Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday Favourites 15 May

A round up of the best things that I have discovered online this week. Covering everything from posts on public engagement with research, how we use social media and other good stuff.

I posted this week about PhD students and their use of social media. Are they really as 'switched on' as people seem to think? You can read it here.

1) LIFESAVING TOOL: TRIPIT  This app is incredible if you travel quite a lot. It can; collate your itineraries, automatically plans routes from place a to b (e.g. if you arrive at Airport X and staying at Hotel Y it plans a route between them), sync with your diary and can include meeting details and locations. By far the best bit about this app is that YOU DON'T HAVE TO INPUT ANY INFORMATION!! You can either forward booking confirmation emails to Tripit or give Tripit access to your email account and then TA-DA!, you have a list of where you are going, how you are traveling, the times and your ticket details all in one place. PERFECT. I haven't used it on the road yet but for planning a complex trip like my Churchill Fellowship it has worked a treat.
2) ARTICLE: Here's what baboons can teach us about social media by Robert John Young, Professor of Wildlife Conservation at University of Salford. A great short article on how we form cliques and tend to stick with what we know even when we have access to a global population. A reminder that only looking to your friends and people that are similar to you limits your access information.  

3) BLOG: How to be a super productive blogger by Rosalilium. I don't often read posts like this but I did thought this post contained some really useful tips and advice for someone who is looking to start blogging or develop their existing blog.

4) EVENT: Do zoos have a role to play in polar bear conservation?
I attended this event at the University of Aberdeen Sir Duncan Rice Library on Thursday night. I learnt that there are 19 different subpopulations of polar bears and that the zoo community over the last 20 years have helped reintroduce a number of extinct animal species to the wild. Polar bears have a real struggle on their hands at the moment due to climate change and so maintaining a captive population in zoos with a view to reintroduction in the future is seen as important to make sure they don't go extinct. I didn't really have a true appreciation of this.

The talk was delivered by Douglas Richardson from the Highland Wildlife Park. They've spent time creating a park with enclosures suitable for their animals. I've never visited the park but the talk has made me want to see more. This talk was linked to an exhibition currently taking place in the library all about the Far North: Frozen stars, Shifting Ice and the Silence Beyond. The exhibition is running until the 20th of September.  



5) VIDEO: From Buzzfeed UK 8 Water Tricks to wow your friends
 

6) OFFLINE: BREAKOUTGAMES Aberdeen FUN! A friend from work (shout out to @sci_fun) organised for us to try out the new Breakout Games in Aberdeen this week. We had to solve clues around the room to unlock various padlocks and doors. It was science themed and awesome fun. We completed it in 45 minutes which we thought was pretty good (we didn't quite beat the top score of 24 minutes!) I think these games are popping up all over now. I would highly recommend checking them out.
Other than that I've had a productive week rattling through lots of lists of 'things to do' that I have had to put off over the last few months due to lots of work. It feels good to be able to get those completed. I'm hoping the weather is nice this weekend so I can get stuck in to my allotment!

7) PHOTO: Breakoutgames fun!






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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Are PhD students 'switched on' to social media?

Do you presume that all PhD students are using social media to network and talk about their research work? In March I presented at the 2nd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education and Training about the use of social media by PhD Students.

Texting by Jhaymesisviphotography, on Flickr
  by  Jhaymesisviphotography
 
The conference focused on all elements of studying for a doctorate around the globe but this year they included a focus on 'Doctoral Candidates in the Digital Age'. There were a number of really interesting presentations and talks on this theme (all linked to below).

We presented a talk based on a small study of social media use by researchers here in Aberdeen. For this we focused on the results from the PhD students about their social media use. Many presume that the current cohort of students are using social media proficiently for their own benefit. I don't think that tells a true story so wanted to explore what they were doing in more detail.

Are doctoral candidates switched on to the impact of social media?
Dr Heather Doran & Dr Kenneth Skeldon
University of Aberdeen
It might be assumed that today’s doctoral students are aware of and active in the use of social media tools in the course of their work. In this session we question whether doctoral students are really utilising these tools to effectively and responsibly strengthen and progress their work and careers?
 
In the rapidly evolving area of social media, support and advice is often sporadic, presented with different foci depending on whether training is delivered by individuals, institutions and funding bodies. Differing policy between these groups also causes confusion around how best to use such digital tools. Coupled with this, there are different approaches and guidelines on what is appropriate to be discussed online. Individual social media accounts have come under scrutiny for being ‘self-promoting’ with many opting for a research group output instead. However, this latter approach presents its own difficulties in building attributable voices and a corresponding audience. This landscape can be daunting for those navigating a doctorate and wishing to benefit from these digital tools.
 
We will address some specific questions, such as whether doctoral candidates have the confidence, knowledge and responsibility to utilise social digital networks in the context of their work and whether those that don’t might be disadvantaged. We will present conclusions based on general surveys of digital use and attitudes by researchers across the globe (Lupton, 2014) and a local, targeted review of attitudes and uptake of social media tools by the University of Aberdeen research community. We will comment on how our analysis and evaluation has informed knowledge to steer effective engagement with the research community about social media including the design and delivery of tailored training modules. Lastly, we will present initiatives to support the use of digital tools aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of doctoral candidates and enriching their skillsets.


The full presentation can be found via  the link below (click on the talk title at the bottom of page 2) - there doesn't seem to be an easy way of sharing this! A Storify of the conference was created for those that want to see further discussion. I'm interested to know what people think about this and to collate any experiences that people might have had as a PhD student or as someone working to support PhD students. Please comment below!

http://www.ukcge.ac.uk/documents/ICDDET2%20Draft%20Prog%20with%20hyper-linked%20presentations%20and%20posters%20v3_1.pdf


This June I am undertaking a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to look at the communication of science via social media. I will be traveling to North America and I am looking to connect with people as I go. You can read more about it here.

 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday Favourites 8 May

A round up of the best things that I have discovered online this week. Covering everything from posts on public engagement with research, how we use social media and other good stuff.

I posted this week about my upcoming trip to North America to look at the communication of science via social media. If you missed it, you can read it here.

1) LIFESAVING TOOL: Freedom thanks to @DrMRFrancis for this one. It's an app that blocks the internet so you can concentrate when you need to. You just let the app know how long you need to stay offline and that's it, work away. I think this might be one for the thesis writers!

2) ONLINE DISCUSSION: The #NASINTERFACE discussion on trust in science
This roundtable discussion with academics and journalists looked at aspects of trust and public perceptions of science. There were some interesting side conversations on Twitter and you can view the talks online. It was focused on the life sciences (just to add some context).

3) VIDEO: The video from the #NASINTERFACE discussion



 
4) EVENT: Codethecity Aberdeen is back 20-21 June theme, ENVIRONMENT
No need to know anything about coding to get involved. Just a will to make the city better and create potential solutions to problems. It's free, the people involved are fantastic. Make some new friends.
 
5) ARTICLE: Digital storytelling revives the art of gossip by Katherine May in Aeon this week. Because we all know gossip is good for you.
 
6) BLOG: Len Fisher Science. I always enjoy the blog posts from Len Fisher. This post is about the discovery of heat. Titled 'Seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought'. His posts are always snappy and extremely thought provoking
 
7) OFFLINE: I got very excited about the almost, very nearly, last episode of Mad Men. I've loved following the show from the 1950s into the 1970s. It's incredible to see how much things have changed in the workplace since then and how much hasn't. The US was changing at such an incredible rate at that time. Of course the clothes are amazing too.

8) PHOTO: On Monday I had the day off. I spent the day at home catching up and organising my upcoming trip to the US. It did mean I got to spend the day with my pet rabbits Coco and Pop. They spent most of the morning hiding in this box.

 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

My Churchill Travel Fellowship - Public Engagement with science online

 
Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/balleyne/2668834386/ 

This June 1 - 26 I am heading to North America to undertake the first part of my Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellowship focusing on online science communication.

I've created a travel map so others can see where I am and when. I'm keen to connect with people as I go (and I will add to this map as I travel). Follow my journey through my Twitter account and through my blog (you can subscribe via the grey box on the right hand side of the page).

'Public engagement with science online' is clearly a very large area so for this part of my trip and in the time frame I have I will be focusing my efforts on these three questions:
  • Can quality two-way dialogue and engagement between scientists and the public take place on social media?
  • What training and environment is needed to foster this quality two-way dialogue?
  • What can go wrong and how can that be managed?
These questions are broad and there are many themes I want to explore within them. Does social media offer an untapped opportunity for early career scientist? Or is this too risky? Can social media be properly recognised as part of the role of a scientist and does it need to be? These are just some. My next post will follow up on some further discussion.

My aims are still flexible and I welcome any thoughts or feedback on them.

For a broad overview of the project and how the Fellowship came about then I have written a little more about my project plan here.

Of course I will be Tweeting conversations as I go, I am going to use the hashtag #engagescionline

 I am also looking to connect with people via Skype! So please get in touch.





Friday, 1 May 2015

Friday Favourites

A round up of the best things that I have discovered online this week. Covering everything from posts on public engagement with research, how we use social media and other good stuff.

I posted this week about 'digital detoxing'. If you missed it, you can read it here.

1) LIFESAVING TOOL: Unroll me A lifesaver for anyone with an inbox overflowing with subscriptions. Sign up and collate your 1000s of daily emails into one easily readable digest. In a week it's made me a happier person. (And it's calmed all of my friends down as they don't need to get stressed out at the 11512905 unread email notification on my phone.)



SAY NO TO THIS MANY EMAILS.

2) ONLINE DISCUSSION: Socializing Scholarly Communications 
A panel discussion about science blogging and scientists' use of social media that took place this week at the Advancing Research Communication and Scholarship conference in Philadelphia (#arcs2015)  A great overview of what is taking place right now online and what the future might hold. Including comments on how we might make online communications less risky for individual scientists.


3) VIDEO: The otterly fabulous Pantanal.
Follow the adventures of @ginazoo as she explores Brazil. Her YouTube channel is a quest to show the natural world from different perspectives. SPOILER ALERT. This video features a baby Capybara and an OTTER.

 
 
 
4) EVENT: Codethecity Aberdeen is back 20-21 June theme, ENVIRONMENT
No need to know anything about coding to get involved. Just a will to make the city better and create potential solutions to problems. It's free, the people involved are fantastic. Make some new friends.
 
5) ARTICLE: Today I Found Out reveals the truth about who invented the tea bag. A fantastic website that questions the assumed and challenges what we think we know.
 
6) BLOG: Follow postgrad @postgradfran as she reinvents what student food is all about on her blog 'SEASONED STUDENT'. This week she's created a revision food fortune teller. Because why would you waste time on thinking about what you are going to make for dinner when you have exams to revise for?
 
7) OFFLINE: I tried some mealworms as a mid morning snack at #QEDCON These were handed out as part of a presentation delivered by Professor Marcel Dickie from Wageningen University. He spoke about how insects might be the answer to food sustainability across the globe. Here's a video of my experience. They taste much better than they look.

 
A video posted by joannedoran (@joannedoran) on


 
 

8) PHOTO: Work friends got me this mug. I love rabbits and this mug is making me happy.
 
A photo posted by Heather Doran (@hapsci) on


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