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COVID-19 student conditions survey

As we prepare for distance learning at NUI Galway – we will be deploying our online resources starting tomorrow – I wanted to share a survey I have prepared for Blackboard.

What I wanted to do with this survey was get a baseline understanding, at the start of this process, of the conditions that students find themselves in, and the barriers they may face in engaging with learning at this time. This will serve at least two purposes:

  • Assist me in understanding the needs of my students in relation to instruction, and the limitations they face (which will be important when it comes to assessment and grading).
  • Provide data at a module and institutional level for evaluating this process. There are valid concerns among many academics that this (necessary) response to emergency conditions might be leveraged to claim as a ‘new normal’ practices that are introduced at this time. Gathering data about student conditions will ensure that these aspects are properly accounted for when considering what to learn from this period.

I am sharing the survey I developed here, as it may be useful to other instructors who find themselves in similar situations to myself. It is currently formatted for Blackboard, so those using that platform should be able to import it into their modules. If I have time later, I will create a platform-neutral version so that others can also make use of it.

Journalism at NUI Galway

As of May, 2014, I am now based at the National University of Ireland Galway. I hold a lectureship in English, and also direct both the BA with Journalism and the MA in Journalism. This is an exciting project for me, mixing a well-established postgraduate programme with a BA that is still developing (our first cohort are currently in the second year of their four year programme).

The BA follows the model for ‘Connect’ programmes that has been developed at NUIG over the last decade, in which students blend study of two ‘traditional’ Arts subjects with a speciality – in this case journalism. It provides the promise of developing students who have strong critical skills, have knowledge of substantive topic areas (e.g. political science, sociology, history, psychology, literature…), and have significant opportunities for experiential learning in journalism and media production.

Further information about our programmes is available from the NUIG site, and we welcome applicants at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as expressions of interest from those interested in doctoral level work, particularly related to my own focus on media industries, technology, and media for social change.

New articles now available for download

My JRAM article on copyright and community radio and a review I completed for HJFRT of Guy Starkey’s Local Radio, Going Global, are now available online.

Of whistleblowers and dissent

I’ll be giving a guest talk to some of our incoming students this July, as part of a series of current issues, where I will focus on questions of whistleblowers, leaking, privacy, and freedom of the press.

That should be a good precursor to my Spring talk on Chomsky and the dissident intellectual, as part of the Great Minds series.

IAMCR 2013

Enjoying another inspiring IAMCR conference, this time in my old stomping grounds of Dublin. I spoke at the first day of the OurMedia conference, and will be part of a panel tomorrow (Thursday), where I’ll be examining issues around copyright, focusing particularly on projects like the Free Music Archive, which provide relatively ‘safe’ ways for community stations to push back against expanding copyright regimes. I’ll have the powerpoints up shortly.