems I’m most worried about right now.
Last week, I was interviewed by a reporter at WEKU about social media and content moderation in the context of the horrific recent shooting in Buffalo, and I was pleased to see the interview appear on the WEKU website this morning.
I wish that the headline didn’t frame this as a question of “free speech”—and that I’d perhaps been more forceful in emphasizing that these really aren’t questions of free speech so much as content moderation.
Just used the phrase ‘hashtag ontology’ in a draft manuscript, and I think that will keep me happy the rest of the day.
Trying to convince employer that a combination of flights and rail is best way for me to get to upcoming conference, wish me luck!
The more I mess around with hacking my Hugo site, the more qualified I feel to teach my content management systems class.
Last week, I got the chance to chat with Salt Lake Tribune religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack about Latter-day Saint missionaries use of social media videos, and I was pleased to see the article published on Sunday. I hadn’t been paying attention to online missionary videos, but the subject fit nicely with the reading I’ve been doing on platform and platform values recently:
Both kinds of accounts “are drawing from the internet/influencer cultures of these platforms,” [Greenhalgh] says.
In addition to cheating being flat-out wrong, students should also consider just how much regulation-reading and paperwork it creates for their professors.
Do other internet researchers find themselves citing journalists to explain things like memes? Or am I just not reading the right scholarly sources?
Today’s writing music is Manu Chao, whom I was surprised to discover in the 2010s was a real musician, not someone my 1990s-era high school French textbooks had made up for sample dialogues.
This is my first summer not teaching since beginning grad school, so even though my to-do list is still long (including, y’know, a tenure dossier to put together), I don’t know what to do with myself.
I think it’s funny (but delightful) that my secondary area of research has gotten more media attention than what I was specifically trained to do.
Developing automations for posting to my website and microblogging platforms is one way I deal with my insecurities as an ed. researcher turned ICT instructor.
The only way to make emotion detection tech worse is, of course, to make it ed tech.
link to ‘Intel Wants To Add Unproven ‘Emotion Detection’ AI To Distance Learning Tech | Techdirt’
Frustrated by the way that blinding self-citations (that aren’t explicitly self-citations) can actually work against blind review. When I’m reviewing stuff in my niche area, I can sometimes tell who the authors are based on that alone.
Pleased with my decision to no longer tackle email on weekends; less pleased with the Mailbox Mondays that have resulted.
Discussing networks in class today, which is as good an excuse as any to show a clip from Battlestar Galactica. Computers without networks is one of the most interesting worldbuilding details in that show.
We should promote open science practices in social science projects where they make sense but also stop normalizing it in a way that ignores non-positivist paradigms.
The focus on student learning in this year’s AECT reviews is good, but I worry that it blinds us to other important ed tech questions. I’d struggle to describe how surveillance, ethics, privacy impact student learning, but we desperately need that research too-or more!
I prefer not to get into the bad news, but the good news is that I’m learning a lot about how MySQL and WordPress work.
Learned an important lesson about platform dependence today. When I got hired at UK, I went all in on Google Drive to back up all my files; now, our institutional access is going to limit us to about 10% of the storage I was using. Going to be messy.
This is why I’m skeptical of terms like data driven decision making, which are meant to sound objective but cannot live up to their rhetorical power.
link to ‘Columbia Professor Expresses Doubts over University Ranking - The New York Times’
Let me get this straight: Invasive surveillance isn’t enough, now companies are creating opportunities to cheat just so they can ding them and take credit for stopping it?
link to ‘A Network of Fake Test Answer Sites Is Trying to Incriminate Students – The Markup’
Doctorow tackles the grossest parts of ed tech. It’s a great read.
[link to ‘Pluralistic: 16 Feb 2022 – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow’](https://pluralistic.net/2022/02/16/unauthorized-paper/
Just explained something I learned from studying far right spaces in Mormon social media to collaborators on a project studying queer spaces in far right social media, which is not an experience I expected when starting grad school in ed tech.
So much ugh. Big Amazon presence here in KY, so wonder when we’ll start to see this.
link to ‘Amazon Paid for a High School Course. Here’s What They Teach.’
I was born into the dominant language of research, I’m reasonably fluent in a second language, and there’s still so much literature beyond my reach. Bring back langauge requirements in U.S. doctoral training.
One of my favorite students will always be the undergrad from a few years ago who expressed outrage when I explained that researchers frequently have to sign over the copyright to their own studies.
There are worse times than three days before the start of the semester to realize that you were preparing the wrong modality for a course, but not many!
Lots in here that reminds me of Watters’s comments on personalization.
link to ‘Personalized Learning Debates Put Too Much Emphasis on Technology, School Leaders Say’
It breaks my heart to hear from a student explaining they’re going to a funeral and in the same breath asking what documentation they need for it to be officially excused. I know there are bad actors out there, but why do we do this to our students?
Looking forward to reading—and citing—this full report.
link to ‘Report - Sharing Student Data Across Public Sectors: Importance of Community Engagement to Support Responsible and Equitable Use - Center for Democracy and Technology’
Glad UK is stepping back from proctoring, but worried about the foothold it’s gained.
link to ‘Automated Proctoring Swept In During Pandemic. It’s Likely to Stick Around, Despite Concerns | EdSurge News’
OER forever. This article makes me sad.
link to ‘Inequitable Access: An Anti-Competitive Scheme by Textbook Publishers | Electronic Frontier Foundation’
One of my data science students just did a t-test to demonstrate that evil-aligned monsters in D&D 5e tend to have lower Armor Class than good-aligned monsters. This course demands a lot of effort, but moments like this make it worth it.
grad student, immediately after entering my office: “Wow, you really like Star Wars, huh?” me: “Yes, but have you also noticed all my cool train magnets?”
Dreamt that despite having a PhD, I had somehow never finished my BA. Had to explain a lot to employer and was trying to transfer to Centre College to make completing the degree earlier.
What if our collective disdain as education researchers for learning styles is the result of an overemphasis on efficacy and improvement and a corresponding undervaluing of accessibility and equity?
Teaching R for the first time, and many students are first-time programmers. I’m reminded of teaching French in terms of how easy it is to take for granted things that aren’t obvious to beginners.
I brought up the federal German elections in class today to make a point about WordPress; I’d say it made sense in context, but I can’t promise that was true for the students!
Very interesting to think about how mental models re: file storage may be changing.
link to ‘Kids who grew up with search engines could change STEM education forever - The Verge’
I have finished the article review I was a week behind on, so now I just need to tackle the two-weeks-late and six-weeks-late projects on my plate. After I get the course prep done that I was hoping to do yesterday.
Unsatisfied with the Intro to Data Science textbook I’ve inherited. Fortunately, an earlier version is Creative Commons-licensed, as are some other fantastic resources. Guess who’s going to remix himself a new textbook for next Fall!
Looks like the NSF is now using the term STEAM, which just makes me dislike the term even more.
I know I’m going to make plenty of mistakes teaching Intro to Data Science for the first time, but one thing I’m already proud of is teaching my students to use tags to format code and output in their Canvas posts.
I often think of Nel Noddings’s argument that while increasing women’s participation in STEM is a must, we haven’t achieved victory until we’ve also increased men’s participation in historically-feminine fields.
I just had to annotate a class reading to explain first that “AIM” stands for AOL Instant Messenger and second what instant messaging was, all because I wasn’t sure my students would understand either. This makes me uncomfortable.
Beginning of semester stress dreams, Fall 2021 edition: Dani Rojas is enrolled in my content management systems class but is refusing to comply with the mask mandate.
Is there anything sweeter to a professor’s ears than “I use what I learned in your class all the time”?
You would think I’d have stopped being surpised by anything posted to the Gab blog by now, but “actually, platforms should be held responsible for content they host, but none of our content is problematic” is still a take I wasn’t expecting.
Small sample size (and very non-representative), but my summer students seem to be on board with treating internet access as a public good. Hope for the future!
I have a burner reddit account (for research purposes) that I only access through Tor, so the “communities near you” that pops up whenever I log in is consistently both amusingly wrong and genuinely (if not completely) informative.
There are a lot of joys in teaching, but there’s something awesome about being able to assign students to watch a scene from 1992’s Sneakers—the world’s finest hacker movie.
I have no doubt that neuroscience is making important contributions, but I will never not be annoyed by its fetishization by individuals, media outlets, or academic disciplines.
Experiencing the best of being a peer reviewer today. Article is genuinely good, and I really want to see it get published, but I also know specific things that will make it stronger before it gets there.
PhD programs can be different from each other, but so many PhD students and their instructors believe that everyone will understand their particular lingo and milestones if they just throw them around.
Just got one of those emails that makes me very glad I gave a student flexibility no matter how inconvenient it was for end of semester. It’s helpful to remember that many students are dealing with way more important things than my class.
I know someone who apparently agreed to review three articles the same week as final grading, and boy does he look dumb staring back from the mirror.
Looking back, I owe a lot to the semester I took both “Intro to CS” and “History of French,” which culminated in writing a Java program to help with a “invent your own Romance language” group final.
Today I learned that if you replace code that’s held together by other code serving the role of duct tape with actual good code but forget to remove the metaphorical duct tape, the good code still doesn’t work.
What is the most soothing form of digital data collection, and why is it forum scraping?
Special thanks to Google Drive for breaking the iframes I’ve been using to set up annotation-enabled readings in Canvas this semester… during the week that students are reviewing readings for their final papers. Really appreciate it.
I learn a lot of ggplot2 responding to reviewers’ suggestions about plots and a lot of CSS helping students with their questions about Twine games. Turns out I only learn code when I have a project that forces me to.
Saturday afternoon online conference presentation means a bunch of fiddling with lighting in my home office on Saturday morning!
Proposing a new syllabus on department’s class on fundamentals of hardware and software, and I’m adding reflections on equity, society, culture as they relate to ICT. Tech isn’t just technical.
Even though emoji are regularly part of my research data, it still feels weird to include them in a journal article manuscript.
Thinking today about all the people who have more impressive qualifications than I do but are less secure professionally because academia isn’t fair.
I turn in a frustrating number of reviews THAT I’VE ALREADY WRITTEN ON TIME a week late because the system’s “please confirm before submitting” page looks an awful lot like a “thanks for submitting, and here’s what you wrote” page.
Just because you can topic model something doesn’t mean it actually tells us anything (and please don’t ever describe computational text analysis as “objective”).
I am increasingly of the opinion that the distinction between “qualitative” and “quantitative” isn’t all that useful and that what we actually mean is usually better expressed in other terms.
The thing with any tech that promises to insert citations for you is that you still need to check the cites for mistakes and know the citation style well enough to catch the mistakes, and at that point, why bother using it in the first place?
Can anyone recommend a good video essay, blog post, etc. on the absence of networks in the Battlestar Galactica reboot? Need it for a class. (Also frightened by the possibility that BSG is “too old” for my undergrads to know about).
I am frustrated both by journals who don’t employ copyeditors and by journal copyeditors who introduce errors into my articles. Hard to say which is worse.
Free tip to people reporting/writing on Gab: Don’t talk about “Trump’s account” as though it’s actually used by the man instead of populated by Gab to give the impression the platform has his endorsement. Plays into their hands.
One of those afternoons where I’m auditing someone’s analysis code, but it’s an analysis of 4M rows of data, so I’m also doing spurts of grading while I wait for code to execute.
Looks like it’s “I’m going to need some banana bread and chocolate chips to make it through the rest of this response to reviewers letter” o’clock.
No paper could sell me on Vygotsky (and sociocultural theories of learning generally) as much as being a parent has.
Thinking today about how much I owe professionally to the generosity of mentors. Not only am I “standing on the shoulders of giants” as a researcher, I only got up there because other giants lifted me that high.
Thinking today about all the faculty performance I could do with the time it takes to do data entry for my faculty performance review.
One of the biggest perks of teaching in an ICT program is the ease with which scenes from the fantastic 1992 hacker/heist movie Sneakers can be worked into one’s lectures.
The stress I feel when assigning final grades is compelling evidence that I would never make it as a judge.
TIL that if you find out your content management students aren’t accessing the LMS course in the way that you told them to (some only check “to do” page, not main course page), you can at least turn it into a review of course material!
Will they take my PhD away if I admit that I never talked about my dissertation in terms of “chapters” and that I don’t understand fully what that means?
One underrated affordance of writing a journal manuscript in Google Docs is being able to have two identical copies of the manuscript open simultaneously. Really helps for checking consistency across paper or comparing two sections.
Answering an email from a colleague is requiring me to look through undergraduate courses offered in other colleges on my campus, and now I want to take a bunch of them!
Peak Fall 2020: Sending an apology to my students in case the person I ejected from a family Zoom gathering as soon as I realized it wasn’t a sibling (but before I could fully process the face) was one of them looking for help on a Sunday night.
Having my students post a weekly report on what they did that relates to each course objective. When it works, it’s the best kind of assessment—it assumes that there’s learning always happening and that we just need to notice it.
One of the biggest things that the pandemic is teaching me is how much of good pedagogy is just treating your students like human beings (and how much of bad pedagogy is not doing so). Knew this before, but this semester is really driving it home.
Sick family member, so I moved my blended class to 100% asynchronous online this week. Almost definitely not COVID, but it’s a slower week in class, and this seems like the kind of semester to be overly cautious.
Rewriting a syllabus + recurrence of a particular, ongoing personal anxiety + general pandemic stuff = some high levels of pre-semester stress today.
Lots of talk right now about students dissatisfied with online teaching. While those voices shouldn’t be ignored, I’ve also already had three students (of thirty) in my fall hybrid class specifically ask to take it fully online.
One of my earliest publications has been added to a research anthology without my knowledge or consent, since publisher owns copyright. Not necessarily opposed to end result, but still miffed about lack of control.
One of my favorite things about university libraries and ILL is that they’re officially there for research, but no one will stop you from reading the books just because you want to.
Is my brain mush right now because grading is hard? Or is grading hard right now because my brain is mush?
One of the best things I did as a brand new faculty member was to decide on a standard files and folders scheme. Still thanking myself for it.
This afternoon, a career in academia looks like working from the kitchen table, playing a French 80s radio station, and fuming at Reviewer B’s complaints about my using the journal’s template like I was asked to.
Trying to collect tweets from a very-new account, but advanced search with “from:” doesn’t seem to work. Has anyone ever had this happen before?
35 GB of data is a lot to begin with, but when it’s 35 GB of CSVs? That’s when it starts to really register.
I have been a fan of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine for a while, but I’m just now discovering how useful it can be for internet research 😍😍😍
Sometimes I don’t realize how excited I am about a study until I write the conference proposal for it… which then just makes me more nervous about getting accepted.
The only bad thing about having volunteered to maintain the Global Mormon Studies website is that every time I update the program for the 2020 conference, I am increasingly disappointed that I didn’t have anything to submit myself.
Preparing a talk on social media and ethics for tomorrow night, and I believe I’ve found a way to sneak in a reference to one of my favorite bands.
Currently completing my annual review, which has me thinking how much of my career I owe to more senior academics who have been kind and generous to me when they didn’t have to be. Hope I can follow that example myself.
If only I had known as a middle schooler who was uncool for not knowing who Eminem was that one day I would be explaining a “Real Slim Shady” joke in an academic research paper about how Mormons use Twitter 😂🤷🏼♂️
Seven years ago, I was applying for grad school, wrestling with the idea of leaving French teaching behind. The longer I spend in this career, though, the more I believe my experience learning and teaching language and culture affects my work.
I had my information literacy and critical thinking students annotate the Wendy’s roleplaying game with comments about how it functions as a persuasive document, and the results are delightful.
The hardest manuscripts to review are the ones that promise something that’s legitimately needed in the literature but then fail to follow through with that promise.
Starting to wonder if Solomon’s “wise” suggestion to cut the baby in half was actually his editorial summary of the advice provided by three conflicting reviewers.
I feel subversive (but absolutely justified) whenever I argue for interpreting “quantitative” data through an interpretivist lens.
I keep getting automated emails from work that I shouldn’t be getting, but I’m an edge case of what the inclusion criteria are. It’s frustrating, but also a good reminder of need to reflect on variable definitions in computational research. 😂
Just had the surprising experience of seeing the term “NPC” defined and explained in a responsible conduct of research training.
I set up a private Slack group for one of my classes today, and within 15 minutes, they had turned my face into a custom emoji. 😂
I just misread an email from my professional organization of choice as announcing the creation of a number of “research submarines.” Turns out they’re just working on “summaries.”
Beginning of semester dreams: I have written a not-great paper with my wife and the interim dean. We got feedback from Lyon-based bloggers (who like my Olympique de Marseille reference), and the dean wants to submit it to a top chemistry journal.
Flipping through an old notebook in my office, I found my notes for my campus interview here at UK (nearly two years ago now), including lists of now-colleagues’ publications and phonetic alphabet spellings of names so I wouldn’t mess them up.
Responding to reviewer who has a specific picture in their head of what “good” edtech research “should” look like. Thus, they’re confused by things in my paper that I’m sure aren’t problems—but don’t fit that picture.
I am pleased to report that in the ~4 weeks since moving into my new office, I have only tried to enter the old one once.
Unexpected topics in research meetings: The difficulty of choosing English translations for French swearing in your data.
Totally blanked on bringing work clothes into the office today, so I’ll be working in the t-shirt and shorts I wore biking in. The t-shirt has an anti-imposter syndrome message, though, so that’s helping.
Teaching a summer class that includes fundamentals of computer hardware. Peak so far was this morning, when a student came in excited that she’d been able to follow along watching someone replace a server motherboard.
Trying to do revisions on an article that isn’t my best work and that I don’t really love is haaaaaaard. I’m committed enough to the core idea to see things through, but I’m also tempted to tell the reviewers that they win and I’m out.
My first rule as a low-budget Twitter researcher is to collect interesting data first, ask (research) questions later. I have a lot of data I’ve never used, but I’d rather deal with that than a missed opportunity.
Does anyone know of research on social media surveillance by school districts? Some local news stories have me thinking of a potential future project…
Just had a paper rejected from a special issue, but the journal has been such a pain to work with over the last 8(!) months that I’m frankly just glad it’s over.
I got a reminder today that I do the kind of research where something as hilariously unintuitive as telling a program to treat long numbers as “words made up of 0-9” is actually a critical step to making sure you get the right results.
The welcome surprise of finding that a book I checked out for personal reading will be helpful for research outweighs all the guilt I felt about using my university’s interlibrary loan to request books for personal reading.
Nothing like the release of teacher course evaluations to remind me how much of my self-worth is still tied to what other people think. 😬😬😬
Learning that you can request article PDFs through UK’s interlibrary loan has been a GAMECHANGER.
Being an assistant professor of ICT means a constant fear that I won’t get tenure once they figure out how baffled I am by the copier.
Repeatedly stopping this afternoon to jot down notes for next offering of a particular course. Not sure if this makes me a good prof (thinking ahead) or a bad prof (I’m supposed to be grading)
Returning proofs for an accepted article is always fun!
Today I get to teach about copyright and fair use in class, which is basically an excuse to watch YouTube videos and discuss whether they meet fair use or not.
Getting in touch with my BYU roots in educational technology by applying for a grant to move to alternative textbooks for my Fall 2019 course.
It looks like I can’t access my institution’s Qualtrics survey when I have my VPN turned on. Is this an anti-spam measure, or is something else going on?
I have been getting emails incorrectly calling me “Dr.” or “Professor” since I was an undergrad with my own section of French 102. Now, it’s nice to get one of those and be able to suppress the instinct to correct the sender.
One of the things I like most about a manuscript I’m currently working on is the chance to visit literature from a few fields that are adjacent to where I usually cite from.
Have not made as much writing progress today as I’d like, but today’s progress has validated both my use of a structured folder system as a “reference manager” AND my decision to memorize the keyboard shortcut for French guillemets.
This week, I will be putting my nose to the grindstone to meet the deadline for submitting an article to a special issue whose editors have repeatedly blown past their own deadlines. 🙄
I recently had students modify a “life simulation” as an exercise in examining the values embedded in games, and their collective rage that choosing to read a book increases the “loneliness” score is so satisfying.
I spent most of my morning preparing to give a methods workshop that only one person showed up to… and yet, it went much better than the only other time I’ve given a methods workshop.
I’m currently phasing in a new “professional picture,” and every time I look closely, I see the compression shirt I had on under my dress shirt because it was freezing outside during the shoot.
Tfw you and a co-author disagree on a question of punctuation, so you text your editor sister for backup.
Hard to beat coming into the office with a post-bike commute endorphin rush. Doesn’t happen every morning, but it’s always welcome when it does.
Funniest thing I’ve read all day is a tweet in the data I’m working with that proposes a Warcraft version of the French baccalauréat exam.
Approximately 6 months after receiving my work laptop, I have finally collected all of the peripherals I need to use my work laptop at work. Until now, I’ve been using personal computer at work and work computer at home.
I love that I do the kind of research where I have to define terms like “hashtag” and “meme,” but I hate trying to figure out how much of a 1,000-word conference proposal to dedicate to those definitions.
Sure I scheduled a research Skype meeting for Saturday morning, but I attended in my pajamas, so that still counts as work/life balance, right? 😂😭
I’m convinced that the hardest part of any research collaboration is figuring out what software everyone uses.
Question I just asked some colleagues re: teaching a subject I know something about but have never been formally trained in: “How do you turn 100s of Stack Exchange searches into a syllabus?”
I think the hardest part of teaching is figuring out how to explain something you don’t remember not knowing how to do to someone who currently doesn’t know how to do it.
It’s amazing how much French I’m learning translating students’ tweets to English for a research project. Language is so rich, and limiting it to 280 characters arguably makes it more so.
Tried to grab my box of Altoids with my eyes still on the article I’m reading, and grabbed a box of thumbtacks instead. Spotted my mistake before popping one in my mouth, though. 😅
Sure, I’m eating cold leftovers (break room microwaves aren’t working), but today’s not a total wash: I got “Religion and Cyberspace” from the library and booked VIA Rail tickets from Quebec City to Montréal for an upcoming vacation.
A lot of people are ragging on YouTube these days, so I’d just like to mention one thing it does really well: Consistently pick the least-flattering frames of my class videos for the thumbnail options.
If you’re going to get an article you’re proud of rejected on a Friday, it is comforting for the rejection to be essentially “it’s a good paper but doesn’t fit our special issue focus as much as you think it does.”
Nothing reinforces my professorial credibility quite like the wet bike gear from my rainy commute draped over the chairs in my office.
Showing my information literacy class a clip from “Look Around You” this afternoon. Hope I don’t give anyone nightmares about the Helvetica Scenario.
I’m having students in one of my classes mod a game as their assessment for the current module, and I’m as excited about the outcome as I am nervous (which is to say: very, very, very).
We also looked at the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine as an example of the deep web. I don’t know how pedagogically effective that was, but the students definitely got a kick out of it.
This week, I had students complete a “human web crawler/ human search engine” activity to give them a sense of how Google works. Room to improve the activity, but I’m reading student reflections, and it seems to have helped!
I (an educational technology researcher) have just declined the opportunity to review for the journal “Cell Proliferation.” The weird thing is that it didn’t seem like the spammy requests from journals I sometimes get. Mistaken identity, maybe?
On Monday mornings, I like to give myself a couple of hours to both plan the week and take care of a stack of odd jobs. It lets me ease myself back into work and frees up time to focus on more important things later in the week.
Currently planning travel to an academic conference in France. Rule of thumb when flying to Paris is always to worry about consequences of disgruntled employees, but this time it’s the American ones I’m worried about.
Reviewer 3 doesn’t understand why my study is important. I’m trying to find ways to articulate that better, but all I really want to do is JUST BOLD EVERYTHING I’VE ALREADY WRITTEN TO THAT EFFECT.
I never know whether to be happy or frustrated when I’m able to respond to a reviewer’s objection by resurrecting a paragraph from the manuscript that I’d previously cut to slim things down.
Oh look, it’s my favorite day of the week: “Welp-those-manuscript-revisions-are-due-today Wednesday”
It’s only taken me five months, but I’ve finally updated my Alfred “search the library for such-and-such an article” shortcut to point to my current institution’s library.
If anything helps you appreciate Vygotsky (and sociocultural theories of learning in general) more than being the parent of a young kid, I have yet to experience it.
Tfw a seemingly small suggestion from a reviewer actually opens up new insights that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Thanks Reviewer #1!
Today’s manuscript revision fun is detangling the results of a coding error that left out 3 hours and 56 minutes worth of tweets from my analysis. Just enough to make some very small differences in reported results.
Currently responding to reviewers of a journal article based on my dissertation. Feels especially difficult to make changes to a manuscript I’ve already had reviewed so many times.
Today, I used the dumb “define a sandwich” meme as a pedagogical activity, so I’m feeling pretty good about my semester so far.