#becomingeducational W9: Getting down to the Research Proposal

This week’s session was particularly intense – after a brief re-exploration of pedagogy, androgogy and heutagogy as respectively the science of educating the young, the adult and the self, we got down to writing.

The first segment focussed on discovering our own attitudes to writing and our helpful or unhelpful writing habits, approaches and feelings. This was not about banging on about how much we should have done – or you should do this or that… but an invitation to explore in reality and in practice what we do, feel and think about academic writing – and then work out some ways of being more successful with our writing.

The next segment of the class involved dividing in to two groups – with Peer Review for those who had produced something and brought it with them – and a writing group for those who were stuck.

Reader, be warned, real writing took place!! But no animals were harmed in the making of these proposals.

By the end of the session everyone had progressed – everybody had had some sort of feedback on their work – and everybody said that they felt better than they had before the session started. Excellent!

We are now really looking forward to all your Research Proposals next week!!

Good luck one and all…

Useful resources

EXCELLENT site for linking phrases and for WRITING:

Referencing app: https://www.refme.com/uk/

Ten step to assignment success Prezi: http://prezi.com/cbaj9e5kised/copy-of-ten-stages-of-assignment-success/

The writing pages on the Study Hub:  http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/writing.html

750 Words: invites you to write 750 words – why not start every day with a free write?:

Our writing mini-site:


Our Preventing Plagiarism course:


Academic writing month: http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2012/nov/01/academic-writing-month-acwrimo-research




#becomingeducational W8: Research Methods

So we started with our weekly review – and re-visited ‘dialogic’… which led us to consider pedagogy, androgogy and heutagogy – with the suggestion that as emancipatory educationalists you/we are moving our students towards heutagogy – that state where they take control of and drive their own learning. We linked this to Ivan Illich and his arguments about de-schooling society: that we are so shaped and confined by current educational practices that we have to de-schooled, we have to un-learn, before we can even begin to see what’s what.

That’s all very well but

But how does this relate to our wonderful exhibition last week – and how can we submit our participation in that for assessment – you said!

Remember, we ask you to submit at the end of the course evidence of your engagement in three creative projects. It could be that last week’s artefact constituted a key moment for you – so the trick would be to reflect on it in a way that shows you are connecting with the key ideas of the course: so – to what extent was your artefact or the exhibition evidence of dialogic practice? Or could it form the basis of an argument for more creative and inclusive or more socially just assessment practices? Would such an exhibition help build the self-efficacy of your students? Why and how?

When you think along those lines, you are on your way to working out how to put your final portfolio together… Which flagged up ACADEMIC WRITING.

The paragraph as dialogue

We had a brief moment where we looked at our writing – several points came up: do not wait for all your thinking to be ‘done’ before you start to write – see your writing as another learning PROCESS… and when you are writing – imagine yourself in dialogue with your reader – and use that dialogue (have you seen the connection yet?) – to shape your writing:

1: What is this paragraph about?

  • Introduce your topic

2: What exactly is that?

  • Define, explain, clarify

3: What is your argument? Tell me something…

  • Make a case!

4: What is the evidence and what does it mean?

  • Refer to the relevant literature – give an example … and DISCUSS

5: So what?

  • Make a POINT – that ties back to the assignment question or the research topic…


And so to Research Methods

We linked our research processes to experiential learning: where you learn by doing – and by reflecting on that ‘doing’ (cue more exhortations for you to write those weekly blogs!).

With reference to your Research Projects, we pointed out that your exploration of the university’s formal and informal learning spaces were in fact a ‘field trip’ where you tried to really see what was going on around the university.

As it is so difficult to see differently (see Illich again) – we had asked you to present your findings in unusual ways: knitting, jigsaw puzzle, cartoon, 3D, animation, video, cabinet of curiosity, poetry… We hoped that the act of telling the story in a different way would help you to see differently. You will have to reflect and see if this worked!

Hopefully, the field trip revealed something about studying, teaching, learning… at university in which you were really interested – and thus you were in a position to start thinking about your research project!

Once you know what you are going to research and why – you are ready to write your INTRODUCTION.

Once you have read up on what other people have said on your topic – you are ready to write your LITERATURE REVIEW. And we suggested that you look at Kandiko Howson for student expectations of HE – also because she used concept mapping as a research method. If interested in students and academic writing – we said to have a look at Theresa Lillis and Helen Bowstead. And generally to have a look at the Journal of Learning Development in HE: http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/ – as a rich source of articles on any of the subjects you may be interested in.

We then turned again to looking at your METHOD – and stressed that we want you to undertake qualitative research – and to use an interpretative method – flagging up that we have been practising these methods throughout the course so far. So you can get your participants to make collages – to draw pattern notes or concept maps or rich pictures – you can seed discussion by Topic- or Image Mediated Dialogue… and we returned to your original field trip – and said that you could also undertake structured observation.


Further reading

Interesting PPT on Action Research. Action research is where you explore a situation – design and implement an intervention and then evaluate it. Very useful for educationalists. We are not suggesting that you do design an intervention – but there is some great information here:



Where good ideas come from – a nice follow up to some of our work on creativity in HE:



Mentees Multi-Modal Exhibition 

W7 – continued…
More pictures of the exhibition – captured by Tanya – one of our wonderful Mentors!!

Peer mentoring

Congratulations to my Mentees and all of the first year students on there amazing work on display in the Exhibtion. It was a pleasure to be a part of your Exhibtion and I was really inspired by how creative you all are and you created such amazing representations of learning at university.

View original post

Multi-modal exhibition

#becomingeducational W7: The Multi-modal exhibition!
What a wonderful morning! From about 08.30 we were organising the room – transforming it into an Exhibition space. As more and more people arrived – the space filled with all the different representations of the university’s formal and informal learning spaces. You made video and animation – you collaged and knitted and wrote poetry… There were jigsaw puzzles and Cabinets of Curiosities (well -one Cabinet!). There were 3D representations and comic books – both child-friendly and Marvel Comic styles…
We had visitors from Plymouth and Greece who visited us today and who were blown away by all your creativity – by your talent – and by your effort.
We had Peer Mentor visitors who thought you were absolutely amazing – and who could not believe just what you had managed to achieve.
NOW – we have not yet got the links to every video and animation – we may have missed an exhibit… So please ADD THEM TO THE COMMENTS box – we want all your hard and creative and joyful work captured here.
Thanks again folks!!
And don’t forget to write your own blogs – and showcase your own artefacts.

peermentoring inpractice

Today, first-year Becoming students (our mentees) have put on a multi-modal exhibition about informal and formal learning spaces at University. The exhibition was a huge success – not only because it allowed first-year students to showcase their learning, but also because it allowed students of different year groups to “be with each other”.DSC04182m

Students’ contributions:

DSC04221DSC04220DSC04219DSC04213DSC04211DSC04210DSC04216DSC04207DSC04206DSC04202DSC04201DSC04197DSC04196DSC04188DSC04185DSC04180DSC04176DSC04130DSC04134DSC04149DSC04174DSC04123DSC04167  DSC04128m



That’s some of the feedback they received:


A special thanks to Sandra and Tom for organising the event:

DSC04116DSC04115DSC04169 DSC04132m

And obviously a big thank you to all participating students (not all listed here):


View original post

#becomingeducational: W6: Presenting the reading

This week everybody gathered back together after the participant observations around the university… to finalise our notemaking from reading the key articles – ready to present back to the rest of the class.

Our Chris recorded your notes:


Did you make notes of all the different presentations? If you did – you could have THREE PAPERS to use in your Literature Review.

For guidance on Literature Reviews:




Without reflection – all the powerful learning that comes about when we learn in this way – when we read in this way – when we collaborate in this way – when we make notes in this way… is lost!!

Don’t lose it! Reflect on it!

Make sure that you write briefly but in a focused way on what we have done – how we did it – why we did it – and all the things that someone who is becoming an educationalist could get from such a session.



Our sessions are designed to model active learning – how do they relate to notions of ‘making and maker spaces’ in education? Check out the Nerdy Teacher blog:



Remember – W7 is the multimodal exhibition. Your chance to exhibit all the different artefacts that you produced to reveal what you learned about the university and the learning that occurs in its formal and informal learning spaces.

Please – can we all get in at nine – to set up the room as an exhibition space – ready for people to come and see what you have done at ten.

You will not be presenting as such – your exhibit will be doing the speaking for you!! So – consider whether you need to make a LABEL to clearly explain your intentions!!

Good luck – and looking forward to Wednesday!!