“The information is everywhere”
Photo by Giorgio Encinas on Unsplash
The internet is swollen with interesting content, including broadcasts, lectures, slideshows and demonstrations. Materials are becoming easier to obtain on almost any subject. Knowing what’s out there and how to get it can supplement your research, and especially teaching.
Podcasts are audio – or increasingly video – files broadcast online (for example, recordings of radio programmes, lectures, readings, drama, interviews or music). You can listen to or view a podcast online, but they can also be downloaded, and you can usually subscribe to a series of podcasts via RSS, so that it automatically downloads to your computer or mobile device (iTunes makes this easy).
Podcasts aren’t the only way to put presentations online, however; sites such as Slideshare allow users to post presentations of all sorts. YouTube can also be a treasure-trove of quality information.
1. Find some podcasts, and pick one or two to subscribe to. Some places to start:
- University of Surrey’s Dr. Radu Sporea with his online podcast series, Potential Difference
- BBC podcasts
- TED talks
- WIRED’s recommendations
- Browse for presentations in your area of interest on Slideshare(or alternatives such as Note & Pointand Speaker Deck.
- Investigate research and presentation material on YouTube. Try the
“Of course, what I really want to be doing right now is learning campanology; thank goodness for wi-fi.”
Photo by Daryl Bleach on Unsplash
Presentations and podcasts can serve as a great tool for expanding or updating your interests. You can also go into much more depth with semi-formal education in pretty much any topic, for free, from anywhere in the world. Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs, are extremely popular and increasingly well-regarded. Some of the world’s top universities and institutions now provide online access to their academic staff and resources, with some course issuing completion certificates for participants: Coursera, Udacity, and Future Learn are probably the biggest providers.
Of course, any change to the way that learning is delivered can have repercussions for us as researchers and educators. It’s still quite early in the evolution of MOOCs, with debates continuing about their power to democratise education, their threat to the value of full-time study, and their potential impact on how lecturers present, share and publish their works. Consider what the future might hold as these courses become more readily available, and can delivery materials in more sophisticated ways.
Have a look at Future Learn’s or Coursera’s list of courses. Take note of the range of subjects offered and the varying depths of specific knowledge. Courses range from an hour a week of videos to more intensive in-depth units, with assignments.
Have you spotted any courses that might be valuable for you or your research? There are lots of options for research methods, data analysis and statistics courses on these sites.
You may also find course to round out your background knowledge, increase your employability, or to support a specific skill.
Week 6 blog post
Feel free to talk about all of this week’s Things in one post, as they lend themselves to comparison and discussion. How do you foresee yourself using (any, or) all of this week’s Things as a researcher? Are some of the Things more relevant than others? Relevant to what? Perhaps it was a Wikipedia page, a podcast, or a MOOC. If you already use these tools or similar ones, let us know how they work for you.
Don’t forget to tag your post Thing 9, Thing 10 and Thing 11