Avast There Me Torrenters

  • Writing
    • Chapter is done!  Just going back over it and giving a grammatical polish so I can send it to my supervisors on Monday.  The sense of relief is…almost palpable.
  • Teaching
    • Face to Facebook
      • Aha me hearties, this week I be talking about media and cultural piracy, so I was.  Arrrrhhh!  I was asking the questions, likes, does not the corporate world’s appropriate of common and collective myths, legends and stories represent just as much a piratical response, damn ya eyes, as the humble torrenter of Hollywood’s products, me trumps.  And yeah, trying very, very hard not to talk like a pirate throughout the session – not helped by continuing to play Assassins Creed: Black Flag in my spare time.
      • Some interesting points of discussion were had from the students, although a few of the video sources I was showing them in regards to the topic have dated rather quickly.  Talk of “How many downloads do you have?” in a Spotify-streaming kind-of-world has rather shifted the debate around downloading, to the sustainability of new models of capital/revenue extraction.  Did try and not get too carried away with the whole copyright vs free culture debate, as i could have probably ranted on the topic for a long, long time.
      • In the light of Sky ISP handing over torrenters’ data to a rather disreputable company this week, it’s a story and topic for discussion that’s not going away!  But then do we expect anything other than compliance with the Media Industries’ anti-piracy agenda from Murdoch PLC eh?
      • To add to the fun this week we were doing the module feedback forms (early so as to capture as many student comments as possible, as numbers will tail off more in the coming weeks).  This means I lose a good 15-20 minutes of prime seminar time, but hopefully it does give the students sufficient time to make their opinions on the course known.  Given that one or two of them were less than happy with some of the recent lectures, I suspect there’s a bit of a flaming in there.  Just hope my teaching is still up to snuff for them, heaven knows I put everything into it – I was knackered by the time I came home!
    • Media Comms
      • Unsurprisingly this week a 2/3 full class, since the assignment was launched for the students.  They’ve got to pull together and present a PR Campaign after Easter to me.  Rather looking forward to it, as frankly my group has got some splendid students who I just bet will surprise me with the professional polish they’ll bring to the job.  Although I can see a few are a bit terrified of the idea of standing up and presenting to me.  Plan to coach them as much as I can in the coming weeks in the nuances of making a good pitch, so when they come to do it it’ll be as much of a breeze as it’s possible to be for something that’s credit bearing.  Going to be interesting trying to mark ’em mind you.
      • Also had a nice chat with one of the lectures on the course who I’ve not spoken to much before.  Chatted about performance styles and lecturing, and discovered we’re both off to the same workshop in a few weeks on the very subject.  Nice to have that kind of professional conversation, as I rather miss that kind of interaction.
      • And yeah, as it’s module feedback week we got to fill in these forms as well.  Had a great discussion with one of the students about modules next year, which I’ll paraphrase below:
        • “Which modules are you teaching next year?”
          “I don’t teach 2nd year modules.  Think they won’t let me until I get my PhD”
          “(pause) When do you get your Phd?”
          “Well I’m a third year now, so all being well sometime next year”
          “Great, so you’ll be teaching us in our 3rd year then!”
      • I’ll take this as nothing more than a lovely compliment – although of course it all presupposes that NTU offers me a contract beyond this year (and even beyond that once I get the PhD), so I’ll try not to get too excited.  Half tempted to suggest the students wrote “Offer Gareth a contract” in their feedback, but that wouldn’t be very ethical of me.  Then again, when I’ve bills to pay – who’s got time to be ethical! 😉
  • Conferencing
    • As of this writing (it’s Friday) it’s been 9 days since I first asked the Graduate Office for information.  It’s been 4 days since I repeated my request.  Both times I got their “We reply in 3 working days” auto-reply.  But still nothing.  Piss poor service level, but then speaking to my fellow PhDs it seems they suffer the same service levels.  Really is poor.  I’ll be visiting in person next week as it seems the only way to get a response.  I’ll also be kicking off booking the conference stuff, as I can’t leave that off much longer either.
    • On a more positive note I did a Webinar for Glyndwr University on Wednesday.  Nothing special, but it’s the first time I’ve done a lecture like that – felt a bit weird, espeically when my feed of the listening room at the other end went blank after 10 minutes (of a 30 minute slot).  Seemed to go down well, although watching the feed afterwards I think if I do one of these again I’ll have to fiddle with the camera/lighting a bit more – as my shiny bald head was a bit terrifying!  You can watch the session video (if you’re inclined).
    • UKSG – yeah, need to write my talk for this next week.  It got put off this week so I could write the Glyndwr session.  Hopefully as I’m reworking some earlier talks as the core of it, it shouldn’t be too hard.  I hope.
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