In this post, dr. Jana Bouwma-Gearhart shares her views on the potential of blogs in contributing to sharing research knowledge – a domain usually populated by conferences. Dr. Jana Bouwma-Gearhart is a professor at the School of Education at University of Kentucky (USA). She obtained her PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her research interests also include issues related to effects of teaching professional development programs on both staff and students and faculty motivation. She is the chair of the science education program faculty, and is involved in teaching teacher education programmes. and in her recent work she has examined the role of blogs in research communication.
Recently, I attended the annual conference of the American Education Research Association (AERA), arguably the preeminent education research conference in the US and, perhaps, to many of our international colleagues as well. It was in Vancouver, Canada, one of the loveliest large cities in North America. It is also the most expensive. But I was committed to doing it all relatively on the cheap; I shared a bed in a rented apartment, I cooked many of my own meals, I invited colleagues over for drinks procured from the corner shop. Thus, the experience “only” cost about 2,200 US dollars. But I didn’t pay personally for the conference experience; I rarely do.
I was born into academia with a silver spoon in my mouth. My work as a graduate student, then Assistant Researcher, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was supported by numerous grants. My continued research studying higher education in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) qualifies me for some really big ones, most notably from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US. I have the pleasure of having support from three NSF grants and these, along with a rather generous university travel stipend (in comparison to many other universities in the US and surely in the world) for research and travel means that I have never really wanted for adequate support as an academic.