This is a short, follow-up post to my Authentic Insights post.

I am keen to pursue the possibilities for openings in how we share narratives about performance.

I read with great interest a Guardian article (written by Decca Aitkenhead) about Peter Higgs. In it Peter is quoted as saying he became “an embarrassment to the department when they did research assessment exercises”. His response to the request for a list of recent publications was “None”. The article adds:

By the time he retired in 1996, he was uncomfortable with the new academic culture. “After I retired it was quite a long time before I went back to my department. I thought I was well out of it. It wasn’t my way of doing things any more. Today I wouldn’t get an academic job. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think I would be regarded as productive enough.”

My Authentic Insights post was an attempt to explore what productivity might look like if we added other narrative forms to journal papers and conference presentations as indicators of scholarly standing.

I read Decca’s article just after finding a Maptia blog post, The Age of Outrospection. The post starts with this paragraph:

Imagine for a moment that you are reading or listening to a story so intensely that you forget yourself and step into the shoes of the storyteller. You see what they saw, hear what they heard, and feel what they felt. These moments are rare, yet when they happen it is as if we have been transported into their world and we are able to see through their eyes. It is a powerful, almost magical feeling. One that is a privilege.

I am attracted to Mapia’s approach that places are made of a thousand stories. For over two decades I have been fascinated by discussions about the crafting of polysemic texts.


I think we have a great deal to learn from the ways platforms like Mapia, Medium and Cowbird present and share stories. I have written about the New York Times too and the possibilities of interactive stories. I see enormous opportunities being offered by enhanced e-books.

Thanks to an alert from Audrey Watters, I was delighted to find Martin Weller’s recent editorial about openness in higher education. I noted his observation that:

there are fundamental shifts in practices, which can be grouped together as open scholarship (Veletsianos & Kimmons 2012) – academics are creating and releasing their own content using tools such as Slideshare and YouTube, researchers are releasing results earlier and using open, crowdsourcing approaches, every day millions of learners make use of free, open online tools and resources.

I admire Martin’s work immensely and find his insights re-assuring and invitational. In passing, I found it interesting to note the variety of sources Martin used in his references as I did with George and Royce’s paper cited by Martin.

Martin cited a Google Doc reference from Dave Cormier:

Cormier, D. (2013) ED366 Educational Technology and the Adult Learner: Syllabus and Contract. [accessed November 2013]

This raises for me exciting ideas about co-production of texts through open sharing and ongoing refinement.

In my Authentic Insights post I was keen to make clear that the use of alternative forms of sharing research stories did not negate the rigour of scholarly enquiry. My hope is that rigour helps focus on scholarly astigmatism and contributes to debates about paradigmatic certainty.

I conclude this post with a link to another blog post. Earlier this year, Jenny Davis wrote about The legitimacy and usefulness of academic blogging will shape how intellectualism develops. Jenny introduces her post thus:

In this post I attempt to tackle a complex but increasingly important question: Should writers cite blog posts in formal academic writing (i.e. journal articles and books)? To begin with full disclosure: I cite blog posts in my own formal academic writing. But not just any blog posts. I am highly discriminate in what I cite, but my discriminations are not of the cleanly methodical type which can be written, shared, and handed out as even a suggested guide.

I think Jenny provides some very helpful pointers to the citing of blog posts. I was interested to learn that:

Okay, now here comes the real hypocrisy. Although I cite blogs within academic writing, I explicitly forbid my undergraduate students from doing so. Their papers must include only peer-reviewed work unless I specifically approve of a non-peer-reviewed source.

My experience has been that if we encourage students to become produsers, their choice of references becomes a discussion rather than an imposition. Their discoveries help me go beyond my taken-for-grantedness and enable me to explore their sense of value. It is an exercise of outrospection rather than outrage.


Photo Credits

The Art of Social Media (mkhmarketing, CC BY 2.0)

Screen grab, We Live in the Future (Ev Williams)

Discussing Links (Keith Lyons, CC BY 3.0 AU)



Narration and Narrative Form

8094090513_c2b1736d7e_o I received a Twitter alert overnight from Darrell Cobner (@CPAUWIC) Darrell and I have been exchanging ideas about performance analysis as story telling and story sharing. (I posted some thoughts about this last week in What Counts?) I was interested to learn that Darrell was sharing some Harold Jarche insights from What’s Working and What’s Not Working in Online Training. Harold points out that “Today, content capture and creation tools let people tell their own stories and weave these together to share in their networks. It’s called ‘narrating your work'”. He adds that:

The public narration of what we do, attempt and learn on a daily basis not only helps us help others, but also puts us in a position to get help from peers. When your co-workers know what you’re working on and what problems you run into, they can offer their experience.

I liked the way Harold explained the flow of sharing through stories and his encouragement of collaboration. I try to monitor opportunities for online collaboration and cooperation. Darrell and Harold set me off thinking about narration and narrative form (I revisited some of the fifty-four posts on Clyde Street with a narrative tag). Back in 1988 Donald Polkinghorne produced the delightful book Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. In his preface to the book he observes that “practitioners work with narrative knowledge. They are concerned with people’s stories…” In Chapter Two he notes that “Narrative is the fundamental scheme for linking individual human actions and events into interrelated aspects of an understandable composite.” I think we have remarkable opportunities to develop a digital “understandable composite”. Our sense of the aesthetic enables each of us to share a narration in a narrative form. I wondered if in response to Darrell, I might nominate seven tools to support the public sharing that Harold identifies as an important component of a community of practice.

I think each one of these tools has enormous potential for the narration discussed by Darrell and Harold. The choice is personal and enables each of us to have our narrative form.


As I was compiling the list I was think how our narration might be acknowledged by our communities of practice. In addition to the collaboration Harold identifies as important in these communities, I started to think about how a tool like Accredible might make this narration even more transparent by finding a way of peer valuing of experience.

Photo Credit

Henry Cabot Lodge speaking (Boston Public Library, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


1876_4f2bf2d226a376.06165168-bigOne of my morning digital feeds brings me the Cowbird story of the day.

Today, I read Sam Graham-Felsen’s The Boat Kids of Jambiani. In his story he observed:

Dozens of young boys were congregating in the shallows. Not a single adult was in sight (also, notably, not a single girl). We walked closer to them and saw that they were racing hand-made boats: some made of hollowed-out wood and scraps from potato sacks; others fashioned out of a flip-flop and plastic bag. One very young kid’s boat was a plastic dish detergent container — the sail was a u-shaped slice that was bent upwards — and at first, it looked like a failed invention. Every time he launched it into the wind, it quickly sagged, bobbed, and sank. But an older, more experienced sailor came by and showed him a new technique, and sure enough, the boat slowly waddled its way through the shallows without sinking, and the younger kid beamed.

I thought this was a great story to start the day. The cultural power of play has been a recurring theme in my thinking and blogging of late.

Other feeds continued with the togetherness theme.

4337007744_70e6e21022_b-200x300A link from Stephen Downes took me to Justin Reich’s post on the Future of Learning. In the post, Justin writes:

Inspired by the work that Connectivist educators have done with cMOOCs over the last 5 years, particularly by the incredible learning experiences created by the ds106 crew at the University of Mary Washington, I thought we might experiment by solving our problems with a syndication engine rather than a walled garden.

He added:

The idea here is that we want people to be producing course content from the Web interfaces that they are most comfortable with. For some Web-savvy folks, that is their blog or their Twitter account. But for pretty much everyone in the Internet-connected world, email is the simplest possible interface for communication, collaboration, and co-creation. We wanted our website to have high ceilings, and indeed you can create posts where you embed a Storify with a collection of your tweets and YouTube videos, but we also wanted to have low floors, and just about everyone can step up to send an email (inspiration from Papert’s high-ceilings/low-floors/wide-walls).

I am looking forward to the progress of this project. I am very attracted to c-ness.

6174076512_cb8bd352cf_oAnother link, this time from LinkedIn, took me to an announcement that England and Australia Back DRS Despite Controversial Ashes Series.

I am not sure if both teams had been reading about the boat kids of Jambiani, but “representatives of the England and Australian cricket teams have reiterated their support of the Decision Review System (DRS), despite poor performances throughout the Ashes series”. The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) General Manager of Cricket, Geoff Allardice, has visited both teams this week “to meet with the teams to listen to their feedback, and to identify potential improvements to DRS moving forward”. He noted that “It was very encouraging to hear both teams reiterate their support for the use of DRS. Some of the ideas that were suggested during the meetings could improve the system, and will be considered further by the ICC”.

The Scholarly Kitchen post today was written by Robert Harington. In his introduction, Robert writes “As a publisher I know about the print world, but I am also quite taken with the digital social world: LinkedIn, for example, is a critical part of my professional networking”.

Robert points out and asks:

Every discipline has its own culture, and whether you are a humanities scholar, a social scientist, scientist or mathematician, your way of engaging with research and education will be quite different. The question I want to raise in this article is, do we as publishers, societies and libraries understand how to grapple with the needs of academics with such a range of cultures?

VASTAfter reading the range of other posts this morning, I was thinking that part of an answer to Robert’s question is about personal blending of information sources. I think there are enormous potential gains if we can accept (or even look for) disruption in our thinking. It might involve some driving lessons too.

My final togetherness strand this morning came from Jason Anson’s proposal for a Virtual Alliance for Sport Technology (VAST). The aim of the Alliance is “to facilitate the generation and sharing of knowledge, using the online tools provided by Google communities to connect people from around the world and allow them to interact freely and productively.” I am hopeful that Jason is able to bring together a global community. It will have immense knowledge and experience resources to share.

Photo Credit

The Boat Kids of Jambiani (Sam Graham-Felsen)

Drouin schoolboys playing cricket (1) (National Library of Australia, no known copyright restrictions)

No Safety Net Project 365(2) Day 5 (Keith Williamson, CC BY 2.0)