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Progress Setting up a Virtual HE Reading Group. Paul Curzon Middlesex University p.curzon@mdx.ac.uk 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

p.curzon@mdx.ac.uk

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

    p.curzon@mdx.ac.uk

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

School of Computing Science

Paul Curzon