Universities | Page 13

Blended Learning Inspiration Open education

Technology to save Universities

Stephen Laster, Chief Information Officer, Harvard Business School, delivers his Viewpoint in the most receny Educause Review. Insisting on the dire financial situation of students and Universities alike, he stresses that technology offers an opportunity to solve these issues. The Learning Management Systems (LMS) as a plat-form or in the cloud….

Other articles present the top 10 technology issues Universities face as well as some functional requirements of technology applied to education.

In closing, see this article about 2012 top ten trends in academic from C&RL News.

Digital media & ecommerce Gamification

Independent video games short bibliography

Here are short bibliographies generated from Library sources.

EBSCO’s Business Source Complete from peer-reviewed journals. The search query was simply for the terms “video games” industry. I picked the most interesting that touched upon “indie games” or labour issues for the past 5 years, 7 articles from about the first 40 hits.

Title: Under the radar: Industry entry by user entrepreneurs.
Authors: Haefliger, Stefan shaefliger@ethz.ch; Jäger, Peter pejaeger@ethz.ch; von Krogh, Georg gvkrogh@ethz.ch
Source: Research Policy; Nov2010, Vol. 39 Issue 9, p1198-1213, 16p

Title: User Communities and Social Software in the Video Game Industry.
Authors: Burger-Helmchen, Thierry, Cohendet, Patrick
Source: Long Range Planning; Oct2011, Vol. 44 Issue 5/6, p317-343, 27p

Title: The orchestrating firm: value creation in the video game industry.
Authors: Mikael Gidhagen; Oscar Persson Ridell; David Sörhammar
Source: Managing Service Quality; Jul2011, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p392-409, 18p

Title: Computer Hobbyists and the Gaming Industry in Finland.
Authors: Saarikoski, Petri1 petri.saarikoski@utu.fi; Suominen, Jaakko1 jaakko.suominen@utu.fi
Source: IEEE Annals of the History of Computing; Jul-Sep2009, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p20-33, 14p

Title: The business of playing games: players as developers and entrepreneurs.
Authors: Chazerand, Patrice1 patrice.chazerand@isfe.eu; Geeroms, Catherine1 catherine.geeroms@isfe.eu
Source: Digital Creativity; Sep2008, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p185-193, 9p, 1 Chart, 3 Graphs

Title: Work and Employment in Creative Industries: The Video Games Industry in Germany, Sweden and Poland.
Authors: Teipen, Christina1
Source: Economic & Industrial Democracy; Aug2008, Vol. 29 Issue

Title: Digital Consumer Networks and Producer–Consumer Collaboration: Innovation and Product Development in the Video Game Industry.
Authors: ARAKJI, REINA Y.1; LANG, KARL R.2,3,4
Source: Journal of Management Information Systems; Fall2007, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p195-219, 25p, 1 Diagram, 1 Chart, 1 Graph

Books from CLUES, Concordia University Catalogue, search on “Cultural Economy”:

>Creativity, innovation and the cultural economy [electronic resource] / edited by Andy C. Pratt and Paul Jeffcutt : Creativity, innovation and the cultural economy [electronic resource] / edited by Andy C. Pratt and Paul Jeffcutt

The cultural economy edited by Helmut K. Anheier, Yudhishthir Raj Isar ; Annie Paul, associate editor ; Stuart Cunningham, guest editor : The cultural economy / edited by Helmut K. Anheier, Yudhishthir Raj Isar ; Annie Paul, associate editor ; Stuart Cunningham, guest editor

The Blackwell cultural economy reader edited by Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift : The Blackwell cultural economy reader / edited by Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift

Blended Learning Social media

20 ideas for digital literacy in Higher Ed

The Guardian’s Higher Ed blog has an interesting piece on “digital literacy” in the university classroom. Beyond skills, the post covers specific ideas from engaged faculty.

For example, Sue Thomas, professor of new media, De Montfort University has this to say about transliteracy:

Digital literacy as an important part of transliteracy: Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. It is the literacy of convergence, unifying literacies past and present across different platforms, media and cultures. This means it encompasses all kinds of communications from scratching pictures in the sand to editing photos in Instagram, or from inscribing tablets to text-messaging. When promoting digital literacy on its own, we can alienate people who are already very literate in other areas, and that’s why I prefer to take an holistic approach and be as inclusive as possible.

Librarianship Research

Tips on the research process for new academic librarians

On April 27 2012, Concordia University Libraries hosted its 10th annual Librarian’s Forum. I like to think of this venue as an opportunity for colleagues to expose their ongoing research projects to get feedback or pointers before the completion of their research cycle. At least, that is how I approach this event with regards to my participation.

The keynote address this year was given by Gwendolyn Ebbett, the Dean of the Library, University of Windsor. Amongst other topics, she presented the forthcoming Librarians’ Research Institute, hosted by her institution and sponsored by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). Broadly speaking, this three day event (June 11-14 2012) aims to build research capacity amongst academic librarians.

In light of these two very related events, as well as conversations with colleagues now entering the field of academic librarianship, I’ve given the issue of research some thought – incomplete and off the cuff – which I would still like to share with you.

In general, here is a simplification of the research process :
1. (Questions) Think about a problem in our field. To do this, you will have to read, think and exchange.

AKA – the literature review, participating in conferences, engaging with colleagues to identify partners. Try to work on a big issue that is bugging everyone. Think big, start small, scale fast. Don’t be afraid to change the world – you are asked to look for tension or something that is amiss

2. (Hypothesis) Make a bet about why the problem exists or try to fix it. To do this, you will have to structure, express, plan.

This is the most critical step – you have to get it right. You will also have to figure out the methodology of your project.

3. (Experiment) Measure some things. To do this, you will have to execute, document, review.

This is where the bulk of the activity occurs in your project

4. (Conclude) Rethink the problem. To do this, you will have to write, share and repeat step 1.

Project documentation is essential – without it, you cannot publish and have an impact in your field. You will also have to publish your results

Now, these generic steps provide some guidance about what needs to be done, but it makes a lot of sense to try to build a project plan articulating these points. It should fit on two pages maximum.

In the first page, you should be describe the project in a few paragraphs. This refers to point (1) above. Then, the main objectives or hypothesis should be spelled out in a few bullet points or paragraphs (see (2) above). Then, any partners or networks should be identified. All this should fit on a single page, understandable by a smart person that is not an expert in your domain.

For the second page, your project plan should address the main steps. For each step, you should determine a deadline or milestone (when the step will be completed – a date), the step’s objectives, the parameters or constraints (things to keep in mind) and the resources. Here are some generic phases to a project:

1. “Grain of sand” phase: this is the pre-conceptualization phase. You’re not sure what you want to do, still exploring without much of a goal. This phase should not last more than 2% of the overall project timeline
2. Hourglass: you are zoning in on the topic you want, you are preparing a draft project plan. This lasts about 3% of the total project resources (time/money).
3. Sandbox: You are building your research questions, working on your hypothesis and selecting your methodology. 10% of the total project resources (time/money).
4. Sand quarry: You are executing the project. 65% of the total project resources (time/money).
5. Beach: Document and write results. 20% of the total project resources (time/money).

This could happen over many years, and involve many collaborators and funding sources. Or, it could involve only you. It doesn’t matter – only the fact that you plan out your activities so you can keep an eye on the overall goal: the satisfactory completion of your research project.

You can also plan for research outputs throughout the project, for example, highlighting gaps in the literature during your lit review to feed into the hypothesis formulation or providing insight on how you have operationalized a particular methodological approach on a problem. This keeps feeding the publish-or-perish monster.

Now, I have explained this process – in French – on my other blog a few years ago. See: Étapes de la recherche, cadre conceptuel, hypothèse, cadre opératoire on CultureLibre.ca. I’ve fixed up a quick Google translate but it really does not do justice to my original French text – sorry if it sounds convoluted. I was trying to summarize the doctoral thesis writing process to a friend, but it applies to a general research protocol:

The research project (or thesis) begins with a theme and grows through the initial phases of the project, as specified Mace and Petry. The development phase consists of two steps: conceptualization (thinking about a problem to solve arising from a discrepancy between observed reality and an objective) and operationalization (the “realization” of research ). In fact, the problem is articulated through a theory or a “theoretical framework” that relates to a possible hypothesis and objectives that seek the solution (or the outcome of the research).

In the initial phases, it is essential to make (and respect!) choices in order to reach the end of our project. Indeed, we must (1) select a problem and articulate it with precision, (2) formulate the problem and most importantly, general and specific research questions, (3) define research objectives, (4) position the project in the current state of knowledge, (5) clarify the conceptual language (conceptual framework) and (6) clarify the ambitions and the limits of the project.

Moreover, “a thesis, it is not an essay.” An essay is an amalgam of theories, thoughts and opinions, proposed by an author to explore a topic in a manner of his own. An essay can be original (as a thesis for that matter), but the academic rigor is not necessarily at par (not be excluded that the rigor of the test, but there is more latitude). Often, an essay is tinged with a political choice or a moral stance on an issue. You should avoid this perspective in the thesis. Consistency and discipline are the foundation of the thesis. This is why there are many references or footnotes in a page thesis.

To present some examples of conceptual frameworks, Professor Rolland [referring to the prof in charge of a doctoral seminar I took in the Winter of 2010 at Université de Montréal Law Faculty] presents some entries the Encyclopedic Dictionary of theory and sociology of law, especially the concepts of “interpretation” by Arnaud and that of “Validity” by Ost / de Kerchove (p. 243 and following of the first volume of the collection). About validity, the authors offer the hypothesis that the validity has three aspects, the formal validity (which offers the concept of legality), the empirical validity (for effectiveness) and axiological validity (ie, legitimacy). It is often very relevant to represent the conceptual framework presented in our readings in graphic form (“topic / concept map”).

Then, it is essential to state an hypothesis and / or research goals. The hypothesis, which is a classical approach, is a “small” (hypo) thesis, that is established upfront. This is a tentative explanation, an anticipated response or predicting phenomena of reality resulting from our analytical framework, which is still plausible. It is proposed as an affirmative expression that employs the concepts of your conceptual framework. In the hypothetical-deductive context, the thesis is the sum of the hypothesis and evidence.

The research objectives are the formulation of our research intention, to describe or compare.

Moreover, the hypothesis can establish a relationship between two facts, between two concepts or between a fact and a concept that should be validated. The relationship between the two could be a causal one, an associative one (correlation, involvement, cause-effect), dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis). We must delve into our hypothesis (based on the conceptual framework) to establish the operational framework on which we will base our proof.

The concepts are abstractions of reality based on a precise language. They must include all essential attributes for object classes with common properties. It is by drawing up the conceptual framework that can articulate our hypothesis into variables. These variables are then analyzed and used by our operational framework (which contains, among other things, the analytical framework).

The operational framework becomes a deepening of the conceptual framework, in line with the variables to be studied.


MACE Gordon and Francois Petry, A Guide to Developing a research project, 3rd ed., Quebec, PUL, 2000

Visually, what I describe in the long quote would look something like this:

Research Project = conceptualization + operationalization
Conceptualization (Theoretical framework):
– Problem statement (general & specific research questions)
– Conceptual Framework
– Hypothesis (or objectives)
Operationalization (Operational Framework)
– Variables (derived from hypothesis)
– Methodology

Hope this helps 😉


Top countries for Higher Ed

This post from The Guardian Higher Ed presents a recent study:

This week saw the first publication of a new ranking of national HE systems, based on research at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (University of Melbourne) into data from 48 countries with a developed HE offering. The ranking is organised by Universitas 21, a global network of research universities

The study ranks Canada 3rd, below the US and Sweden.

Inspiration Research Universities

‘Reinventing the Research University’ by James Duderstadt

This post from Diane Goldenberg-Hart on the Coalition for Networked Information’s (CNI) mailing list (CNI-ANNOUNCE: cni-announce-subscribe@cni.org) caught my eye It features James J. Duderstadt, who is (from the email):

is President Emeritus at the University of Michigan, he chaired the National Academies committee that published the key 2002 report Preparing for the Revolution: Information Technology and the Future of the Research University, and he is a member of the Academies committee studying the future of the research university. In this talk, Duderstandt discusses the social and technological trends driving the restructuring of higher education, the future role of the research university, and the changing understandings of teaching and learning, scholarship, and engagement.

The theme of the talk is “Reinventing the Research University to Serve a Changing World” and was delivered at the opening plenary from CNI’s spring 2012 membership meeting:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OwrYZmaXBY&w=480&h=360]
The video is over an hour long, so here are some slides that caught my eye :





The full video is also available on CNI’s two video channels: YouTube: http://goo.gl/sfycM or Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/41324942
Or via their channels: YouTube http://www.youtube.com/cnivideo or Vimeo http://vimeo.com/channels/cni

Open education Universities

Launch of EdX – MIT & Harvard’s Open Education Repository

MIT and Harvard announce the launch of a new online education platform called EdX :

[From the press release] Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) today announced edX, a transformational new partnership in online education. Through edX, the two institutions will collaborate to enhance campus-based teaching and learning and build a global community of online learners.

EdX will build on both universities’ experience in offering online instructional content. The technological platform recently established by MITx, which will serve as the foundation for the new learning system, was designed to offer online versions of MIT courses featuring video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, online laboratories, and student paced learning. Certificates of mastery will be available for those motivated and able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course material.

MIT and Harvard expect that over time other universities will join them in offering courses on the edX platform. The gathering of many universities’ educational content together on one site will enable learners worldwide to access the course content of any participating university from a single website, and to use a set of online educational tools shared by all participating universities. []

Here is the video of the press release:

Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream
Interesting questions spring to mind: exactly what technologies will run this initiative “under the hood” of the system? How will it work with Moodle or MOOCs? This notwithstanding, it remains a very interesting development to keep an eye on!