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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

THE HALLWAY TO ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE as visual metaphor for the summer doctoral programme

From 15th until 28th of July I attended the Summer Doctoral Progamme of the Oxford Internet Institute which was this year at the Berkman Center of Harvard Law School. The program - - consisted of a rich mixture of plenary sessions, student presentations, personal contributions, social activities and plans for the future. I think it can be described most accurately as a storm, which slowly took hold of me and the other participants, and hopefully will have shaken some things up for good. The plenary sessions were the foundation on which further thinking, collaboration and discussion could be grounded.
The tutoring, by Faculty from the Berkman Center, the Oxford Internet Institute and the Queensland University of Technology, was superior and magnificently diverse. Lectures were at Austin Hall, which makes me feel like being in the movie Legally Blonde (Tagline: believing in yourself never goes out of style) or Harry Potter (which was actually shot at Oxford). Thanks to our Power Bloggers (some of them must have been sport journalists in their previous lives) and the technology of Berkman we also have the most magnificent news feed and wiki.

The 33 participants all presented a part of their work in smaller 45 minute afternoon sessions. These sessions were not so much meant to convince the others of the greatness of one’s work, but to get feedback and discuss various possible issues and options regarding the substance and methodology of the work presented.

Apart from fellow participants, each session had an assigned faculty member to give feedback as well. I had the pleasure of having Ralph Schroeder comment on my work (The bald guy in the picture on the right).

I took the liberty to map the essence of the various most excellent critiques of the faculty members of the research seminars on the picture of the hallway of our dorm (thanx Rachel for the pic). This Hallway is the ideal visual metaphor for our journey to get our ph'd. And: the rhetoric device of visual metaphor facilitates selection and integration of information, therefore making the message contents more memorable. I should not forget to mention Jonathan Zittrain, who should receive most credit for the contents of this visual map and it was great to learn from him how to make a ‘perfect’ presentation.

Besides, I just love pictures and think they make knowledge more memorable.

In any case please feel free to send me ideas, suggestions and critiques.


Bridget said...

I loved the Hallway to Academic Excellence - it summed up a lot of my thoughts (and reservations!) about my own academic pursuits (Masters, not PhD in my case)...WRT Presentation, you seem to be suggesting that form comes before content... Or are you taking content as a given, and therefore form is the icing on the cake?

Gluckstaler said...


We're in Academia, we are doing serious research. Content is King. We are very happy if only three people read what we are doing. So please, please leave me alone in my ivory tower ;-)))))

Well I'm suggesting as content is a given, why not package it with icing and loads of cream so that it not only nourishes us but also tastes well?



Lika said...

Ralph, hello from Lika! Nice to find out that you are doing well - as it seems to me! For how long are you going to stay in the US? Take care, L.