Researcher journal: starting out

Buds opening on a plantWise words from a friend about the importance of keeping a researcher journal. I mentioned this at my PhD annual review this week and my reviewers agreed, so here goes.

I started my studies in January 2012 with Vicky Gunn (then director of the Learning and Teaching Centre, where I work), and Steve Draper, who had originally introduced me to the Jigsaw Classroom. My original title was awful – I knew that I wanted to look at the effect of peer interactions on learning, but Vicky said that I needed something to get past the Graduate School, so the title I submitted was: “Changing attitudes to co-operative learning in highly individual subjects: models from interdisciplinary subjects applied to the humanities.” Ugh. I couldn’t ever remember what it was called and I was not interested in the humanities. But it got me accepted and off I went.

Fast forward past suspension due to ill health and a change of supervisors (Fiona Patrick and Vic Lally) and my research is now about the effects of peer interaction on learning, and I’m going to be looking at some of the cMOOCish things that I do (my own working title is about messing around on the internet). I have got ethical approval for my research (more about that rigmarole later) and now I’m thinking about my methodology and lit review.

So if you see me messing around on Twitter, producing mashups and chatting – that’s me doing research. 😉

Beginning by dee_dee_creamer  shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

This entry was posted in Learning, MOOC, Online learning, Peer interaction, PhD, Researcher Journal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Researcher journal: starting out

  1. scottx5 says:

    So how do you get peer interaction across disciplines? WILL people come out of their silos to talk to each other? Will they understand each other? Or are there commonalities we just don’t see?

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      I think there are commonalities, but it’s bloody hard to see them when you’re an overworked, stressed academic trying to keep up with REF and probably TEF and who knows ahat other nonsense. We used to have a staff club and a PG research club, and what struck us a lot was now much we had in common about what we thought and did. Needless to say management shut them down at the same time as they started exhorting us to be “interdisciplinary” – they just didn’t understand how networks work. Or – more cynical – they wanted to manage the collaborations and make sure they were the “right” ones.

  2. scottx5 says:

    We actually had an administration created group to build cooperation and comradery among departments that lasted only few weeks before the college president jumped in and started threatening people who didn’t toe the college line. Then we had a collective vision building day lead by an outside consultant who ended the day dismissing all our ideas as vague and meaningless. He closed with the story of a cheering section at an American university who had their instructions altered so when the 500 people in the stands held up their cards to spell out “We Rule!” it came out “We Suck!”

    One of the major things we ran into from management was the need to belittle people’s skills and direct every project to death. Since they themselves have no skills or knowledge the worked by some kind of method involving spells that drew tax money from the anterior lobes of crested macaques. That said, every cancelled project illustrates a fear they carry within.

  3. scottx5 says:

    Something to do with management needing to be “accountable” in a manner unrelated to what a “reasonable person” would observe they were doing.

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