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Fig.1. I like spirals. Thirty years ago this was just a photo. For me it is an expression of what learning looks like. (I think this is St.John’s College, Boat House – or is it Balliol?)
At the base are the undergraduates, the first years, as you climb the steps you find the second and third years, then the middle common room the MA and D.Phil students while at the top are the lecturers, senior lecturers and professors.
And when you die they raise a flag.
In 1983 (or was in 1982?) this was the epitome of ‘closed learning’ – the Oxford College boat house.
Not so much ‘dreaming spires’ as ‘dreaming spirals’.
- It was a privilege, but like many of these I’ve been either in denial or trying to shake them off for the best part of 25 years.
- ‘Je suis comme je suis, je suis faite comme ca’ (Jacques Prevert)
- And there’s no going back.
I was up at 4.03am. Back to bed at 6.15am. Then up again 20 minutes ago.
- My body was tired, my head continued to buzz.
Regarding ‘Open Learn’ what’s all this fretting about process for?
Have we all forgotten the purpose of research????
Not ‘how?’ but ‘why?’
Why? Why? Why?
We are seeking answers, not trying to construct a bridge across the English Channel with chopsticks and bendy-straws.
Not to get the process right, but to get answers to problems, to find better ways, to understand and share what is going on so that we can act, or not act on it?
Sometimes I read an academic paper and it is all about the process.
Too often I write an assignment and it has to be written to be marked – not to generate ideas. In fact, my finest few hours, a total End of Module Assignment rewrite was a disaster for a set of marks but is my theory and philosophy of what learning is. It was the culmination of months of work, years even. Expressed somewhere like the School of Communication Arts I would have had the attention of eyes and ears.
Fig.2. Submitted as the hypothesis for an End of Module Assignment the grade was catastrophic – it is of the module, but the examiners didn’t have a grid filled with the appropriate crumbs that would permit them to ‘tick the boxes’. (I did submit more than the image, 6ft high and drawn on a sheet of backing wallpaper).
Creativity doesn’t fair well in a process driven system, either in research or in marking assignments.
This isn’t an excuse regarding a grade or the need and value of process drive, guideline controlled, parameter set research, but rather a cry for some ‘free thinking’ the ‘parcours’ of mental agility and expression.
Fig.3 The cliffs below Roche de Mio, La Plagne
There is value in going off piste.
It isn’t even the democratisation of education and knowledge either, it is the Tim Berners-Lee rather than the Google approach to knowledge – i.e. give it away for free.
It is ‘communismization’ – which is a word, however horrible it sounds, I just looked it up.
This moves me onto dwelling on Creative Commons.
If the idea of openness is to give it away for free what is the reward for the author? Recognition as the author. However, I get the feeling that unless it is published some readers think they can help themselves to the ideas and words of others and claim them as their own.
There will always be theft, but as children aren’t we told that for someone to copy your ideas is a compliment?
We need to behave like the children we still are.
But does even that matter in an open society – theft of intellectual property I mean?
If the spreading of the word is all important should any of us give a fig?
If we have a roof over our heads, food and water, electricity to charge the iPad, the BBC … a health service like the NHS what more can we want?
- Better schools.
- Better roads.
- Better weather.
‘Peace on earth and good will to humankind’.
A better word needs to be found for what is meant by ‘communismization’.
Is is just ‘communization’?
- Is it simply ‘open’?!
- ‘Open’ might do.
As the air we breathe …
P.S. I worked the season in Val d’Isere in my gap year and returned a decade later and stayed in La Plagne from December to May researching a book and a couple of documentaries for Oxford Scientific Films. None saw the light of day, though after several weeks thinking about it I came down that cliff face. I made a big mistake by slowing down at the edge and nearly didn’t have enough distance to clear the rocks. I no longer have a death wish. And it wasn’t even fun. It focused the mind though. In fact, the best way to stop yourself thinking about other stuff is to take such risks. Racing Fireballs in the English Channel has its appeal – I have a tendency to end up in the spinnaker or under the hull though.
- Web Inventor Tim Berners Lee Shares £1m Prize (news.sky.com)
- Fostering Creativity – The Use of Open Educational Resources (classroom-aid.com)
- Tim Berners-Lee: The Web needs to stay open, and Gopher’s still not cool. (boingboing.net)
- Tim Berners-Lee: ‘You can do anything with a computer that you can imagine’ (venturebeat.com)
- Inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee says web neutrality crucial (radionz.co.nz)
- What I wish Tim Berners-Lee understood about DRM (guardian.co.uk)
I just watched Daphne Koller’s TED lecture on the necessity and value of students marking their own work. (for the fifth time!)
Whilst there will always be one or two who cheat or those who are plagiarists, the results from ‘Big Data’ on open learning courses indicate that it can be a highly effective way forward on many counts.
- it permits grading where you have 1,000 or 10,000 students that would otherwise be very expensive, cumbersome and time consuming
- as a student you learn from the assessment process – of your work and that of others
- student assessment of other’s work is close to that of tutors though it tends to be a little more harsh
- student assessment of their own work is even closer to the grade their tutor would have given with exceptions at opposite ends of the scale – poor students give themselves too high a grade and top students mark themselves down.
- it works
- it’s necessary if learning reach is to be vastly extended
- isn’t human nature a wonderful thing?! It makes me smile. There’s an expression, is it Cockney? Where one person says to another ‘what are you like?’
‘What are we like?’ indeed!
Philip M. Sadler & Eddie Good (2006): The Impact of Self- and Peer-Grading on Student Learning, Educational Assessment, 11:1, 1-31
- Online university giant gets bigger (bbc.co.uk)
- To be told when you are right or wrong is essential to student learning (mymindbursts.com)
- Massive online education: Daphne Koller at TEDGlobal 2012 (ted.com)
- Who would you invite to an e-learning dinner party? (mymindbursts.com)
- TED Talk: What we’re learning from online education (ezrasf.com)
- Technology brings classroom experience to distance learners (guardian.co.uk)
- What we’re learning from online education by Daphne Koller (bluesyemre.com)
‘As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect’.Efimova (2009. p 70)
Fig. 1. Dr Lilia Efimova – her Phd thesis is on blogging to support knowledge management in the workplace.
- Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
- Doesn’t require much effort
- Somewhere to park ideas
- Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
- Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
- A set of sense-making practices
- “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
- Connecting multiple fragments
- Getting into the writing flow
- Strengthened by readers’ feedback
- A channel for distribution
- Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
- A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
- -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
- To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
- Clusters of conversations
- Conversations unfolding
- A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
- A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
- An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
- Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
- Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)
- low-threshold creation of entries
- a flexible and personally meaningful way to organise and maintain them
- opportunities to retrieve, reuse and analyse blog content
- opportunities to engage with others.
- fitted in while working on something else
- providing a way to keep abreast of others ideas
- capturing ones’ own emergent insights
- clarifying matters for a public
- over time ideas on a topic accumulate and connections between them become clearer.
- feedback from readers turns blogging into a sense-making practice
- eventually an ideas is ‘ripe’ and ready to become part of a specific task.
Efimova (2008. p. 208)
Autoenthnography Or, how to write something of substance.
From Richardson (2000) via Lilia Efimova (2009. p. 39)
I’ve taken the view, with a lifetime of keeping a diary and 14 years blogging that I write whatever comes to mind as I put pen to paper or fingertips to the keyboard. There is a better way:
Does this piece contribute to our understand of social life? Does the writer demonstrate a deeply grounded (if embedded) human world understanding and perspective?
Does this piece succeed aesthetically? Does the use of creative analytical practices open up the text, invite interpretive responses? Is the text artistically shaped, satisfying, complex, and not boring?
How did the author come to write this? How was the information gathered? Ethical issues? How has the author’s subjectivity been both a producer and a product of this text?
Is there an adequate self-awareness and self-exposure for the reader to make judgements about the point of view? Do authors hold themselves accountable to the stands of knowing and telling of the people they have studied?
Does this affect me? Emotionally? Intellectually? Generate new questions? Move me to write? Move me to try new research practices? Move me to actions?
Does this text embody a fleshed out sense of lived-experience? Does it seem “true” – a credible account of a cultural, social, or communal sense of the “real”?
Richardson, L. (2000). Evaluating ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 6 (2), 253-255
- In what way(s) will I be a knowledge worker in my field of interest in the future (aaronvbblog.wordpress.com)
- Blog Cases from 2005: Jack Vinson on Knowledge Management (billives.typepad.com)
- Mathemagenic blog networking study (billives.typepad.com)
Fig.1. The Open University Library
Views per day increase.
Maybe I’m linking to the blog even if I am not posting? Interesting.
Less is more.
One post a week perhaps. 1,000 carefully crafted words on e-learning?
Later this year I will graduate with a Masters in Open and Distance Education. I have successfully completed FIVE postgraduate modules with the Open University.
I am now looking closely at starting a PhD in 2014.
For the remainder of 2013 I may take on another OU Module, H809 Practice-based research in educational technology, which will introduce me to research techniques in relation to e-learning and education.
Come and join me? But you only have a few days left to register.
I also want to blog less so that I can devout more time to writing fiction. A short story of a few thousand words a week might be the goal.
- My personal learning environment (PLE) (mymindbursts.com)
- Clive Shepherd – the book, in person, ideas on learning and development in the World Wide Web 2.0 (mymindbursts.com)
- On finding a thermal … that creative lift … that moment of inspiration that motivates … (mymindbursts.com)
- Is it a good idea to base an e-learning module on a book? (mymindbursts.com)
- Social Learning Analytics, Southern SoLAR Flare (slideshare.net)
- Are you the learning architect or the learning builder? (mymindbursts.com)
- Olds Mooc (mymindbursts.com)
- Accessible e-learning – identefying issues, actions and problems using an Activity System (mymindbursts.com)
- Harvard Referencing made simple (mymindbursts.com)