Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

What audiences do academics imagine finding online?

Posted on March 5th, by George Veletsianos in my research, networked scholars, scholarship, sharing. Comments Off on What audiences do academics imagine finding online?

When online, people draw on the limited cues they have available to create for themselves an imagined audience. This audiences shapes our social media practices and the expression of our identity. While institutions encourage scholars to go online, and many scholars perceive value in online networks themselves, limited research has explored the ways that scholars conceptualize online audiences.

Audiences by NordForsk/Stefan Tell

 

In a recent paper, we were interested to understand how scholars conceptualize their audiences when participating on social media, and does that conceptualization impacts their self-expression online. Below is a short summary of the results. The full study is here: Veletsianos, G., & Shaw, A. (2018). Scholars in an Increasingly Open and Digital World: Imagined Audiences and their Impact on Scholars’ Online Participation. Learning, Media, & Technology, 43(1), 17-30.

We used a qualitative approach to this study, interviewing 16 individuals who represented a range of academic disciplines and roles. Data were generated from two sources: semi-structured interviews with each participant, and examination of the social media spaces they used (e.g. blogs, Facebook, Twitter).

Participants identified four specific groups as composing their social media audiences: (1) academics, (2) family and friends, (3) groups related to one’s profession, and (4) individuals who shared commonalities with them. Interviewees felt fairly confident that they had a good understanding of the people and groups that made up their audiences on social media, but distinguished their audiences as known and unknown. The known audience included those groups and individuals known to interviewees personally. The unknown audience consisted of members whom participants felt they understood much about but did not know personally. Interviewees reported using their understanding of their audience to guide their decisions around what, how or where to share information on social media. All participants reported filtering their social media posts. This action was primarily motivated by participants’ concerns about how postings would reflect on themselves or others.

The audiences imagined by the scholars we interviewed appear to be well defined rather than the nebulous constructions often described in previous studies. While scholars indicated that some audiences were unknown, none noted that their audience was unfamiliar. This study also shows that a misalignment exists between the audiences that scholars imagine encountering online and the audiences that higher education institutions imagine their faculty encountering online. The former appear to imagine finding community and peers and the latter imagine scholars finding research consumers (e.g., journalists).

Educational Technology Magazine archive (1966-2017)

Posted on February 2nd, by George Veletsianos in papers, scholarship. Comments Off on Educational Technology Magazine archive (1966-2017)

Larry Lipsitz, the founder and long-time editor of Educational Technology magazine, passed away last year and is missed by many (see the tributes and remembrances many of us wrote in the last issue of the magazine).

With Larry’s insight, Educational Technology published cutting-edge, critical, thoughtful, and important work.

Educational Technology was a print-only publication. However, Howard Lipsitz, Larry’s brother, has collaborated with JSTOR to preserve Larry’s legacy and make all articles available online where they can be read for free. Here’s the Educational Technology magazine archives (1966-2017).

 

 

Words to live by

Posted on January 12th, by George Veletsianos in scholarship. Comments Off on Words to live by

William Pinar’s writing is powerful. This is particular is something worth sharing:

“we scholars must treat each other with the same pedagogical thoughtfulness and sensitivity with which we claim to treat students in our classrooms, and with which we ask our students (prospective and practicing teachers) to treat theirs” (p. 266).

Though Pinar here writes about peer-review, this to me highlights the sort of relationships that institutions of higher education should foster and support.

 

Kumashiro, K., Pinar, W., Graue, E., Grant, C., Benham, M., Heck, R., … & Luke, C. (2005). Thinking collaboratively about the peer-review process for journal-article publication. Harvard Educational Review75(3), 257-285.

On Teacherbot rights

Posted on January 11th, by George Veletsianos in E-learning, emerging technologies, online learning, pedagogical agents, scholarship, work. Comments Off on On Teacherbot rights

Pause for a few more minutes and imagine that future in which technologies teach humans. Call them robots, bots, chatbots, algorithms, teaching machines, tutoring software, agents, or something else. Regardless, consider them technologies that teach. Now consider their rights.

Assuming that teaching bots can exhibit (algorithmic) intelligence, can behave with some sort of (algorithmic) morality, can learn, can plan their interactions with students and make choices about them, and overall behave somewhat independently… what rights do they have, or should they have, as non-human entities, as teachers?

Consider this scenario: A teaching bot teaches independently in an online course. It (S/he?) develops a novel pedagogical approach wherein student test scores are maximized for some, but not all, students. University administrators, in collaboration with an edtech company, learn of this and would like to intervene to ensure that every student is served in an equitable manner. They are considering refining the underlying code that runs the bot. If unsuccessful, they are considering replacing the bot with a new one.

What are the bot’s rights? Does it have the right to protest this change? Does it have the right to its life? Does it have the rights that all other workers have?

 

Followup: Some background reading on ethical principles for robots.