Now that almost all of my current projects are either finished or in other people’s hands, it’s a good point to try to review what I’ve done so far this year.
The most important achievement is that a paper on the More Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (MIL-DEM) project is at last ready for internal review by the Prof. To be honest, this paper has been something of a struggle. Peter Cruickshank and I were very ably helped with statistical investigations of our quantitative data by colleague Lyndsey Middleton, but were unable to find statistical evidence for relationships between what we saw as inputs and outputs. Despite that, our paper presents evidence on the role of information literacy (IL) and lifelong learning (LLL) to community council work, and lays the groundwork for a model of IL where people collaborate to obtain, process, publish and use information in democratic/representative work.
While that was going on, I had a stab (currently stalled) at teaching myself Python. My eventual aim is to create software that will automate at least some of the processes in surveying all of Scotland’s community council online presences.
I also wrote a couple of reports for my Centre for Computing Education Research colleagues. These haven’t been published, and I don’t know if they will be, so I can’t currently say anything about them.
From January to May that I supervised an MSc student’s MSc dissertation work. Again, I can’t say anything about that here.
I was significantly involved in the organisation and running of 3 events:
- iDocQ 2018, a colloquium for Scottish information science PhD students
- an Open Knowledge Edinburgh meeting
- RIVAL, a colloquium for Library and Information Science researchers, practitioners and library-users. This was the ‘biggie’, partly because I did a lot of work on the funding bid, partly because it attracted some important people from the LIS world and partly because the prof was on medical leave during some of the preparation time. I’m relieved to say that the feedback we’ve received rated the event very highly.
I’ve just finished marking 50 undergraduate courseworks. I was reminded me of the start of the 3rd year of my chemistry BSc, when we were told we had to write essays. Our typical reaction was ‘What? We’re scientists – we do numbers, smells and explosions, not sentences, paragraphs and grammar! We shouldn’t be forced to do things we’ve actively moved away from! How dare you torture us like this?’ Ah well, it didn’t kill many of us.
I also worked with colleagues on four funding applications. For anyone who hasn’t experienced this, just think of applying for a job, but with the added responsibility of getting your mate a job in the same organisation at the same time. Two of these applications were recently declined, but two are still in play, along with another submitted by yet another colleague. (I’ll do the grunt-work if this bid is successful, while my colleague provides the braincells and background knowledge.)
So what’s next? Tidying a few odds and ends over the next week, then going on honeymoon with my ever-wonderful better half. After that? Funders willing:
- a project on participatory budgeting
- a project on public engagement
- a project on IT education
- working with colleagues to devise and apply for funding on a project about e-voting.
Watch this space!