My job as Research Fellow has three main elements: Publications, (grant) Proposals and Pixy Dust. The Pixy Dust element refers to taking a lead in building the research culture within my department. I work on this with my colleague, Liz FitzGerald, who was appointed at the same time as me, and our work complements the other research events organised within the department.
So far, our ‘pixy dust’ has included a series of internal ‘You Heard It Here First’ seminars, a book launch for Martin Weller’s book The Digital Scholar, Christmas lunch together, and the ‘Lunch Bunch’, a regular series of lunchtime get-togethers.
Lunch Bunch is a fortnightly event that provides an opportunity to get together with colleagues and chat about some of the latest issues in educational technology and within our department. Unlike a reading group, there’s no requirement to prepare in advance. Nevertheless, there’s always a discussion topic, links to blogs and videos on the subject for those who are interested, and a series of after-discussion links that arise from our get-together. In November 2011, our first discussion was on MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses). The next discussion began with a focus on open-access and limited-access publishing, and whether a boycott of locked-down learning is either possible or desirable. From there, we moved to the subject of badges for learning, which led very quickly to a proposal to The DML Research competition, Badges, Trophies, and Achievements: Recognition and Accreditation for Informal and Interest-driven learning.