Research vs scholarship

Today we had a discussion at work about the difference between scholarship and research. This discussion has gone on over the past few months, and we have not been able to really agree on a definition (yet). Academically minded colleagues see both as pretty much the same thing, while non academic colleagues generally argue that scholarship is an at least partly separate activity, something they can engage in in everyday life.

Bee Bond’s recent post on “Teaching EAP” outlines a vision similar to mine, and today I also found another definition that I can agree with, by Professor Jenelle Kyd. It offers definitions of ‘seeking of knowledge’ (scholarship) vs ‘generation of knowledge’ (research). This fits in well with CPD activities that members of CILIP and other professional organisations engage in and that inform their work.

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Blogging for academics and students

Having talked to a colleague about blogging the other day, I did some research about how blogs are used by academics, and how students can be encouraged to start blogging themselves. I would say the main reason for blogging is that you can get involved in a wider community of researchers/academics/professionals. This will expose you to new opinions, ideas, tips, and people. Your academic life may feel less lonely, as you can find other people who deal with similar topics or issues to yourself.

Have a look at the links below for some more inspiration:

6 blog tips for busy academics

23 Things for Research

Blogging for publicising research

Blogging 101 for academics

LSE: academic blogging

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As you know, I have been researching WebQuests lately. I think they are easy to make and use, an am surprised that I was not aware of them much earlier, especially as librarians have apparently used them for library instructions for a while.

I have created a WebQuest for my library, which can be found online and is open to everyone. Some of the resources can only be accessed via the VLE, so those are only available to members of the university.

I am currently writing an essay about this WebQuest for my MA course (due at the end of June), so any feedback is welcome, and will be used to improve this resource further.

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German tv in the UK

I have collated a brief list of German tv channels you can watch online in the UK. It might be useful to others, so here it is. Some programmes may not work due to legal restrictions, but I am hopeful that this will change in the future (EU single market and all that).

There are some streaming apps that claim to work well – if you choose to use them (not sure about legality of some of them).

Live tv

Deutsche Welle: mainly educational content and documentaries

Catchup tv

ARD Mediathek: Germany’s first public channel

Arte: German and French arts and culture channel

MDR Mediathek: Regional public channel (central)

NDR Mediathek: Regional public channel (north)

RTL: private channel, offering entertainment and edutainment

VoxNow: private channel, offering entertainment and documentaries

ZDF Mediathek: Germany’s second public channel

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Yesterday I learned about a website called WordSift, which turns out to be a useful tool for getting a quick overview of a text and its content. It works like Wordle, the word cloud generator, but looks more sleek and enables you to sort words by frequency or letter. There’s also a link to a visual thesaurus, and words can be marked by topic to stand out in the word cloud.

There’s a quick video tour:


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I am currently playing with WebQuests, exploring how I can use them for library inductions. I am very fortunate that one of the language teachers where I work has agree to let me use his students as guinea pigs.

I will ask students to write a short review about or guide to the library, suggesting certain topics to concentrate on if they wish, and encourage them to comment on each others’ work. To help them with the tasks, I will link the Quest to existing guides and resources that we keep on the university VLE, and suggest ways of finding out more about what the library does and how they can benefit from the services on offer.

One example that I liked when researching WebQuests is this one about ladybugs.

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If you are interested in languages and the future of language learning and teaching in the UK, you might want to join in with some upcoming Twitter chats organised by  the University Council of Modern Languages: #languagepolicyUK


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This week my MA module is all about blogging.

Having blogged for a while now, I felt that I could contribute to the discussion well, whilst being able to look at blogging from an outside perspective. I forgot that most people don’t blog, and that there are many different ways of doing it.

We had a quick discussion about blogging for language learning. I am in favour of this, having done it for about a year when learning Dutch. I found that blogging in Dutch enabled me to use (the very basic) language I knew, and even interact with native speakers from a very early stage. Some of these interactions were about points they corrected in my writing, but also about the content I was writing about. I mainly wrote about things I was experiencing, like going for walks, meeting friends, or seeing exhibitions. This helped me develop the vocabulary I needed to talk about my everyday life, rather than learn words to talk about the sick squirrel in the garden (as my text book encouraged me to do). I wish I had kept the transcripts!

I also read other people’s blogs in Dutch, about topics that interested me, for example librarianship. Twitter was also in invaluable source for ‘real language’ and tweets were short enough for me to follow discussions. I still follow some Dutch people from back then on Twitter and am in touch with some of the people I met on Facebook, even though my Dutch learning has stalled.

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When researching accents around the UK for a project at work, I came across You say potato, which is a great resource to use with students and source of fun. Other useful resources on accents and dialects are:

BBC Voices

International Dialects of English Archive

Sounds familiar?

If you have a strong regional accent and would like to help with our project, please get in touch. We’ll ask you to talk about a subject of your choice for about two minutes, then transcribe the recording and upload it to our university VLE.

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Handing in

This month I have handed in my first MA assignment. I found it difficult to create a logical thread to run through it for a while, and struggled with the reflective parts, but it all fell into place in the end. It’s all about my experience as a learner (with digital technologies), which sounds easy but when you teach others yourself it can become difficult to look at how you learn as an individual without trying to be objective all the time.

I have also handed in my FCLIP portfolio, which of course is full of reflection. I have worked on it for a while now, so I felt quite relieved when I had sent it.

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