My PhD candidature report card 2014

1416804548-kris-greaves211114It was a good year for my PhD candidature. I have learned a lot, and met dozens of interesting people online and through national and international conferences.

Here is my report card for 2014, with reference to my thesis, journal articles, conference presentations, awards, social media (status are cumulative) and other activities…

PhD Thesis

I am approaching the end-stage with my PhD Thesis, ‘Australian PLT Practitioners’ Engagements with Scholarship of Teaching and Learning’. The document is at near-final draft with 100,000 words written across twelve chapters and includes 40 figures. Proofing and editing continues, and subject to the comments of my supervisory panel, I anticipate I will notify my intention to submit the thesis for examination sometime before 30 March 2015.

Journal Articles

Greaves, K 2014, ‘Is Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Practical Legal Training a Professional Responsibility?’, The Law Teacher, forthcoming.

Greaves, K 2014, ‘Re-Imagining Practical Legal Training Practitioners – Soldiers for ‘Vocationalism’, or Double Agents?’, Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, vol. 7, no. 1/2, p. forthcoming.

Conference Presentations

Greaves, K 2014, ‘Conceptualising PLT Practice as a Community of Learning through Practice Research’, paper presented to Australasian Professional Legal Education Council Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, November 2014.

Greaves, K 2014, ‘The Forks of Law: Structure and Agency in Australian Post-Graduate Pre- Admission Practical Legal Training’, paper presented to British Sociological Association Annual Conference – Changing Society, University of Leeds, UK, April 2014.

Greaves, K 2014, ‘‘O Where Are You Going? O Do You Imagine?’ Reproduction and Response – A Reflexive Sociology of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Practical Legal Training’, paper presented to Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference – Responding to Change, Leeds, UK, April 2014.

Greaves, K 2014, ‘Professional Turns: The Juridical Field, Australian Practical Legal Training Practitioners, and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning’, paper presented to ISSOTL14, Quebec City, Canada, October 2014.

Awards etc

Stan Marsh Bursary – Association of Law Teachers – Leeds, England, April 2014.

ISSOTL Award for Best Student Conference Verbal Presentation – International Society for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – Quebec, Canada, October 2014.

Print Media

Whiteley, Claire, ‘Innovative Train of Thought’, Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, Australia), 21 November 2014.

Social Media (to date)

Academia.edu – Anon 2014, Kristoffer Greaves | Deakin University – Academia.edu, Academia.edu, retrieved 31 December 2014, KristofferGreaves> – 39 items, 463 views.

figshare – Anon 2014, figshare.com/authors/Kristoffer_Greaves/606543, figshare Digital Science, retrieved 31 December 2014, <http://figshare.com/authors/Kristoffer_Greaves/606543> – 42 items, 445 views.

PleagleTrainer Blog – Greaves, K 2014, PleagleTrainer Blog, Kristoffer Greaves, retrieved 31 December 2014, – 19,962 unique page views.

ResearchGate – Anon 2014, researchgate.net/profile/Kristoffer_Greaves/contributions, ResearchGate GmbH, retrieved 31 December 2014, – 23 items, 653 views.

SlideShare – Greaves, K 2014, My Presentations, Kristoffer Greaves, retrieved 31 December 2014, – 17 items, 17,823 views.

Social Science Research Network – Anon 2014, Greaves, Kristoffer Scholarly Papers, retrieved 31 December 2014, <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1850376> – 7 items, 3,501 views.

Twitter (PleagleTrainer) – Greaves, K 2014, PleagleTrainer, retrieved 31 December 2014, <https://twitter.com/PleagleTrainer> – 987 followers, 100,987 impressions since 4 December 2013.

YouTube – Greaves, K 2014, kglawyer Channel, retrieved 31 December 2014, < https://www.youtube.com/user/kglawyer> – 38 items, 4,723 views.

Other Activities

Presenter – ‘Working with NVivo’ – Methodology on Fridays – Deakin University, Waurn Ponds – 7 March 2014.

Presenter – ‘Advanced Techniques with NVivo’ – Deakin University Warrnambool Collective – Warrnambool, 21 June 2014.

Presenter – HDR Workshop on NVivo – Deakin University Burwood Campus – 19 August 2014.

Presenter – HDR Workshop on NVivo – Deakin University City Prime – 20 August 2014.

Independent Consultant: Invited to independently consult to the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council (APLEC) to rejuvenate their website and institute a digital research repository for scholarship of teaching and learning – November 2014 (details to be confirmed).

Consulting Editor: Joined editorial committee of the Legal Education Review as consulting editor – December 2014.

Peer reviewer: the Alternative Law Journal (AltJ), Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association (JALTA), Legal Education Review, and the Tasmanian Law Review – 2013 to 2014.

Participant: the Warrnambool Collective, Deakin University, Warrnambool – 2013 to 2015.

Curator: Social Media in Legal Education Blog – since July 2014.

Curator: LinkedIn Group – Practical Legal Training Educators Australasia – since 2012.

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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in PLT gets a Bit ‘o Press…

1416804548-kris-greaves211114The excellent people at Deakin University were pleased when I received an award from the International Society for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at their recent annual conference held in Quebec City, Canada (ISSOTL14). The award was for best oral presentation by a post-graduate student, and I appreciate receiving it, given I was presenting my research to a new audience of interdisciplinary scholars. It is always an unknown quantity when one travels to another country and presents in front of an international audience who are unlikely to be familiar with your work or the peculiarities of your discipline. I am heartened by the warmth and friendliness of people at overseas conferences, particularly the Association of Law Teachers annual conference in Leeds, England, earlier this year, and ISSOTL14. Thanks to Dr Michael McShane, who alerted me to ISSOTL14 and prompted me to submit an abstract for the conference.

Geelong Advertiser 211114Thanks also to my supervisor, Dr Julianne Lynch, who is supportive in that rare constructively confronting way essential to great academic supervision – Juli prompted the Deakin Research group to spread news of the award – their research writer Claire Whiteley interviewed me and wrote a nice item, published in the Geelong Advertiser (the local news) and reproduced on Deakin’s Research Showcase website. Scholarship of teaching and learning in practical legal training is a bit of a niche topic – so it is good to see it get a public outing.

 

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#APLEC2014 – “Conceptualising PLT Practice as a Community of Learning through Practice Research”

I am attending the annual conference for the Australasian Professional Legal Education Council hosted by the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in Auckland this year (13-15 November 2014). I will post some impressions from the sessions I’ve attended after I return to Australia today, but overall the standard of the presentations is very high and there seems to be  momentum building for research in PLT practice. Thanks to APLEC for their support for my attendance at the conference.

I presented yesterday on “Conceptualising PLT Practice as a Community of Learning through Practice Research” – I am arguing  PLT practice research encompasses professional practice research, scholarship of teaching and learning in professional legal education and the social, cultural, regulation, and policy around PLT.

Here’s a copy of my Prezi (more on this later):

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Concept Mapping Lave & Wenger’s ‘Legitimate Peripheral Participation’

I recently revisited Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger’s canonical work, Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (1991, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). I am glad I did, because I had forgotten how Lave and Wenger’s theory of “legitimate peripheral participation” might intersect with the sociological dimensions of my research regarding PLT practitioners’ engagement with scholarship of teaching and learning.

For now, I might let the “exhibit speak for itself”. Click on the image for an enlarged view of the concept map. Click here, for a dynamic Prezi version.

Lave and Wenger Legitimate Peripheral Participation

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Research in Australian PLT – Has Much Changed?

Here’s John Nelson,* writing in 1988:
nelson 1988Has much changed since those comments?

It is not always easy to know what current research is undertaken in PLT, because little is published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, and few practitioners in the field share their work by other means, e.g. social media. There was briefly a dedicated journal for Australian PLT and clinical education, The Journal of Professional Legal Education, which ceased publication in 1998.

There are few articles focused on PLT, particularly scholarship of teaching and learning in PLT, in Australian legal education journals such as the Legal Education Review, and the Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association. Of those that are published, few are cited elsewhere, save where the research is the result of collaborations with non-law disciplines, e.g. behavioural sciences.

I’ve nearly completed a bibliometric analysis of 10 journal articles published in scholarly journals since 2006, regarding PLT and relating to scholarship of teaching and learning concepts. My preliminary observations:

The ten articles do not have citation counts on Web of Science, or Scopus, so I was unable to able to do automated citation analysis there. Two articles have citation counts on Google Scholar.

The group of ten articles cited 186 sources:
Articles – 133
Books – 29
Conf Papers – 13
Research Papers – 6
Reports – 5

Google Scholar listed 166 of the sources, with citation counts ranging from nil to 8982 (median = 15) (June 2014). Sources with high citation counts were usually in behavioural sciences.

SCimago SJR ranked journals for 43 citations (June 2014). Of these four were published in The Law Teacher, the only SJR ranked journal cited in the articles that specifically focused on legal education. Five were cross-disciplinary law journals (e.g. involving sciences, psychiatry, behavioural sciences, and politics), and six were law journals. The remaining journals focused on education (15, including cross-disciplinary journals involving technology), psychology (7), and other disciplines including psychiatry, medicine, and management.

JCR ranked journals for 32 citations (June 2014). Of these three were published in the Journal of Legal Education, the only JCR ranked journal cited specifically focused on legal education. Five were cross-disciplinary law journals, and four were law journals. The most numerous disciplines were education (7), and psychology (7). The remainder were comprised of other disciplines including psychiatry, medicine, and management.

Personally, I do not accord any particular magic to citation counts.  I am interested in how we can use bibliometric analysis to empower individual PLT practitioners to operate strategically inside and outside conventional metrics, to make cases, to garner institutional support and allocation of resources to SoTL work. I am also interested in the “Kardashian index” phenomenon, where a social media profile can acquire certain cultural and symbolic capitals, which might help practitioners to garner support and resources for research.

As I have said elsewhere, I think SoTL in PLT is important for many reasons. We need to work on building institutional support and resources for SoTL work. We can also empower PLT practitioners to undertake such work.

* John W Nelson, New directions for practical legal training in the nineties : an evaluation of the curriculum of the College of Law’s P.L.T. Course and its relevance to students’ work experiences in practice / a research project conducted on behalf of the College of Law by John W. Nelson, assisted by Pamela E. Stewart (1988).

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“Reading” journal articles, texts, cases…

Those of us who mentor, teach, write, and research in legal professional education and training tend to read a lot. It may seem strange that I should post about “how” I “read” certain materials for study and research purposes.

The impetus for this post came from discussions I had with academics, teachers, and students, about how I take notes, and how I approach literature reviews. For example, one academic noticed I had over 2,000 journal articles in my Endnote library. Then she referred to my comment that technology does not substitute for one’s own intellectual and critical engagement with the texts. “How”, she asked, “did you manage to read all those articles?”

Well, I did read them. And I didn’t. At times I want to get through a lot of literature quickly, but effectively. This is what I do:

Before I start reading, I make a concept map of main headings (I’ve used Scapple for these examples). Headings can be extracted from a book’s table of contents, and most articles have headings;* if not, create your own:

reading1 Here, for example, I’m looking at Eric D Ragan et al, ‘Unregulated use of laptops over time in large lecture classes’ (2014) 78 Computers & Education 78.
DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2014.05.002.

I “skim” the article for sub-headings, topic sentences,  key quotes, and add these to the concept map:

reading2Ten minutes’ work gives me a single page “snapshot” of the text. I can save this figure to the record for this article in my Endnote library. I know that not everybody likes concept maps – it is possible to use the same approach in tabular or organisation chart format – use what works for you. The kinaesthesia, or “doing”, of the visualisation pays off for recall and synthesis of information.

In Scapple, I can export the text in the concept map to a “research notes” or “keywords” field in the Endnote record. This effectively “tags” the record with searchable keywords, making it possible to cross-reference articles with similar keywords. I use the Endnote “smart groups” tool to search for keywords and collate mini-libraries of references. This makes it easier to export them for more detailed analysis later, using tools like NVivo. In so doing, I make the “reading” pay off later, becoming a durable resource for study and research.

Producing the concept map helps me to recall the salient features of an article. I’ve used a similar approach when studying cases, legislation, text books, guides, manuals. etc.

The “skimming” technique takes a little practice. It gets easier as your knowledge of a topic improves. Rather than read the text line-by-line at first instance, train your eye to recognise key words and topic sentences. In essence, a good topic sentence expresses the controlling idea in a paragraph.** I find this is a much faster approach than reading a text line-by-line from beginning to end.

For later detailed analysis, you can read more closely. I find this easier when I’ve used the techniques described above. It is easier to apprehend and understand concepts on successive passes. If memory is your goal (“learning, association, retention, and reproduction”),*** creative repetition through skimming, mapping, “chunking”, organisation, and application, will assist you.

* A lot of research articles use the IMRAD structure (“introduction”, “methods”, “result”, “analysis”, “discussion/conclusion”), so you might make a template for these, ready to go.
** See: Randall L Popken, ‘A study of topic sentence use in academic writing’ (1987) 4(2) Written Communication 209.
*** Hermann Ebbinghaus, ‘1964’ (1885)  Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology. Also see: Fernand Gobet et al, ‘Chunking mechanisms in human learning’ (2001) 5(6) Trends in cognitive sciences 236; Eugène J. F. M. Custers and Olle T. J. ten Cate, ‘Very long-term retention of basic science knowledge in doctors after graduation’ (2011) 45(4) Medical Education 422.

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Working with figshare

figsharekgI recently added 27 items to figshare, which is an excellent repository for storing your research outputs.

Outputs can include figures, datasets, media, papers, posters, presentations and filesets.

A lovely thing about this set up, is that figshare attaches a DOI (digital object identifier) to each item. This helps to make all the items capable of citation, and easy to share. Because each item has its own DOI, you can also “altmetric it”, using the Altmetric Bookmarklet. This can reveal whether the item has been shared on social media and online citation managers.

I think it is possible to use figshare for blog posts too. For example, you could save a blog post as a PDF file, upload it to figshare as a “paper”, and tag it as “blog”, together with other relevant tags. It is true that you can already cite a blog post with reference to its URL, but I’m wondering if attaching the post to a DOI might prove to be a more durable form of referencing for research purposes? See C. Titus Brown’s blog post (and the comments attached to it) for an interesting discussion about this last point.

I will be adding more materials to my figshare profile.

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PleagleTrainer tries Pinterest

I was inspired by a post from the Social Media Research Collective blog to try out Pinterest. Click the image below to see my efforts from 1 hour’s work:

PleagleTrainer on Pinterest I’ve just collated some of my own work so far, so this is only a bit of self-curation. But in doing this I can easily understand how Pinterest could be a useful research and data sharing tool. I commend the Social Media Collective’s blog post to you, it shares excellent insights about using this tool.

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#alta2014 presentation: PLT Practitioners: Soldiers for Vocationalism, or Double Agents?

alta2014Feel free to view my ALTA 2014 Prezi.

This presentation extends on some previous work around my PhD research.
I question ways in which social structures are inscribed into legal education practices, and conversely, whether practices can modify those structures. I argue PLT practitioners are not simply soldiers for a “vocationalist” strategy. Instead, I re-imagine PLT practitioners as “double agents” or “resistance fighters”, lamplighters in a still emergent professional trajectory. It is a trajectory catalysed by the 1970s introduction of institutional PLT; just a baby really, in the context of English common law.

In Bourdieu’s terms it is possible, by revisiting past struggles in Australian legal education, to conceptualise institutional PLT as the product of judicial, professional, and academic struggles to produce a vocationalised, non-academic, and critique-free sub-field within the juridical field. Those struggles succeeded, to some extent, in the extra-individual dimension of structures, regulation, and institutions, to collectively inculcate preferred dispositions within individuals about legal education and professional identity.

That account, however, ignores the potential for agency and alterity – the ways in which individuals might appropriate, in Certeau’s terms, the resources of the legal field to explore new professional trajectories. For some, these trajectories involve struggles to enrich, and add texture to, legal education. Drawing on interviews with PLT practitioners, I identify multi-vocal and multi-perspectival themes, including notions of social justice, equality, professional ethics, personal improvement, and indeed, interest in scholarship of teaching and learning.

It is in this sense I re-imagine PLT practitioners as “double agents”, operating betwixt and between dominant domains in law. In my view, PLT practitioners can participate in conceptualising and developing emergent approaches in legal education, and to theorise “practice” as lawyers and educators. Scholarship of teaching and learning has its part to play in this. It provides a means, as lawyers and as educators, to discover information, to reflect, critique, communicate, and conceptualise, insights about “practice” and practices.

I hope to publish an article based on the presentation later this year.

 

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