The Pit and the Pendulum

My it’s been a week, and what a week it’s been.  I barely feel like my feet have touched the ground and yet I look at how much I’ve done…and it seems pitiful.  Let’s review.

Supervisory meeting

Let joy be unconstrained for I have managed (as of Friday) to get a meeting sorted with my supervisors for next week.  About 1 months after I requested it.  I know Easter got in the way, but boy oh boy that was harder work that it needed to be.

Teaching: Media & Communications

First week of the PR presentations – and they were both jolly enjoyable ideas with good and bad points as you might expect, but decent efforts all the same.  Really wish we could do more of this sort of exercise as I love seeing the students really let their imagination and intellects be unleashed.  A fair bit of behind the scenes work as well giving support, advice and occasionally wielding a big stick to keep some of the groups in order.  All the same, gonna miss this lot with just two more weeks to go with them.  Especially as one student told me something very flattering about my teaching and support – I’m not going to brag it, but it was one of those moments that you live for as any kind of teacher.  Kinda rather humbling too, you sometimes forget the effect you have on these bright young things’ lives.

Teaching: Facebook and Communications

Essay hand back week, which means I ran an essay writing and exam revision potted master-class; which I think went down well.  Almost wish we’d run it sooner – but then I guess in the wake of the essay marks at least the students were at their most receptive.  A bit of support, hand holding and advice needed for some students in the wake of their grades.  I know they can all do better, so I just need to try and encourage them to revise well and get themselves geared up for tip-top exam performance.

Teaching: Digital Identities

This rather filled up the first two days of the week writing/finishing and delivering my lecture on open access to the 2nd year students.  Not a stellar experience – 8 students out of ~60 showed up (it was, in their defense, a lovely sunny day outside); and 2 of these left after 30 minutes of a two hour slot.  Audience were either bored to tears or captivated by my every word.  Sadly I think it was the former, and I’ll confess I did rather try and cram too much in.  Another time I’d a) reduce the amount I used b) insist on a fee.  Was a useful exercise all the same revisiting my knowledge on the subject, and drawing on stuff I’ve written for the thesis too.  Sadly I don’t think I sent them out energised on the topic.  Indeed the only question at the end was “Doesn’t OA mean that you let knowledge out that shouldn’t be out there?“.  Wasn’t geared up for a discussion on academic self-censorship and the ethics of publication (shame, it’d be a good topic to delve into) and it certainly knocked me sideways a little.  Still at least there was a question after all the long, long silence.  I was glad to re-emerge into the sunshine afterwards.

Surprise Conference

Found out on Friday that there’s a local media conference in July…and that the deadline for submissions was the same day.  Hence Friday suddenly became all about writing a conference proposal.  Have decided to bite the bullet and talk about neoliberalism in higher education relating to OA, rather than just giving it the odd throwaway slide.  No idea if it’ll get in – I don’t have a great record of acceptance at local events.  International and national events, yep I can get accepted for them – but PhD level events…nope!

Reading

This week I’ve collected a stack of papers and some more books to read.  Started reading the book I need to read for a book review as well.  Next week, serious reading can begin.  I feel the energy slipping away from me, having probably worked a 45+hour week already as I write this.  Did pick up a few papers on twitter due to discussions I saw going on which were handy to run off for a proper read.

Marking

Yeah…just when you thought you were ought, they pull you back in.  Marking discussions all over the start of the week as material I’d marked was moderated and as I moderated other people’s work.  Bit of a disagreement on a few of the papers too, which set off a long email chained discussion.  This is, apparently, not a bad thing but part of the robust marking system.  Did feel a bit backed into a corner at times (hard when you’re disagreeing with the marking of the module leader and you’re just a poorly hourly paid PGR tutor) but stood my ground on some.  Gave way on others.  All part of the cut and thrust of thrilling academia.

UKSG

Yeah…I really need to write up a reflection on this conference over the weekend or something…

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