Two Steps Forward…


Final tweaks to code, and finalising all the definitions in my codebook.  At this rate I should be working at Bletchly Park soon.


Crack open the champagne and call me mother, for I have worked out how to create multi-level classifications in NVivo.  Only took me about 15 minutes of scanning through various websites to find out how, and it’s surprisingly simple.  As I suspected it might be, but it’s not that obvious.  So spent the day happily building my classification scheme in it, and after a few minor tweaks its good to go, and I can start coding.  Feels like a big step forward after three weeks of head scratching.

Useful pages today – this handy intro to NVivo from Durham University (NTU, where’s your version eh? Poor show) and the right page in the NVivo help pages.

To be honest I’ve even felt like reading some more social theory rather than crack on with this analysis at times – so you can tell how desperate that’s been making me!  Only downside is in backing up my files today, I’m now using nearly 70% of my online uni file store.  Time to lobby the IT people for more space on NOW I think.

And in other news they’ve announced NTU’s got a new Chancellor from this summer.  Which is a shame as Sir Michael Parkinson is the current one, so I won’t see him when I graduate.


A morning fiddling with code, and then in for a foreshortened lecture as the students had their second class test.  Which I’ll have to mark for both my seminar groups.  Gah.  Hope it’s easier than marking the first round!  Lecture was on the social/semantic web (2.0) and was another interesting one.  I least I feel more confident around this topic, which should make for an engaging seminar tomorrow.  Not enough time (or will from the students) for the video on the dark side of the social web that the tutor had suggested they watch.  So here it is for interest.

Back home for a spot of coding, and sorting out the seminar materials for tomorrow.


A morning coding (and trying to figure out how classifications work in NVivo), and then a drive to Uni to run my two back to back seminars.  This week we were looking at social media, and I had a couple of videos for the students to watch.  The first I have to say I found myself, and thought it was actually a pretty good bit of political social media use, well done Labour, really grabbed the zeitgeist (these things have been clogging my Fb channel the past couple of weeks).

The second, which I made them watch and discuss is the counterpoint to the previous video – a more “Gee whizz, the future is social”.  Featuring a speaker who speaks faster than I do…which is pretty shocking!

New group were fun, a bit more talkative than the others, perhaps a bit too much…not 100% sure how much serious work was being done during the session at times, but eh, they get out of it as much as they’re prepared to put in.  And there were some fine points made by a lot of the class, so some of them were engaging.  My original group were quite good with the topic too, suspect this speaks to them a bit more than the earlier parts of the course.

Did end up explaining to one student how Fb makes money using an analogy involving a lot of hand waving and contrasts with traditional entrepreneurialism.

Came home after this, did some admin, then ran out of energy (lousy night’s sleep) – hopefully tomorrow will be more productive.


Baby steps coding for real today, having decided that my scheme is close enough to pilot for real with a few interviews.  I also glanced at the exam scripts I’ve got to mark, and decided I’ll leave them until next week or perhaps the week after.  I at least want to get the coding well underway before I sidestep to another task.

Monday & Tuesday (2)

Yes it’s another two-for blog entry – mainly cos there’s not that much exciting happening at the moment.  These two days – spent coding interviews with NVivo. 20 down, 61 to go.  Unexpected highlight on Tuesday, a visit from my favourite uncle who was passing through on the way to a job (he’s in building control, a role that takes him all around the world – and today, Loughborough!).

Oh, and I saw The Lego Movie on Monday night…which means:

Wednesday (2)

Mrs Llama spotted a conference bursary last night with a tight deadline, so I’ve been writing the application for that today.  Not sure I’ll get it, but it would be fab if I did as I’d dearly like to get out to a few conferences this year, and right now I can’t afford it!  Also had to get my supervisor on board to write a reference for it, trickier than it sounds but he came through magnificently despite being horribly busy.

The other event of the day was the weekly lecture, this week on digital media literacy.  Well I didn’t anticipate learning a lot, having taught this subject myself for well over a decade in some of the top universities in the country with my academic librarian hat on.  So I spent a lot of the time tweeting about it and having some engaging discussions with my fellow twitterati on the topic.  Most illuminating.  At the end of the session mind you the lecturer (my supervisor) said he thought I should teach the session next year.  And more to the point run a training session for the department/school on the subject.  Eeep.  Wonder if I can get them to pay me for that?

And then to cap it all passed the Dean on the way off campus who greeted me by name.  Guess I’ll chalk today up in the success column!

Thursday (2)

Double seminar day, and for a laugh today I’ll try and run hour long sessions teaching as many websites as I’d have taught over about a 4hrs session as a librarian, so I hope the students will get something out of it.  If I am still teaching this next year, this seminar is getting seriously rewritten by me!  But first coding…

[Later] Well it wasn’t a total flop, although being stuck in a strange computer room through a locked outer door didn’t make for the most accessible of locations.  Certainly it seemed to put off about half the class – can’t say that I blame them.  Did have a good chat with a number of students about various resources and the like, so I guess it was okay.  One of them even told me how much they enjoyed the debate a few weeks ago, which was great – as that was my personal favourite session too.  Wish we had more debating sessions and less “read the paper and think” ones which just kill any attempt to teach I think.

Friday (2)

Today I intend to mark as many of the student’s class test (2) papers as possible.  Come with me on the adventure…

  • 9.20am: Sitting down at the dining table.  Wait!  I need a cup of tea.
  • 9.40am: Right, 46 students in my class and 9 of them haven’t bothered to sit the test.  Fair enough, no marks for them,  Only 37 to go!
  • 10:10am: This seems easier than the first time, as I’ve more of an idea of what I expect from the students – certainly in terms of a good and not so good set of answers.  It’s telling the differences between those in the middle range of the marks that’s more of a challenge.
  • 11.30am: Have marked about 5 papers.  Had a bit of a panic when I couldn’t find one of them that I knew I’d glanced at when I first picked them up.  After ten minutes tidying realise it’s because he’s used a variant of his name and I missed it.  Phew.
  • 1.03pm: Better stop and make some lunch, think I’m half way through…*counts* Gah, no not quite halfway.  I thought marking my old seminar group would be easier as I’m used to their handwriting and style more. Ha.
  • 2.30pm: Force myself to start up again, and vow not to leave this spot til it’s all done.  I mean, how hard can this be?
  • 4.15pm: How did it get to be this late?  I’m well into the second group of marking now, but it’s still taking at least 15 minutes a paper.  And longer where the writing (hand or style) is harder to understand.  Still writing constructive feedback but think some of my margin notes have acquired a more sardonic colour now.
  • 5.05pm: Feeling dedicated now, as normally I have an early night on a Friday and stop working at 5pm, but there are still 10 papers to mark.  Really don’t want this to eat into my research time on Monday so carrying on, although I’m aware I need to do the weekly shop after this.
  • 6.05pm: Start laughing manically at a blooper by a student.  Or is that maniacally? Oh my stars and fishes.  Takes me nearly 5 minutes to stop laughing and write something sensible back on their paper.  Oh dear, I’m beginning to think I won’t do them all today.
  • 6.20pm: Glancing up I see it’s gone dark outside.  Where did the day go?
  • 6.55pm: Two more.  Just two more to go, but I’ve managed to leave a couple with a lot of text to read through. Gah!
  • 7.20pm: Have I finished?  Re-reading the last paper to make sure I’ve been fair on the marking, not too generous, not too mean.  Quick flick back over some of the earlier papers to make sure I’ve been marking consistently.
  • 7.35pm: Finished!  Finally.  That has been one hell of a long day.  Wish I got paid for this bit of the job, but no – marking is a freebie the university gets out of me.  Thankfully I’m only doing it three times this year though.  Really pleased to see the improvement from the students as well, they’re really growing as scholars.  Wish I could claim that was down to me and my teaching!
  • 8.10pm: Walking round Asda and finding my brain is still considering some of the student answers.  Gah, turn off brain I need to work out what’s the cheapest deal on these tomatoes.  Not to mention Mrs Llama is getting pretty sick of me talking about marking…

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