06 SES 12, Technology Framing Curriculum and Learning: Robotics, moocs, self-tracking
Retaining a healthy work-life balance in academia is challenging, especially when researchers work within hardly fixed schedules, and the workload differs greatly from one deadline to another. Observing lifestyles of working in academia, our research group wanted to start a self-experiment on how the usage of an activity tracking device may change the perception of oneself and work-life balance.
Literature reviews on this topic resulted in very few outcomes. No relevant articles were found combining the aspect of self-tracking (fitness) activities and working in academia with a self-experiment. There are few studies that focus on self-tracking devices and the reactions to the data feedback. Rapp & Cena (2016) focus on how users without prior self-tracking experience react to personal data and find, that they differ from users with prior experience. “Participants considered the act of collecting personal information burdensome, with no beneficial reward” (Rapp & Cena 2016). Müller et al. (2015) developed a teaching unit for high schoolers about health promotion using fitness tracking devices (Müller et al. 2015). Appelboom et al (2014) explore “The promise of wearable activity sensors to define patient recovery”. (Appelboom et al 2014). None of these sources take the specific circumstances of working in academia into account.
Three German research articles focus on the work-life balance of academic employees. Kleinschmidt (2009) focuses on the importance of work-life balance among young academics and what kind of programmes universities and colleges may offer in order to meet those needs (Kleinschmidt 2009). Buchmayr & Neissl (2006) examine the work-life balance in the context of gender roles and whether or how private life and working at academia can be combined (Buchmayr & Neissl 2006). This topic is taken further by Conolly, Fuchs & Vinkenburg (2011) who focus on the lack of female employees at universities in the fields of science, engineering and technology. The authors examine two technical universities in order to detect differences in the work-life balance of men and women and their academic careers (Conolly, Fuchs & Vinkenburg 2011). None of these sources explore the field of work-life balance in academia using activity tracking devices. This lead to the following research questions, which are (1) How do academics perceive and cope with continuous data feedback on their own behaviour? (2) How does the data feedback influence the perception of oneself and one’s work-life balance? (3) In which way are actions initiated or deflated through the data feedback and interactions?
In order to find answers to these questions, we started a self-experiment at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. For the previously mentioned reasons, we started the experiment specifically for members of the University. So far seven staff members in the field of education (including the research team) have participated in a 3 to 6 month trial of wearing an activity tracking bracelet. We chose a device which tracks steps and storeys walked up, automatically discovers various forms of movement, such as cycling or running, measures the heart rates and also features GPS tracking, which helps to detect distances traveled (while running or cycling). In order to exchange information and compare ourselves to one another, we use a mobile application to stay connected. This app provides additional information, such as personal progress or group challenges.
Appelboom, Geoff, Annie H. Yang, Brandon R. Christophe, Eliza M. Bruce, Justine Slomian, Olivier Bruyère, Samuel S. Bruce, Brad E. Zacharia, Jean-Yves Reginster, and E. Sander Connolly Jr. ‘The Promise of Wearable Activity Sensors to Define Patient Recovery’. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 21, no. 7 (July 2014): 1089–93. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2013.12.003. Buchmayr, Maria, and Julia Neissl, eds. Work-Life-Balance & Wissenschaft - Ein Widerspruch? Gender-Diskussion. 5. Wien: Lit Verl., 2006. Connolly, Sara, Stefan Fuchs, and Claartje Vinkenburg. ‘Work-Life Balance in Academia. Evidence from Two Technical Universities.’ In Going Diverse. Innovative Answers to Future Challenges. Gender and Diversity Perspectives in Science, Technology and Business, edited by Carmen Leicht-Scholten, Elke Breuer, Nathalie Tulodetzki, and Andrea Wolffram, 175–93. Opladen: Budrich UniPress, 2011. Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10. Kleinschmidt, Carola. ‘Die Gesunde Hochschule.’ DUZ : Unabhängige Deutsche Universitätszeitung. Magazin 65, no. 10 (2009): 9–11. Müller, Katrin, Claus Krieger, Vivien Suchert, Maike Johannsen, Ingeborg Sauer, Reiner Hanewinkel, and Barbara Isensee. ‘Mit Schrittzählern Und Parally Zu Mehr Bewegung. Das Eigene Bewegungsverhalten Bewusst Machen Und Die Alltagsaktivität Steigern.’ Sportpädagogik 39, no. 1 (2015): 10–13. Rapp, Amon, and Federica Cena. ‘Personal Informatics for Everyday Life: How Users without Prior Self-Tracking Experience Engage with Personal Data’. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 94 (October 2016): 1–17. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2016.05.006.
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