Currently I am working in the video conferencing and telephony world, to be more precise I work as part of a team in Cisco (the people behind Webex). This team is specifically focused on getting customers to test early release software and physical products around the “collaboration” space, which is a marketing way of saying communications like phones, instant messaging, enterprise video conferencing, etc.
At the start of this pandemic, I thought about tools like Webex, Zoom, Teams, etc, being used by new people and I knew that it would not be welcomed (it’s an acquired taste). Then I started to see how it was impacting people doing education and it was at that time I began to look at possibly doing some type of study around education and how it is done remotely and if it is successful.
I will say from University pretty much until today people have always mentioned to me that I should look at teaching or training people. It is an area that has brought me great pleasure when training new people and helping people understand different topics. I have always had an idea that it would be something I would do but was not sure how I would get to that point and I think the time we are in and the interest to learn a new skill has got me here. And who knows maybe a change of job at the end of it.
Why this module
Data is such a big part of my job and of pretty much everything now and being able to understand this area of Big Data and where it has come from is something that I have been looking to understand. From my current view Big Data is a word that is thrown around like “Cloud” is for computers, it is just a marketing term to make certain people feel comfortable in conversation, it doesn’t mean anything, there is no substance to the term.
The Edward Snowden revelations about data are also something that has me curious about Big Data. The revelations essentially showed that everything we do is being tracked and I was always curious how they (NSA) could wade through such large amounts of data and make sense of them (turns out they are not but it doesn’t stop them from collecting it).
There have been many other topics over the years that have piqued my interest in data and the lengths that people will go to to defend their right to it. If you have time the story of Aaron Swartz and his fight against the academic research paper industry is eye opening (and infuriating) one.
I am curious to know the true weight put behind this “data” in education. I have seen data manipulated or certain variables intentionally not collected so that the issues cannot be tracked, and I want to see how that is within education and if the same happens.
The ability to be able to make data have value is an area that I find myself attracted to, for example in Dear Data how the data has value because Giorgia and Stefanie spent time mulling over it and really extracting the good.
I think over the course of IDEL it was the data modules that I took more of an interest in over the time. I will say that on listening to the podcast about what the upcoming modules where I thought the opportunity to have Ben Williamson as a part of the experience and hear his view was one not to miss.
Really looking forward to this module and I have already enjoyed the readings and the initial two weeks, onwards!