Posted: June 27th, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: pedagogy, research | Comments Off
Today in the planning day come workshop thingie we talked through, about, around, down, in, out, and up assessment and learning. This is what has come out in the wash:
Starting backwards. Semester two is straightforward, some hurdle tasks in the lab would be useful to keep students on track, measure progress and milestones, and provide support, scaffolding, but the key outcome of all subjects in semester two is the honours research outcome which will be examined. This provides all the assessment tasks and outcomes for the semester.
The assessment tasks for semester one have been planned from the point of view of aligning them towards maximising the research done in honours, and the quality of the honours research outcomes (the theses and projects undertaken). Each of the assessable tasks are designed to be formative in terms of the final honours outcome, with one caveat at this point being the media futures subject which is a theoretical island within the program.
Semester one has four subjects, the research practice subject has no timetabled teaching and is an allocation of time (measured by credit points) for students to be doing the research work that honours requires. As mentioned, the media futures subject will have two essays as outcomes, but these are not part of the formative model for the rest of the assessment at this point.
The research strategies subject will see students develop a research problem/statement in the early weeks. This will be a hurdle task, it will not be assessed, but must be completed. It will change during the course of the semester and the year, but is important to develop a trajectory to everything else that is going on. Here they will also learn some basic project management, and by the end of the semester will have also identified/signed on with a supervisor. The project management, supervision documentation and a project plan (timeline) for semester two will form a hurdle portfolio task. The two assessable tasks for the research strategies subject will be a 2000 word written piece due mid semester. This will be a preliminary investigation of what the key methods are for the individual research problem, who are the key figures in the field, what do they say, and how do you actually do/use these methods (what are they exactly?). This is assessed, and based on the feedback you get will form the basis for a larger, expanded writing task (4000 words) that writes out in much more complexity and detail your method/s, the key figures, theories and ideas, what they are, and how they are used (and perhaps why). This can also be used as the basis for the opening chapter of the thesis or the exegesis.
The first semester research lab is orientated around learning a lot about the theme or topic of the lab. A suggested model for the content is to use a tripartite structure that spends a third defining ‘boundaries, edges and tipping points’. What are the definitional terms and debates, what are the edges and boundaries of the problem (where does it begin, when does it become something else) and at what point, or where ‘in between’ do things change? A third examining why this topic actually matters (what are its ethical implications, what relation does this have to other things?), and a final third investigating how the theme intersects with the students’ individual discipline, field or practice.
For example, in non fiction the first third might think about where does non fiction as a concept have purchase (writing, film making, video, art, journalism, but what about in design? advertising? gaming?), and within these about what point or moment does nonfiction become fiction or whatever the oppositional other is to nonfiction? The second third examining the import of non fiction in terms of an ethics of practice (who gets to speak? why? how?), why does it even matter to distinguish things that make nonfiction truth claims from fictional truth claims, how non fiction can non fiction be? And a final third thinking about these questions in the context of my own discipline and field – which is where I can bring in my research problem and concerns to provide a lens to focus this theme.
For assessment we want to assess what has been learnt about the theme, but in a manner that is relevant to the disciplinary mix and the larger research projects being undertaken. We also want the emphasis and effort here being on doing a lot of reading, watching, listening, trying to be a sponge with the assessment not detracting from the effort to learn as much as you can. The first task will be a highly constrained presentation (let’s say 3 minutes long) where you must express a point of view about the lab theme from the point of view of your research problem/field/discipline/practice. You are to argue for your opinion (but not just opinion since it should be informed by your emerging understanding of the topic area) using evidence from what you have learnt. This will happen mid semester. The presentations will be critiqued by the lab, and assessed. The second task will be to develop this point of view further, to turn it into a substantial argument that again takes a position in relation to the lab topic and your research problem/practice/discipline/field. This work can take any form that is relevant to your practice/discipline but if it is not an essay but is some other sort of artefact then it must have a written accompaniment.
Things to consider. Semester two labs, what should a lab leave behind? why? how?
Posted: June 27th, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: imagining | Comments Off
Somewhere in Between:
interdisciplinary, disruptive, transformative, laboratory, rigourous, liminal, useful, process, making, knowing, unconventional, inventive, swamp & kindergarten
Honours is the most exciting and challenging academic experience that has the potential to transform your understanding of yourself and your role in media and communication. Honours allows the best students to participate in series of interdisciplinary research laboratories that explore gnarly questions and wicked problems in modern network ecologies. We will make things that push ideas, artifacts and methods to explore their limits/boundaries. You will develop the skills and capabilities to be agents of change in your fields of interest and practice.
Posted: June 23rd, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: imagining, pedagogy | Comments Off
How to thread things between the labs amongst the students (courtesy of Rachel):
Posted: June 22nd, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: imagining, pedagogy, planning days, research | Comments Off
The big outcome today are the lab themes. The themes are set, the description still in draft mode.
(insert drumroll)The Themes(/remove drumroll)
The Advocacy Lab provides an opportunity for you to engage with real world problems in the context of community engagement and social issues. You will work in interdisciplinary teams to investigate problems and issues which matter to communities. The lab is an opportunity to facilitate your engagement with sustainable and responsible practice in the communication and media industries.
Critical and creative thinking will be used to enhance your disciplinary knowledge. This course offers you a deep level of engagement with social problems; you may work with community groups, not-for-profit organizations, or industry on real-world problems.
This is a lab where you are able to use your media and communication abilities to transform your, and others, understanding of ethical questions to empower and make a difference.
The Slow Lab provides an opportunity for you to undertake speculative research and making around the concept of the ‘slow’. You will work in interdisciplinary teams to define, sketch, elaborate upon, unpack and describe how the recent idea of the ‘slow’ may be relevant to media and communication in terms of theory and practice.
This concept of the slow has arisen in reaction to the increased velocity and intensification of contemporary media, communication, manufacturing and consumption. It is concerned with sustainability and the romantic restoration of the ‘human’ within what some characterise as the ‘in’ or ‘posthuman’ of a contemporary knowledge society. You will interrogate the concept of slowness in this lab.
This is a lab where the slow movement will be appropriated to think about slow media, slow technology, and slow communication. You will use your media and communication abilities to consider the role and relevance of the slow in relation to a problem of your choice.
The UnFiction Lab provides a space to investigate, critique and undertake studies in non fiction theory, practice and form. You will work in interdisciplinary teams to deepen your understanding of key issues in factual, documentary and nonfiction research. These issues may include the relation of fiction to nonfiction, the place of creativity and invention in nonfiction, the ethics of documentary, and asks where nonfiction occurs and why.
Posted: June 22nd, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: imagining, pedagogy, planning days | Comments Off
Thanks to Russell Kerr:
What is an Honours Research Lab?
A Research Lab is a transformative space that facilitates dynamic work through the relations between the diverse individuals involved; these interactions produce innovative and creative solutions to key problems in media and communication.
The Research Lab can be thought of as being a creative studio space; part design studio; part kindergarten; part conversation; part laboratory. As a participant of a Research Lab you can expect to give a voice to an identified issue or theme, you will collaborate with team members in a participatory experience, and you will produce research outcomes of relevance to your future career.
You can expect an intensive collaborative environment that expands your understanding of a given subject. You will employ a range of complex skills and research activities to create new solutions in response to a research problem.
Outcomes of the Research Lab will be as diverse as the participants’ skillsets and experiences, they will be interdisciplinary. Your outcomes will be relevant to the research problem and be appropriate to your personal understanding and exploration of the issue or theme you have engaged with. The outcome you create may be different from your own disciplinary practice.
Honours encourages you to approach media and communication research as a disruptive, informed and transformational practice. The laboratory, from the point of view of your disciplinary experience and learning, will be seriously playful, liminal and enabling.
Posted: June 22nd, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: administrative details, planning days | Comments Off
In the planning day workshop today (Jeremy Parker, Adrian Miles, Rachel Wilson, Russell Kerr, Cathy Greenfield) we worked out selection processes for honours. We will be seeking a minimum distinction average in your final year (70% or better) and then there will be a supplementary form, which will ask:
- Please rank your preference for the 3 research labs.
- Please briefly describe why you have these preferences.
use make a list of 10 words to describe yourself as a student.
use make a list of 10 words to describe the problems that matter to you.
- (Optional) Is there any material of yours that you would like us to see? Please provide URLs.
Posted: June 22nd, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: imagining, pedagogy, research | Comments Off
Some guidelines (chime in for what I’ve missed here please)
1. They cannot be discipline specific
2. They do need to be broad enough to offer content/engagement for all current programs (draw a line from creative writing, through comm design, on to all the b.comm programs, and on to games, music, animation, photography…)
3. They need to be relevant to the School
4. We can innovate – lead – agenda set
5. They need to be ‘teachable’ (there needs to be honours appropriate content to be taught)
6. They need to support a diversity of research outcomes (thesis, project, project via portfolio)
7. Hopefully they have some ‘cool’ quality so that students ‘get’ why doing that topic would be, well, cool
1. Let’s think innovative stuff.
2. Let’s think forward looking (honours knowledge as enabling future knowledge practitioners)
3. Let’s think about what honours should be known for and why
Posted: June 22nd, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: pedagogy, research | Comments Off
These have been sent through by Yoko:
Studio themes for discussion
1. What community?
Description: students explore what notions of a community they belong to, or are associated with through their research
Is it a community of interest or community of practice, or a community of place? I like the idea that students can explore what and how they are connected to eg. through their discipline, through their peers, through their interests, through their geographical locations, etc. Through their individual research, they can explore this connection more deeply and identify elements that make up differences, connection, fragmentation and agency (eg. Latour) within those notions of community, in relation to their topic or project site.
NB: This could also be called ‘what culture?’ too, and explore the same kinda thing.
2. Lost in translation
Description: students explore the things that are hard to make tangible, which can either be within their practice/discipline/project site.
One of the interesting thing about working in an interdisciplinary way is how things becomes ‘lost in translation’ – sometimes, this is an obstacle, and sometimes this can force a level of ambiguity that catalyse a productive and generative activity. Students can investigate facets of tacit knowledge, embedded practices, ambiguous language, complexity and productive tension that arise from operating in the spaces of ‘in-between’.
3. What does it mean to be good?
Description: students explore what it means to be ethical in any chosen field, practice and context. I’ve kinda imagined that this cluster can critically interrogate a variety of pressing issues of our time and include stuff like sustainability, social responsibility, education … etc. It will be good to investigate how ethics manifest in different areas and what values are promoted in the media and communication outputs out there. It could potentially be quite deep but can also be explored as a way to question approaches, conducts and outputs.
Posted: May 23rd, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation | Tags: pedagogy | Comments Off
University of Lincoln’s “Student as Producer” project, while aimed at undergraduate, is useful in terms of its effort to connect research with pedagogy, which is one of the key aims of what is now BH066, Bachelor of Media and Communication (Honours). Wonder why they didn’t name their project ‘student as researcher’?
Posted: May 13th, 2011 | Author: Adrian | Filed under: documentation, meetings | Tags: meetings | Comments Off
The meeting participants were Cathy Greenfield, Adrian Dyer, Yoko Akama, Jeremy Parker, Rachel Wilson, Russell Kerr, and Adrian Miles. Apologies received from Karen Trist and Francesca Rendle-Short.
Cathy tabled the rubric that she developed for the Media and Communication Futures subject (draft available as a pdf). This was not discussed, but will be used as a template for all other courses as we move into curriculum development. [It was not discussed because the working group has been working piecemeal and the schedule got a bit sidetracked, so we will keep this to one side to be used when we are specifically dealing with curriculum.]
Adrian M. reported on recent meeting with Dean and a variety of other staff. The Dean has expressed belief that there should be one program director for honours (inspite of their being two programs), that there be a small program team of three to five, and that the PD position should rotate every two years.
The meeting then worked on completing an informal Gantt Chart of tasks that need to be completed for the program to commence successfully in 2012. We listed all tasks we could think of, and then where possible indicated when they had to happen by. This is to give us a more specific roadmap than we’ve had for a while and to stop meetings chasing tails. We know have deadlines, and in some cases preliminary actions. The roadmap is currently pinned up on the wall in 9.2.5.
Adrian Miles is chasing up what role the working group has, if any, in proposing a method for finding teaching staff and a Program Director for the program.