Happy Mother’s Day, Mahvash and Fariba!

#ReleaseBahai7 NOT ANOTHER YEAR of missing graduations, weddings, and births!

Today’s blog will honour Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi, the two women arrested in 2008 for simply being, nothing more and nothing less, members of the Baha’i Faith.

Mahvash Sabet was born on 4 February 1953 in Ardestan. She began her professional career as a teacher and also worked as a principal at several schools. After the Islamic revolution, however, like thousands of other Iranian Baha’i educators, she was fired from her job and blocked from working in public education. She married Siyvash Sabet on 21 May 1973. They have a son and a daughter, Masrur and Negar.

Mahvash was arrested in Mashhad on 5 March 2008. in these nine years she has missed the graduation of her daughter, the publication events that have occurred since the publication of her book, Prison Poems, and many other special moments in a family’s history.

Fariba Kamalabadi was born in Tehran on 12 September 1962. An excellent student, she graduated from high school with honors but was nevertheless barred from attending university. Instead, she embarked on an eight-year period of informal study and ultimately received an advanced degree in developmental psychology from the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), an alternative institution established by the Baha’i community of Iran to provide higher education for its young people. Fariba married fellow Baha’i Ruhollah Taefi in 1982. They have three children.

Fariba was arrested on 14 March 2008. In these 9 years of imprisonment Fariba has missed out on her youngest daughter’s graduation, this same daughter’s wedding in 2014, and the birth of her grandchildren in 2014, 2016, and 2017. Letters to her daughter on her wedding day and to her grandson on his birth expressed the pain she felt by being deprived the right to be by her children’s sides on these special moments:

This pain is the pain of being apart, the pain of a mother being far from her child for these many years, without the aid of the tongue which creates loving poetry for her. In her thoughts has held her tight and given her warmth; without the use of her eyes she has witnessed her growth, and now with the eye of the soul she is observing her all elegant and graceful in a white wedding gown.”

“Although I am deprived of seeing, touching, smelling, kissing and holding you in my arms, you do not know how I was counting the moments until your arrival…your birth not only heralds the permanent birth of gentleness and serenity in the universe, but it also promises the realization of the oneness of humankind on earth.”

*The above information was adapted from: http://iranpresswatch.org/post/17505/no-mother-can-deprived-seeing-children-grow/

More information about Mahvash Sabet can be found in this video: 9 Things You May Not Know About Mahvash Sabet.

And this lovely video illuminates the effects that these illegal arrests have had on their families: The Missing Years.

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Enough! Not Another Year

Nine years ago, seven innocent men and women were rounded up by Iranian authorities and thrown into the infamous Evin prison solely because of their religious beliefs.

The seven were the ad hoc, appointed leaders of the Iranian Baha’i community, which has undergone severe persecution since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Over the last 38 years, more than 200 Iranian Baha’is have been killed or executed, hundreds have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have lost jobs or businesses or have been deprived of higher education.

Currently, there are about 90 Baha’is in Iranian prisons – all held because of their religious beliefs and activities.

Under international law, the seven Baha’i leaders, who were initially sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, should never have been arrested in the first place.

The charges against them clearly stem from their religious beliefs and activities – and freedom of religion is protected by numerous international covenants and treaties, most of which Iran itself is party to.

But even under Iranian law, the seven have been repeatedly denied their rights. The violations include:

Though Iranian law requires that detainees be quickly and formally charged with crimes the seven Baha’is were held for at least nine months before any word of the charges against them were uttered by officials, and even then it was at a press conference, not in a court setting.

The right to legal counsel is spelled out in Iranian law but the seven were denied access to their lawyers for more than a year and then only allowed barely one hour of contact before their trial began.

Detainees who have been charged also have the right to seek bail and to be released pending trial. The Baha’i leaders were consistently denied bail, despite numerous requests.

And having by now served nine years of a 10 year sentence, the seven have been eligible for immediate release for several years now but the authorities have chosen to keep them incarcerated.

This short video has a short explanation of the case and features a poem from one of these individuals, Mahvash Sabet. Please watch and share: https://www.facebook.com/BahaisofIreland/videos/881376481973344/?hc_ref=SEARCH

Read more at https://www.bic.org/not-another-year-9th-campaign/their-imprisonment-illegal#MOjSVsHEH3ERdcfZ.99

I copied this post directly from: http://www.bahai.ie/?p=8952

Starting in tomorrow’s blog, I will post information about each of these 7 individuals.


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A Quiet Genocide

This year marks the 9th anniversary that 7 leaders of the Baha’i Faith have been imprisoned by the Iranian government for one reason only.

Not because these 7 leaders are trying to overthrow the government (Baha’is are forbidden by our religious texts to do this). Not because these 7 leaders did anything illegal (Baha’is are instructed to obey the laws of the land in which they live). Not because these 7 leaders belong to a secret club that includes only certain people (most Baha’i activities are open to anyone from any culture, any tribe, any religion, any….).

For one reason only: they are Baha’is. They believe in equality of all people, regardless of gender, abilities, race, religion, tribe, culture, colour, etc. They believe in the right to an education. They believe in the right to choose your religion. They believe in peace, unity, justice for all. The Iranian government believes Baha’is are a threat to the country and so these 7 leaders have been imprisoned for the past nine years.

Imagine the sadness of not being able to attend the funeral of your close friend, someone you have known all your life. Now imagine the heartbreak of not being able to attend the funeral of your spouse, someone so close to your soul that you are virtually one person. Imagine not being able to attend birthdays, graduations, weddings, or any other moments in life that you cherish simply because you are with your loved ones. All because you belong to a specific religion. No other reason.

And the persecution continues with other members of the Baha’i Faith being harassed, arrested, having their property stolen or destroyed, being forbidden to work (most have to start their own businesses, which are often shut down or shunned), being forbidden to attend post-secondary (even children in elementary get harassed by teachers and school administrators), the list goes on.

There is documented proof of the government’s order to decimate the Baha’i community. The arrests, imprisonments, harassments are not isolated events. They are systematic actions taken with the full support of the Iranian government.

It’s time that this genocide was stopped. For more information, check out this website created by concerned individuals who are not Baha’is themselves but who recognize the appalling reality of the situation of the Iranian Baha’is: http://aquietgenocide.com/. 

Please share this information as widely as you can. And join the campaign to #ReleaseBahai7.


I will be posting information about the imprisoned Baha’is over the next nine days so follow me to receive updates.

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Using the Jigsaw technique

One of the benefits of participating in a close, collaborative group involved in learning is the wealth of knowledge that is shared. Shared learning is often the result of using the jigsaw technique, an instructional technique developed by Elliot Aronson and his colleagues in the 1970s (American Psychological Association (APA), 2003). Although the purpose of this instructional technique was to reduce interracial tensions when it was first developed, it is now used as an effective method of creating collaborative learning within a specific group of individuals.

Puzzle pieces

First image

As with all instructional techniques, there is a variety of ways of implementing the Jigsaw method. In the MALAT program, we had the opportunity to practice two levels of this technique. The first level consisted of members within one team each sharing two examples of technology-mediated programs that they were familiar with. In this way, one team of four was exposed to eight different available programs.

The second level consisted of each team choosing only two of their

Puzzle pieces 2

Second image

programs to share with the entire class. Since there were eight teams in the MALAT program, this resulted in each team being exposed to 14 other programs, on top of the eight they had shared within their team. In simple terms, in one week, I learned about 22 different technology-mediated programs available in Canada.

Without this collaborative activity, I would likely not know about the FASD Learning Series that the Alberta Government provides free for families and caregivers affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Or that there is a certificate program for yoga instructors to learn how to design specialized treatment programs for clients with chronic health issues. Business managers and entrepreneurs may be interested in the Social Media certificate course offered by Humber College. And health care professionals who work in neonatal departments likely would need certification in neonatal resuscitation offered through Lakeridge Health Education and Research Network in Ontario.

I was excited to learn about BAWL (Building Aboriginal Women’s Leadership), a fully online program for aboriginal women interested in working with tribal or band councils, management boards and boards of directors of Aboriginal organizations. And for those into data science, a course on R Programming for statistical analysis is available through Coursera. Programs that open many doors of opportunity include the Applied Management Certificate program offered online through both Camosun College and the University of British Columbia (UBC). Surprisingly, even diplomas for teaching are available online through professional institutions such as the Vancouver Community College.

Puzzle pieces 3

Third image

All of this information, and more, gathered by one class of 31 students within one week as a result of a simple, yet astonishingly powerful, instructional method: the Jigsaw technique.


First image retrieved from http://pndblog.typepad.com/.a/6a00e0099631d0883301b8d0dc5be3970c-popup.

Second image retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140614001958-72735430-the-puzzle-pieces-of-life-business.

Third image retrieved from https://www.genome.gov/25522099/learning-about-autism/.

Alberta Government (February 9, 2015). Learning and Resources: FASD Learning Series. [Website]. Retrieved http://fasd.alberta.ca/fasd-learning-series.aspx.

American Psychological Association (December 19, 2003). How to Build a Better Educational System: Jigsaw Classrooms. [Weblog post]. Retrieved http://www.apa.org/research/action/jigsaw.aspx.

Camosun College (n.d.). Continuing Education: Certificate in Applied Project Management. [Website]. Retrieved http://camosun.ca/learn/programs/applied-project-management/.

Humber College (n.d.). Continuing Education: Social Media. [Website]. Retrieved  https://www.humber.ca/continuingeducation/program/social-media.

John Hopkins University (n.d.). Coursera: Data Science: Data Analysis: R Programming. [Website]. Retrieved https://www.coursera.org/learn/r-programming.

Lakeridge Health (n.d.). Advanced Medical Training: Neonatal Resuscitation Course. [Website]. Retrieved  https://www.lakeridgehealth.on.ca/en/trainingandresearch/neonatalresuscitationcourse.asp.

Mount Royal University (n.d.). Continuing Education: Yoga Therapy Extension Certificate. [Website]. Retrieved  http://www.mtroyal.ca/ProgramsCourses/ContinuingEducation/healthhumanservice/yoga/index.htm.

Sioux Hudson Literacy Council (n.d.). Good Learning Anywhere: BAWL. [Website]. Retrieved http://goodlearninganywhere.com/about/bawl/.

University of British Columbia (n.d.). Continuing Studies: Project Management. [Website]. Retrieved https://cstudies.ubc.ca/programs/project-management-certificate-online.

Vancouver Community College (n.d.). Instructor and Teacher Training: Provincial Instructor Diploma. [Website]. Retrieved https://cstudies.ubc.ca/programs/project-management-certificate-online.

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Standing on the shoulders of giants

As the first two courses in my MALAT program at Royal Roads come to a close and I look back over the past two months, I am amazed at the individuals that came together to form the cohort of which I’m a part. What each individual has given me to take away is astounding. Unfortunately, it cannot be summed up in 300 words or less, so grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy…

Marlas Kuiper has provided me with a better understanding of phenomenology. I would never have connected poetry with phenomenology if I hadn’t read her blog. “Not unlike the poet, the phenomenologist…infuses us, permeates us, infects us, touches us, stirs us, exercises a formative effect” (van Manen, as quoted in Kuiper, 2016).

Another colleague, Jim Stauffer, also contributed to my understanding of phenomenology by analyzing the work of John Griffin, author of Black Like Me. Jim used Griffin’s work to provide a very clear example of phenomenological research, concluding that, “…Griffin’s practice of entering and returning from the world of the subject he studied has framed my initial understanding of the limits of Phenomenology” (2016, Aug. 14).

Reading Colin Craig’s blog and the infographic he shared in class has also given me a greater understanding of specific cultures of inquiry. Colin has the ability to paint an image that is clear and relevant. For example, in his blog he tells us that, “If action research were the force, I’d surely be a Jedi” (2016, July 14).

Yet another colleague, Brian Lorraine, has helped me to better understand research by connecting how we view the word research and specific cultures of inquiry. With a carefully constructed twist, Brian shows how “re-search” relates to hermeneutics and “re: search” relates to phenomenology (2016, Aug 5).

Mary Snobelen has the ability to not only use common life experiences, but also humour to explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. It takes a lot of talent to incorporate humour into a dry topic like research in such a way that it makes sense and is relevant to the topic. “…there is a valid and important place for both Quantitative and Qualitative Research. … Which is great if you don’t know whether or not you want a refill” (2016, Aug. 9).

As a Masters student, I will be conducting a lot of research and, regardless of how strong or how much support I have for my argument, I must acknowledge both sides. Rhonda Darbyson provides a good example of this technique in her blog in which she addresses the issues of copyright infringement, preserving integrity, and accessibility. She leaves me pondering, “Where do we draw the line?” (2016, Aug. 1).

Satish Kotha also provides a good example of both sides of an argument. In pointing out the benefits and consequences of seeking knowledge using the Internet, he reminds me of the responsibility I have as a scholar and a learner, advising that “a critical evaluation of the text we are accessing as well as producing is necessary” (2016, Aug 7).

Other colleagues, such as Patricia Larose, help me to understand theoretical frameworks by providing a simple metaphor. In her blog, Patricia explains that theoretical frameworks are the blueprints for the research. “The framework is the underpinning, the base of which your research (house) is built” (2016, Aug. 1).

My colleagues have also helped me to understand the different learning theories introduced in class. For example, Kim Forgay provides a clear and concise explanation of constructivism. The examples she provides in her blog of how she uses this theory in her classroom solidifies my understanding of it. “…technology resources, such as Seesaw, allows them to construct meaning on an even deeper level by extending the learning and sharing it with others” (2016, July 15).

After reading Kristi Thomas’s blog, I now have a better understanding of scholarly communities. The relevancy of her examples helps me to understand how different scholarly communities form. And she provides some guidelines as to how I can find my own scholarly community, reassuring me that, “Before you know it, you’ll be immersed in one” (2016, Aug. 5).

And if it weren’t for Stephany Castilla, I would not have recognized how our cohort has created our own community of practice. She points out that we are sharing our knowledge through the various assignments. She identifies the attitude that is making this cohort so powerful, “We share a passion for our subject matter and want to learn how to do it better” (2016, Aug. 9).

In her blog, Deb Peros has effectively outlined the process involved in working together as a team. She identified the important headings of “concern”, “why this concern?”, “team dynamics”, “cultures of inquiry decision”, “presentation”, “my take away”, and provided a very brief summary of each step (2016, July 26). This was a very challenging aspect of my residency, and I will need her step-by-step analysis for future group work.

Michelle Johnson not only summarized the Community of Inquiry Model, but she also showed how each of the key features – social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence – applied to her experience in this program. By reading her blog, I, too, am able to “take what I knew, layer on what others had shared, and make new meaning” (2016, July 31). http://mymalat.weebly.com/home/royal-roads-research-panel

Kerri very nicely relates what she has learned to her work. Her blog helps me to understand how important it is to take time to reflect on my learning and how important it is that I use my learning in my work. “We implement these [processes and programs at work] with a foundation of assumptions/standards that don’t ever get discussed” (2016, Aug. 8).

Perhaps Darlene Bakker sums it best with her short blog on rabbit holes, a term given to the practice of jumping from one research topic to another in the quest to understand scholarly topics. Many of the questions she outlines in her blog have been discussed amongst the cohort over the past month, leaving a lot of us, including myself, doubtful of our abilities. Reassuring me, Darlene leaves me with practical instructions, “Trust the process. The rest should take care of itself” (2016, Aug. 7).



Bakker, D. (2016, Aug. 7). Rabbit holes and how much trouble can I get into? [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://darlene599.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/rabbit-holes-and-how-much-trouble-can-i-get-into/

Castilla, S. (2016, Aug. 9). Scholarly journals – Following the yellow brick road. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://stephanycastilla.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/scholarly-journals-following-the-yellow-brick-road/

Craig, C. (2016, July 14). How do I situate myself in research? [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://colincraigblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/blog-post-title/

Darbyson, R. (2016, Aug. 1). LRNT 502 – Unit 4 – Critical Analysis. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from http://leadingalearner.weebly.com/home/lrnt502-unit-4-critical-analysis

Forgay, K. (2016, July 15). Thumbs up constructivism. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://kimberlyforgay.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/thumbs-up-constructivism/

Johnson, M. (2016, July 31). Royal Roads research panel. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from http://mymalat.weebly.com/home/royal-roads-research-panel

Kerri, M. (2016, Aug 8). LRNT 502: Tying it all together. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://malatreflections.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/lrnt-502-tying-it-all-together/Kotha, S. (2016, Aug. 7). Muse on critical analysis. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://satishkotha.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/muse-on-critical-analysis/

Kuiper, M. (2016, July 27). Phenom-a-wha? [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://marlaskuiper.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/phenom-a-wha/

Larose, P. (2016, Aug. 1). Theoretical frameworks and how I see them. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://patricialaroseblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/theoretical-frameworks-and-how-i-see-them/

Lorraine, B. (2016, Aug. 5). ‘Re-search’ or ‘Re: search’? [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://educreating.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/re-search-or-re-search/

Peros, D. (2016, July 26). A reflection of my first “in person” cohort assignment. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from http://deborahperosrru.weebly.com/blog/a-reflection-of-my-first-in-person-cohort-assignment8376274

Snobelen, M. (2016, Aug 9). Descartes walkes into a bar… . [Weblog post]. Retrieved from http://snobelenmedia.com/2016/08/09/descartes-walks-into-a-bar/

Stauffer, J. (2016, July 14). Terminology and meaning II – What you’re saying is not what I’m feeling. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from http://www.wayupnorth.ca/blog/2016/07/14/terminology-and-meaning2-what-youre-saying-is-not-what-im-feeling/

Thomas, K. (2016, Aug. 5). How I see scholarly communities. [Weblog post]. Retrieved from https://kristithomasblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/how-i-see-scholarly-communities/

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The digital age: Changing how we educate, learn, and conduct business

Many researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs claim that the digital age is changing the way we think and learn, and how the economy works (for example: Bates, Bautista, Brown, Michalski, Rosenberg, Siemens, Suarez, Tapscott, Watson, Weller, and White, to name only a few). The themes that arise from these claims centre on relationships, connections, and abundance. This blog will explore the concept of abundance and how that is changing the nature of education.

According to Weller (2011) and Michalski (2011), traditional education is based on scarcity. Michalski (2011) claims that even curiosity is scarce in traditional classrooms. I agree with Michalski, and this lack of curiosity is the main reason why I homeschooled my four children.

The digital age has allowed this curiosity to continue, or resurface, in adulthood.

Image from Don Tapscott's video, "The Net Generation."

Tapscott, D. (2015). “The Net Generation.” ideacity [YouTube]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYitOb1bI0s (at 25:05).

According to both Weller (2011) and Michalski (2010), content and experts are no longer scarce due to forums, blogs, videos, content-sharing sites, wikis, and social networks that connect peers, experts, and learners. “The old one-way media highway is now two-way, and crowded. Barriers are falling everywhere…People are collaborating. Ideas are having sex” (Michalski, 2010, 4th paragraph).

This abundance has created pressure on institutions to change the way they provide education (Tapscott, 2016). This abundance is also changing the way we need to view learning (Siemens, 2005). One could argue that the abundance of information does not lead to knowledge; however, what one does with that information does lead to knowledge.

According to Tapscott (2015), millennials are the smartest generation in history due to the fact that they are not passive recipients of the information, as previous generations have been, but active generators, initiators, organizers, authenticators, and composers of the information. This generation is now entering the workforce and universities. Their expectations of what should be available to them are far different than the expectations of previous generations. Educators need to be prepared to accept these millennials as active creators of their own learning and businesses need to be willing to adapt to the reality of “a smarter, interconnected, mobile, always-on consumer force” (Suarez, 2013, 1st paragraph, bolded and italicized as in original).


Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a Digital Age. BC Campus. Retrieved http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Bautista, S. S. (2013). Museums in the Digital Age: Changing Meanings of Place, Community, and Culture. USA: AltaMira Press.

Brown, J. S. (2002). Learning in the digital age. M. Devlin, R. Larson, and J. Meyerson (Eds). The Internet & the University: Forum 2001. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved http://www.johnseelybrown.com/learning_in_digital_age-aspen.pdf

Michalski, J. (2010, June 4). What is the Relationship Economy? [Weblog post]. Retrieved http://therexpedition.com/?s=What+is+the+Relationship+Economy

Michalski, J. (2011, Nov. 13). Scarcity vs abundance in our schools. [Prezi] Retrieved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_R1N2Y-J8I

Rosenberg, M. (2001). E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age. USA: McGraw-Hill.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning (ITDL), January, pp. 1-8. http://doi.org/

Suarez, L. (2013, Sept. 3). Giving up control in the era of open business. [Weblog post]. Retrieved http://www.elsua.net/2013/09/03/giving-up-control-in-the-era-of-open-business/

Tapscott, D. (2015). The net generation. [YouTube]. Retrieved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYitOb1bI0s

Tapscott, D. (2016, May 10). Universities must enter the digital age or risk facing irrelevance. The Star. Canada:The Toronto Star Press Centre. Retrieved https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/05/10/universities- must-enter-the-digital-age-or-risk-facing-irrelevance.html

Watson, R. (2010). Future Minds: How the Digital Age is Changing Our Minds, Why This Matters, and What We Can Do About It. USA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Weller, M. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance. Spanish Journal of Pedagogy, pp. 223-236. Retrieved http://oro.open.ac.uk/28774/2/BB62B2.pdf

White, G. K. (2013). Digital fluency: Skills necessary for learning in the digital age. Australian Council for Educational Research. Retrieved http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi? article=1006&context=digital_learning

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How useful are peer-reviewed journals?

What purpose are peer-reviewed journals if nobody reads them? According to Biswas and Kirchherr (2015), less than 20 percent of peer-reviewed articles are even cited, much less read. If less than 20 percent of these articles aren’t even used to support the arguments of others, then why are more than 80 percent even being written? It certainly isn’t for the benefit of educating the masses. As Biswas and Kirchherr (2015) point out, the language used in these articles are too difficult for many practitioners and journalists. Furthermore, the articles are too long, even for government leaders and decision-makers (Biswas & Kirchherr, 2015). These factors would certainly rule out the average citizen.

Image of journals. Retrieved from http://www.lrc.usuhs.edu/.

Image of journals. Retrieved from http://www.lrc.usuhs.edu/.

“We know of no senior policy-maker, or senior business leader who ever reads any peer-reviewed papers, even in recognized journals like Nature, Science or The Lancet” (Biswas & Kirchherr, 2015). If policy makers and government are not willing to read these articles, then it is imperative that average citizens read them. No matter how thorough, unbiased, or thought-provoking is the research being reported, if the average citizen can’t or won’t read the article, the time spent on the research is of no use to society. Society doesn’t change because of a collection of peer-reviewed articles.

I believe that the time has come to value the work that is actually being read, and not just count the number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Biswas and Kirchherr (2015) also believe that the number of published articles should not be used to determine the success of an academic. Academia needs to re-assess its purpose and ensure that value is given to those that have an effect on public consciousness.


Biswas, A., & Kirchherr, J. (2015, April 9). Citations are not enough: Academic promotion panels must take into account a scholar’s presence in popular media. [Web log post].

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