Project Description

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Online academic bullying

Written by: Candice Spence 27 May 2019 Researcher:

Institution: Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

Researchers: Dr Travis Noakes, Emeritus Professor Tim Noakes

Background and Aim:  

Online academic bullying is a serious problem that has yet be adequately defined. Our project seeks to prepare clear definitions for online academic bullying and mobbing that should prove useful for victims and policy makers who confront both phenomena: The activities of trolls and cyber-bullies have been well-defined for ideological, political, religious and non-ideological purposes. In contrast, the literature is silent about the deliberate targeting of academics who have taken unorthodox positions. This gap was identified with the experiences of Emeritus Professor Tim Noakes, who has had a lengthy exposure to targeting by academic bullies in traditional and new media after he changed his view in 2010 about what constitutes a healthy diet.

The first phase of the our project is to propose a clear definition for ‘online academic bullying’. The second involves defining an online academic mob using a social media data analysis of Twitter activity following a critical incident in academic mobbing. The third will develop case studies for a cross-section of online academic bullies for describing their varied aims and strategies, as well as Professor Tim Noakes’ responses.

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