Showing posts from July, 2011

Losing Your Work - it's tough but it happens

I am usually frantically belt and braces in my approach to files on computers, but sometimes accidents will happen.

I did four intensive hours of high quality work on the train to Grimsby the weekend before going on holiday/writing retreat. I didn't give the work much thought after that, as I was really busy in the week leading up to hols and the work was anyway on the same laptop I was taking with me.

After the first couple of days settling in and relaxing, I got ready for a full day's work to finish my assignment. 'Oh, flip" I said, when I realised the files were there no more. "Oh, bugger" I followed up. Mid-week, I'd 'tidied' my laptop desktop up, and replaced the Word file on the laptop with what is usually my master file from the home computer. A simple mistake, but it nearly did make me swear. And it was my mistake, but it annoys me that Word doesn't keep a revision history - I have plenty of memory and would have been easily able to r…

Carl Rogers and Contracts

"Contracts provide a sort of transitional experience between complete freedom to learn... but that is within the limits of some institutional demand or course requirement" (Rogers, 1983, p.149)In his book Freedom to Learn*, Rogers has a chapter called Methods of Building Freedom, which offers "a few of the approaches, methods, techniques that have been successfully used by teachers who are endeavoring to give a freedom to learn" (all references here: Rogers 1983) (p.147). The chapter looks briefly at 'using real problems' and at 'providing resources' (including people), then turns to a discussion of the 'Use of Contracts', which he describes as "One open-ended device that helps to give both security and responsibility within an atmosphere of freedom" (p.149). Importantly, Rogers also considers the facilitator: "[the use of contracts] also helps to assuage the uncertainties and insecurities the facilitator may be experiencing&q…

London Transport Directions in Google Maps

They say "Starting today, you can get public transport directions for London within Google Maps. One of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas, London is a major destination for both business travelers and tourists. More than 1 billion passengers are serviced by Transport for London (TfL) every year across over 18,000 bus stops and over 250 Underground stations. "

This looks like a fantastic idea - especially if you've got a smart phone, where you can even get alerts when it's time to get off the bus. Haven't tried it, but do let us know by leaving a comment below this post if you do. More details: Catch the Underground with Google Maps

Wonder when they'll get round to Birmingham...

Questions to be addressed when developing a Research Design

Source: Lankshear, C. and M. Knobel (2004). A handbook for teacher research: From design to implementation, Open Univ Pr.(p.34)
By the way, this and some others are posts from an earlier blog that I felt were worthwhile revisiting.

Personal Thoughts on Teaching and Learning – Carl Rogers

a)I cannot teach another person how to teach b)Anything taught to another is inconsequential c)I am only interested in learnings which significantly influence behaviour d)And that is only self-discovered learning e)Which can not be directly communicated to another f)I have lost interest in being a teacher g)The outcomes of teaching are either unimportant or hurtful (causing individuals to distrust their experience) h)This is troubling i)I am only interested in being a learner j)I find it very rewarding to learn, in groups, in relationships with one person, as in therapy, or by myself k)One of the best – but most difficult – ways for me to learn is to drop out of my defensiveness and try to understand the way in which his (or her) experience seems and feels to the other person l)Another way of learning is to state my own uncertainties, try to clarify my puzzlements, and thus get closer to the meaning that my experience actually seems to have m)I seem to have been launched on a process... in a dire…

Treading carefully with your digital footprint

This post courtesy The Edublogger and a really great guide to privacy and security online. Have a look and have a go - I tried a few things like emailing my name in quotation marks, my email addresses in quotation marks - it's pretty interesting to see what comes up.

Temenos Conference Presentation: Max Hope

A way of being outside the therapy room? Exploring the potential of the person-centred approach in a wider context. 
Been quite a while getting to this presentation write-up from the Temenos conference – and I have to say that this one best fits my own educational context and Max Hope is something of a trailblazer for my own person-centred path, having completed a PdD, which I can’t wait to read – and she now works at the University of Hull, is interested in business and organisations, and calls herself a person-centred practitioner (Max learnt an in-depth person-centred approach in her time as a Temenos student). I hope Max would take it as a compliment – I have begun to call myself that, too... 
So, the presentation explored ‘wider applications’ of the person-centred approach (this a reference to bapca, who, thanks to Max, I discovered have a wider applications group, which I shall join tout suite) – again, some jottings and impressions: Non-directivity – not directing the education,…

Panopto Learning Lunch

Thanks so much to everybody who came along yesterday - it went really well, and we look forward to seeing your interesting uses of Panopto in your professional practise. Here's the screencast I showed yesterday and if you would like more information then either email us, or just leave a comment below this post.


Google+ is Google's attempt to lure Facebook users to its own social network site and of course there are learning and teaching possibilities: Professors consider classroom uses for Google+ (thanks Oliver for the link)

I think the biggest potential is in the easy-to-use group video tools - although I haven't had chance to properly try it out yet. If you're already in, let us know what you think of it. If not and you would like to try it, let me know and I'll send you an invite.

WebCT Scheduled Downtime (17-18 July 11)

No WebCT all day on the coming Sunday - so go for a walk, fly a kite, or read a book and normal service will be resumed 8.00 monday morning.

Here's the full message from Weblearn:
The WebCT Vista service will be unavailable from 8:00am on Sunday, 17 July 2011 to 8:00am on Monday, 18 July 2011. This downtime is required to allow for an upgrade of the system to Version 8.0.5. Please note that the estimated duration of this downtime has been reduced from 29 to 12 hours following tests on a copy of the live data.

Wordle of this blog

Actually, I do know - the post below contains a lot of repetition of the word 'fish' :-)

Conference organiser's handbook

A fantastically useful resource generously posted to the open web by Peter-Paul Koch - this would be useful for oranising any event, big or small, and making sure you leave nothing out and ensure success. The handbook covers the scope of the conference, money and marketing, locations, content, caring for speakers and attendees, the conference itself and its aftermath - and it's available here:

First research interviews

Made a bare-bones office feel a little warmer - there was water, coffee, some light classical music and a little incense (not too much though, as I did notice a smoke-detector). Life intervened in the form of missed communication over the correct building on campus... it's going to happen, we are human!

And, for the same reason, we adapted - we were looking to be short of time when we got together so we decided to have two interviews in one and so held a kind of mini focus group. And it was amazing! I haven't listened back yet or written anything up, but it felt like quite a ride and I'm so pleased that I took the whole person-centred researcher mode, as the two people who generously agreed to be interviewed expressed real pleasure at the idea that they would be co-researchers with me. So, I explained the research as best I could, Rogers' attitudes and Maslow's needs hierarchy and we were off. It felt like five minutes, but the time was up before we knew it and I f…

Lecture Capture: a literature review

In preparation for next week's panopto learning lunch, stumbled across this useful summary of the state of play in 'lecture capture' - their overview is very interesting:

A recognition that few rigorous studies that show how lecture capture improves student performance, retention or satisfaction
There is a high demand for lecture capture from students
there seems to be growing enthusiasm from staff and students
that lecture capture is best implemented in the context of working with faculty members to design classroom environments that can potential of this tool to enhance learning.
lecture capture systems must be embedded in a larger methodology to support active learning in the classroom.

So, lots of questions - which is always a good place to start. The writers also address academic perceptions (grrr...), student perceptions (yay!) and the thorny issue of impact on student attendance (so, do students come to lectures when they can watch them online? answer in italics at bottom…

Online Literature Review

Merten's advice (1998, p.39) about online Literature Review is somewhat out of date, but the three main sub-steps identified in a search strategy remain relevant:
identify preliminary sources: databases, abstracts, indexes, google scholaridentify primary research journals - examine reference lists at end of relevant articles or books - 'citations' from google scholar - go directly to journals relevant to topicpersonal networking - talk to people doing work in areas related to your interest, at Bham, professional associations, eg. HEA - talk to people who have completed related work.Mertens, D. M. (1998). Research methods in education and psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Ontological Fish

In his children’s book, Fish is Fish, Leo Lionni tells a story of a friendship between a tadpole and a minnow.
They love their life in the pond as they both grow up. Once the tadpole becomes a frog, he follows his urge to explore the world outside of the pond. When he returns, he regales the fish with tales of brightly coloured birds, cows with pink bags of milk, and people who wear clothes. The illustrations in the book show that while the frog is talking, thought bubbles of the fish show fish with brightly coloured wings and tails flying through the sky; fish with ears, horns and pink bags of milk; and fish wearing clothes and walking upright on their tails. The point being that what the fish ‘sees’ is a product of the nature of his reality and the ways he has come to know things. Different views of the world and different ways of gathering knowledge exist.

The end is nigh

Just found out about my registration period for the doctorate.

 - I CAN submit my doctoral thesis on or after 28th September next year
 - but that I HAVE to submit on or before 28th September 2016...

Blackboard Has Been Acquired

I honestly have no idea of the significance of this, but I share it with you because of the obvious interest in the imminent choice we face for our VLE plans. The press release is titled Blackboard to be acquired by providence equity partners for $45 per share in cash or $1.64 billion and similarly I have no clue what that means either, except that it sounds like a LOT of money. Jim Farmer suggests that
"the expectation of private equity firms for earnings exceeds Blackboard’s 2010 earnings. A combination of higher prices for annual software licenses and reduction of staff and lower services will, in the short run, be needed to achieve this higher profitability."
However, I have to say the remainder of that same blog post leaves me a little cold, as it talks mostly about investment banking etc, not something that I can stay awake for for too long. Which may indeed be the point here. Is this move about profit or is it about education? Are these two things compatible? Or should …

What's done and What's to do

What's done blogged on conditions for person-centred interviewI created:  - interview schedule  - informed consent form for interview  - debriefing sheet I got myself organised and made solid plans for the next steps, which are...What's to do Prepare and carry out interviews/debriefingWrite up as soon as possible afterwardsI still need to go through the RMT4 folder and make sure I've covered/read everything I need to. I still need to write up notes from Temenos and PCA research from weekend of 18th JuneDouble check google tasks for assignment tasks

Creating the conditions for a person-centred research interview

The room 
I've taken some ideas from counselling here - where the interview takes place is important; not only its location in the University, but also the physical layout of the room can make a big difference. Yet finding and creating the right location isn’t always easy - offices aren't normally built with this purpose in mind. The aim is to create a safe, confidential and relaxing space, a warm, friendly and inviting atmosphere where people can feel as much at ease as possible. Also, reduce distractions as much as possible. I am planning to have soft music, soft lights and tea, coffee and water available in the room. The interview won't take place over a table, the distance between people will be reduced as much as possible. Recorded, with consent, but keep recorders out of direct view.

The researcher-interviewer
The researcher will hold Rogers' variables, the attitudes of:
realnesstrustempathyThe co-researcher
The person being interviewed in person-centred research i…

The Seven Toilets of Panic: 7

Ah, better.
Now, where's the paper?

Assignment RMT4 - Using Sources/Producing Analysis

This post from my old blog shows how far I've travelled in just one month - the assignment is very clear indeed now and I'm about to collect the data for it. All I need then is the time to write it up - I guess the biggest task there will be to keep the word count down. Also, I went to the Temenos conference and it injected masses of energy into this life project of person-centredness. Anyway, here's the post from a month ago...

Had a good day stripping my assignment for using sources/producing analysis down to its bare bones. I recently had a very good meeting with Graeme, the RMT4 tutor, and he helped me see where I was going wrong in this assignment - I'd spent so long over easter looking at Rogers' variables and Maslow's hierarchy and ways to operationalise these, that I'd filled my draft essay up too much with content. Get it out! This assignment is about methods methods methods...

So, I kept that version as 'notes' and then gutted the new vers…

The Seven Toilets of Panic: 7

Ah, better.
Now, where's the paper?

What done and What's to do

What's done I modified the questionnaire in the light of constructive feedback from friends and colleagues. In particular, I included more info about the theory behind it, also added another category to the restrictive m/fI added a google doc about Maslow's hierarchy as a way of further including co-researchers in the process.  I made the informed consent form more rigorousI got myself organised and made solid plans for the next steps, which are...What's to do Blog on conditions for person-centred interviewNeed to have:  - interview schedule  - informed consent form for interview  - debriefing sheet I still need to go through the RMT4 folder and make sure I've covered/read everything I need to. I still need to write up notes from Temenos and PCA research from weekend of 18th JuneDouble check google tasks for assignment tasks

EdD - Saturday School

A brief session this morning, but very interesting always to see what others are doing for their research. Nice discussion, facilitated by Rachel, with Roshan, Lynne, Rachel, Claire and Annabel. One point for me...

Dewey - pre-rogers, explores relationship between thinking and feeling? and how one impacts on the other to create learning (transformative event) - how do we manage the integration of affect and cognitive in learning?

That's a great mousetache, by the way. If I were to go for the moustachioed look, this would definitely be under consideration...

Eternity (William Blake)

He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sunrise
(thanks Marla)

More time to study

So, for fitting study in part-time: 2 hours daily - it all adds up and doesn't have to be all at one sitting, just use the timer... Also the other thing I learnt is don't let paper-based notes build up. It's very easy to forget what the hell you meant when you took the notes - I have 4-5 pages of notes from half a dozen different books to prove it... no clue and will have to do the work again! Best idea is to take the notes on paper, then immediately put them in the essay. That way, you also get the added advantage of refreshing your memory about the essay and what yet needs doing and what you're happy with.

So, I now have the weekend planned out - modifying the questionnaire from generous feedback and an interview schedule + debriefing sheets in readiness for the pilot research itself next week. Can't wait! I'm so relieved that I'm making progress again, as I've been a bit stuck lately. Not out of the woods politically, due to intractable people in the …

The Seven Toilets of Panic: 6

"Which is worse?"
Locked out or
Locked in?