Inspired by a posting by Justin on his blog concerning social presence, I've been thinking about the importance of awareness, presence and connectedness in the context of my research. Perhaps we could call this research presence. Seems quite appropriate: to what extent are people aware of my research and of my contributions? Do I have a presence in the research community and do I feel present? And am I connected to the right people, the state-of-the art in terms of results and the right theories.
I have to say that the answer for the present is no. Having taken some time off for family reasons, I feel that I am less present than I was before. Why? I am less aware of what is going on and I have simply forgotten some of the things that I learned earlier - you know the feeling, you find an interesting paper on the web, you go to download it for future reference, only to find not only is it stored in your library, but you've annotated it with your comments!
I've been less present in terms of my blog postings, my participation in the weekly Skype sessions with fellow students and in discussions with colleagues at EUN. Perhaps more importantly, I have not yet got into the habit of writing down my thoughts as I read and observe - an essential activity for research presence.
It may not be New Year but it is an opportune moment to set myself a resolution to address this, starting here. Justin's posting is excellent and got me thinking about theory. He has a research presence, going beyond his social presence and connecteness by articulating his thoughts on research, encouraging his reader to enter into a dialogue with him. An essential part of his own reification process.
About my research
My research was set in the context of the European Commission’s eTwinning initiative and it looked specifically at the use of eTwinning Learning Events (non-formal learning). It examined how the community influences the development of teachers’ competence in online collaboration and discourse, and it considered the contribution of social aspects and online moderation.
I am very grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Julie-Ann Sime from Lancaster University, and to my eTwinning soulmate, Tiina Sarisalmi, for their invaluable support. And to my examiners, Prof. Marilyn Leask from the University of Bedfordshire and Dr. Don Passey from the University of Lancaster, for their valuable advice.