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Module timeline 2009

IDIBL timeline & activities

Induction will be from Monday 28th September.

Week 1 will start on Monday  12th October 2009 – the formal start.

We are aiming for the final stitched patchwork on Friday 29th January 2010 – the end of course.

Click on the picture to get a high resolution pdf version.



Course Calendar

We have thought through an approach to group calendaring that will provide a public calendar that can be edited by those connected with the MLWT.  The best option at the moment appears to be Google Calendar which you will be able to edit once added once shared using your Google accounts for authentication –  invites to follow…

Th calendar It is a bit sparse at the moment, but over the next few days I will be filing it in – everyone is encouraged to contribute to it with useful dates or reminders.

Even better, it offers ics which means that you can take a ‘feed’ and add it to your own calendar tool or if you want to you can simply browse the calendar as a web page.

There are two drawbacks that we can see thus far.  The first is that you do need a Google account to edit the calendar (arguably as omnipresent as Micrisoft) and the second is that the ics is unidirectional, that is all edits need to be done whilst logged into Google and not from elsewhere.

Taking it into the community

I have been puzzled by this question  – how do I take a private conversation with a student researcher into the wider context of the online community so that all can benefit and contribute? Since we are held up in using Moodle until everyone is registered and enrolled, and so do not have a proper private community for just us, I am reluctant to post the details in this pubkic arena and thus find myself a bit frozen. It underlines for me how important the respect and trust between participants is and how tricky it can be to control.  I’ll probably end up just using email until we’re sorted…


Today, Mark, Richard and myself were reviewing the learning contracts produced by student researchers and relating them to the first module ‘intended learning outcomes’ and ‘assessment criteria’.

Not long into the activity we were sidetracked into a discussion about ‘jargon’ – in particular the two words synthesis and analysis.  We could just about agree that simplistically these two words amount to a process of ‘taking apart and identifying key components and relationships – and putting together to create new understanding’ although this is a gross over simplification.  I will let Richard and Mark discuss the finer points…

For me a key question is to what extent do we need to support your ability to use such terminology with confidence.  One way of looking at it is as jargon, another, and the one I subscribe too, is that it is a necessary part of your professional armory that will enable you to confidently express yourself in both  academic and practice-orientated contexts?

Reflective practice

The internet, book publishers and journals abound with material on reflection – the choice is bewildering but as a starting point these authors and web resources are a good starting point:

Donald Schon (schön)

Donald Schon made a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the theory and practice of learning. His innovative thinking around notions such as  ‘the learning society’, ‘double-loop learning’ and ‘reflection-in-action’ has become part of the language of education.

The Higer Education Academy What is reflective practice?

Moon defines reflective practice as “a set of abilities and skills, to indicate the taking of a critical stance, an orientation to problem solving or state of mind” (1999: 63). This encapsulates the wide range of activities associated with thinking about your learning. Cowan suggests that learners are reflecting in an educational sense “when they analyse or evaluate one or more personal experiences, and attempt to generalise from that thinking” (1999: 18). However, as Biggs points out, “a reflection in a mirror is an exact replica of what is in front of it. Reflection in professional practice, however, gives back not what it is, but what might be, an improvement on the original” (1999: 6).


Shirley’s explanation of double-loop learning reflects my understanding and links very well with the double-loop learning theory.  I have used double-loop reflection to help challenge my own assumptions.  This helps to be more critical and to ask questions about initial findings.  It is basically a tool I have found useful for digging deeper.


Single loop reflection – generally a model of reflective writing such as Gibbs, Kolb – variations of Plan, Do, Review

Double loop – a key feature is examining assumptions, beliefs and values – your own, and those expressed through your work place.  Double loop is a terrible name for it – it is more like adding a layer, where the assumptions behind the planning are taken into account.  In the arcane language of social science (I make no apologies for being a little suspicious of ideas that cannot be elegantly expressed), one would look at governing variables and the locus of control.

You may be lost already – but once you get the hang of it this is a model of how you probably reflect already.  The formalisation of the model can be useful, and looks impressive in academic work 🙂

I hope this fits with other people’s understanding – although further exploration of how to explain double-loop without losing the plot would be very useful to me.


Reflection is a much abused term, and I sometimes think that we might usefully differentiate what we are talking about by using the term critical reflection – although as with everything in academia this is debated.  The point I am trying to make is that reflection is more than thinking about something in ‘passing’  (setting aside reflection in action which is another deabe), reflection is a deliberate act as described by Shirley and Colin above.

Another approach I have used in the past is “Systematic social Introspection” (Bocher and Ellis, in Denzin and Lincoln, 2001). This structured reflection requires the researcher to “work from an ethnographic wide-angle lense, focussing outwards on social and cultural aspects of their personal experience; then they look inward, exposing a vulnerable self.”  My interpretation of that was to describe an experience and then critically reflect/analyse it from the two perspectives, the latter including me identifying the ‘chips on my shoulder’ that had influenced my actions.  This is simply another approach…