I am not an expert on the status of men and women in OR/MS, but I have two observations to offer.
1. I was surprised to see that no women attended the social networking session at INFORMS (three women were on the panel).
2. I was surprised to see that several men attended the work-life balance session at INFORMS. Better yet, they even asked questions.
One step backward and one step forward. Certainly, there are gender disparities in blog readership (more men read blogs, particularly technical blogs), blog commenting (I’d wager than men are more likely to leave comments), twitter participation (more women tweet). This might translate into disparities of who feels comfortable attending a social networking panel. (Note: by disparities, I literally mean differences, with no judgment attached). I wonder about disparities because quite a few women asked me about the session during the conference (I received more inquiries from women than men) so I know that they were interested but didn’t show up. I don’t have a way to draw conclusions from my small sample of observations.
I’ll stop there before I put my foot in my mouth. What do you think?
The social networking panelists at INFORMS courtesy of Anna Nagurney
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being on a panel about blogging in academia. The panel is part of a weeklong course about teaching with technology, offered here at VCU. Four bloggers were on the panel, including myself and
I am really impressed with my colleagues, who use blogs to perform scholarship and to take “peer review” to the next level (I used quotes because it’s not exactly peer review, although it’s certainly transparent). A lot of discourse and discussion can happen through non-traditional and technical channels. I can’t see this happening in scientific disciplines in the same way, but blogs (and technology in general) are changing academia. For example, I am very impressed with Cheryl Balls online tenure package blog (I saw this tweeted and retweeted by academics).
Most of the course participants were interested in using blogs in the classroom. After discussing the logistics of required students to write a blog and setting boundaries and grading criteria, several people noted the advantage: Students write much better on blogs, where their peers can read their writing (as opposed to only their instructor reading what they write). Students are more invested in the process, since the transparancy makes them more vulnerable. And when outsiders comment on their blogs, they have an “Ah ha” moment that hooks them.
Writing is so important in scientific disciplines, yet it is something that receives too little attention. And when it does, there is a lot of complaining. It seems like writing with technology (blogs or otherwise) could help students get excited about STEM fields as well as prepare them for all the writing they will do in their careers.
You can watch some of the events streamed live here. Unfortunately, they are not recording the sessions.
The panel also motivated me to twitter a lot more. I am slowly finding my twitter voice. Are there any hashtags that are useful for OR discourse? Send me a tweet with your tips!