#becomingeducational W16: Analyse that – now this

These sessions are designed to get you wrestling with DATA: audio, written and visual data – so that you can make sense of whatever you are doing now for your first year projects – and so that you hit the ground running when you think about your final dissertations… and you start thinking about them NEXT YEAR!

Last week we analysed Kevin Hodgson’s (@Dogtrax) poem ‘Steal this poem’ as raw data – generated in response to the same sort of TMD questions on ‘CHEATING’ that you responded to. Here’s a quick reminder of the poem that Kevin wrote:

Steal This Poem

Take these words
Steal this poem
NO — go on now –
make it your own
Break it / Fix it
Rip it apart / Remix it

Defy my intent
until all meaning is spent
and then use your tools and tricks
to rebuild it

Cheat my meaning in ways
that make sense to YOU –

Tinker against type
don’t believe my hype
I’m a painter not a poet
using words as ink as I write

I refuse to shackle this work
to paper or screen
or that nebulous world in-between
in hopes that maybe later YOU’LL appear;
watching my words tumble down the spine of my lies –
made up only to be broken / spoken / a token of truth

No, you’re no cheater
you’re a seeker
a keeper of stories in this literary landscape
just like me

So, go on:
Steal this poem
Give it a home
I’m already off writing something else
and I’ve left these words all alone
waiting here for YOU

Peace (in the poem),

(If you go here: http://dogtrax.edublogs.org/2014/01/16/rhizo14-steal-this-poem/  – you can hear Kevin reading it …)

Analyse all that!

This week we asked you to get out your own poems – and to read and critically analyse either your own poem – a friend’s poem – or Kevin’s if you had not already done so:

  • Read someone else’s poem – or ‘Steal this poem’:
  • What is it saying overall?
  • What is it saying in each line?
  • What themes or motifs are emerging?
  • Find FIVE themes and write 20 words about each of them…

Elesha’s poem:

Cheating is a shameful act

Makes you look bad and in the spur of the moment

Gives a bad reputation and spies and secrets of all kinds

Holds you back from what you’re really expecting

It takes time to be honest when you need it most.

Esin’s poem:

Cheating and teaching

Conflicting each other

Do you think cheating is easy?

What you feel when you cheat?

Shameful… Deeply in your heart.

And scarlet kiss on your cheek

What about eyes?

Poor eyes!

Glooming and trying to catch something

From someone else’s work


Feel hot! And hearing some voice that whispering you:

Don’t do! Don’t do!

Cheating is unfair and not respecting…

So why are you doing this hard job?

Grab life by handling right bar…

To be honest!

It is easy! Isn’t it?



And we argued a bit like this

Esin’s poem – themes: senses and (self-) betrayal:

Senses – ears, eyes, cheek, skin, touch:

Cheating engages the senses – seeing, hearing, feeling. Senses are there to help us engage with/understand the world around us… BUT – here all the senses are burning with shame – there is no joy – just pain. Are we mis-using our senses? If not – what else is going wrong – is it education itself?

Who tells us that such and such is ‘cheating’ as opposed to learning? Who wants us to feel this shame?

If we are misusing our senses are we misunderstanding the world? Are we misunderstanding the ‘point’ of education? Or – does education itself get it wrong if it forces us to misuse our senses – to feel THIS way!

Leads on to…

Betrayal – scarlet kiss on the cheek:

Scarlet kiss on the cheek – as with the scarlet letter – the adulteress… Again we can see the individual internalises the shame and the blame of this academic offence… It is written on their bodies. We feel that shame, that blame…

Given that learning is messy – and we are told to work together – to share ideas – to form study groups… How come suddenly we are told that working together is collusion or cheating? Why should we feel this burning shame?

Again we might ask – is this the fault of the education system or of us? How can we ‘know’?

Well – in research you would look at some of your other data – and compare and contrast. So here it might be useful to compare those poems with ‘Steal this poem’ – and particularly his use of the senses:

We are told to: ‘rip it apart – remix it – make it your own’

There is no shame here – this is an exultant engagement with ideas – with learning. We are invited to glory in this vision of learning:

‘Cheat my meaning in ways that make sense to you’ …

‘No, you’re not a cheater

You’re a seeker’

The body here is not shamed and blamed – it is not broken or humiliated into submission; but is harnessed to enjoy the destructive, constructive and messy business of learning.

This could be seen as an implicit criticism of an education system that is broken; that forces us to internalise individual blame and shame for what are issues of power and control.

NEXT – you might compare the different themes that were emerging from YOUR data – and compare them to the ones that emerged from the literature that you read to put together your LITERATURE REVIEW.  You would bring the ideas from your Lit Review in when DISCUSSING your FINDINGS.

Now – if those poems were YOUR data – how would you bring those different perspectives together in your FINDINGS; DISCUSSION; CONCLUSION; RECOMMENDATIONS      ???

And finally – we got into our Performance Groups – with Perry Campbell!!

NEXT WEEK: Visual Data

NB: Success Coaches – BEL-109

Weds 12.00-14.00

Take any work with you – get some support…


#becomingeducational W15: TMD this- analyse that

There’s something in the air… STRESS!!

In response to the strain that we saw and felt – we asked you to find and LIKE our #studychat FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/LondonMetStudyChat/ – we post study tips and advice there – all designed to help you study better – lose your stress – get those grades… For example:


Sometimes you have to forget those weeks where you did not do it all – do not go back there and try to catch up – you will feel like you’re downing – you will feel like you can never succeed – so just STOP!!

Catch up with THIS week – and NEXT week… and if you do have some time – choose which sessions that you have missed to catch up with… Start managing your studies TODAY – – stop drowning – start smiling – form that study group!!


Quick re-cap – we’re preparing for your RESEARCH REPORT

So we are spending a few weeks on DATA ANALYSIS. Analysing your data well makes all the difference to your final report – and to the final grade that you get. Every one of these analysis weeks is important! So – make sure you pick up the analytical tools that you need to do well. Last week we looked at analysing data collected from Topic Mediated Dialogue (TMD) – and this is ALSO HOW YOU WOULD APPROACH ANALYSING ANY WRITTEN DATA.

Collecting data from TMD

  • Record and transcribe the discussion
  • Make notes whilst listening to the discussion
  • Transcripts from digital discussions (such as via email or whatsapp)
  • Ask the participants to summarise their discussion in some way – in writing… E.g. write a paragraph, write a poem…

Analysing written data:

  • As you would a poem …
  • SLOWLY – spend time with it…
  • Hi-lite key words and phrases
  • Look for themes and motifs
  • Check your analysis with participants.

Last week’s TMD included the prompts

  • How does the notion of ‘cheating’ help you think about and understand assessment: the what, the why and the how? 
  • What does the notion of ‘cheating’ say to you about learning – and about teaching?
  • What does ‘cheating’ say to you about the relationship between students, teachers and the university – and about the purpose of higher education?

We then asked you to produce your own POEM – these become the written data that we will analyse PLEASE BRING YOUR POEMS TO W16 CLASS (Weds 3rd Feb – back in our usual classroom)? BUT FIRST – we explored a poem written by Kevin Hodgson.



Steal this poem

STEAL THIS POEM: http://dogtrax.edublogs.org/2014/01/16/rhizo14-steal-this-poem/  was written by someone else in response to the same sort of prompts as you… And we asked you to:

  • Read on your own – hi-lighting key words and phrases
  • Discuss in pairs and small groups:
  • What is it saying overall?
  • What is it saying in each line?
  • What themes or motifs are emerging?
  • What does it say about teaching, learning and education?

And finally – to consider: If these were your data – how would you write up your Report: Findings; Discussion; Conclusion; Recommendations?

Bye bye Mentors

After a lively discussion – we prepared to say good bye to the Mentors – but first – we were asked to bring in an OBJECT that represented the Mentor relationship to you… Can you see this as another QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD? I can…




#becomingeducational W13: Happy new year and all that

So we started with our quiz – and that led on to discussing the what, why and how of the Research Report (1000 words – due in W20), the forthcoming PERFORMANCE weeks and assessment. Oh – we handed work back also!

Qualitative Research

You gave some great replies to the opening question: What are the advantages of qualitative research? Qualitative research allows the gathering of the feelings and experiences of those who have lived the phenomenon that you are investigating. It is interpretist – as opposed to Quantitative Research – which is positivist. Postivism suggests that things, including people, can be fixed and knowable – interpretism suggests more fluidity – and therefore hints that change is possible. We argued that a qualitative approach is more suitable when investigating people’s experiences of social phenomena and that includes their experiences of the various educational forms and processes that you/we are investigating.

The Research Report

This led to a discussion of the forthcoming Research Report where you demonstrated that you knew that:

Findings: is where you summarise the key themes that you identified in the data that you collect from your participants.

Discussion: is where you discuss your themes – against the key ideas that you had discussed in your Literature Review.

Conclusion: is where you summarise the key themes discussed… and

Recommendations: is where you might suggest actions to be taken – by staff or students – in response to what you have discovered.

We noted that in a longer research project, like a dissertation, the production of interesting data might reveal that the Literature Review was not as useful as it might have been – that it offered no relevant ideas to use. In that case a good tip is to engage in more reading – and to improve the Literature Review… This shows that a good dissertation emerges from a cycle of reading – acting – reflecting – reading some more… Oh – just like any successful essay or report process, then!



We took some time to get into embryonic groups and to discuss ideas for your performances in weeks 23, 24, 25 and 26. YES – they are starting a bit earlier than we said in the module handbook – and we are having one more group this year. (If you missed the class – do find a group to join!)

The performance is where you take over the class – and it’s your opportunity to be really creative around the notions of teaching, learning or assessment. It can be a literal performance – we would love to see a LondonMet focussed version of Educating Rita – or you can design a session or a series of activities that make us think about education in new ways. It is up to you… and we hope that you have a great time – that you enjoy the challenge – that you surprise and delight us and each other. This can be something to reflect on in your portfolio and/or in the final essay – but much more than that – it is your time to shine!



Assessment: why oh why?

We moved on to consider the role of assessment in the life of a student… part discussion – part lecture.

What is Assessment?

Assessment of learning: designed to be a measure of what the student has achieved – against the course Aims and Learning Outcomes – and any specific Assessment Criteria for a task. Links to positivism in that it suggests that it is possible to achieve one accurate measurement – and that how, in society, one measurement can often be used to define a person: their ability, their IQ and often there worth as a human being.

Assessment for learning: designed to prompt students to actually take steps to learn the material with which they are engaging. We linked this to the opening quiz – and the fact that the quiz did indeed prompt people to revise their notes and to look up new terms and learn them. Although an extrinsic motivator for learning (in that it comes from outside of the learner) – once students see for themselves that such revision works, it can lead us to more active learning.

Assessment as learning: where assessment activities are seen as part of the learning process: that actively preparing an assignment means that people engage with the ideas and make sense of them for themselves – especially as they struggle to communicate effectively. Seeing assessment as process and as learning can help us to embrace the potential of the activities in which we engage – rather than just been focussed on the grade and the mark… It should help us see that one grade is not the measure of who and what we are!

Why do we assess?

Well – bodies that award qualifications that are portable and seen as valid and reliable require evidence upon which to base their awards – that is the function of assessment at the institutional level.

How do we assess?

Through portfolios, essays, reports, projects, dissertations, exams, presentations … each one has its own genre ‘rules’: its what/why/how – and these should be thought about when preparing an assignment. Tip: when we are preparing for the assignment itself it helps to consider the task – the question – the module aims and learning outcomes – and the rules of the genre with which we are engaging. All this can help us make the most of the assessment opportunity. As Tom says: it is the opportunity to show just how clever we are!

All of the thoughts on assessment we hope are useful to you now as students – and in your future roles of educationalists… not least we hope that you reflect on the different ways that you may want to assess your future students.


You cannot have a discussion on assessment without some discussion on the role of feedback. Good feedback is designed to show where we have done well in a particular assignment – and where we have not perhaps done so well. Errors range from practical things like not referencing properly – to deeper issues like missing out on key parts of the question – not reading the ‘right’ sources – not understanding or writing in sufficient depth. The best thing to do is to reflect on both our strengths – so we repeat them in other assignments – and our weaknesses – so we do something about them. Although feedback can provoke profound emotional responses (oh how we cried!); usually the tutor is not trying to destroy us – but is rather hoping that we notice their comments – and that we then do something about them.

Feedback is particularly useful in an iterative (repetitive) education system:  where we visit information in lectures or workshops – discuss in seminars and through our coursework – and then develop further to discuss again via synoptic exam answers. This is why examinations are so popular in some circles… although they are typically not enjoyed by students.

Ta daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

And after all that preamble – work was handed back – grades were focussed upon (!!!) – but we also had the opportunity to speak with people to discuss what they had done well – what they could do differently next time…

Well done everybody!!


#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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neHt9G3R7TE) 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: <http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/take5/simulations.html>.

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:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0N3pJlgca_MC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=Research+Methods+%2B+Topic+Mediated+Dialogue&source=bl&ots=X1q-6Gn645&sig=HoL7rN35NT_obqaI-9PSg_k6kTM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBGoVChMIu9if_52zyAIVgj0UCh2-nQbO#v=onepage&q=Research%20Methods%20%2B%20Topic%20Mediated%20Dialogue&f=false (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!

Tips: TRY – FAIL – TRY AGAIN – FAIL AGAIN – BUT FAIL BETTER!!  Check out our POSITIVE THINKING resources: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/positive.html

#becomingeducational Easter blog

In class this week we spoke a lot about the need occasionally to slow down – to take time – to give the proper amount of time to a task and to our thinking. To follow this up here are a couple of Easter tasks for you to try.

Art for an Hour

Go to a museum or art gallery – find a picture or an object that you like or that you relate to or that moves you in some way.

Now just be with it for an hour.

Yes – I said one hour.

No phones, no talking to other people – no thinking about shopping, work, housework, assignments, friends or family. Just being with your chosen piece or object for one whole hour.

As you sit – you can look – listen – experience. You might sketch, make notes, doodle.

After the hour – write 300 words (no more – no less) on your art work or object.

Share your 300-words in your blogs – preferably with a picture of your art work or object to give a bit of context.

Share your reflections on  what it was like to do this strange thing!

Here’s my blogpost when I did the same activity for an #artmooc that I took: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/livearthistory-w4-world-making.html – you have to scroll down to find the piece that begins:  Mostly it’s brown paper: spending an hour with a primitive portrait of my mother.

Featured Image -- 413

Data for an hour!

I think that you can guess what we’re going to suggest here?!

Once you have your Research Project raw data – do not rush to sum it up and dispose of it. Sit with it for an hour (at least!). Be with your data.

If it is written data – read and re-read. Annotate – high-light – doodle upon it. Draw little cartoons and pictures.  For an hour.

If you have collected visual data – again – sit with it. Look at it. Absorb it. Make notes – doodles – sketches. For an hour.

Once you have done your hour – free write 300-words that should be the first draft version of your Findings.

Reflect on the whole experience! Blog about it!

Move on to free write your Discussion – Conclusion – Recommendations.

Then keep revising them till they are actually polished and rather fine!!

AND – have a lovely Easter break!!

#becomingeducational W24 blog: Analyse this – write that: Visual Data!

This week we moved from analysing raw written data – to analysing raw visual data.
The process: we opened the session with an Image Mediated Dialogue (IMD) session – to ‘answer’ the questions:
• What does ‘feedback’ mean to you?
• What does ‘assignment’ mean to you?
• What is your big ‘sticking point’ with assignments?
We had to choose just one picture from a range of rich pictures that for us answered the questions… We had to write a DESCRIPTION of our picture – and move on to an ANALYSIS: the picture answers the question for me because… Following on from the writing – we moved into dialogic triads – where each person in turn presented and discussed their picture.
After a reflection on IMD as a way to start a lesson – begin an assignment – and as a research method – we moved on to analyse a collage produced by a group of staff – on the same assessment-focussed topics. Again – we had to engage in those first messy noticing steps – then gather ideas into arguments – discussion – conclusion and recommendations. And again – the point was not to get to the ‘right answer’ – but to engage in enough of this process so that we would know what to do with our own data – and how to start making sense of it for our own research reports.
If you want to have a go – analyse this picture in re attitudes to feedback and assessment:

A, A, Artefact Mooc December 2010 050

AND FINALLY – given that we conducted our IMD and our collage analysis on the topic of assessment – here’s a bonus activity: a Podcast on Kindness and Assessment:

#becomingeducational W23: Analyse this! Write that!!

The Research Report – a practical session
This week we prepared for writing our research reports by engaging with some real primary data – and going through the stages and processes required to turn raw data into:
* Findings
* Discussion
* Conclusion
* Recommendations.

The Research Question: What does ‘connected learning’ mean to you?
The Method: Collaborative writing as a means of enquiry (viz. Ken Gale)
The Data: A collaborative poem – accessed here: https://titanpad.com/sXgaTJMniP
The Process: first we brainstormed what ‘connected learning’ meant to us… A hard copy of the collaborative poem was given to each group – and we had to annotate, high-light – notice… then discuss – and do that all over again.
This was the messy bit where we were supposed to just jot down observations and ‘noticings’ – without yet trying to impose an order upon them.
After this we were encouraged to look for themes and motifs and the ‘story being told’ in the poem – how would we describe that in a 300-word Findings section? How would we then utilise our various Literature Reviews to discuss the Findings in a 300-word Discussion… And so forth.

The point of this session was to immerse us in the real processes that would be involved in analysing data – and in the struggle that we will engage in when we write our Reports. The point was the struggle and the process – not the ‘getting it right’.

So – this is a short blog post – if you have not engaged in that struggle yet – have a go at analysing the #ccourses poem for yourself! And then reflecting on the struggles that you had in your journey to make sense of it!