Tag: digital

bags of blogs

Image from University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections

Blogging? I’ve never been a fan, as you know. Nonetheless, we are launching a new service for all our staff and students.

The Academic Blogging service directly underpins the “Influential Voices” theme within our Web Strategy 2018-2021. This theme aims to: “Give our staff and students an online presence to publish and promote their work, and exchange ideas with organisations and communities globally”.

The  service will give our staff and students the tools and support that they need to publish online effectively, to develop a digital identity, and make more visible a range of authentic voices from across our academic community that are identifiably connected to our institution.

Our staff and students will be able to link their academic blogs into their profiles on social media or academic networking sites, improving the profile and visibility of the University across online channels. Staff and PGR students will also be able to link to their official University profile on EdWeb. Selections of blogs can be presented on our web pages to represent the range of learning, teaching or research activities that take place in a particular area. Content from blogs can be syndicated by ourselves, or by our partners or external organisations to create curated selections of content, reflecting the richness of our institutional activity.

 

If you want one, let us know.

host a wikimedian: you can’t afford not to

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]This week I spoke at a Wikimedia Edu conference. I spoke about the value of wikimedians in residence (WiR) for higher education (HE).  Some people have told me they can’t afford to host a wikimedian. I would argue you can’t afford not to.

There are 3 main reasons why you can’t afford not to. They are:

  1. Universities must invest in digital skills.
  2. Gender inequality in science and technology is a real thing.
  3. Wikimedians will save us from Wikimedians.

Universities must invest in the development of digital skills for staff and for students. The senior managers in your institutions will be well aware of the recent HEPI report and numerous other reports. Which urge universities to pay attention to digital skills. It is widely recognised that digital capabilities are a key component of graduate employability. To stay competitive globally, ‘the UK must ensure it has the necessary pool of (highly) digitally skilled graduates to support and drive research and innovation throughout the  economy.’

Universities do invest- some more than others. Some employ IT skills trainers, information literacy librarians, study skill tutors, they buy a site-wide license for Lynda.com. For staff they invest in staff development units, learning and development teams. They choose writing for the web training, social media training,  data management skills,  public engagement training, they choose coding for all.

If you are in a university, go look how much those digital skills trainers are paid, that is what you should be paying your wikimedian. If you have a wikimedian hiding in your library, it’s time to come out from behind the stacks and engage with the real business of teaching and learning.

We can’t afford not to develop graduates’ digital capabilities; universities need digitally-skilled staff with digitally-enabled experience.

The formal recognition of students’ digital capabilities is also important. Technology can make it easier to develop authentic learning experiences that are relevant to the labour market and help  students demonstrate their skills to employers.

If you put your wikimedian alongside your digital skill trainers and learning technologists.  Their impact can be significant.

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]And it’s not just about editing skills, it’s about open data, replicability, re-use, understanding sources, spotting fake news, understanding analytics, understanding copyright, being part of communities on line. Writing in different styles. Understanding how robot editors and human editors work together- all that new ‘digital labour’.

With HE students and staff wikipedia leads to discussions about privilige and geographies of knowledge, transparency, bias, and if there is ever a ‘neutral’ point of view.  If our staff and students choose to participate in developing new tools, they are developing tools as part of a world-wide  open-source software development project, which is  a significant authentic opportunity.

Gender inequality in science and technology is a real thing, and that is the second reason why you can’t afford not to have a wikimedian in residence.

Your institutions will all be participating in Athena Swan initiatives to some extent.  To achieve Athena Swan awards departments must show how their workplaces and practices tackle the structural barriers for women working in academia, specifically in the STEM disciplines. The Athena Swan assessors like to see evidence of networks and activities, highlighting achievements, and role models and  visibility.

One of our early editathons at Edinburgh – focusing on the Edinburgh 7– the first women to study medicine,  was cited as an example of good practice by the institution in preparing our submission for silver award. Edinburgh was the first of the Scottish institutions to gain that award. The challenges of overcoming structural inequalities which mitigate against  women’s contributions  is an endeavor higher education shares with Wikipedia. It is not enough to say women don’t participate because they don’t have time or technical skills. It is not enough to say that if women learned to behave more like men they would be able to fit in or join in. It is not enough to say that the world of Wikipedia- and science in general- is ‘neutral and fact driven’ and thus free from bias.

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]The first step maybe to target articles about women, and recruit new female editors, but  as soon as you go a step beyond that, and apply some kind of Wikipedia Bechdel test –does an article about a woman scientist draw upon a credible source written by a woman? Do those credible sources about women scientists exist, if not why not?  You quickly come up against a wider structural issue about womens participation in academia and scholarship, and promotion, and publication.*

So I suppose my point here is that if you are making a business case for a WiR and you can’t get the funding straight away from the digital skills budget holder, you might be able reference your own institution’s Athena Swan activity and show how the kind of work activities a WiR would do would deliver successful, measurable outcomes for gender equality initiatives.

Which brings me to the third reason why you need a Wikimedian in Residence- is because dealing with Wikimedia is a job in itself.

Wikimedia has developed, in quite a short time,  a particular culture amongst its community. Also it’s tools , toys and projects are growing at a rate of knots.  It’s hard to keep up unless you are immersed.

Sprawling bureaucracy and policy labyrinth is very familiar to those in HE- particularly those in ancient institutions. We also know about exclusive language and communities of practice. There is some irony in the fact that Wikipedia cannot explain itself clearly. Its policies, its processes, its rules and community.

What I have learned from hosting a WiR to develop curriculum activities for students is that is it just not that simple. I was lucky to get one who is already a teacher, because he has had to do a lot of work to ‘translate’ Wkimedia’s policies and processes into ways we can engage.

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]Editing as an individual is a different activity than editing as a group or class. Classroom activities – learning and teaching activities- need to be carefully designed and structured and although this can be done successfully it takes a bit of work and that’s what we need a resident to help us with. So if Wikipedia can meet educators halfway and explain its process simply & effectively (e.g. a detailed lesson plans, a robust Visual Editor, easy to follow video tutorials etc) that would really help teachers and trainers in their workplace.

We can’t expect learners and teachers to bend themselves completely out-of-shape to accommodate Wikipedia when there are things we can do quite simply to which would bridge the gap: highlighting its rubrics, assessment criteria, word count tools, plagiarism & copyright detectors and past course assignments & materials etc. Modelling good practice and sharing exemplars will lead to takeup in courses.

Students come to classes and staff come to staff development sessions to learn in groups and that group work activity requires time, effort and resources before during and after. We are working towards that at Edinburgh, creating and sharing re-usable lesson plans and models for classroom activities, but it is that ‘translation’ role between the technology and the teachers which is missing.

‘Twas ever thus in learning technology. This is not new, this is what learning technologists do. It is timely for Wikipedia now.

And in return, we  will enrich content with our collections and expand the range of knowledge covered. We will contribute not only our research to Wikipedia but do research with and about Wikipedia. We will use the data sets being shared and study how the work of knowledge sharing and gathering is conducted.

And hopefully we will all end up pulling in the same direction.

 

  • Please read
    Heather Ford and  Judy Wajcman
    ‘Anyone can edit’, not everyone does: Wikipedia’s infrastructure and the gender gap’
    Article in Social Studies of Science, May 2017

 

things we can name

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN (covered)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper
My choice of platform for Thing13 of our 23things is Media Hopper.

You may wonder why Media Hopper is called Media Hopper. You will know the following definitions of hopper:

hopper ( agric) :  a container for a loose bulk material.
hopper ( minecraft ):  a block that can be used to catch item entities, or to transfer items into and out of other containers.
channel-hopper( tv) : quickly changing from one channel to another to find something you want to watch.
Grace Hopper ( rolemodel) : an inspirational computer scientist. She developed the implementation of standards for testing computer systems and components and coined the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches when she removed a moth from her computer.
Dennis Hopper (role model):  just cool.
space hopper ( toy ):  just orange and bouncy.

As I was explaining to Vicki, our Digital Recruitment and Marketing intern just the other day, Media Hopper gathers together all the mixed up multitude of video material from all over the University; brings it into one place; channels it into our VLEs, websites, portals and courses; applies standards and metadata  is very cool.

I think it’s important to name things after inspirational women when you can, and Grace Hopper fits the bill for me.

Vicki will now be using videos in Media Hopper to liven up our LinkedIn presence.

 

things to cover up

Picture taken by me. Typesetting by Penguin. No rights reserved by me.
Picture taken by me. Typesetting by Penguin. No rights reserved by me.

I am participating in the University of Edinburgh digital skills course ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘. Thing 4 is about digital security. I have checked the security permissions on my phone and ipad, but I am particularly freaked out by the idea that your own camera can be used to watch you without your permission. My laptop is often open around my house and that’s not a kind of knowledge I am keen to share.

Even the FBI- an organisation well known for unwarranted surveillance- suggest covering your webcam. I suggest using a cheerful sticker, perhaps one you have collected from an Adalovelace Lego, Wikipedia editathon or even the 23Things course. Perhaps the University’s information security team will issue a sticker of the perfect size.

Put tape over your webcam, FBI director warns.

I heard James Comey interviewed on the radio discussing who the targets for such privacy invasions usually are. I think he said young women were particularly targetted by this kind of phish/malware /hack. In an attempt to find that reference I made the mistake of googling ‘young girls webcam’. Mistake. Now that’s in my internet history.

would you work with us?

Photo taken by me at Summerhall hacklab. No rights reserved by me.

We are recruiting a Digital Recruitment and Marketing intern. If you are an Edinburgh University student check out our advert on employ.ed.

Information Services Group at University of Edinburgh is one of the largest IT employers in Scotland. We are looking for a digital marketing intern to work with us to enhance our online presence, and specifically our ‘company profile’ on LinkedIn to ensure that we attract the best candidates and showcase our organisation as a great place to work. You will work closely with managers across our organisation to provide advice to us on how best to use online recruitment tools and strategies and to develop content and stories for our LinkedIn profile.

 

Use your digital marketing expertise and copy-writing skills to design and populate our LinkedIn company profile which will:

  1. Be effective in recruiting the best IT and Library staff for our organisation.
  2. Showcase ISG as a great place to work and a good project partner.
  3. Showcase the career paths and profiles on offer in our organisation.
  4. Promote our family friendly, inclusivity and flexible working policies.
  5. Report on metrics to monitor success.
  6. Be easy for our recruiting managers to continue to use after your internship has finished.

You will gain real life experience of working with a large employer to enhance our business through effective use of digital marketing and recruitment tools.

Essential:

  • Excellent copy-writing and editorial skills.
  • A well designed and effective profile on LinkedIn.
  • Good social media nous and understanding of how the internet works for companies and organisations.
  • Evidence of being able to identify examples of good practice in digital recruitment and advertising.
  • An up to date knowledge of good practice in HR and marketing strategies.
  • A keen eye for detail.

Desirable:

  • Graphic design or journalism skills.
  • Experience of writing ‘how to’ guides or workplace training.

Ada Lovelace Day, Edinburgh

Donate_lego
(c) Stewart Cromar 2015 Vote now to make it real https://ideas.lego.com/projects/102740

The University of Edinburgh will be hosting Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday 13th October 2015 – an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). You are all welcome, please join us.

Our provisional schedule includes:

  • composing music with algorithms
  • building Raspberry Pi enclosures with LEGO
  • metadata games in University of Edinburgh’s Library and University Collections
  • Wikipedia training session and edit-a-thon
  • Ada buns
  • guest speakers
  • and much more!

Book now.

Schedule:
Morning (booking link)
11:00-11:30 Introduction to the day with speakers on Lovelace, research using LEGO, programming and games (Melissa Highton, Katya Krasnopeeva & Judy Robertson)

11:30 – 14:00 Fun with data, algorithms, and Pi:  hands-on sessions (drop-in)
•        compose your own music with algorithms – sessions running at these times: 11:30 – 12:15; 12:15 – 13:00; 13:00 – 14:00
•        build your own Raspberry Pi enclosures with LEGO  – sessions running at these times: 11:30 – 13:00; 13:00 – 14:00
•        play and compete in metadata games (University of Edinburgh’s Library and University Collections division) – sessions running at these times: 11:30 – 13:00; 13:00 – 14:00

Afternoon (booking link)
14:00 – 17:00 Wikipedia Editathon
Join us to raise profile of women in computer science & inspire a new generation!  Receive expert advice and training so that you can, edit and publish articles for Wikipedia. Then publish new articles or improve existing articles about prominent Edinburgh University women, past and present, who are under-represented within Wikipedia.
·         14:00-15:00 Wikipedia training
·         15:00 Afternoon tea (catering provided)
·         15:15-17:00 Wikipedia Editing and Publishing: Edinburgh’s women in Computer Science

*You are welcome to bring your own topics of interest to write Wikipedia articles about too.

#ALD15 #ALD15Eduni

phd internship placements

photo-5
Picture taken by me in the street. No rights reserved by me.

If you are doing a Phd at University of Edinburgh and you need a job, please feel free to apply to these two splendid vacancies. Work based learning guaranteed. Applications by 31 August.

Digital Skills for Research Intern (Employ.ed for PhDs)

The work of this internship will be to review research skills frameworks, map digital skills to the research life cycle, identify existing training resources locally and in other universities, identify good practice for researcher training programmes, highlight any differences in digital skills needs in specific discipline areas and make recommendations to Information Services senior management to shape their plans going forward.

Equality, Gender and Change PhD Intern (Employ.ed for PhDs)
Information Services has more than 600 staff. Earlier this year more than 300 of them replied to a gender equality survey. The results of this survey are providing a starting place for the IS senior management to promote equality in the workplace and implement proactive plans for change. This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services as we make plans to move to a new building and find new ways of working.

we can [edit], yes we can

IMG_2147 copy
We can edit and we can eat cake. Picture taken by me, no rights reserved, and no leftovers.

The Women, Science and Scottish History editathon‘ series of events in Innovative Learning Week at University of Edinburgh was a great success. We ran sessions on 4 days, had plenty of new students, staff and friends join us, edited more than 30 articles and trained dozens of novice wikipedia editors.

Each day, the one-hour introduction to editing Wikipedia focused on offering tips and insight into different approaches as well as practical training. Participants were welcome to  attend as many days as they would like: everyday we  added something new. Our Wikimedia trainers (principally Ally, the Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Scotland)  was on hand  to provide assistance, and our librarians ( Marshall, Gavin and Grant)  provided specialised materials focusing on the subjects covered.

Knowledge was shared openly. Articles  were created or improved. Networks of connections were made and  shared topics of interest explored.   Copious cake and cookies were eaten, and a fun time was had by all. We plan to do further events and some research to maintain and sustain momentum and support our fledgling crowd community. In December, at  the EduWiki conf  Ally reported that she had not seen much engagement  from University of Edinburgh in Wikipedia projects . At least that’s changed.

 

The hashtag was #ILWeditathon. Read Our story in a storify

Articles improved

Articles created

revisiting Woolf in Virginia

The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England & The Summer Isles © The University of Edinburgh http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/vh1rqf
The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England & The Summer Isles © The University of Edinburgh http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/vh1rqf

Virginia Woolf wrote ‘a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’*.  A room of ones own is a luxury which few could afford at the time without help from husband or family.

As a woman who values enormously the space I have from which to write my blog, I am particularly keen to do what I can to lower the barriers and restrictions which stop any individual or group writing openly.

I was in Virginia this week to hear more about the ‘Domain of One’s Own’ project at the University of Mary Washington. The project provides all incoming freshmen with their own domain names and Web space.  Students have the freedom to create subdomains, install any LAMP-compatible software, setup databases and email addresses, and carve out their own space on the web that they own and control.  The University picks up the cost of paying for the domain as long as the student is a student. When they stop being a UMW student, they can choose to take over paying for the hosting or let it lapse. In the meantime they have learned valuable digital literacy skills and contributed web-based user-created content to all or any of their courses and activities. The university is not afraid of what the students might do in the space.

It seems to me that this approach is very much in line with University of Edinburgh’s recent ‘Digital Footprint’ campaign, and if we chose to follow it, would build on our commitment to developing the student experience. It is certainly one of the more interesting ways to link student use of the web to their time as part of the university community.

Not cheap though, for 30,000 students.

 

*A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf is available as OER e-bookvia Project Gutenberg of Australia.