To Read in Advance, or Not to Read in Advance

#Becomingeducational                  It’s so nearly Christmas…
This week we’ve become engrossed in Dr Helen Webster’s reflection on the ways we work as Learning Developers – specifically she’s discussing issues around whether or not we should read samples of the student’s writing in advance of having a one-to-one with the student  – or – and possibly worse (?) – just reading and critiquing student writing without the student coming near us at all.

Helen makes the point that as part of our ALDinHE values, we are committed to working alongside students to help them make sense of academia… and if we are reading and working on *their* writing in our office, on the train, at home on the sofa… then we are literally not working alongside them: the students are far away and we are working only on their writing…

Whilst there are so many good reasons why committed learning developers might want to do this – including a commitment to and an understanding of the pressured, time-poor student – we are in practice saying: send me your work – and I will fix it for you!

In the end, despite the lack of resource of time and staff that is endemic in our profession, we have to work out what is in the best long term interest of the student – and what is in the best interest of the student and their understanding and development of their writing…

rattus scholasticus

This is another of the big questions in Learning Development practice. Does your one to one service require students to send a sample of work for the Learning Developer to read before the appointment, or do you ask them to bring it with them on the day so you can skim through it in situ?

This issue has implications for logistics and practice, but also fundamentally affects how we conceptualize Learning Development, so it’s worth giving serious thought to. My practice has always been in teams that don’t read work in advance, so it’s what I’m used to, but discussions with LDers whose services insist on written work in advance have been very useful in making me reflect on whether I practise this way because it’s familiar to me, or because there is a pedagogic justification for it. Having given it long thought, I’m sticking with No Work In Advance, for…

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#becomingeducational W30 – so you’re still worried about the essay?

Becomingeducational: Essay Tips

The essay is 1500 words – this probably means ONE introduction – about 200 words – THREE paragraphs – about 300 words each – and ONE conclusion about 400 words…

Essay 1500 words – week 30 (40%)

‘To what extent has the module ‘Becoming an Educationalist’ prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? Justify your answer with reference to at least three aspects of or activities on the course.’


FIRST – notice that the question is asking you about the module – so say something about Becoming: what was it trying to achieve? How was it trying to do that? What theories or beliefs underpin the module Becoming an Educationalist?

What is an educationalist? What do they do? What characteristics or attributes would it be helpful for an educationalist to have? What should they DO? What should they NOT DO? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to explain the sort of educationalist that you want to be?

Tips: Mention these in the INTRODUCTION – saying which THREE aspects of the course you are then going to focus upon.


Simulations & role play – for critical thinking – belonging – learning through discussion – active learning

Rich pictures – when you drew your new world after the apocalypse – thinking though images…

SLOW reading – in groups – with collage and presentations – to help you crack the code of academic reading – and learn how to enjoy it.

IMD; Collage; TMD – all used to get you thinking differently – and usually talking with each other – dialogic engagement – learning in action that learning itself is socially constructed (Burr) – ALSO – each of these also a qualitative research method/

Exploring formal and informal learning spaces – to SEE learning, teaching and assessment differently – to start to critique taken for granted practices – and come to your own understanding of education.

Multimodal exhibition/Exhibitions & showcases – show case YOUR creativity and learning – self-efficacy developed – pride and joy?

REAL Research – modelling what all good teaching is – and discovering something new from your own actions – also preparing you for second year when you have to have a Dissertation proposal.

Free writing & peer review – overcoming writing blocks – discovering new ways to APPROACH writing – and discovering the value of peer review and feedback – towards taking ownership of your own writing rather than being over dependent on the tutor.

Music w/shop – enjoying a new process – help to prepare your own performances – but also learning a new way of thinking and expressing ourselves – music also has its own grammar/logic/rhetoric – that is – its own way of communicating ideas. What can you take form that into your own development?

Performance weeks – to showcase your learning – what you think aboyt good classroom practice – what you wanted to teach other people – and HOW you wanted to teach it…

Group work – all the time in all sorts of ways – but hopefully also with space to work individually… The value of making friends and finding collaborators!

Digital stuff – making brilliant digital things – to show you and everybody else that you do not come into education empty – but with skills and talents and just waiting to b stretched! Different to THE ESSAY – which can be very disempowering as so formal and rewards already existing cultural capital…

Blogging to learn – reflecting in own voice and space – to take op=wnership of the learning – to make the final essay writing easier…

Active learning; Question-based learning; Object-based learning; Project-based learning; Inquiry-based learning; Research-based learning; “Student as Producer”; Creativity in learning; and Critical thinking – all designed to develop Belonging; Self-efficacy/Self-esteem!!!


What activities have you enjoyed the most from the module? Why? How has any one particular one prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to argue for that activity?

What aspects of the module have you felt were useful or important for someone who is becoming an educationalist? Why? How has any one particular one prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to argue for that aspect?

What other activity or aspect do you want to write about? Why? How has that particular one prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? What theory or theorists would you refer to, to argue for that activity or aspect?


Remember to CONCLUDE your essay! Revisit the WHOLE question and prove that you have answered it: to what extent has the module ‘Becoming an Educationalist’ prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist? How do your three aspects of/or activities on the course demonstrate that?

TIP: BE CREATIVE? As you should have gathered by now, we hope that #becomingeducational has helped you to think more creatively about teaching, learning and assessment – so – if you want to attempt something more creative than a traditional written essay – we would be interested to hear from you – and see what you want to o and whether it could work!!


DEWEY – for a democratic approach

Freire – on education that is designed for justice and action

hooks – for a critical pedagogy approach

Holt – on the problems with education/schooling

Illich – for the need to ‘de-school’ society

Robinson – on the problems with schooling

Rogers – on the need for unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence.



Buckets and fires – teachers’ blog

Burns, T & Sinfield, S (2012) Essential study skills: the complete guide to success at university, London; Sage

Burns and Sinfield resources (also see the Journal articles that accompany each chapter)

Buzan, B. & Buzan, T. (1995) The Mind Map Book BBC

Creativity – The Curious Creative:

Chloe’s blog:

Develop a Digital Me:

Jeffers, S. (1997) Feel the Fear and do it Anyway London; Century

Hybrid Pedagogy blog – see especially this post on classroom design:

Isaacs, S, Blundell, D, Foley, A, Ginsburg, N, McDonough, B, Silverstone D & Young, T (2014) Social Problems in the UK: an introduction London; Routledge

Last Refuge Blogspot: Academic blog and essential reading for all Becoming students.

McIntosh, P (2010) Action Research and Reflective Practice: Creative and visual methods to facilitate reflection and learning London; Routledge

McIntosh, P Postgraduate nursing students – drawing-only reflective log:

Malone, G The Choir episodes

Play in HE: and

Robinson, K. (2006) Ken Robinson says ‘Schools kill creativity’ (speech) ONLINE: accessed 10.12.10

Robinson, K. (2009) ‘Changing Education Paradigms’ (speech) ONLINE:

Sentimental education? The school that Tilda built: Schmidt, Laurel. ‘Great Teachers Don’t Take No (or Yes) for an Answer: Teaching by Asking Instead of Telling’ in Classroom Confidential: The 12 Secrets of Great Teachers . Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2004. 

Shuh, John Hennigar. ‘Teaching Yourself to Teach With Objects’ in The Educational Role of the Museum: Second Edition . New York: Routledge, 2001, pgs. 80-91.

Study Chat:  –   *Like* and follow #studychat for tips, trix and study ideas

Study Hub: – for study tips and tricks – and calendar of study support events including Writing Clinics

Teach Thought blog:

Thornburg D (2007) Tracey – journal:

Victor, B – 1-hr video on representations…

Visual Directions – sketchbook site:

Visual practices in learning and research:

Wheeler, S Educational Theory blog:

Workshops – preparing them:

Good luck – and enjoy the assignments – Sandra & Tom


#becomingeducational W3: Post-apocalypse

Okay – so some of you are hiding under the desk in the opening ‘test’ – and some of the words had you holding your heads… But this form of instant revision is really important. If we do not revise what we are learning – we will forget 98% of it in just three weeks (see Tony Buzan Use Your Head)!!

Reprise – words and people to think about:

Dialogic versus dialectic




Topic Mediated Dialogue

Research METHOD

Jean Luc Nancy – ‘being with’

Bakhtin – dialogic.

This week’s people and ideas:

Hobbes – we are born in war

Rousseau – we are noble savages

Illich – we need to de-school society

Peter Elbow – freewrite – develop a writing habit

Role of drawing and/or collage in thinking and in research

Role of simulation and role play in teaching and learning

Role of education in society


Research methods

Literature Review.


Why oh why oh why do we have to do all that reading?

As students we join in a conversation about life, the universe and everything that has already started. These ideas – these people – have been useful in helping people think about education. Now it’s your turn to think about and discuss and write about and represent these ideas. So – How do they help you understand education and what it means to be a successful educationalist?

Post-apocalypse: world-building: W0, W5, W10

So – we emerged from our bunkers and we had to re-build the world – but how? we started by drawing our worlds on the table – and then building the worlds that we wanted to see… Take away questions from the activity:

  • What is the purpose of an Education System for a society?
  • What is the purpose of an Education System for an individual?
  • Whose interests do you think an Education System has to serve?
  • What education system or strategy would you put in place – and why?
  • If you had to sum up the ethos or values embraced by your perfect education strategy – what would they be?

On role plays and simulation: We like thinking about education through the medium of this role play/ simulation, centred around re-building the world post-apocalypse – BUT HOW WOULD YOU DO IT?

How would you ‘teach’ this topic – would you do it completely differently? Would you run a different simulation – or would you manage this simulation differently?

Research Project – Proposal – Methods

Many of you turned your table tops into ‘thinking art’ – with drawings, collage, notes… (and many of you used the drawings when you gave your presentations – do that again!!).  WELL – there you go – you have played with another potential RESEARCH METHOD!! Those collages – your drawings – that writing = another rich METHOD that you can consider using in your Research Project.

You might be noticing by now that there are links between creative teaching methods – and creative research methods. What helps students talk and think and be with each other in meaningful ways – also helps us to elicit meaningful or interesting information or data when we are conducting research.

Research project – Proposal – Literature Review

When we conduct research – we have to read what other people have written on the topic or issue or thing that we are researching. So – if you are researching notemaking – you have to find useful articles on the role of notemaking in learning OR on student attitudes to notemaking OR do Cornell Notes help students to learn> – and so on.

If you are going to research the role of creativity in education – here are a couple of cool resources on creative educational practices – read through to be inspired about your own future practice – your own final performance – and your research project.

This is by Norman Jackson (05) ‘Making Higher Education a more creative space’:;jsessionid=B0FB143CE14B222DFA96712CA782AEF6?sequence=1

This is entitled Innovating Pedagogy – produced by the Open University (2014):

This is a brand new up-to-date publication on the teacher’s role in educational innovation:

AND – if you want a big dollop of inspiration we, your tutors, are involved with this free open online course #creativeHE – which is happening right now – and even if you don’t feel you have the time to participate – you might want to browse through some of the activities, prompts and resources:


You will be asked to present information ‘multi-modally’ when you report back on your W5 explorations

W5 you will be exploring the university as a site or various sites of learning. You will be asked to present the information that you discover back to the whole class in a multi-modal exhibition in W7.

Multi-modal means using more than one ‘mode’ – where writing is a mode – drawing is a mode – collage is a mode etc. So as you used the table tops to draw and collage and write you were being multi-modal. With your re-presentations of your findings, we will ask you to be even more radical than that – try to enjoy the challenge!!

Each group has to present their findings in a different MODE – choose one that challenges you:

Comic book

Jigsaw puzzle

Pack of cards

Marvel Comic




Newspaper article

Memory envelope

Cabinet of curiosity

Short story

3D object

Pop Art


Something knitted or crocheted

Painting or drawing


Academic poster



First come first served!!

Confirm mode in W4 – at latest by W6.

More ways to show what you know:

Good luck – we are waiting to be blown away by your wonderful exhibits!!


Postscript: Writing

A big concern for most students is academic writing – producing essays and other assignments – being assessed and judged…

That is why we ask you to write a weekly blog – not just to torture you – not just to get you actively reflecting on your learning to make the learning conscious – but also to help you to get a writing habit – for that is the best way to get better at writing (see the work of Peter Elbow).

If you are really interested in developing your own writing why not use 750-words – and/or sign up for a WRITING MONTH:

#becomingeducational: W2: Whoops Apocalypse!!

So – after we all produced our name plates illustrated to reveal something about ourselves, we started with a quick quiz – reflecting back on what we covered last week – and why we covered it.  This was not meant to be a pass or fail test – but something dialogic or discursive  – a quality that we think it very valuable in meaningful education. So if people did not know the answers – they could point to a friend and the conversation could continue.

BTW: Really liked the point about Object Based Learning – when someone said: ”Because you were the object you had to answer our questions!!” Oh yes! AND so happy that people were already blogging – and starting their own subject dictionaries. Tip: Technophiles amongst you might like to start up a class wiki (an editable shared webspace – e.g. PBwiki: where you can collaborate on producing a shared Subject Dictionary??

Simulation and role play: The nuclear bunker

Our first group activity was the nuclear bunker – in groups of ten deciding who stays and who goes… In the de-brief, we discussed what our decisions might reveal to us about our taken-for-granted values – and how we perhaps need to surface our values in our journey to becoming successful educationalists. We considered the values or qualities a successful educationalist ‘should’ possess… See: <>.

Tom went on to speak about ‘common sense’, Utilitarianism and Neo-Kantianism as over-riding narratives in our worlds. Again – no answers here – but more questions: what do we take away from that discussion? What are we now thinking about? How are we thinking? Should or could we be thinking differently?

Tips: As always – when reflecting on the sessions – don’t just think about what we did – but consider why we did it that way – and how you might adapt the session in your own practice in the future.

Topic Mediated Dialogue (TMD)

TMD is a way of mediating (or enabling) dialogue by setting specific topics to discuss. In this case we offered three provocative statements about education – all quite negative. Did you notice that one was from a general Marxist position, one from a Daily Mail right wing perspective – and one from a more libertarian position?

After discussion, people drew a representation of one of their conversation partners – and Tom managed to show some pictures – comparing them with the self-representations that started the day.

The big tip: think about using TMD as research method

A research method is the way (the method) that we go about collecting data or evidence or raw material on a subject or topic that we are researching. So – if you wanted to know what your fellow students FELT about, say, academic writing – you could get them into pairs or threes – give them three controversial or provocative statements about academic writing and let them discuss freely.

To turn those discussions into DATA that you could analyse you could:

  • Record the conversations
  • Ask the participants to write a short piece that reflected their experience of the conversation
  • Get participants to make a collage or draw a ‘rich picture’ that captured their experience of the conversation
  • Ask the participants to produce a pattern note or concept map of the conversation.

After that you could then analyse the data – those conversations or that writing or those pictures or those pattern notes – to see what they revealed about your participants’ feelings about academic writing.

Tip: If you are interested in ‘researcher-interpreted dialogue’ – you might want to read this: (sorry – could not work out a way of getting the shorter URL).

In that example the researcher asked the participants to produce concept maps that they then interpreted.

Why are we mentioning this?

Remember your Research Proposals have to be handed in in W10!! So, to be on the ball, check out everything that we do each week and work out how far it is useful to you in preparing your proposal:

  • Are we offering your something to think about and research further?
  • Are we offering you something to read to help you put together your literature review?
  • Are we suggesting interesting methods that will help you to collect rich data to analyse?

Generally we are trying to do many of these things at once – so be on your toes!

AND – this is why it is so important for you to actively reflect on our sessions each week. Our sessions are designed to be interactive and experiential, we are not telling you stuff (well – okay – we are a bit) – but, you are hopefully experiencing many different things all at the same time. However, all those experiences will slip away and be lost if you don’t do something with them. Make those experiences conscious – turn them into learning. That is why you need to spend some time reflecting on everything: in conversation with friends, on your own in your blog, when reading and commenting on someone else’s blog. That way, you are telling yourself what’s what!

Something to read for your literature review

Interesting if long paper on emergent learning:


Postscript: Are you feeling out of your comfort zone?

University is all about change – and it is hard to change. None of us likes changing – and it is perhaps more difficult for us, the so-called non-traditional students, who yes want to change – but do not want to ‘betray’ their class or culture or community… Just how far should we go – and how in control are we of our changes?

But being a student requires that we do change – otherwise why bother going to university in the first place? So – start to trust yourself – you won’t betray anyone if you do change a bit! And start to embrace change as a positive: get involved, make new friends and do new things!


#becomingeducational W11: Research Projects and METHOD

This week we were mostly preparing for our research projects. We wanted to use the time to clarify the task through exploring the PROPOSAL and the REPORT. In the process we were hoping to get people thinking about the issue that they want to investigate – and we wanted to enthuse people about using more creative research METHODS than the questionnaire.


  • Investigate something about University life or study or success that really interests you – and
  • Think: about having something to SAY to REAL PEOPLE.

With that in mind – let us see if we can use an exploration of the WRITING that will be involved to help make sense of the project overall.


Of your RESEARCH PROPOSAL readers will be asking:

  • So what are you going to investigate?
  • Why would that be relevant to this Module/Course?
  • Why are you interested in that topic?
  • What use is this study to you as an educationalist?

And all in only 1000 words! This means you have to develop really concise and effective writing. NB: Your research project overall is worth 30% of the marks for this module – but as the Proposal is handed in W19 (when your writing/thinking is in an earlier stage of development) – this part gets 10% of the marks whilst the Report – which is handed in W29 (when you have had a chance for the writing/thinking to mature a bit more) – is worth 20% of the marks.

Analysing the OBJECT

To get us thinking more deeply about research methods – we studied some raw research data – specifically a 3D Maze that had been produced by a Graduate in answer to the question: can you make something that represents your university experience.

We spent quite a lot of time with the maze – thinking not just about the ‘thinginess’ of the maze itself – but about how we deduct and induct meaning from research data.

We noted that something like a 3D object offers a series of complex things to analyse: the shape and size of the thing – the colours – all the different materials used – the textures – the words – the additional images – the inside and the outside…

On the one hand this can be seen as tiresomely difficult – on the other – this offers an opportunity to wrestle with something complex and thus to produce sophisticated analysis of its many potential meanings.

Obviously our hope was that this process inspired some creative thinking about research methods!

Reflection point: Why might we be disappointed if #becomingeducational students produced such an artefact as their comment on the module?

If you’re struggling to answer that question – have a look at the video on this #ccourses website (#ccourses involved the exploration of the co-creation of knowledge in a connected world):


Of your RESEARCH REPORT readers will be asking:

  • So what happened when you conducted your research? What are the key highlights?
  • What do your findings mean?
  • Tip: link your findings back to the research you discussed in your LITERATURE REVIEW
  • What overall conclusions do you draw about University teaching/learning?
  • What should we do differently because of what you have found out?

Good luck everybody!

Big Tips:

#becomingeducational W3: World building

So – the apocalypse is over – we struggle out of our bunkers into the forlorn landscape. All is dust, rubble, destruction – but WE – THE EDUCATIONALISTS – YAY – have been tasked with world building:
• What world would you build?
• How do you ensure everybody is housed, in good health and well fed?
• How will your world run?
• How will you educate people?

The phoenix will rise from the ashes
… but better – fairer – kinder – wiser!
So this week we re-built the world: year zero; year five; and year 10. A Panel was formed – pitches were made – and whole new civilisations rose up.
The conversations were engaged – the pitches were great – and the ‘takeaway questions’ may stay with us for quite some time:
• What is the purpose of an Education System for a society?
• What is the purpose of an Education System for an individual?
• Whose interests do you think an Education System has to serve?
• What education system or strategy would you put in place – and why?
• If you had to sum up the ethos or values embraced by your perfect education strategy – what would they be?
Slide 5

Learning Spaces – Academic Reading – Textmapping
We moved on to collectively read two texts designed to inform our thinking about education: Giroux’s article on lessons to be learned from Freire:
And Thornburg on metaphors of learning spaces:

Academic Reading
In groups, we were asked to read our text and highlight useful information: headings and sub-headings, key terms or phrases, emphasised information, research evidence… (and/or to ‘black out’ or redact that which was not useful)… and to think about the texts in relation to becoming an educationalist – our research projects (that will look into what helps or hinders learning) – and our W5 exploration of the University.

What is Textmapping?
Textmapping ( ) is an active reading strategy that involves using a text that has been turned into an A3 scroll. As a group, readers collectively mark up the text to show structure, content & relevance to their assignment.

There was way too much discussion and engagement for all this to finish this week – so Tom asked each group’s archivist to take the scroll – and be ready to finish this next week!! Meanwhile – what did you learn about academic reading, notemaking from reading – and using reading to progress your thinking about your assignment from this activity? Make brief notes to remind yourself.

Peer Mentors a Go Go
Finally – after yet another crazy busy morning – it was off to the cool calm of the Peer Mentors: an opportunity to finish creating and customising those blogs – and to get writing. Tip: Once the blogging starts – the separate paper versions of the Logs can stop. SO – HANDING IN LOGS can happen by sending an email with the link to the blogpost that you definitely want us to read!!

We have created a space to calm down and catch up!!
In Study Week (W5) – we want you to explore the University as a site or sites of learning – ready for a Poster Presentation in W7… So – on THAT Wednesday, W5, 29th October – FROM 11.00 WE WILL BE IN ENRICOS – MAIN BUILDING – NEAR THE ROCKET –FOR COFFEE – LUNCH – AND CHATS.
So if you are suddenly concerned about your log or blog – your digital project – your research project – or the end of year performance… pop in and SAY hello. Pop in even if you are not concerned about anything at all – it will be nice to see you!!

Meanwhile – check out #becomingeducational W1 – which outlines the tasks and projects for the module – including *all* the assessed tasks:

Some follow up?
Info-Ed: dialogue, praxis and education:
Summerhill – experiments in emancipatory education:

Week 8: Analytical and Critical Thinking

Becoming an Educationalist is designed to get you exploring what it means to be an emancipatory, creative and inspiring educationalist for the 21st Century

An educationalist:

  • Helps you think for yourself
  • We are becoming… educationalists (see Deleuze).

This week

  • Simulations: 25 Moral dilemmas: read; draw; resolve; digitise
  • Notes: what, why, how
  • Academic writing: what, why, how
  • Practical writing – answering the mini-question
  • Peer mentor led activity

Embodied learning: Simulation#25 moral dilemmas:

Simulations and role plays invite whole-body learning. For this week’s simulation we shared out some of the 25 moral dilemmas collected by the Team.  We were asked to read our dilemma – then think it through via a drawing first and then discussion. We were also given links to various open source online resources so that we could represent our problem and our solution via an animation or some other more visual – or more audio – representation:

More ideas: ‘50+ web 2.0 ways to tell a story’:

We were shown one of Sandra’s Go-Animates as an example. This is a reflective ‘log’ on #edcmooc:


One pair were brave enough to show their drawings and discuss their dilemma in the de-brief:

In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7. As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain’s decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. On the other hand, if the captain attempted to save some, he could do so only by killing others and their deaths would be his responsibility; this would be worse than doing nothing and letting all die. The captain rejected this reasoning. Since the only possibility for rescue required great efforts of rowing, the captain decided that the weakest would have to be sacrificed. In this situation it would be absurd, he thought, to decide by drawing lots who should be thrown overboard. As it turned out, after days of hard rowing, the survivors were rescued and the captain was tried for his action.

If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided?

They decided that the captain and the remaining crew were guilty of murder – not least because the captain had a duty of care to *all* his passengers and crew… It was interesting that discussing this allowed us to explore to what extent our solutions were context-dependent, and typically influenced by our emotions as well as our values; and how far they are dependent on our over-arching moral or ethical codes, and thus are more philosophical and independent of context.


This relates back to issues that we discussed W2: Kant and the moral imperative and Bentham and Utilitarianism. It also seeded thoughts about how far our perceived understanding of our ‘role’ in particular situations legitimises actions that in other circumstances would be counter to ourselves as *human* beings. For example, the prison guard and the prisoner, those that torture suspected terrorists… And given that we are becoming educationalists – how do we see ourselves in an educational role? This led on to discussion of the behaviour experiments of the late 20Cth:  Rosenthal and Jacobson and the self-fulfilling prophecy; the blue eye/brown eye class room experiment; the electric shock experiment…

In the Workshop

The workshops diverged slightly this week – one at least went on to continue discussing the moral dilemmas in  detail – and linking that to the way we need to use argument and evidence in our academic writing.

The others seems to have spent some time looking at active notemaking – and how that also prepares us to engage with ideas: to have a dialogue with the theories, concepts and case studies that we study – and come to our own conclusions…  See: Much was made of just how active we have to be to make our ideas memorable.

The workshops all covered Academic writing in a more formal way than in our first introductory Writing Workshop – that introduced us to free writing – and to Winnicott (1971)!!

The Essay: What; Why; How

…  with real writing:

To what extent is the response to the moral dilemma a question of values? To what extent does it rely on analytical and critical thinking?

We looked at the essay as the formal, discursive and more theoretical form of academic writing. It is the space where we wrestle with ideas – and struggle with them – and write to learn – as we organise our own thoughts – and discover what we think. See:

We did think that essays were about finding our own voice – but obviously there is the dark side of academic writing! We write and it is measured, assessed and judged. Philosophically we may accept that any system that offers certification will measure and stamp progress… But awareness of being judged can inhibit our thinking and engagement.

We also thought of different ways to assess – by presentation and by the production of digital artefacts that ‘reflect’ on a part of a course. In #edcmooc (E-learning and Digital Cultures), assessment includes the production of a digital artefact PLUS the peer review of three other artefacts.

Here’s a Prezi Poster Presentation on Academic writing – critiquing institutional over-emphasis on ‘skills’ rather than ideas and knowledge-construction:

Talking of – #edcmooc: Just for the heck of it…

Here are a couple of blogpost reflections on learning from fellow students of ours from #edcmooc:

Glidden’s post reflecting on learning itself:

And another on what it is to be human – which relates to our early discussions on our values and ethical behaviour: