Week 1 February 2021

2021-02-02 Tuesday — Joe Corneli

Start of the week

I went over my two draft EPSRC proposals, using the standard reviewer form to structure them further. That improved them somewhat. I also sent a copy of the ‘1st proposal’ to internal Brookes colleagues Dev, Jintao, and Ari. I received some written feedback on previous drafts from Brendan Fong and Valeria de Paiva of Topos. Their criticisms should improve the clarity of the presentation, and I’m also thinking of delaying the second proposal on Arxana until it is more mature and backed up by a current demo. Hopefully my Brookes colleagues will soon have some feedback on whether the proposal that I shared with them is something they want to get involved with.

On Wednesday last week we had the initial AIDAN meeting. Since then we have set up a Google Group, Google Calendar, and Google Site, to get started with some active networking. People followed up with me about various themes, e.g., I’m meant to introduce Rachel and Hooshang, which I’ll do shortly! Maybe this will lead to a research project that my the students in my “Survey Fundamentals” class could tackle (surveying Rachel’s students?). On Wednesday I also had my first weekly office hour with the “Survey Fundamentals” students. I’m glad I set that up. It humanises the situation for everyone, and no one told me to do it so it’s a matter of my own initiative to have done so.

I seem to be reasonably well set with reading materials for the course, and I’ve mostly figured out how to use Moodle. During the week, Deyan and Leo and I had some interesting chats about why some people may have become especially overwhelmed with the move to online teaching. After a couple weeks, I’ve found that it definitely takes some of the time I might have otherwise used for research and accordingly seems to slow me down: but maybe this is a reason to adjust my expectations rather than just to complain that my expectations have not been met. (Riffing on Student Satisfaction: An alternative approach to assessing this important concept, which was shared by one of the students.)

Looking ahead, I feel I need to re-emphasise energy management rather than time management. It seems like under the current circumstances I would struggle to find time to work on big monolithic projects. However, if I can break down the projects a bit further I may find I have the energy to tackle something small.

Some of these prospective ideas follow. Maybe the breakdown should eventually be moved into org-super-agenda rather than just living in PostIt notes. But, the PostIt notes are a decent start.


I made decent progress getting the earlier versions running, but havent yet written up a report on what we would want the recent version of the system to actually do, e.g., a real plan of work for the ‘2nd’ EPSRC proposal.


Here I have gotten off to a good start thanks to some correspondence over the weekend with Thomas Baruzzi. However, there are loads of historical reviewer comments to get through, the rest of the ML Street Talk video to watch, the actual slides to prepare, and if I get through all of that, the paper rewrite to tackle. It probably makes sense to get all of these sub-tasks going in parallel. (Interestingly this might be a use case for Arxana, insofar as it involves various views and transclusions within one corpus.)

HCI Ethics

This project has been moving reasonably well, because Luís and I (and sometimes others) have been having weekly meetings about it. However, if everything needs to be done in those meetings, the progress will be at a snail’s pace. What else can be done? One of the points of resistance is that there are lots of relevant books to read but I haven’t been able to go to the library, and I’m not sure I can afford to buy all of the relevant books! That said, I have bought a half-dozen books or so that would be relevant so I could try to read or skim-read those.


Some of my intuitions about peeragogy could potentially go into an NSF “Future of Work” proposal... though doing that as a volunteer rather than as part of my job at Brookes could prove exhausting. Meanwhile it is super straightforward to go through the remaining comments on the Pattern Catalogue chapters into concrete Next Steps. I expect something interesting can emerge from that. Charlie Danoff (and maybe some others) would be interested to join the Emacs Research Group on February 13th for a practical session on Org Mode and Peeragogy.


That gives an initial breakdown of the main tasks that I had been hoping to “find time” to work on. Hopefully now, the game has shifted somewhat. That said, although I’m not feeling ‘burnt out’, I have been feeling pretty tired today, so I may need a bit of time off to recoup before digging into these things.

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