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Progress Setting up a Virtual HE Reading Group. Paul Curzon Middlesex University [email protected] www.cs.mdx.ac.uk/staffpages/PaulCurzon Funded by SEDA, MU Center for Learning Development MU School of Computing Science. Overview. Background

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progress setting up a virtual he reading group

Progress Setting up a Virtual HE Reading Group

Paul Curzon

Middlesex University

[email protected]

www.cs.mdx.ac.uk/staffpages/PaulCurzon

Funded by

SEDA,

MU Center for Learning Development

MU School of Computing Science

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

overview
Overview
  • Background
  • What is a Virtual Reading Group?
  • Setting up the Group
  • Progress in the first few months
  • Conclusions and the future

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

the problem
The Problem
  • All new Middlesex Lecturer\'s now do a PGCHE
  • They also have very high workloads (especially in the first year)
    • finding time to read widely is hard
  • They generally have no background in educational research
    • it is hard to know which things are most worth reading
    • how do you get an overview of the breadth of literature?
  • You must provide evidence in the PGCHE portfolio of wide reading
    • what can be used as evidence?

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

aims of project
Aims of Project
  • Share the benefits of each individual\'s reading
  • encourage wider reading
  • provide a long term resource

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

background sources of ideas
Background: Sources of Ideas
  • Research Reading Groups
    • a seminar where someone presents an influential paper they have read
  • The comp.risks newsgroup
    • subscribers send summaries of incidents reported in the media to a moderator who collects them into issues sent to a newsgroup
  • Annotated bibliographies
    • read a paper, write a paragraph on it (eg for your thesis)

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

background restrictions
Background: Restrictions
  • staff are spread over multiple sites across North London
  • meetings are hard to arrange and involve travel time
  • mail overload is a problem
  • there is little culture of using newsgroups

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

solution a virtual reading group
Solution: A Virtual Reading Group
  • 3 elements
    • a group of people
    • a moderated mailing list
    • a web-based archive
  • Members write summaries of things they read
    • only things they found useful/interesting
    • just a paragraph or two
    • include full reference, keywords
  • Summaries are submitted to the moderator
    • once per week sent to mailing list
    • no discussion on mailing list
  • 1 per term digest service also provided

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

recruitment
Recruitment
  • Aim for 20 group members
  • A core of 4 people who read widely recruited to seed the group.
  • Write a "first issue" handout to illustrate the idea
  • Advertise via
    • mailing lists
    • University news sheet
    • in person at staff induction
    • in person at seminars
    • by word of mouth
  • Low volume emphasised

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

recruitment results
Recruitment Results
  • 50-60 people sign up
    • but only from personal contact
  • only a few want just termly digest
  • majority indicate willingness to write summaries
  • Backgrounds:
    • new lecturers (doing PGCHE)
    • existing lecturers from across the University
    • learning support staff
    • resource-based/multimedia learning material developers

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

submission of summaries
Submission of Summaries
  • Started June/July 98
    • with break over August
  • 16 summaries written to November 98
    • approximately 1 per week
    • 7 different people wrote summaries
    • 4 were written by the organiser
    • none were written by the core recruited to seed the group
    • only 1 by a PGCHE student so far
  • Personal contact from / reassurance by the organizer was important to encourage submissions

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

sources of summaries
Sources of summaries
  • Summaries have been written about:
    • books
    • chapters in books
    • journal articles
    • workshops attended
    • technical reports
    • web pages (learning resources/papers)
    • newspaper articles
    • popular magazine articles

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

subjects of summaries
Subjects of Summaries
  • Summaries have been written concerning:
    • peer tutoring
    • resource/multimedia based learning
    • assessment
    • cheating
    • student writing
    • gender issues
    • management in HE

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

anecdotal feedback
Anecdotal feedback

The following are paraphrased quotes:

  • "I hadn\'t thought there was any point reading educational literature as I have so much experience teaching, but the group has led to me reading more"
    • an experienced lecturer
  • "I read the summaries but I just do not have time to write them myself"
    • a recent PGCHE graduate
  • "The group is provoking discussion... some people were discussing one of the articles summarised"

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

conclusions
Conclusions
  • So far the group appears to be successful
    • the idea is very popular
  • Personal contact is important
    • in recruitment, and
    • encouraging people to write summaries
    • the organizer must be someone who naturally does lots of networking
  • The organizer must read widely and write summaries to maintain momentum
  • Having a core to seed the group is useful
    • provided they are committed and have time to write summaries

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

the future
The Future
  • Collect formal feedback
    • surveys in January, July
  • Provide tools to support submission and use of archive
  • Consider variations
    • add collected comments about previous summaries to the end of the weekly messages
    • integrate the group more formally with the PGCHE
    • hold campus based "real" reading group seminars
    • have "guest" summaries from leading educational researchers on papers that inspired them

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

more information
More information
  • More information on the reading group, including access to the archive is accessible from

www.cs.mdx.ac.uk/staffpages/PaulCurzon

or contact

[email protected]

  • Submissions of summaries on the paper that most influenced you to the above email address!

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon

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