About

My name is Jenny McDonald and I’m an independent writer and researcher, a research associate with the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education at the University of Auckland and director of an educational technology startup called Quantext. The views expressed on this blog are mine alone and generally relate to higher education, learning and text analytics, with the occasional footnote from Clover… My particular research interests are the applications of natural language processing (NLP), including corpus methods, to formative feedback and learning analytics but I’m broadly interested in any applications of technology to support educational goals.

I live in Blueskin Bay, just north of Dunedin on the East Coast of the South Island of NZ where I run a small lifestyle block which I share with a variety of domestic animals including a small herd of goats led by Clover. Confusingly, the photo, is of me on leave and at Bothmer Castle on the Baltic Coast. It needs to be said, that Clover was unimpressed by my absence and seeking caprine retribution, ate the house-sitter’s shirt.

Aside from work, I am passionate about sustainability. I live very happily and proudly off the grid and when the weather is fine, travel by electric bike. When it is not I travel by car and burn fossil fuel along with everyone else. I like to think I keep on the right side of the ledger but Clover assures me that I could do better – she doesn’t help by eating trees I have just planted.
I am deeply interested in all animals but especially domestic ones: people, goats, cows, chooks and of course dogs and cats. Here’s the dog who is extremely jealous that That Goat has taken pride of place on the blog.
Occasionally, I tweet as @aggiewil – the name of my maternal grandmother, of whom I was exceptionally fond. I borrowed her name, Aggie Willcox, as it is a great deal less common than mine so does not result in username unavailable bleats. She was a cool lady with a strong sense of social justice, a fondness for a flutter on the horses and a wide girth.

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