#becomingeducational W4: Is it really only week 4???

Yes – it is only W4 – and boy – such a lot has happened already!!


For this week’s test we wanted to see if you had read the blog!! We know that people are opening the blog – we get stats for that… But are you reading it? Hah!!

Remember – Becoming operates as a ‘flipped classroom’ – you have to engage with the blog to fully engage with the class. In the blog we post up links to articles that you might read – not least to produce your LITERATURE REVIEW or METHOD statement for your RESEARCH PROPOSAL. We reflect on and deepen the learning that we hope takes place each week… and we extend it with links to useful websites and occasionally to Webinars (online seminars) on topics related to becoming an educationalist.

So – what had we hoped that you had spotted and thought about on the blog?

Mainly that – NEXT WEEK…

Next week – W5 – has been scheduled as a Study Week (to help students with children – it’s half term). There is no scheduled class – BUT – there is lots to do!! We have asked you to visit the university as a site of learning – ready to:

PRESENT your findings, W7 – in an EXHIBITION. NOT in Poster Presentations – we want you to present your findings in more creative ways – as a poem or a comic book or a jigsaw puzzle or a piece of knitting… So you need to choose a mode or method of presentation NOW!!

Singly, in pairs or in small groups – explore the University as ‘participant observers’ (look this phrase up and think about it)

For Multi-modal Exhibition: W7


What are people doing?

Where is learning happening?

What stops learning from happening?

What MODE are you going to use to present your findings? (See: Lastrefuge: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/artmooc-week-four-through-lens-lessons.html)

Meet us in Enricos!!

We will be Enricos (the university café next door to our usual classroom) from about 10.30 ready to meet up with you informally. You can pop in just to say hello – or to touch base. Or you might want to pop in and have a chat about the module or the course as a whole. Whatever it is that you want – we will be there to meet you!!

Seeding reflection

After thinking about next week, we took a moment this week to reflect on your experiences of university and the course so far. We asked you to:

Reflect on your experiences of the first three and a bit weeks of the course – and to remember, surface, your feelings.

Then – rummage through some newspapers and magazines and choose pictures or words that represented your feelings to you.

Then to produce a collage with those pictures and words …

And to free write briefly on your collage and your feelings.

REFLECT: What did you learn about yourself from doing this activity? What did you learn about the emotional dimension of being a student? Will you consider using this as a research method?

Two things emerged:

ONE – this is an excellent qualitative research method that you might like to use in your own RESEARCH PROJECT!!!

TWO – some of you were confused and a bit worried about the module assignments. This is why we then re-shaped the rest of the session – making sure that we covered the assignments in more detail – and tried to make sense of them with you.

The Assignments

  • Creative Projects – submit evidence of 3 = W30 (30% marks)
  • Research Project:
    • Proposal W10 (10%)
    • Report W20 (20%)
  • Essay W30 (40%).

The Research Project – part 1: The Proposal – due in W10

  • Introduction – What are you researching and why?
  • Literature Review – What have other people written on this topic already? (Do some reading!)
  • Method – How are you going to gather data (and why)? (ALSO – read about Research Methods!)
  • Ethics

***** W9 whole class practical on this!! ****


  • How students make notes … Does it work?
  • Attitudes to academic reading
  • Attitudes to academic writing
  • Student experiences of group work
  • Student experiences of using social media in studying
  • Student attitudes to the weekly blog
  • The emotional dimension of being a student
  • The experience of being a mature student – or a working student or a carer…

DEFINITELY NOT – learning styles!! No – no – and thrice no!!


Qualitative: Get participants to:

  • Make a collage and discuss it
  • Choose a rich picture – and write about
  • Engage in topic mediated dialogue – and record it
  • Free write on the topic you are researching
  • Produce a pattern note or concept map…

DEFINITELY NOT – a questionnaire!!! Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!



  • Over-18 – not vulnerable
  • Give informed consent
  • Right to withdraw
  • Anonymised (no signatures): not possible to identify participants
  • BERA + ethics
  • At least do no harm!!

NEXT – Notemaking

We moved on to consider the role of notemaking in YOUR learning:

  • What: active learning – key words – mnemonic triggers – pictures
  • Why: because it is ACTIVE LEARNING – keeps it interesting – difficult – important
  • How: PREPARE – BE ACTIVE – REVIEW (or forget 98% in 3-weeks!!).


NOTEMAKING: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/note.html

READING: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/reading.html

Textmapping: noteamking from reading

And finally… we asked you to form groups to collectively read, annotate and finally present a text. Obviously because next week is Study Week we cannot present the reading next week – but we have asked you all to be ready to present your reading in W6 – the week after next.


Mark up the text – thinking about WHY it is interesting or useful – and HOW you might use it: Will you use it in your Literature Review?

Turn the text into a COLLAGE POSTER – this will help you understand the text – and it will help us to understand your presentation!!


The belief that we can… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-efficacy

Bandura argues we need models of success in our families, in our communities

THINK ABOUT: South Oxhey – the Unsung Town

South Oxhey was a new town for East Enders after the second world war. It was built in middle England, Herts – and middle England was appalled! They required that the town be invisible – and this was arguably internalised by the residents – who became silenced… Gareth Malone built a choir there:


How often do we hear these voices on television? In what context?

SO – how would you build self-efficacy in yourself? In your students?

Further Reading:

Blogging: http://ds106.us/handbook/blogging/

Giroux on Freire: http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/93016:lessons-to-be-learned-from-paulo-freire-as-education-is-being-taken-over-by-the-mega-rich

Info-Ed: dialogue, praxis and education: http://infed.org/mobi/paulo-freire-dialogue-praxis-and-education/

Summerhill – experiments in emancipatory education: http://www.summerhillschool.co.uk/


Sandra & Tom


#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.

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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 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 out 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:




Recommendations for Practice


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.


  • 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 https://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.