Readiness Assessment: BEGIN!

October 15, 2012 – 7:59 am

Okay! Readiness start! I woke up this morning to find out that my committee had asked me to write my exam about one of my comics. (Have I mentioned that I love my committee?) It’s wonderful when people give you that extra kick-in-the-butt that gets you to do the work you know you should do but haven’t made yourself do yet.

So here’s the deal. I’ll be working on this for the next two weeks. My goal is to blog about it at least once per day, here even if that post is a “mnrughalaaaanfh didn’t get ANYTHING done can’t THINK” one. I will be using my blog to document my process. I can’t ask for help (this is an individual exam) and y’all shouldn’t give me any intellectual help (don’t suggest answers to the questions, or point me to readings, and so on) but emotional support (“GO MEL!” and/or “GO TO SLEEP, MEL!”) is quite welcome.

My two biggest bits of pre-exam advice from classmates last week have been Mary’s reminder that on Day 6, if I’m still reading and going “THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO READ! DESPAIR! DESPAIR!” I need to pull myself out and start writing (and to call her if I need cookies to be incentivized to do that) and James’s repeated and emphatic statements that the Readiness you write is never going to be perfect, because you wrote it solo in two weeks atop your normal life. Thanks, folks.

Short versions of the 3 questions I’m tackling (my rewordings — I’ll post the original questions soonish) are below.

  • Literature review: what are the theories that inform the concept of RTR? (What characterizes it as a learning environment, who are the types of learner-characters/communities within it, and what’s being shared/access/revealed inside, with, and within its boundaries?)
  • Methods: what are the methods one might use to study learning with RTR, and what will be studied (what environment, which learners, practices, processes, types of knowledge, timeframe, etc)? What are the strengths and limitations of this setup, including potential ethical considerations?
  • Opportunities: what are the affordances of RTR in the context of college level engineering education — how might it transform things?

I’ve got a bunch of initial thoughts rattling around in my mind about this, but I’ll have to wait until after class (which starts in 4 minutes) to get those braindumps out. I’ve got a few questions for my committee already, which I’ll send to Robin in a moment:

  1. May I use/cite non-scholarly sources in my responses? For instance, a blog post, or a book that isn’t academic. I would plan on distinguishing levels of source formality from each other (noting when something’s peer-reviewed, etc) and also distinguishing things that are theoretically or anecdotally based versus empirical studies, because I realize they’re very different things — but it would be nice to have the option of using them.
  2. Building on the above: am I allowed to conduct little bits of analysis on “data” I encounter in order to draw conclusions? I realize this isn’t asking me to conduct a research project, but sometimes it might be nice to show a quick example of a potential pattern. For instance, if I see that of 50 papers I found on a topic, 20 were written in 1996, and only 2 after 1998. Or if I find evidence that pattern-matches a theoretical framework in blog posts by a few different people, using them as examples to ground some of my more theory-heavy explanations.
  3. At what point am I allowed to ask for external feedback on my written work? Is that on October 29th after I hand the written paper in, or after November 9th when I defend? (In other words, can I ask for feedback while I’m preparing my oral defense?)

I am excited. This is going to be fun.

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  1. 24 Responses to “Readiness Assessment: BEGIN!”

  2. I’m not sure if I can answer any of those questions… they seem like the kinds of questions you should send to your advisor. It feels tantamount to providing intellectual support if I answer them?

    Open dialogs are not necessarily simple. There’s a reason, perhaps, some of them are closed?

    By Matt on Oct 15, 2012

  1. 23 Trackback(s)

  2. Oct 15, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: thoughts on the literature I might be looking at
  3. Oct 16, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: starting with exploring methodologies
  4. Oct 16, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: what’s the relationship between RTR and ethnography?
  5. Oct 16, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: how and why RTR opens up boundaries and what the tradeoffs are, plus rediscovering my first exposure to Patti Lather’s thinking (in 2007)
  6. Oct 17, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: I found books on affordances! And the gameplan shifts again.
  7. Oct 17, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » Design, Cognition, & Learning: an (exhausted) summary for Canek of the Turns et al paper on how porfolios support reflection
  8. Oct 17, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: starting with Gibson, figuring out what the heck affordances are in the context of RTR
  9. Oct 17, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: finally coming to the end of my readings on affordances
  10. Oct 17, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: more affordances stuff — Gibson the Second, in which I thumb my nose at positivism for the night
  11. Oct 18, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: all right, research methods! what’s the current state of things post-naptime?
  12. Oct 19, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: crap, I’m stalled. gotta unstall.
  13. Oct 22, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: Paradigms
  14. Oct 22, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: feminist research methods
  15. Oct 22, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: I have a draft!
  16. Oct 24, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: project management mode
  17. Oct 26, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: who the heck else is doing RTR stuff?
  18. Oct 26, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: Wherein Mel finally defines, describes, and backs up what the heck the praxis of radical transparency is, sort of.
  19. Oct 26, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: documenting conversations
  20. Oct 27, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: Part of me hopes that my entire thesis statement is wrong, because if it’s right, it’s stupidly audacious.
  21. Oct 29, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: Mel, it’s a PASS/FAIL exam. Seriously. (Also: RTR affordances.)
  22. Oct 29, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: What RTR looks like in real life
  23. Oct 29, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: What does RTR on a non-open community look like?
  24. Oct 29, 2012: Mel Chua » Blog Archive » RAT: The Document

What do you think?