About Judy O'Connell

Educator, learner, blogger, librarian, technology girl, author and consultant. Transforming education and libraries. Innovation for life.

Read your email – support DOAJ!



One of the resources I have always introduced to my students is the Directory of Open Access Journals. DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. Not only it is a valuable repository of information, but the Directory is also a fabulous introduction to may to the world of Open Educational Resources.

Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. It is the leading trend in distance education/open and distance learning domain as a consequence of the openness movement.

BUT – it seems that if folks don’t read their emails – then we have a problem.  Well I know that some people claim email is dead – wish my email box at work knew that! Funny.

So it was a bit startling to see the media release hit my Twitter stream from DOAJ. Seriously – I read your email and support open access to information.

Copy here of the news alert included for your astonishment too!

Today DOAJ will remove approximately 3300 journals for failure to submit a valid reapplication before the communicated deadline; a deadline which was extended twice to allow more time for reapplications. This batch removal is another step in DOAJ’s two year long project to increase the value and accuracy of the information provided in it.

Here are some details about the reapplication project from its launch in January 2015 to today:

  • The reapplication process is a necessary step towards ensuring that all journals in DOAJ (of which there were about 10000) met the higher criteria for indexing that DOAJ launched in March 2014. The criteria were produced as a response to the maturing open access arena, the greater demands made on open access publishing by questionable journals and publishers, and to retain DOAJ’s relevancy and importance in open access publishing.
  • Some journals have been in DOAJ since 2003 and have never refreshed their information with us.
  • As of today over 5000 journals have already submitted their reapplication to us and we are busy assessing those. Many reapplications have been accepted back into DOAJ.
  • The contact for every journal to be removed from DOAJ was emailed at least 4 times, informing them of our intention to remove their journals if they failed to submit a reapplication by the agreed deadline.
  • We send email via Mailchimp and took all the necessary precautions to ensure that our emails didn’t end up in Spam, get trapped in institutional firewalls, or failed to deliver for other reasons. We used the Mailchimp authentication options to “verify” that our emails were from a genuine source.
  • The first email, announcing the reapplication project and inviting people to reapply, was sent out in January 2015 and went to publishers with 11 or more journals in DOAJ. The second email went out to publishers with 10 or less journals in DOAJ in June 2015.
  • Reminders were sent out regularly, once a month as well as announcing the deadline to our largest communities: via this blog, Twitter and Facebook.
  • To ensure that our emails ended up with the correct contact, we spent a considerable amount of time tidying up our contacts database: we updated at least 1000 records.

Removed journals are welcome to submit a new application to DOAJ at any time. They will be placed in the queue along with other applications. We will add a third tab to our spreadsheet ‘DOAJ: journals added and removed‘ that will list all of the journals removed.

When a journal is removed from DOAJ, any article metadata will also become unavailable. This is standard functionality. We are confident that the majority of the journals removed have never supplied article metadata to us, or have done once but haven’t sent us anything for at least 2 years.

If you use DOAJ as a data source and would like to do your own analysis of the journals indexed,  download our journals CSV (https://doaj.org/csv) today before 11am BST, 12pm CEST. A copy of that spreadsheet is also available here.

Image: flickr photo shared by opensourceway under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Doodle to learn?



As a teenager I spent hours doodling in my exercise books – much to the chagrin of my teachers. Unlike the example from this report from Harvard Business Review on the scientific case for doodling while taking notes, my doodles were creative pieces that were more in keeping with hippy style swirls influenced by Hungarian cultural patterns. (sorry, no samples survive, though they were dubbed ‘creative’!)

Did that doodling help me learn?

Well certainly the doodles were not notes or summaries  of the kind we see popularised on Twitter and showing how drawing in class and meetings can help people pay attention–and remember information afterward.

Visual note-taking blends these two approaches. By using a combination of words and quick images, the note-taker listens, digests, and captures on paper the essence of what has been heard.

My creations were a way to occupy my creative mind while I listened to a teacher talk talk talk. Having said that, I am not implying that all the teaching was boring – rather that the doodling was in keeping with the recent trend to colouring books for adults that have become so incredibly popular.    According to this article on HuffPo (and many others!), as well as being great fun, colouring in is a fantastic way to ease the stress we face in our adult lives.

Begs the question if I was stressed by the constraints of my classroom as I did not doodle out of school.  The answer to me is pretty obvious – I was, as is also evidenced by the number of classes I skipped.  To give the nuns their due, they did not hassle me about classes skipped too much, as my escape was to go and practice piano for hours instead. If I think of our schools and my tertiary online teaching environments – we still have a tendency to ‘old school’ – we still expect students to attend classes!

Of course we now understand the importance of creativity in learning. But what do we do today to accommodate our learners?  Whether it’s school or tertiary settings, and whether we have flexible classrooms or not, perhaps its time to better discern what the modern stresses really are and to stop hiding behind ‘open plan, multipurpose spaces’ as being the obvious (and only?) solution.

What are you really doing to make learning more about engagement than compulsory completion?

Image:flickr photo shared by m01229 under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

 

E-learning in higher education



Distance education and distance learning, once undertaken by one-to-one correspondence between learners and teachers (yes I did this!) has been radically transformed into online learning, or e-learning, through the use of learning management systems and other web based or digital tools. Now this type of education is characterized not so much by ‘distance’ as by the mode of ‘electronic’ or ‘e’ learning environments that is internet or web-based, and provides ongoing challenges for the researcher investigating professional contribution (i.e. teaching or educating) in higher education.

Distance education has evolved through many technologies, in tandem with the affordances these technologies provided, and each mode or ‘generation’ has required that distance educators and students be skilled and informed to select the best mix(es) of both pedagogy and technology. Internet connectivity is ubiquitous and now makes communication from multiple locations easy, and puts a vast range of online resources in the hands of individuals, who can stay aware of other’s activities through Twitter feeds and social networking site information or stay connected and update data (including status information) to central sites for others to view and use (Haythornthwaite & Andrews, 2011. p. 20).

In practical terms when communication online becomes more relational, socialized and expressive, individuals are required to master an emergent, articulated repertoire of communicative competencies that mixes interpersonal and group process fluencies to make linkages and correspondences through a repertoire of competencies inextricably social and technological (Lievrouw, 2012, p. 626). In this way new communities of inquiry are formed around shared interest, activity and educational experiences (Garrison et al. 1999; Shea & Bidjerano, 2010), facilitated by the web as a platform for content creation and collaboration by multiple recipients (Franklin et al, 2007).

Whichever way we look at it, working with technology is now an integral component of academic life, content information and connectivity, providing essential components of access to scholarly resources, digital content, communication platforms, and new social, legal and technical frameworks of practice – leading to new forms of scholarship and learning (Borgman, 2007 p.3 ). Academics (as teachers) need to support and nurture learners to learn within connected and collaborative learning environments, to lead purposeful and corrective discourse in relation to multiple information environments as part of the construction of meaning and understanding (Garrison, 2015).

According to Nagy (2011) creating the right blend of resources and methods for an engaging learning environment requires particular and diverse skills, and skills take time to develop and need refreshing as technologies (and student expectations) evolve, though there is an unresolved presumption that academics should contribute to the generation of new knowledge so that teaching is informed by discipline practice.  Nagy (2011) concludes that the increasing application of web-based technologies and flexible learning tools associated with academic programs is associated with growing numbers of university staff able to make substantial contributions to scholarship in teaching and learning.

However, different academic communities engage differently in scholarship. Also the proliferation of digital content is part of the change in scholarly communication, and the nature of digital scholarship is dependent on emergent practices, processes and procedures of scholarly communication conducted via various digital domains.

Lynch (2014) describes digital scholarship as a shorthand for the entire body of changing scholarly practice, in recognition of the fact that most areas of scholarly work today have been transformed, to a lesser or greater extent, by information technologies, such as: high-performance computing; visualisation technologies; technologies for creating, curating, and sharing large databases and large collections of data; and high performance networking which allows us to share resources across the network and to gain access to geographically dispersed individuals to communicate and collaborate. New techniques and forms of digital engagement will be required, and at the same time, older modes of disciplinary inquiry will be preserved, carried forward, and reconstituted (Thomas & Lorang, 2014).

In short – there is much to think about, much to change, and much to investigate with deep research into the new fields of digital scholarly endeavour.  Digital scholarship should underpin the changing focus for e-learning or online learning for (distance) higher education, not just be driven by the affordances of online technologies.

Yet while personal and social technologies are also (explicitly or implicitly) increasingly expected to be used for academic work, embracing digital communication and information media, the implications and/or relationship to digital scholarship practices remains disconnected or compartmentalised. I believe that understanding digital scholarship may support new pedagogies to emerge in terms of course content, subject dialogue and conversation, which will require an elaboration of the relationship between scholarly practice and technology from digital and social perspectives. – to perhaps create the lasting (and effective) change and development we are ultimately seeking!

 References

Borgman, C. L. (2007). Scholarship in the digital age. MIT press.

Franklin, T., Van Harmelen, M., & others. (2007). Web 2.0 for content for learning and teaching in higher education.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (1999). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The internet and higher education, 2(2), 87-105.

Garrison, D.R. (2015). Thinking collaboratively: Learning in a community of enquiry. London: Taylor & Francis.

Haythornthwaite, C., & Andrews, R. (2011). E-learning theory and practice. California, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Lievrouw, L. A. (2012). The next decade in Internet time. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 616-638.

Lynch, C., (2014). The ‘digital’ scholarship disconnect. Educause Review, May 19. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/5/the-digital-scholarship-disconnect

Nagy, J. (2011). Scholarship in higher education: Building research capabilities through core business. British Journal of Educational Studies, 59(3), 303–321. http://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2011.599792

Shea, P., & Bidjerano, T. (2010). Learning presence: Towards a theory of self-efficacy, self-regulation, and the development of a communities of inquiry in online and blended learning environments. Computers & Education, 55(4), 1721-1731.

Thomas, W.G. & Lorang, E. (2014). The other end of the scale: rethinking the digital experience in higher education. Educause Review, September 15.

Image: flickr photo shared by sandraschoen under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

 

The road to change



If you still have my blog loaded into your RSS reader, you may be surprised to see some posts appear again. 2015-2016 has become more than a challenge – more like a hurdle and then a steep and winding road to change.

From Just another Bag Lady to walking relatively confidently 12 months later, to:  a decision to sell up house (what a ghastly exhausting job that was!); a new position for 2016 as Project Manager – Online Subject Enhancement in the Faculty of Education at CSU; and to two planned moves in 2016 (one to an apartment in Sydney and another to a still-to-be -built new home in country Albury.  Phew!  That’s different!

Well, life is too short to be static and unchanging. You knew that didn’t you?  So after all these years of writing here (more than 10 years), it’s time to begin to record a little more of the professional curios that come my way.

I hope your 2016 is filled with professional and personal adventures as mine certainly is!

flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Virtual representation of information

Watching Twitter (as you do) I was quite taken by this quick post from Michael Wiebrands about the use of Unity 5 Personal Edition, to test out an information idea in a virtual environment – I mean really virtual, not just online!

So the first test combining Trove and Unity, resulted in a cool looking Virtual Archive Using Trove API. The idea was to represent the data in a similar way to the visualisation scenes in the 1995 movie “The Hackers”. The content is Curtin University JCPML images pulled in realtime from Trove via their API and animated on the servers/buildings.

Pretty cool video of the virtual outcome to my non-IT eyes!

Copyright changes and Slideshare chicanery



There are many different ways to share the content of your presentation slides, but Slideshare has remained my ‘go to’ slide repository, as it aggregates all my presentations that I have chosen to share in the last eight years. Time warp almost!  These days so much goes on in social sharing processes that it’s easy to miss changes or updates.

Thanks to Ian Clark in his post on Slideshare closes copyright breaching loophole, I discovered a new service launched by Slideshare. It’s a highly relevant one related to images – a topic I always make sure to cover with any students that I engage with using images for social media professional or personal use.  I do this in the context of getting away from ‘death by powerpoint’ and moving to visual prompts to communicate, with limited/appropriate text etc. The slide-deck needs to be standalone, but also cannot (nor should it) reveal the depth of conversations had. It’s not  a lecture! So information rich and informative – tick.  Images – tick. Creative commons – tick.  Correct content attribution – tick.

I make it my business to use Alan Levine’s FlickrCC attribution helper as my totally favourite and only sane way for a busy person to get fab images, use creative commons, and meet copyright needs (as a way of acknowledging the creative work of others).  NO snitching!

I place the URL on each image page  – the simplest thing, and now the best thing to do, given the launch of Slideshare’s new clipping feature. Introducing clipping on Slideshare:

There’s so much information at our fingertips today – on LinkedIn SlideShare alone there are 18 million pieces of content. As a result, it can be hard to stay on top of everything that resonates with you. That’s why we’re excited to introduce our newest feature, Clipping,  a new tool designed to make it easier for you to conduct and organize research, and learn any topic quickly on LinkedIn SlideShare. You can now clip and save the best slides from presentations across LinkedIn SlideShare to view or share later. It’s is a handy way to keep everything organized in topic-based Clipboards. You can also share your great finds to benefit the whole community. Here’s how it works. As you’re combing through decks, you’ll notice a clipping icon in the bottom left corner of slides. So, if there’s one slide that you absolutely love, you can clip it. When you’re ready, head to your board, where all of the the individual slides you clipped will be saved. You can organize clips into boards based on topic or author. Once you’ve created a great board, you can share it with others or post it on social media.

So here’s the rub.  I’ve always made my Slideshare’s downloadable – in the spirit of being open, and making information accessible.  Sure, people can  do sneaky things with that download, but it’s a balance.

But this snip and make a new deck is a whole new bit of chicanery, as well as an issue of copyright.

There is no integrity associated with cutting and pasting other people’s creative and/or academic ideas and palming them off as your own – and this is what I fear this new Slideshare option allows. Also, if you don’t have the attribution of an image used in the actual slide (some people list them all at the end, or I add it first time used) you are also breaching the spirit of creative commons sharing processes.

This new Slideshare feature needs you to actively change a setting on each and evey presentation individually (it’s not defaulted to the option that protects you from a copyright claim). As Ian explains:

To prevent your slides from being clipped simply take the following steps.

  1. Click on “Edit” underneath the slide player:

2. Head to “Privacy Settings” and select “No” to allowing users to clip slides:

Ye gad – what a process – and how many of us have missed this important update??  Well there it is – now go off and get clicking!

Image: flickr photo shared by Skley under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

Social media and your library



Libraries use social media for a whole range of objectives these days, to communicate and promote information, events, and generally build community. How well this is done of course depends on a range of things – in particular the skills and knowledge of those who establish and drive the various initiatives.

It helps to have information to have a white paper to look at for general applications, as managers often respond favorably to evidence quantified this way.

A white paper from Taylor & Francis from back in October 2014, which I have just stumbled across, is one such useful document.  The white paper titled Use of social media by the library: current practices and future opportunities was researched and compiled to provide an overview of current practices relating to the use by libraries of social media, from a world-wide perspective.

Social media has the potential to facilitate much closer relationships between libraries and their patrons, wherever they are based, and however they choose to access library services and resources.

The document provides a useful benchmark, if you are still developing your strategy, and covers key areas, that I find are often missed in peoples thinking. Knowing not only social media objectives, but also how to choose channel applications, and co-ordinate approaches between them is critical for a social media presences. Good policy is also vital!

Visit the Taylor and Francis LibSite http://www.tandf.co.uk/libsite/whitePapers/socialMedia/ where you will also find visualisations of key findings from the white paper.  There is also a webinar to help you discover best practice (including a transcript of the session) and you can Read the Storify to see what the library community has made of the white paper results. But wait – there’s more.  You will just have to go and visit the Libsite!

Image: flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license