Monthly Archives: February 2011

Academic Etiquette

Play the ball, not the player. Disagree properly.

This post was inspried by something I read at one of my favourite blogs about Academia, Goannatree – and something that the author, Anna, made mention of in one of her posts about ‘Commenting on Scholarly blogs’ – this is part of her brilliant series called ‘The Basics’ which I would highly recommend to any student regardless of where they are on their academic journey.
 
Play the ball, not the player!

This reminds me to challenge an idea, which is an inoffensive and necessary part of academia, and not to challenge the person, which can turn ugly and become highly offensive.

Academia is, by it’s very nature, sceptical and critical.  This is not a bad thing in and of itself.  However, I think that the measure of a good academic is how they can challenge an idea.  How they can challenge someone to think in a different way and how they can succinctly present a new and interesting arguement without making things personal.  Too often there is a motivation to personally attack someone because of an idea that they have proposed – this is not what academia is about.  Academia is about creating a safe forum in which ideas can be presented, countered, defended, deconstructed, a place of exploration and discovery. 

Disagreeing is fine, even encouraged, but please I beg of you, do so respectfully.  Play the ball (idea) not the player (proponent of the idea).

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Maybe I’m not as cool as I thought?

The following blog post is alarming and will unnerve a lot of you.

My name is Jonny McCormick and I may not be as cool I once thought.

It has come to my attention that I may not be as cool, hip and trendy as I had once expected.  Yes, it has taken me almost 23 years on earth to figure this out.  I’m as shocked as you are about it, trust me.  It’s totally knocked me for six today.

What prompted this revelation I hear you chant?  I went to the library at University, sought out, checked out and read an actual printed version of a journal.  I did not do what I normally do and just read it off the computer.  Wow. Life. Changed.

Having tangible, touchable reading material is brilliant, there really is no substitute.  That’s why I’m uncool (and yes, that is the only reason).  In a world of iPad, Kindle and eBook reader I would still rather hold a book.  There is something wonderfully accessible about the printed word…I just love it.

Long live the printing press.

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