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Rebecca O'Rourke :: Blog :: Interests

June 03, 2007

Well, I managed to forget my log in details.... So I haven't been around for a while and have missed the deadline for Activity 4 ....  I actually posted this a while back, but inthe wrong place... Going to post my info and then find out who else is part of this community of 100.

 I work in the Lifelong Learning Institute in the School of Education at the University of Leeds.  I have worked in adult and community education for the whole of my working life, bar a brief and heady period of 18 months freelancing as a writer after my novel, Jumping the Cracks, was published; I missed adult education....  Maybe I also missed the structure of regular work, too - I did okay freelancing but I don't have the entreprenurial streak you need to make a great success of it.  Anyway, that's by way of explaining that I have spent most of my working life inside education but outside higher education.  I started work at Leeds as a research fellow and then moved across to lecturing.  I teach and research writing - creative writing and academic writing - and that is how I came to join the Leeds AWESOME Women team.

AWESOME stands for Academic Writing in Electronic Socially Mediated Environments, which is what we are interested in, of course, but we were pretty thrilled when it spelled out AWESOME, although at the moment I am feeling it is awesome in the sense of so much to do, so little time ...  The team is made up of four of us - a computer scientist, an ITC and academic literacy educationalist, an ITC staff developer (and apologies if this isn't how you see yourselves, Vania, Aisha and Melissa...) and me.  We are interested in how web 2.00 technologies can support the learning and teaching of academic writing. I bring three things to the team.  First, having recently completed a cross-institutional project on academic literacy as part of a UTF award I know quite a bit about how academic writing issues are perceived and played out at Leeds and cross-institutional networks to develop and support future research and development work.  Second, I work closely with the School of Design, especially fashion design, on writing development issues and so can bring to the project students and tutors who are very skilled with and pragmatic about technology, have very distinctive issues - in every sense of the word - about academic writing and would be willing to work with us to develop and trial solutions and enhancements.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I bring to the project a leavening (or should that be leadening...) of anxiety about and incompetence with technology that will ensure that our project will have been securely idiot-proofed.  If I can do it, then it will be doable...  I say this flippantly but actually I think my role is important - I am actually excited about technology, but I find it hard going so my resistances, anxities, ways of seeing and doing will be really useful to the team in developing sustainable solutions that work for people without the impressive grasp of ICT that the other, to my mind, truly awesome women have.

My current favourite web-based application or site is.... ? well, I am not sure what an application is - if it is the BBC Listen Again feature it would be that.... Even I am lost for words trying to explain the delight it gives me to sit at my computer listening to my pick of the airwaves... Late Junction, Theme Time Radio Hour, Travelling Folk....  My favourite site is the highland pony enthusiasts group message board - which is where I live my realworld second life...  In the light of this, it will come as no surprise to know that non-educational uses of CMC is something I am interested in researching......

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Posted by Rebecca O'Rourke


  1. It seems a great project.

    Looking forward to knowing more about it.


    Cristina CostaCristina Costa on Sunday, 03 June 2007, 17:56 BST # |

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