WrAP 2 Update

Just a quick post to note down the outcome from my conversation with James on Friday.

We discussed my two ideas; (1) reframing my MA dissertation as the promotion of application of theory to practice through regular open reflection, and (2) reworking my RRW2 proposal. James wrote off the former instantly, pointing out that I’d already done it and had drawn a mental line underneath it.

He suggested that I take the topic of my RRW2 proposal and refocus it into a theoretical piece on the methodologies used in evaluating teaching development programmes; including externally-funded projects (e.g. by the JISC), reward & recognition schemes, and CPD courses. James feels as I do that development/reward initiatives are rarely evaluated well, and – as I suggested in my RRW2 assignment – the complexities of learning and teaching development are often glossed over in an attempt to satisfy the demand for impact metrics. However, rather than developing a new form of evaluation as an antidote or act of resistance to such demands, James proposed that examples of good innovative evaluation practice do exist, and a piece that analysed the strengths and weaknesses of evaluation methodologies used in university-based projects – with a view to identifying good practice – would be welcomed by the readers of IETI or IJAD.

He recommended I take a look at Roni Bamber’s work on evaluating teacher development programmes, and also the work that is currently being done at Lund University in Sweden with trainee professors.

I really appreciate James’ feedback, and am quite excited by his suggestion. My concern is that it would be quite ambitious, and a complete departure from my previous publications on learning technology and digital literacy. It would involve critiquing a lot of other people’s methodologies and I’m not 100% sure now is the best time for me to be doing that. Can I do it well? I will sleep on it.

I did have a moment of clarity reconsidering my MA dissertation work though; I think there is a really interesting story to be told about the experience of staff being made to engage in open, networked online learning. Three years on, despite working tirelessly on making blended learning ‘work’, the majority of my students still tell me they would prefer weekly face-to-face workshops (I think I would too).

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