Three questions with…Esteban!

Our lab is growing! In our Three Questions series, we’re profiling each of our members and the amazing work they’re doing.

Today, we’re highlighting Esteban Morales, a PhD student in UBC’s Language and Literacy Education Program and a research assistant in the ScholCommLab whose skills have earned him the nickname “qualitative guru.”

In this post, he tells us more about his research on social media literacies, his work in public scholarship, and the wisdom he’s gained from comic strips.

PhD student Esteban Morales poses in front of some vibrant green trees.

Q#1 What are you working on at the lab? 

I am currently working on a paper that explores how open and social annotation can foster different cognitive activities to learn with others. Social annotation is a genre of educational technology that allows users to annotate—meaning, write comments in the margins—different interfaces and media using text, links, and media—either publicly or privately—and to do so while engaging in dialogue with others. This paper comes from a research project we (meaning, Juan Pablo Alperin and Alice Fleerackers from the ScholCommLab, and Remi Kalir from the University of Colorado Denver) conducted in 2019, exploring how social annotation was used in different undergraduate courses at Simon Fraser University. This is very exciting work, and we hope to submit it soon.

Q#2 Tell us about a recent paper, presentation, or project you’re proud of. 

Well, alongside my work in the ScholCommLab, I am most interested in the intersection of literacies, technology, and society. And, within this intersection there is a lot of space to be on projects that I am very proud of! For example, right now I am working on my comprehensive exams for my doctoral candidacy, where I am (among other things) exploring social media literacies from a conceptual and methodological standpoint… which is very exciting for me. 

I am also proud to have a presentation accepted to the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in 2021, where I will be talking about data literacies in the context of Colombia’s peace education efforts. Finally, I am proud of being selected to be part of the Public Scholars Initiative at the University of British Columbia, a network of students who promote engaged scholarship with communities.

Q#3 What’s the best (or worst) piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Oh, there are so many! One of the best ones I can think of is from Grant Snider, an artist who drew this comic called “Disclaimer,” where he argues: “you can be anything you want to be… but can you be everything you want to be?” It reminds me of the importance of making personal and professional choices with care and a long-term view.  

A comic by grant snider that reads 

you can be anything you want to be!
with some natural ability
in the right economy
after years of diligent study
given ideal opportunities
by neglecting other responsibilities
you can be anything you want to be... but can you be everything you want to be?
Disclaimer” by Grant Snider is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Find Esteban on Twitter at @estebanmoralesv.