I've had a quick look at the literature review from Michael's dissertation. The subject matter is entirely different to my own, however I'm interested in style, structure and length.
It will be useful to see how this compares with other literature reviews.
I now have a confirmed date for an observation in Architecture - Friday 5th April. The specific arrangements, including timing and venue, are to be confirmed in due course.
Courtesy of Anna and Jen, we now have a moodle dissertation forum. There are three members thus far: myself, Anna and Livia. Both Anna and Livia and excellent to work with so it's certain to be a good resource, even if we're following different research paths.
Or to put I another, maybe it need to be more focused. As I've been carrying out my literature review I've begun to get the sense that maybe I should focus on how tutors judge the quality of multimodal artifcats, rather than a more approach in general to how tutors feel about multimodal artifacts. While this is covered to an extent within my three proposed research questions, it feels like my dissertation title should similarly reflect this focus.
"A constellation of images, words and sounds: measuring the quality of multimodal artifacts in the online classroom"
As the working title reflects, I've made a few other changes based upon my recent reading. 'Words' has replaced 'text' and encapsulates both written and spoken language.
I've also opted for the more specific 'online' classroom, to reflect that I will be interviewing tutors from an online programme. I like the phrase 'digital classroom' however that could include predominantly campus-based provision.
This is all still a work in progress and is likely to change again as my reading continues. I think the title suggested above represents an improvement however.
Maybe I also need to add something before 'Constellation'? Perhaps something to reflect that it is fluid and changing as an environment. Maybe:
"A changing constellation of images, words and sounds: measuring the quality of multimodal artifacts in the online classroom"
OK, maybe I need something better than 'changing' which hints at fluidity.
At the moment I'm unconvinced of the value of carrying out visual data collection. To be honest, I've never been totally sold on the idea, but then I've never tried my hand at this kind of thing therefore maybe that's to be expected. When I'm already hard pushed to submit my dissertation by the 'early' August deadline that I've set, this would seem to be an exercise that will be time consuming beyond the merit that I can see it providing.
As a newcomer to visual research I'll obviously need to do some research into how it should be done. And having never carried out this visual analysis, there's no guarantee that I'll be any good at it. Even if it does prove to be something I am able to do effectively, how much value would a handful of images add to the project? This is all over-and-above determining what I data I'm trying to collect and that actually collecting it.
Might I not have sufficient data with the seven interviews followed by observation? Although this is something that Sian is keen for me to try (on the basis that she thinks I'd be good at it)..
So I have two key questions/concerns (over and above whether I'll be any good at visual analysis):
Last Friday afternoon I caught up briefly with Jeremy to get his thoughts on preparing a lit review, based upon his own experience of completing the MSc dissertation. Here are a few of the key points:
Jeremy has since sent me a link to his dissertation, although he notes that his entire dissertation was a lit review i.e. entirely desk bound research based upon the theory.
The arrangement I previously discussed with Sian (at least partly at her suggestion) was to invite participants to bring two multimodal assessment artefacts to the interview. One would be a strong one, another would be less effective. At least I think it was. Or maybe I would identify the strong one from the course gallery and invite the participant to select one that they felt was less strong.
Instead I wonder I should select two different assessment for use across interviews. These needn't be a pre-determined good and bad, but simply two examples that use different assemblages of mode within the representation of ideas.
My thinking here is that it might be interesting to get different tutor perspectives on how they would approach the two different artifacts. It might make for useful comparison in attitudes between different tutors. I wonder whether it might help to identify some common patterns - or contrasting positions - that would be interesting to consider in relation to the literature on the subject.
In addition, the idea that I should determine what is a strong/weak assignment is something I find problematic. Much better, I think, that I ask participants how thet respond to the different artifacts rather than attempting to make my own value judgements on them in advance.
I think it would be interesting to see how the participants would approach two assignments that are quite different in form from an assessment perspective.
And from a pragmatic perspective, this would make my job a bit easier as I wouldn't have to attempt to mark the assignments in advance, as I proposed.
I'll need to put this to Sian.
Over lunch I'm reading Carey Jewitt's 'Rethinking Assessment: Multimodality, literacy and computer mediated learning (2003). It's a really good (and relevant) read, even if the focus is upon high school study of a CD-Rom version of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.
Using the celestial metaphor of stars within a constellation. The autor created the all the individual elements of the multimodal assignments. These might be images, sound clips, passages of written text, animation. These are the stars. They are projected onto the canvas by the author. The author intends to demonstrate his understanding or world view through this assesmblage of stars.
The reader has a gazes upon the different stars glistening on the black canvas overhead. She then follows her own path between the different stars, studying one element, then another and then another. She follows her own path between the stars. She might return to a star of pariticular interest. She might do this more than once for, having seen subsequent stars the first star might make more sense. She is making sense of the relationship between the elements. She tries to make sense of the the elements by making sense of the combined knowledge they project. She is intepreting meaning from the assemblage of image, text and sound. She attaches meaning to this constellation based upon the unique journey she followed between them.
The reader/astronomer has followed her own path, not a trajectory proposed by the author. She is not receiving the message transmitted by the stars (author), she is constructing meaning upon what has been projected onto the sky canvas. As such she is a producer - she is constructing information. She negotiates this meaning with the author.