Thursday, 26 February 2009

An Interview With God

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Just simply wanted to put this up as I found it very inspiring (apologise for the fact that it's linked to marketing!)!

Life Coaching
Just a bit of an update as today I "felt the fear and did it anyway"... a life-coaching session on the phone! I work out so much by face-to-face communication I wasn't sure how it would work, but as soon as I got on the phone my brain switched to coaching mode, and off we went! The phone conversation did not go as expected AT ALL, but feedback is that actionable points are definitely there, and that we didn't JUST go for the easy wins! Looking forward to the next session... and meantime, tonight, I need to ensure I'm ready to give an hour-long lecture on "Media Institutions" at 9am (1st years)... slides are ready, would quite like to do it without much of a script!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Serenergise: Be Inspired

What a weekend!
Brilliant, this afternoon I became a certified life-coach, with one of the few ICF accredited courses in the UK, with the company Serenergise. It's been a very enlightening course, with support offered at every turn in order to help us achieve our own success! The formal assessment was this afternoon, but continuous assessment has been on-going!

We all passed, with Deborah Kerslake energetically proclaiming that she was proud to send us out as Serenergise trained coaches, and as a part of the certificate presentation, we were all asked to offer each of our co-coachees an indication of what we thought their strengths/gifts were, as observed throughout the course (which lasted over 3 weekends over 3 months).

Bex's Strengths
  • Warm
  • Intelligent
  • Humorous
  • Generous
  • Hardworking
  • Responsible
  • Fun x 2
  • Committed
  • Has great vision
  • Creative
  • Kind
  • Funny
  • Talented
  • Caring x 3
  • Involving
  • Part of the team
  • Honest
  • Kindness
  • Gentleness
  • Exploratative
  • Loving
  • Open
  • Curious
  • Interested
  • Sweet
  • Diligent
  • Friendly
  • Ambitious
  • Courage: your full participation even when scared
Feel free to add further positive feedback if you know me (as one of my coachees did)! Meantime, I am about to check the train times for my life-coaching session with Debs on Tuesday, and then going to relax (maybe ensuring what I know the week ahead holds!)! Ya-hoooooo!

Friday, 20 February 2009

More Academic Networking

OK, a new site (or is it new, well, it's new to me!) has appeared on my horizon: Discovered it through Facebook, when I saw Martin (Polley, my PhD supervisor) had signed up to it. Wonder why it didn't appear when I Googled "academic social networking", obviously doesn't have great SEO - have to teach them some tricks! The site looks like it could add some real value, as it has listed all departments even within the University of Winchester where I work (a small university), not just American Universities. Can list your publications, significant conference papers, research interests, upload your CV. Think it has real value-added potential!

Life Coaching
OK, maybe a blog should be about a single subject, but I just wanted to put a bit of info on tonight. This week has been extremely busy, the lowlight of which was my laptop breaking, so I'm borrowing another computer to write this (so excuse the image, created with Paint, rather than PhotoShop!). Still deciding on a new one, but in the meantime, tomorrow have my final weekend of the current course of life-coaching (it's going to be a lifelong learning skill, but have found it useful already in teaching!)

Check out:
"On other matters, I've been doing life coaching with Bex (see and it's been really helpful. I've now got a second blog where I talk solely about my PhD, which came out of one of our sessions, and I am thinking more positively and being more organised. You should give it a go!"

Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Past Influences the Present

Yesterday, whilst working with my "Reflecting History" group, we had a number of great discussions about current/recent controversies which have a historical aspect (which could include many things, but we were looking to define a specific workable question which would produce a 15 minute presentation and a 2000 word essay). One of my students is looking at why so much of the current media coverage about the economic crisis refers back to the depression of the 1930s, and not to the recessions of the 1970s/1990s, so I was interested to see this article by Frank Skinner:

"For example, though I'm confident I've spotted every reference in the Virgin ad, I had to turn to Google when I began to hear political commentators describing this current economic crisis as “worse than the recession of 1987”. I couldn't remember that recession at all. Beadle's About, yes, Black Monday, no. And it's not just me. When my mum talked about the war, she never mentioned fascism or appeasement; it was all George Formby, powdered egg and drawing a line down the back of your legs so you looked like you had stockings on. Thus, when we look back at the current recession, for all its apparent horrors, we might remember it very differently. It might not seem so important. It might just be outside on the news stand. I think it helps to consider that."

Frank Skinner Article, The Times, 13th February 2009

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Academic Social Networking

Although I've been playing around with a number of social networking sites, trying to identify their potential, I've not look for any specific academic networking sites, and wondered if there were any.

What is academic networking?Academic networking has a long tradition, both within and across institutions.

"Academic Networking is the development and maintenance of a network of contacts of people who have access to different sources of potentially useful information.

These information sources may be related to new research ideas, publishing and funding opportunities, teaching strategies, or new developments / trends in your profession or job." (, 1995). Some more detailed information is given in "Networking and Other Academic Hobbies".

Online Social Networking?
So, do the new platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy, Plaxo and Facebook have anything to offer, and are there any platforms specifically for academics?! I don't have time to even suggest an answer right now about what's on offer, but have ID'd a couple of academic sites for further investigation: academici, hypertope, and pronetos.

There's definitely scope for a research project there, especially with the growing emphasis on knowledge-transfer between universities and businesses. The ivory tower has been going out of fashion for a long-time now (not something I've ever been keen on, and saw the validity of my opinion after giving a paper at the "Public History Now" forum at Ruskin College), and the new social networking sites deserve some consideration. See a brief review by Open Anthropology.

Already Using Them?
CARET at the University of Cambridge is carrying out research to complete in 2010. The project aims to bring some of the affordances of consumer social networks to teaching and learning, and will deliver applications within CamTools, their Sakai-based VLE. Take their survey.