It’s 8:21am. I’ve been sitting at my desk now since a little
after 6am, working feverishly on amendments to a journal article while also
planning out thesis amendments, my next blog series, and ideas for the In The Zone podcast. I’m also
trying to sort out my work situation for next year and scour the internet for
somewhere to live. Oh, and I’m
also organising a conference.
Just another day in the life of an academic hermit!
But it’s not all bad. The end is now well and truly in
sight. I’ve met my second supervisor and updated my thesis with his
suggestions, and now all that remains is to check that he is happy with my
changes and cut out about 400 words to bring my total under the 80,000 word
maximum required by my department. Though 400 words may not sound like a lot, this
will still take quite a lot of work as I’ve already honed down a lot of my
content to the bare minimum wordage where possible.
This may be hard to believe, but the main challenge with a
humanities thesis is not reaching the word-count, but cutting down your content
to fit within the maximum limit. Nearly there though, and not too long to go
until I submit!
Way back in 2013, I was invited to write a review
of the online grammar checker, Grammarly. I was paid by Grammarly directly to
write this blog, with the only requirement being that I had to open with the
phrase ‘I use Grammarly’s free online grammar check because…’ At the time, I
found Grammarly to be a fairly useful tool, though I did raise several concerns
including the academic implications of plagiarism checkers, and the danger of Grammarly
becoming a crutch for weaker writers.
Now, six years on, I find cause to revisit my original
review of Grammarly, and reiterate many of my original concerns as Grammarly continues
to expand its reach.
For many years now there’s been a trend in university libraries to focus on the provision of e-books and online resources over physical publications. This is especially true in recent times as university libraries seem to be moving towards a space to study rather than a place to find knowledge. Continue reading
It’s quite the trend in academia these days to set up a series of ‘conference accounts’ on social media to promote said conference and bring together all related materials. However, these accounts are rarely (if ever) worthwhile and can actually detract from what should be your primary marketing goal; namely to promote the work of the wider organisation to which your conference is attached. Continue reading
I’ve been involved in higher education for some time now – both as a student and an employee – and still to this day it surprises me just how obsessed some people are with posters.
And by posters here I don’t mean posters to stick on the wall; no, rather I mean posters to send out by email or for users to download from social media or a website. Got a conference coming up? Make a poster and send it to your mailing lists. Got an event? Make a poster and upload it to your blog.
But the thing is, pdf posters just aren’t made for digital media. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Posters are not SEO-friendly. Their content is not searchable online.
- Errors are difficult to correct. If you have a change of date or change of venue, you can’t just go out and edit all the posters you’ve already sent out into the ether.
- Posters are not mobile-friendly. Large files are slow to download and impact on a user’s data allowance. They also don’t make for easy reading on a mobile device.
- Posters can be time-consuming to create. They are not an efficient means of communication and can often be overlooked by a time-starved audience.