Confessions of a PhD Student (7): “To be or not to be… serious”

I love my research topics. I am really passionate about them. When I present them, I try to transmit that passion to the audience.

I recently showed my flatmate some presentations I gave at a conference. I thought they were so pretty and engaging. They had colors and images. They were made in such a way that they could complement my words. There were some slides designed to make people smile… But he did not smile. He did not like them. He said my presentation was not formal and not appropriate for an academic audience.


Slide with image

This is one of the slides I used. I think it looks pretty and interesting. Plus, I took the picture, that is my friend, and it is a couch in Freud’s house in Vienna.


My flatmate argued that instead of using images of people with thinking/speaking bubbles, I should use graphs and diagrams… … It is not that I have anything in particular against graphs and diagrams. I do use them, sometimes… But I like thinking/speaking people!! I like using humor in my academic presentations!!


Slide with image2

This is another slide I used (in a different conference). It was designed to reflect what people were probably thinking at that point of my presentation and to make them smile. That is also my friend.


Are images engaging or distracting? I think it depends on how you use them. If they do not relate to your content (e.g., a gif of a dancing banana), well… I agree that they might be distracting. However, if they help you give your message in a more entertaining way, I really do not see the problem.

What do you think?

– Brenda Padilla

OTTERs, DUCKLINGs and other creatures at ALT-C 2010

Between 7 and 9 September 2010, colleagues from all projects at Beyond Distance attended the ALT-C annual conference in Nottingham. DUCKLING was represented via 3 well attended and very well received papers – one presented by Gabi Witthaus on the use of Second Life in the School of Education, one by Ming Nie on e-books and e-book readers and one by myself on podcasting in curriculum delivery.

I also presented a paper on the lessons learned and deliverables from the OTTER project, with a focus on the CORRE framework for transforming teaching materials into open educational resources (OERs). This paper also attracted a very good audience. I took that opportunity to fly the flag of our Phase 2 OER projects, OSTRICH (under the ‘cascade’ strand) and TIGER (‘new release’ strand). Other Beyond Distance colleagues contributed excellent papers on SWIFT and CALF, two of our other research projects.

ALT-C was again a highly successful conference – where once more, the Media Zoo wildlife was prominent.

Dr A Armellini
Beyond Distance Research Alliance
University of Leicester

Dziękuję, Gdańsk!

The Beyond Distance Research Alliance team had a significant presence at the recent EDEN Conference in Gdansk, Poland. And what a trip it was.

I have reported elsewhere on one of the interesting workshops I attanded – in this case on OERs, which is very relevant to our OTTER project. But we also had a great ‘team time’ at, in and around the conference, as well as in the streets of Gdansk, a fascinating city. In addition to the usual benefits of an international conference in terms of networking and exposure to high-quality scholarly work, we were fortunate to have a few away days during which we not only worked together, but learned much more about each other.

A lesson learned – never underestimate the value of events like this beyond the obvious. The EDEN conference this year became an invaluable team-building opportunity for us, and we all maximised its benefit.

Dziękuję, Gdańsk, and Dziękuję, colleagues, for this.

Alejandro Armellini
20 June 2009

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