I just finished an assignment that was a first for me – assigning my own grade. What a strange thing to do. Now, I am sure I have had dedicated teachers in the past, but I feel pretty confident that none of them have ever spent as much time pouring over one of my assignments as I have done in the past week.
The assignment was in 2 parts. Part 1 was to keep a reflective blog during my 2 week residency. Okay, I think I can handle that part. I actually went a bit overboard in the end and the blog morphed into a way to share resources with my cohort in addition to the self reflection piece, but hey what the heck.
The second part was a bit trickier – the self assessment. When I started going through the criteria and comparing it to the blog, I began to fear that, despite my prolific output on both my own and my cohort’s blogs, I might have actually missed a significant piece of the assignment. Not only was the blog to be a reflective tool, but it was supposed to be specifically reflective about research and questions arising during my Introduction to Research class.
Now, just so you don’t think I am totally dense and didn’t know what class I was in at any given time, I have to say that the residency was a pretty homogeneous event with sessions and classes blurring together into one mass. Our instructors team taught and would appear in each others class regularly, often both facilitating at the same time. Research blended with Learning Theory, which blended with lunch which morphed into team building that somehow ended up back at Research. The lines were fuzzy, a point underscored during our final group presentations when 6 out of 6 presentations did a bang up job of presenting wonderful research for an assignment for our Learning Theory class – a point not missed by our Learning Theory Instructor. As a class, I think we all slightly missed the mark as to what class we were actually presenting for. So, I don’t think I was alone in my class confusion.
Back to the blog. I agonized for a few days whether I had enough information about research in my blog. I did touch upon it here and there and actually did have a couple of posts that spoke to research directly. But on the whole it felt pretty light in the research department. So I ran my blog through Wordle, a tool that takes a block of text and turns it into a graphic based on the frequency of keywords in the text. The more often a word appears in the text, the larger it is in the graphic. The results on whether or not I addressed research in my blog? Well, I’ll let you decide if I missed the research point or not.
I find this image interesting for a few reasons. First, it convinced me that I didn’t miss the research angle and I used it in my assessment to talk myself up a grade point from where I originally had myself pegged.
The second thing is the prominence of the word think. I went back and read some posts and realized I used the phrase ‘I think” quite often and I found this very validating. I went to an intensive 2 week Masters residency and guess what I did? I thought! And apparently I thought a lot about technology. Pretty appropriate for a Masters in Learning and Technology.
Finally, I have been agonizing over whether or not I should pursue a thesis or go the course work/major project route with my Masters. I am leaning towards major project. Now, if you have ever used Wordle you’ll know that the placement of the words is random. Note the placement of the words “think” and “thesis”. Is this a sign that I should think thesis?