Saturday, March 12, 2016

EDDE 806 - Post IV - madlib your research a bit

Last week my goal of attending all 806 sessions this semester got derailed by fatigue.  For those keeping score at home, I've attended 3, and written about 4 (including this post) this semester - still ahead of the game ;-).  Thank heavens for recorded sessions! As the sole member of Cohort 7 representing in 806 I feel like I should be more on top of things ;-)

In any case, the presentation this past week included a presentation by Robyn Gorham (cohort ?),  an interlude by Lisa and Peggy (Cohort 6), and a presentation by Djenana Jalovcic (cohrot 5), who I met briefly in one of the virtually connecting sessions where I was a virtual buddy for a conference she was presenting in.

The nice news (that I would have missed had I not viewed this recording) is that for our 806 presentation we don't need to limit ourselves to the traditional 20-minute presentation, we could do something new, innovative, experimental, (insert other adjectives here) where we can experiment with new form factors.  For example, Lisa & Peggy Lynn are doing 3 presentations, each one 10 minutes a piece, and those 3 together would count as the presentation requirement for 806.  Definitely something to think about for next spring when I am formally in 806! Maybe I'll take some time to ideate over the summer and in 805.

Anyway,  the presentations for this session were about researching educational interventions for people with some sort of disability.  It was pretty interesting and I am wondering if this was planned, or just serendipity :-)  Furthermore, as Lisa wrote in her reflection on this presentation: "the underlying theme to both parts of tonight’s 806 session was examining what it means to be an actual human learner (as opposed to an idealized construct of a learner) in an increasingly online/digital learning era."  This is an interesting take-away from the presentations, and not something that I would have thought right off the bat.  I tend to be very resistant to the notion of replicability of studies.  While I think it's a lofty goal to have, it's something much more relevant to the physical sciences than the sciences that work with beings as complex as humans, and more specifically in the domain of learning and teaching.

Robyn's title was "Blended Learning using Online Technology as a Suitable Accommodation for Concussed Adult Learners." She has passed her proposal defense (yay!) The two main take-aways that I got from Robyn's presentation are that (1) for people who have been concussed we often check them to make sure that they are  fit for physical labor, but we don't do as much on the cognitive level - the "return to learning" as Robyn termed it.  (2) When working on her proposal, since it was disciplinary by nature, she focused a lot on the neuroscience, and not enough on the science of learning.  This is a good pitfall to avoid when working on your own proposal, and eventual dissertation. We can get too engulfed in what we like, and what we find interesting, and not have a balance of other elements needed for us to frame, and defend, our arguments.

Djenana's topic was "Experiences of Students with Disability in Online University Programs".  Djenana is looking at discovering what are the essences of experience of studying online for both undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities. She is doing this from a phenomenological lens in order to get a deeper, richer, understanding of the learner experiences.  Djenana mentioned that it was not that easy getting facts, figures, and stats on disabilities at Canadian IHEs which got me thinking about what sort of data is collected (aka valued) by departments of institutional research. Djenana also introduced phenomenolocal epoche (from the Greek εποχή) - but I think I need to do a little more research into this. Seemed interesting, but I want to read more about it before I wrote about it - fascinating concept though.

Finally, the interlude activity, with Lisa & Peggy Lynn, focused on research madlibs.  Even though I viewed the recoding it was quite engaging.  I wish I were able to attend this session because I could have loved contributing to it :-).  I think it was Robyn that said that people are interested in what she is researching, but when she explains it,  their eyes glaze over (smile and nod!).  I think this is where eduResMadLib ties in.  The challenge posed for the week is to take 20 minutes to write as many variations of your research questions as possible. This allows you to see other possibilities, but I also think that you might be able to frame your research in a way that laypeople can understand (nice tie-in with 804 this week reading about the university of 2525). Why 20 minutes?  We... I think Lisa and Peggy Lynn will have to explain this a little more in the future, but they hang their hat on the research of Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik  from the 1920s (the soviets are coming! the soviets are coming!), which states that once a task has been started it tends to want to finish it. If it isn't finished then the person experiences dissonance. We don't want dissonance, hence limit activity to 20 minutes.

The collaborative Research Madlib from this session

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