Posted by matthew on Oct 28, 2005 in eroleplay.net, research

Today was spent mostly transcribing my first interview. The day was productive, because I identified some handy transcription software called Transcriva that makes everything pretty easy. I was able to finish off transcribing the first interview today using this software.


Two down

Posted by matthew on Oct 27, 2005 in eroleplay.net, research

Well, the first interview was yesterday, and the second was is today, so I feel like I’m making progress. I think the responses in the first one were pretty much what I would have expected, and the second one uncovered some new issues that are give me some more leads.  It’s just as I thought — the process of interviewing the students themselves is definitely bringing my thoughts together and motivating me to find out more.  It could be a lucky break that these are students who are studying media and communications because they are clearly able to reflect on what they did in the role-play in quite an advanced way.


The Whole Story

Posted by matthew on Oct 27, 2005 in cambridge, life

Back in June & July when we visited Europe, Lotte and I started talking seriously about the idea of spending an extended stay there. We’d actually been talking about it since our previous trip when we visited Zurich and thought how fantastic it would be to live there. But this time we were talking about the practicalities rather than the dreams — if we wanted to make this happen, how would we do it exactly?

We figured out pretty quickly that the biggest hurdle would be for me to get a visa and a job. Lotte has excellent English and holds an EU passport, which makes everything pretty simple for her in many countries in Europe. It turns out that Switzerland is one of the most difficult places to move to in the world, and not even EU people can live and work there easily.

It didn’t take long for us to start thinking about the UK. It’s close to France, Holland and Sweden, and it has the distinct advantage of being a good place for an Australian to find work. It also happens to have a lot of universities.

When we got home, Lotte just asked me one day about where exactly I would like to live and work if I had my choice. The answer was obvious but I hadn’t really given it much thought until then. Cambridge. It’s about a year ago now that my supervisor was over in the UK and visited the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET) at Cambridge. He came back with a lot of good things to say about it. The interesting thing is that they were clearly interested in what we are doing at Melbourne as well, because in some ways our work is complementary as well as overlapping. The background of CARET is as a research unit, whereas CDS (where I work now) is made up mostly of people involved in the production of multimedia.

More recently, apparently, CARET has started to turn its attention more to projects involving the development and delivery of materials for courses — the sort of thing we do here all the time. At the same time we are attempting to bring more of an applied research model to what we are doing here.

In one of those really fortuitous turns of events I just decided to do a search of jobs in the higher education and see what turned up. The second job ad I looked at was actually from CARET and the Faculty of Education at Cambridge. It was quite bizarre — these jobs don’t come up very often. The job description was a very close match to my background.

I applied in late August, and didn’t hear anything for about a month. I actually only found out that I was shortlisted last Monday, and the interview was on Wednesday night. Despite some technical problems (the videoconference didn’t go according to plan) I thought it went pretty well. I answered all the questions and seemed to get along well with the interviewers.

After the interview I had a strange deflated feeling — perhaps because I had hardly slept the night before with nervousness, but also because there was really nothing I could do after that point. I mentally prepared myself for the possibility that I might get the job, but I had also didn’t expect too much because I knew the other candidates would be strong.

On Friday night we got home late and got the news by email. It said that they had given the job I applied for to another candidate. Again I had that sinking feeling in my stomach, along with the sort of immediate acceptance that I had tried my best. But then I kept reading.

The next sentence said that they had been impressed with my interview and my background, and wanted to offer me a different, even better, position. I was absolutely stunned. Not only was I going to Cambridge, they were offering me a new position that they were creating just for me, and it would be 100% within CARET, which is exactly where I wanted to work. I had got even more than I’d asked for!

Lotte and I have been so excited since getting the news we have hardly had time to think about anything else. The position is for 12 months in the first instance. We’ll move to Cambridge in January. So if anyone knows of some good accommodation in or around Cambridge, let me know!



Posted by matthew on Oct 22, 2005 in cambridge

Well, this one is a biggie. We found out late last night that I’ve been offered a position at CARET at the University of Cambridge, starting in January. I don’t have time to tell the whole story right now but needless to say we are both incredibly excited and will be rushing to get everything in order before we leave. Wow!


Poor neglected blog

Posted by matthew on Oct 19, 2005 in health, life

Okay, okay, so I haven’t been updating much lately. Well, at all. It’s just that I don’t have a lot to talk about. Well, there’s news, but for various reasons I’m not able to talk about it here yet. Maybe more soon.

I can say that I’ve been very busy lately. At the start of October I took over the coordinator role for my group and it’s meant quite a bit of extra work behind the scenes, on top of my normal project load. Some of it is boring, but some of it is quite interesting as well.

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost in November already and that MLX is only just around the corner. It’s a strange feeling not to have to worry about how the registrations are going, or to attend volunteer meetings at every spare moment.

The labyrinthitis continues, unfortunately, and on Monday I went in for an MRI, which was actually a much more greuling experience than I had imagined. Nothing at all like a CT Scan, which was pretty easy. The main difference is that the whole machine shudders and makes a huge racket, which makes you feel like you have your head inside a jet engine while it’s starting up. It’s very offputting.

I also wasn’t prepared for the strange feeling of the magnet sort of scanning around… it’s a very odd sensation and sort of made me think of weird science fiction brain probing experiments. The strangest feeling was my eyeballs sort of jiggling around as though they were being buffeted by an invisible force (which they probably were). I thought magnets only had an effect on metal! Perhaps it was just the vibrations of the machinery as it clunks around.

Whatever it was, I finished up with a king sized headache and my eyes were watering from movement. The funniest thing was they ask you to bring along a CD of your favourite music, which I did, but you can’t hear a bloody thing. First they shove huge earplugs in your ears, and then they turn up the volume so you can just hear it. But as soon as the scanning starts, you can’t hear anything else at all. I got up to find the medicos talking about what great dance music I’d chosen and smiling broadly, so at least someone was happy.


Interviews about to start

Posted by matthew on Oct 14, 2005 in eroleplay.net, research, roleplays

I’m gearing up to start interviews as soon as possible. The next stage is to contact the students with the Plain Language Statement and a copy of the consent form. I’m feeling confident after spending quite a bit of time observing the class and getting to know the students. They appear to be keen to participate and all signed up when I passed around the pen and paper!

Here’s a revised version of the interview questions, and attached to this post is the revised Plain Language Statement.

My notes from the two classroom visits are here*:

Notes from The Campaign Press Conference 7 October

Field Notes: SPC 9 September

And here are some of the notes on the Specification document for The Campaign:

Campaign Specification

* This post was originally made to my thesis work log. Links to pages on eroleplay.net are password protected.