Category Archives: Uncategorised

The Self-Flipped Classroom Concept: Underlying Ideas and Experiences – paper accepted for Frontiers in Education

Anna Vasilchenko, Mats Daniels and I had a paper accepted for Frontiers in Education very much based on Anna’s excellent work!!

The paper is a conceptual paper on self-flipped classrooms and we will continue working on research in the area in the fall. We will make use of experiences from the new course that I am teaching with Diane Golay.

Anna, Mats and I have also done one application for funding of this research and I really hope that we will get that!!

Here is the abstract:

In the modern fast changing world no formal education is able to provide learners with a complete set of knowledge, skills and competences that they would need to successfully compete on tomorrow’s job market. Therefore, the role of universities is increasingly shifting towards provision of an environment where students have a chance to acquire lifelong learning skills. This paper presents underlying ideas of, and practical experiences with, an innovative pedagogy that addresses the lifelong learning skills acquisition along with additional benefits for science and technology students. The proposed approach is called Self-Flipped Classroom (SFC) and it is built on a synergy of two pedagogies: learning through making (“self” part of the name) and Flipped Classroom (“flip” part of the name). To unveil the construct of the SFC concept, we discuss each of its components individually presenting appropriate theoretical grounding. We also report on our experiences from Self-Flipped Classroom implementations in two countries, CountryA and CountryB, and in three different educational settings. From our work with the SFC concept we have identified four different roles the students can assume in a SFC scenario: creators, collaborators, communicators, and learners. We present our observations regarding challenges and opportunities related to the identified roles that have been found in the studied settings. We also outline future research directions in this space.

Five Rejected Papers in 48 hours

Sometimes academia is not so great, and now and then I run into periods of lots of failure. Impostor syndrome doesn’t help either and hits me straight away when things are not going my way: “Do I really belong?”

This past week I got five papers rejected in 48 hours. Gah!! This was really tough! A personal record indeed. I thought that the papers were really OK, and some of them well written – but reviewers (completely) disagreed.

So far, I haven’t really had the energy to read the reviews either so I can’t really proudly say that I failed and learned lots of things through the failures. So far I have just failed and felt like a failure.

 

Awarded the Title Excellent Teacher !!

At Uppsala university faculty with a teaching position can be apply to be awarded the title Excellent Teacher. The title is also connected to a salary raise just as associate professor and full professor.

I applied a few years back, but was rejected, which I wrote about in this blog post  “Never Give up – Never Surrender”. I was very nervous whey I submitted the second time. It is not fun to fail!

This time I was called for an interview, which is one step on the way. I must say that the questions were very difficult to answer. Many of them were hade many layers of answers, and I had no idea if I would fail or pass after having done the interview.

However, this time I was assessed as having competence enough to be awarded the title and I celebrated with champagne Friday night!

 

champagne-2920177__340.jpg

Presenting Pedagogic Development Work at the National Network and Development Conference 2018

In October I will go to Västerås to participate in the NU2018 conference. This is a conference for faculty at universites and in higher education. The idea is to be inspired and learn from others while networking with peers. I have been to NU a few times, and it is really a nice and welcoming conference.

This time I will be presenting a pedagogic development project that Mats Daniels and I have run together with Nanna Kjellin Lagerqvist and Elin Parsjö who were students when the project was running. Below is a Google translated abstract:

 

Educational challenges related to the development of professional skills – Experience from an educational development project

 

Abstract

In addition to cognitive and technical skills, a number of professional skills are required, such as communication skills, creative thinking, reflection skills and intercultural skills, in order to successfully participate in the increasingly global labor market. The overall purpose of our development project was therefore to develop a framework for supporting the development of professional skills in project courses. The framework that the project resulted in consists of three parts. The first part is a structure for working with learning agreements [1]. Part two consists of a method called the Archetype Learning Method [2] and the third part of the framework is a first version of an ICT tool [1] where resources for working with the development of professional skills have been gathered.

The methods within the framework have proven to be promising to convey what it means to develop professional skills. However, they are not a universal method of setting up a functioning educational environment to develop competencies, but the tool meets some resistance from the students. One contributing factor is that education for developing skills is a complex area, where factors such as the students’ identity and expectations of what is important to learn is recording. Examples of such attitudes and expectations are that factual knowledge and technical knowledge in programming, databases and networks are seen as more central. Our analysis is that there are factors beyond a single course, in the learning environment of the education program, which limits the possibilities for the effective use of learning agreements in the form we used in this project [3].

How, then, can a better education environment be created so that students can achieve the professional skills they meet according to the goals our education programs actually have? We have observed a discrepancy between the students’ aspirations and behaviors, which according to our studies include depends on the attitude mentioned above [3-4], as well as an ovana and inability to handle the transparency of this learning [5]. Ability to handle openness, including in terms of being able to handle open problems is an important aspect of mastery of professional skills, since the practice of limiting and closing openness causes complex problems to be reduced to, possibly complicated, but, simplified problems, where most essential skills for most professional skills are lost. I [5] presents a categorization of openness that can be used to systematically introduce development of the ability to handle open issues and thus pave the way for the development of other professional skills.

Another observation is that students are unfamiliar in learning that is not clearly measurable. The use of learning contracts is a step towards creating a better understanding of how learning of something as complex as competencies can be “measured”. However, there is a general mistrust of what is not perceived as the core of an education, that is, what can be termed pure subject knowledge [6]. Progression in dealing with open problems is an important component for the development of professional skills and thus a better ability to utilize subject knowledge in complex situations in a future working life. This progression needs to be better integrated into our education!

references

[1] Clear, T., Daniels, M., Cajander, Å., Parsjö, E., Lagerqvist, N., and McDermott, R. (2016) A Framework for Writing Personal Learning Agreements, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education , Eire, USA.

[2] Pears, A., Daniels, M., and Cajander, Å. (2017) The Archetype Learning Method – Scaffolding Teamwork Competences in the Engineering Classroom, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[3] Cajander, A., Daniels, M., Golay, D., McDermott, R., Moll, J., Nylén, A., Pears, A., and Peters, A. (2017) Unexpected Student Behavior and Learning Opportunities – Using Critical Incident Analysis and a Model for Understanding Students’ Behavior, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[4] Nylén, A., Cajander, Å., Daniels, M., Pears, A., and McDermott, R. (2017) Why are we here? Student Perspectives on the Goal of STEM Higher Education, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[5] Nylén, A., Daniels, M., and Isomottonen, V. (2017) Open-ended Projects Opened Up – Aspects of Openness, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[6] Peters, A-K. (2017). Learning Computing at University: Participation and Identity: A Longitudinal Study. (Doctoral dissertation, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis).

Experiences from Reviewing of Scientific Papers

I often review scientific papers for journals and conferences in computer science. Sometimes when I am asked to do a review I ask my PhD students if they would like to read the paper and discuss reviewing it with me. If they want to join we set a date for discussing the paper, and what to write in a review. The PhD students get course credits from doing these reviews, and I also get a good chance to improve my reviewing skills.

Sometimes the papers we read are very poor, and need very much more work. Those papers are the trickiest ones to review. Often I still write quite a detailed review explaining what can be improved by the paper. In these situations I imagine that the paper is written by a colleague that I really respect, and I am careful with my phrasing of the critique so that it is clear what I mean but put in a way that it sounds polite and nice.

However, once I got such a poor paper that I simply did not write more than:

The ideas in the paper are interesting, but the paper need much more work before it can be published.

One can wonder if this was the correct thing to do???

The paper lacked most parts of a readable paper and it was not possible to understand even what they aimed at doing. A review of such a paper would have meant writing a “How to write a scientific paper for dummies” review. The advise would have been on what to include in an introduction, how to write an abstract etc.

I recommend all seniors to do reviews with their PhD students. It is an interesting way of learning more about papers, and getting a common groups of the area you are doing research in.

Excellent PhD Thesis by Hanife Rexhepi

Some people are as magic as the sky in the photo for this blog post. These people are more brilliant than the rest of us, and it is a joy to discuss with them and learn from them. One such person is Hanife Rexhepi from Högskolan i Skövde. Not only is she knowledgeable and professional, but she is also a good team player and has great communication skills. I have worked with Hanife Rexhepi in many studies the last years as a part of the DOME consortium.  And I am looking forward to more collaborations in the future.

Next week Hanife Rexhepi will defend her excellent thesis that includes TWO papers awarded “Best paper” which says something about the quality of her work. I am really looking forward to listening to her presentation and to the discussion. I am sure that I will get lots of new ideas and insights! I will bring my iPad and take notes 🙂

Hanife Rexhepi has done research related to information systems in health care. The eight papers in the thesis are from her extensive work in the area, and are based on several research projects. Among other things her thesis contains an interesting study on cancer patients and their use of medical records online. This study has been presented on several occasions, one of which is found here. The study has also been widely discussed in media such as in this well written blog post by Christiane Gruenloh.  Hanife Rexhepi is also very active on Twitter and you find her Twitter account here

See you in Skövde at Hanife Rexhepi’s PhD defence on Tuesday the 22 of May 2018.

NordWit Meeting and Attending a PhD course in Tampere

The NordWit team will meet in Tampere in April. We have a full calendar planned, and we are going to discuss the research done so far as well as plan forward. I am working on two eHealth interview studies that are connected to NordWit, and I have also started to look into career trajectories and role models as a part of the Centre work. The studies have a gender and sociotechnical perspective, which is interesting and new to me. I have lots of interesting people to collaborate with in my studies, and I am learning so much when discussing with them that it is amazing.

I will be staying in Tampere a few days after the NordWit meeting to attend a PhD course arranged by the NordWit team. The course is called Gender, Work and Transforming Organisations. Both Diane Golay and Gunilla Myreteg are taking the course with me, and we have started to look in to the quite extensive course material. I will attend the course as a student, or listener, and try to learn as much as I can in this new area. I really hope that I have time to read the papers before the course so that I can learn as much as possible from attending!

Submitted Application to Professor of Computer Science

Some time back I submitted an application for promotion to full professor of Computer Science at Uppsala University. It ended up being almost 60 pages of text, and I had worked with the applications for months. Submitting it was really energy consuming, much because there’s always a risk of failing when being evaluated. I have heard of many cases where people have very unexpectedly being assessed as not qualified. I also know that the process is gendered, and that women threat to be evaluated much harsher than men. Submitting this application was really a brave step for me. It felt like the jump made by the man in the blog post.

Being in academia really means being exposed to constant assessments, and evaluations of your work in different ways. I can get quite tired of this but I guess it is a part of the game. If you want to impact society and get funding for doing your research it is better to be a full professor than an associate professor.

The process is quite slow when you apply for promotion at Uppsala University. If I am lucky I will have the results from the evaluation before summer, but it is not unlikely that it is done in the fall. There are small steps on the way, though, and so far I have celebrated them all!

Key Note Speaker on International Workshop on Software Engineering in Healthcare Systems

I’m going to attend the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering. This is one of the ACM yearly conferences, described in this way on the web site:

ICSE, the International Conference on Software Engineering, is the premier software engineering conference, providing a forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, research, experiences, trends and concerns in the field of Software engineering. In 2018 ICSE will celebrate its 40th anniversary, and 50 years of Software engineering – 50 years of tremendously successful promotion of research, education and practices in software engineering.

For me this will be the first time I visit this conference, and I will do a key note at one of the workshops of the conference. The workshop is called International Workshop on Software Engineering in Healthcare Systems. In my key note I will address the complexities of doing software engineering when stakeholders have conflicting needs and requirements, and give examples from the implementation of medical records online in Sweden.

The conference will be in Gothenburg in May 2018. I’ve been in Gothenburg a few times, and 90% of the cases it is raining and is really cold. I hope that the city is a bit nicer in May!

3 Pieces of Advise on Including Gender Equality in Funding Applications

I work with assessment of EU cluster applications in the area of ICT and Innovation. Usually these are very technology oriented, with a focus on technical developments. I read and assess applications with a special interest in gender equality a few times every semester. I must admit that it is quite a horrible experience, as the competence in this area is so low that it is upsetting.

Here are a three pieces of advise related to gender equality for all companies applying for funding in these EU cluster applications:

  1. ICT is not gender neutral. ICT is indeed not a transparent, value free tool. Instead ICT is appropriated in the context of our society. The norm is that men are interested in ICT, know ICT and when ICT doesn’t work men are expected to work with the solutions. Women are often passive receivers of ICT, are expected to be non-intereted and their needs are often neglected when designing ICT. How till you address this complexity in your project?
  2. Gender Equality is about the users of ICT. Gender Equality in you application can be about the use of the system. How will you market the system? Who are the users? How do you make sure that your system addresses the needs of all user groups? In what way do needs vary between user groups? (As the majoritet of ICT projects don’t really look at the users’ needs in a structured way, looking at gender differences might seem completely off your horizon but is necessary.)
  3. How do you create an inclusive project? Gender equality in your project is about creating an inclusive project where everyone is welcome. Guiding stars are transparency in all aspects of the word, equal salaries, equal opportunities, equal support. It is also about meeting cultures, and creating a team where everyone is listened to. You also need to look at your recruitment process for your project. Is the advertisement directed towards men? How do you assess the applications? Everyone in your team will benefit from working with these aspects of gender equality, and most probably the ICT product will also be better, more creative and sell more if you succeed in having an inclusive project.

Of course there are lots of more things to work with related to gender equality, but if you work with the above you are up to a good start. And also if these three aspects are included in your application it will be one of the best I’ve seen so far. And of course that also increases your chances of being funded!