Microcontent: narratives and attention

How do online courses engage learners?

Alan Levine explores this issue in a post titled Seeking Answers: Can a Narrative Tie a Course Together? (link). He asks “what would it take to apply a storytelling approach in courses outside ones about storytelling”.

Alan’s discussion has its roots in his experiences, with Jim Groom, in the course ds106 (link). Alan’s post and the ds106 archive will help with your thinking about narrative in course design, delivery and experience.

As you contemplate Alan’s questions, you might like to refer to Phillipp Lorenz_Spreen and his colleagues’ (2019) paper Accelerating dynamics of collective attention (link). In it they consider “increasing gradients and shortened periods in the trajectories of how cultural items receive collective attention”. Their paper considers the existence of “individual topics receiving shorter intervals of collective attention”. This is an important issue for designers of courses that seek to engage interest remotely.

For a brief introduction to attention span, you might like Dalmeet Singh Chawla’s The Global Attention Span Is Getting Shorter (link).

After reading these items, what might your reply to Alan be?

Photo Credit

Photo by Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash

Writing a report

Earlier this week, Avinash Kaushik wrote about Responses to Negative Data (link). Shortly after his post was published, I found a link to a Turing Institute blog post, written by Franz Kiraly, What is a data scientific report? (link).

Both posts have helped me to think about the why, what and how of sharing observations, analyses and insights.

Franz, the author of the Turing blog post suggest that a stylised data report is characterised by:

  1. Topic. Addresses a domain question or domain challenge in an application domain specific to a data set.
  2. Aim. Data-driven answers to some domain question.
  3. Audience. Decision-makers or domain experts interested in ‘evidence’ to inform decision-making.

Franz suggest five principles that inform good reporting:

  1. Correctness and veracity
  2. Clarity in writing
  3. Reproducibility and transparency
  4. Method and process
  5. Application and context

Whilst there are some issues I take with Avinash’s and Franz’s posts, I do think they both raise some fundamental issues for us as we contemplate sharing our data-informed stories. I am particularly interested in how the curiosity and openness Avinash describes meets Franz’s five principles.

As I was concluding this post, up popped a link to Samuel Flender’s post How to be less wrong (link). This will be an excellent companion to the two posts discussed here. It also gives me an opportunity to extend my interest in Bayesian perspectives.

Photo Credit

Photo by Sandis Helvigs on Unsplash

The launch of Paralympic Stories

A picture of two Paralympic swimmers from 1964

Paralympics Australia has launched, this week, an online history of the Paralympic movement in Australia, Paralympic Stories (link).

The Australian Paralympic History Project aims to capture, manage, preserve and share the history of the Paralympic movement in Australia in ways that are relevant, accessible and place the Paralympic movement within a broader social context.

The launch of Paralympic Stories is the result of an extensive collaboration between Paralympics Australia and a range of partners, headed by the University of Queensland. Other key partners include the National Library of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Clearinghouse for Sport and the National Sports Museum.

The project has been coordinated by Tony Naar from its inception in 2010 to this week’s launch of the Stories.

Photo Credit

Daphne Ceeney (link) and Elizabeth Edmondson (link). Photograph from 1964 (Paralymics Australia, (link))