Thursday, January 24, 2008

How does your research garden grow?
Today I have had a really indulgent afternoon actually following up some of my own research interests. Some of these are linked back to work I encountered years ago at Brighton around answer gardens and answer jungles, which seem to have a lot in common with recent work people have done on wikis and student learning. Victoria Carrington's blog has encouraged me to look at the journal First Monday where I found this paper by Fei Gao and David Wong. I have ordered a vanload of books off Amazon and hope my newfound enthusiasm will last till they arrive so I can do some reading!

Victoria has also been posting quite a bit about maps. On her recommendation I explored Google Maps Mania and found this fascinating map which seems to take league tables a step further than anything we get from the Times Higher or Guardian. With today's news about the patchy effectiveness of student bursary schemes, perhaps we could do with a map like this that charts which places in England are best at managing to identify the students who are eligible for bursaries and even more importantly managing to pay the same students the actual money.. mind you, I would be in favour of that since we are apparently the 13th best in the country at doing that..

One of the interesting things about using Google to amble through a subject is of course the odd things that turn up that aren't actually what you are looking for but which are still entertaining at least for a moment. Searching on 'answer garden' brought up lots of gardening pages, including this YouTube ad for Yahoo which I would upload if I could work out how.. since I can't, and to maintain the garden theme and add a bit of summer to this dark January day post, here's a picture of our friends' amazing garden.

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