Thing 23: What have you learned? Where do you want to go from here?

You’ve made it; this is the final Thing!

thing

We had to use it eventually…
Photo: Hannaford.  (CC)

Thank you all for following the programme, and congratulations for sticking with it to Thing 23. I’m sure you’ve found it tough to keep going at times, especially if you’re new to blogging and are trying to fit 174 other things into your week.

I believe you have been promised a certificate and a party. Quite right. We’ll be in touch shortly to let you know about the party; glorious certificates will be awarded there.

We’ll be in touch shortly to ask you for some feedback on what worked for you and what we can improve for next time. Meanwhile, do leave your immediate comments here – are you jubilant, relieved, excited, hungry?

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Thing 22: Your Website(s)

doodle

“I’m pretty sure my iPhone can turn this into a website for me.”
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

By now you should have realised that all these tools and resources can help you to develop and progress. You should be well into the habit of writing and you should be part of a thriving community of researchers, both within your institution and outside. You will have a considerable online presence.

In order to make all of this really work for you, you need to be able to tie it all back to a single website that tells the world who you are, what you do and what you can do.

This is your number one professional tool in the digital age. After thinking about your professional brand very early on, you should have set a nice tone for your online presence. Your website is the place where you really define the professional you.

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Thing 21: *Research and EURAXESS

This week we’re looking towards the future.

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If you’re considering a career in research; either in academia, or elsewhere, being an effective user of this Thing will help you to maintain your awareness of current issues, trends, and opportunities.

To look at the information below you will need to sign up to Research Professional. If you sign in on a University of Surrey computer, the website will likely recognise this and usher you to join the institutional newsfeed. You can follow this and use your Surrey login to create an account.

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Thing 20: File sharing and online storage

robinson crusoe

You’ve set the date, you’ve had your meeting, and you’ve set SMART objectives: it’s time to start sharing resources. Now we’re going to look at tools which support online collaboration and file-sharing. As well as among groups, there are also benefits to using these tools for your individual work.

It can be frustrating to work on group documents; keeping track of versions is difficult, and emailing updates around every day can be time consuming. Being able to store and edit documents online can help solve these problems, and tools such Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), WeTransfer and Dropbox make it possible.

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Thing 17: Crowdsourcing

crowd

“ARE YOU READY… to meticulously annotate 12,000 documents of 18th-century French paleography?!”
Photo by Marc-Olivier Paquin on Unsplash

 

Researchers in a variety of disciplines are tapping into the possibilities of crowdsourcing and what it can accomplish. This can mean crowdfunding to support scholarly projects (such as a recent campaign to pay for the restoration of Mary of Gelderland’s unique medieval prayer book), or a relatively passive involvement, such as SETI@Home, in which participants allow the project to harness the power of their computer processors when not in use.

More active varieties extend to ‘citizen science’– calling on the public to volunteer their involvement. At one end of the scale, this may mean massive data projects like those Zooniverse hosts, which have attracted over 1 million registered users thus far. Participants are given tasks which are relatively low-skill, but which humans perform better than computers – such as identifying animals from captured video. Current Zooniverse projects range from providing checks on census data to mapping vibration patterns on steelpan drums. Crowdsourcing isn’t limited to the sciences; the Transcribe Bentham project at UCL asked members of the public to transcribe Jeremy Bentham’s letters, and proved wildly successful.

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Thing 11: Finding presentations and podcasts

sunnies
“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.

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Thing 9: Exploring Wikipedia

Did you know?

Wikipedia is the best example of what the ‘wisdom of crowds’ can achieve [citation needed], although it is not without its detractors. To get an overview of the pros and cons, read the Wikipedia page about Wikipedia itself, and some of the pages linked to and from it. Wikipedia is often criticised as inaccurate or unreliable, but it is, in fact, one of the biggest sources of factual information online, and studies have shown that in many cases its accuracy compares favourably to other established online encyclopaedias. Even controversial Wikipedia articles can offer an excellent picture of the controversy itself via an article’s discussion page. Like any encyclopaedia, Wikipedia articles can be a great starting point for research.

books

Photo by James L.W on Unsplash

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