Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Dream Upon Waking (writing a PhD proposal, pt.1)

God it’s hard to write a PhD proposal!

After reading about the topics of Digital Literacy and teacher development for a little while now, attending and presenting at conferences, talking to colleagues and taking lots of notes, I was hoping that writing up a research proposal wouldn’t be such a difficult task. Well, I was wrong.

I’ve just spent the past week trying and articulate what it is I would like to research about and it feels a little bit like trying to remember a dream at breakfast: the more I think about it and write about it, the vaguer it seems to become. I’m sure I had a pretty good idea to start with! Where is it now?

The good news is, people tell me it’s normal, and if I feel like I don’t know anything anymore, it’s a good way to start. I just wish I’d been through this 3 months ago. Time is ticking fast and PhD programme applications deadlines are looming nearer.

Anyway, thanks for reading – any comments appreciated. Please share your experience with me!


Using Social Media for Peer-feedback in a Translation class: a case study

Two weeks ago, at the 7th LLAS e-learning symposium in Southampton (#LLASelearn12), I gave a presentation entitled “Using Social Media for Peer-feedback in a Translation class: a case study“. I presented the preliminary results of a study I have been conducting in one of my final year undergraduate translation classes, where I used a social online platform (based on Ning) to get my students to discuss their work before and after class.

My talk focused on two main points: the set-up of the platform and the rationale behind it (why I didn’t use Moodle, or Facebook) and the early feedback I received from my students in terms of usefulness of the task.

Watch the presentation on video.

You will also find a copy of my slides on SlideShare.

Feel free to comment!

LLAS e-learning symposium 2012 – day 2

Better late than never – I’ve finished my post about the second day of the LLAS e-learning symposium 2012 (#LLASelearn12). It’s been a busy week catching up with everything after spending Thursday and Friday in Southampton.

I particularly enjoyed Professor Claire Warwick (@clhw1)’s keynote entitled ‘Tweeting and teaching: how scholarly is social media?‘. It was really refreshing to listen to Prof. Warwick defend social media as a scholarly practice, as she meticulously dispelled one preconception after the next on the matter. Least I can say is that I wish I could make such a convincing -and so thoroughly informed- case when I try and defend the use of social media in general (and discussion forums in particular) in my job as a language tutor.

Other speakers included Margaret Southgate who gave a very insightful and up-to-date overview of blended language learning and Dr. Mark Stansfield who defended the value and useful of game-based learning. Game-based learning is a topic I’m always very curious to hear about as I haven’t yet seen another practitioner implement  it in my (short) teaching career.

I was lucky enough to have my proposal accepted and the symposium and therefore gave a presentation entitled “Using social media for peer feedback in a translation class: a case-study“.

Although not yet available at the time of writing this post, a video recording of my presentation should shortly be posted on the LLAS website. In this talk, I looked at the set-up of our departmental social network and how I have been using it with my translation class for student peer-feedback. The results discussed are preliminary as the study will be concluded in March 2012.

I was very happy with the feedback I received and it was particularly useful to compare experiences with Andrea Zhok and Elena McNeilly from the University of Bristol, who have been working on a similar (though apparently far more successful) project to mine.

Next step now is finishing my study, hopefully with some useful findings. Fingers crossed…