Saturday, 26 April 2014

#becomingeducational The Assignments Post

Here in #becomingeducational we have encouraged you to follow this blog to revise the course and gather fresh insights. We have asked you to ‘write to learn’ in your own blogs – and to share those blogs with each other. We have wanted the various blog spaces to encourage learning dialogues between us and you – between you and us - and between you and each other.

Blog it: In this final run in to the end of the course – we want to use this blog rather than emails to answer out-of-class questions about assignments. More importantly – we want you all to start answering each others’ questions rather than relying on us.

You are Becoming Educationalists – and we are becoming obsolescent!

So here are our notes on the report; the logs; the essay… if you want more, we will be covering the writing in class – and you can help each other here in this blog.

The Report
The Report part of your Research Project is where you report your findings – you discuss what the raw data might mean – you draw conclusions as to their relevance to *this* context (for you were analysing an aspect of HE study) – and where applicable you make Recommendation for Practice, that is, suggestions for how to improve the learning for University students, based on your analysis of your research data. This is the formal structure required:
Findings
Discussion
Conclusions
Recommendations for Practice
Bibliography

Tip: stop worrying about this as ACADEMIC WRITING; stop worrying about this as an ASSESSMENT: think about it as having something to SAY to REAL PEOPLE.

Of your RESEARCH PROPOSAL readers would have been asking:
So what are you going to investigate? - INTRODUCTION
Why are you interested in that topic? – BACKGROUND/CONTEXT
What have other academics already discovered about that topic? – LITERATURE REVIEW
How will you carry out your own research? - METHOD
Why have you chosen to carry out the research in that way? - METHOD

Of your RESEARCH REPORT readers will be asking:
So what happened when you conducted your research? What are the key highlights? – FINDINGS
What do your findings mean? – DISCUSSION
What overall conclusions do you draw about University teaching/learning? – CONCLUSION
What should we do differently because of what you have found out? – RECOMMENDATIONS

In a 1000 words – be concise and analytical.

TIPS:
  • Talk to other people in the class: what is baffling when we are alone with our worries becomes sensible and do-able when we work with other people!!
  • Read and Model: read the free online journal: Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education covers exactly the sort of research that you are doing – and will offer excellent models for how you should write up your work: http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/index.php?journal=jldhe

The Learning Logs
The Learning Logs are worth 30% of the overall mark for the course as a whole – so STOPTHINK: what do you think you will have to do to get those marks? What do you think a great reflective log will have to look like?

Three half pages of notes won’t do it will they?

Show you know
The point of the learning log and the blog is to improve the quantity and quality of your learning by making the learning conscious. You do this by engaging in reflection and what we call meta-cognition: realising what we know – how we know it – and how we might apply it and so forth.

Good reviews should indicate an awareness both of the ‘point’ of a lesson – and the ‘point’ of the review process itself. Reflections should be crisp and clear – but relevant and useful. Some of you have already shown some brilliant, detailed and most important of all ENGAGED blog posts, submit those! For those of you who are less certain about what to do – at the very least your reflections should follow a trajectory like this:
What: what are all the different things that we did this week?
Why: for each activity - WHY did we do that – what was the purpose?
Reaction: how did engaging in those activities make me feel? Why did I react in that way? How can I harness my positive reactions? How can I harness my negative reactions?
Illustration: how would I illustrate this week’s learning to make it more memorable?
Learned: what have I learned or gained or become aware of – through ALL of the different activities that we did? How might I apply this learning in my practice now as a student? How might I apply this in the future in my professional practice as an educationalist?
Next steps: what reading, writing or other follow up activities will I do in the light of al these reflections? Then – evidence that you did do some of that follow up work…
Appendices: given that you will be submitting three pertinent log/blog extracts for assessment, add Appendices – where you demonstrate the application of the learning and the follow up activities that you did.
Tips: Appendices might contain notes of further reading that you did, pictures of further collages that you made, links to artefacts that you produced to illustrate your learning, short free write extracts …


The Essay
We have covered the essay generally and this essay in particular over several weeks already – check out http://becomingeducational.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/w22-becomingeducational-the-essay-our-essay/

Things to think about:
What is an educationalist? What is an inspiring and empowering educationalist? What sort of educationalist do you want to become?

Why have we designed the module the way that we did? Think about the module contents – and also the teaching and learning style – the different things we have wanted you to think about and do… the ways that we have wanted to you to act and interact… What was the point of all that?
Tip: Check out our Conference presentation – delivered in class in W26 – and delivered at the ALDinHE Conference over Easter – MOST IMPORTANTLY read our summary of how Etienne Wenger-Trayner describes education as becoming: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aldinhe-conference-2014-learning.html

What THREE things are you going to write about?
  • Did you enjoy the interactivity – all those discussions and presentations?
  • The research project – from participant observation to digital artefact?
  • What about the Developing Digital Me project – where we asked you to engage in #ds106 or a MOOC as part of your ‘reading’?
  • Were you engaged by the Visual practices (collage, drawing, illustrated notes) or the  role playing and simulation or that we wanted students in charge (peer mentoring, conference workshop, student workshops)?
  • Were you surprised by the free writing or the topic mediated dialogue?
  • Was the Music or the Dance workshop the thing that made a difference?
  • Was there anything that you thought was interesting – or well designed – or powerful – or effective…?

Tips: Do not DESCRIBE, ANALYSE; refer to the LITERATURE to justify your arguments; think about these questions: what was the point of that? Did it work? How and why did it work? How might you use yourself in the future?   

Help each other
From now on, we really do not want to be answering individual email queries about the assignments. We have designed all the assignments to promote active learning – they are assessment as and for learning – not just of learning (though do enjoy the opportunity to show what you have learned). We will be covering the assignments as part of our active learning in class over the last few weeks of the course.

BUT – if you have queries, comments, suggestions and examples – POST THEM HERE – so that your class mates could answer – and so that if we answer, that answer is going to every body in the class and not just one person!


All the best – enjoy these last few weeks – and enjoy helping each other in class and here in cyber space.
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