Tag: University of Durham

My Ed.D. thesis proposal: What does it mean to be ‘digitally literate’?

I submitted the second version of my Ed.D. thesis proposal a while back now. I had to re-submit as I failed the first submission. This was a bit of a shock to the system, never having failed anything academically before. It was actually partly my supervisor’s fault – who has now left the University of Durham and doesn’t have a doctorate himself… :p

I was advised to wait until I had the marks back for the thesis proposal before posting it on my blog. Upon reflection, I could see this was a sensible thing to do, so now I’ve heard back and I’ve passed I’m going to post it in its entirity. I received 63% for the following, which isn’t disastrous but less than I would have hoped for. Because it’s my second submission, however, the mark that’s recorded is 50%. At the end of the day, I’m not overly concerned: my Ed.D. overall is pass/fail… 🙂

The comments on the following were:

This is a solid proposal which provides a detailed reflection of the relevant literature in which the proposed study is to be grounded. Although covered in less detail than the literature section, the proposal provides an appropriate methodological base for the research. The proposal suggests a cross-cultural component and it is important in this context that similarities as well as ‘discrepancies’ are identified and that the study does not become unmanageable. In general this is a good solid proposal.

(emphasis mine)

The proposal itself follows after the ‘tag’ cloud that is indicative of its contents (courtesy of TweetClouds)

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Is a degree enough?

There are some very intelligent people in the world without any qualifications. There are also some people who, shall we say, we wouldn’t want on our Trivial Pursuit team or to be assigned with for a team-building exercise. That being said, there has, historically, been a correlation between ‘intelligence’ (whatever that is) and level of education. I fear that may no longer be the case… :s

This is not a post bemoaning degrees in surfing or golf. No, I’m more concerned with the rather 19th-century idea of degrees being ‘of a standard’ and that these can universally be broken down into 1st class, 2:1, 2:2, etc. If this were the case, then the necessity of having met such a standard should be a necessary and sufficient condition for entry onto a postgraduate teacher training course such as the PGCE in the UK. I don’t think anyone would argue against the fact that some degrees are easier, some harder, and some provide skills more and some less relevant to teaching.

In that case, why should a degree plus a short-course, vocational postgraduate qualification be enough? Surely there should be a requirement, more than merely an expectation, that teachers work towards at least a Masters level postgraduate qualification in education? Or, if compulsion is not a feasible option, why not at least explicitly recognise further qualifications with pay rises? I believe this is common practice in most places in the US, and whilst there are many things about their system I don’t think we should import, this is one I would welcome with open arms.

“That’s easy for you to say,” I hear you cry, “you’re doing an Ed.D!” This is true. But how did I come to be doing this qualification? By choosing my PGCE carefully so that it was the first year of an MA; by continuing to a level where I could switch to the Ed.D. course, and then continuing my studies. Apparently, I’m the first person to do this at the University of Durham. I can’t see why it shouldn’t be a heavily-suggested (and rewarded) path for the majority of teachers.

OK, so theory doesn’t always lead to amazing practice – I know that. But surely such a scheme couldn’t be a bad thing? Look at Finland, a place where the top graduates end up in the teaching profession. Where does it come in international rankings? Oh yes, pretty much top every time… :p

What do YOU think? What would you change about the current system?

(Image credit: Out to Lunch with Audio R8 by Gregor Rohrig @ Flickr)

A day in the library at the University of Durham

Is ‘transliteracy’ a better term than ‘digital literacy’?

Change of supervisor

Stewart Martin

I’ve just found out via a mass-mailing that my current Ed.D. supervisor, Stewart Martin, is leaving the University of Durham next month to become Principal Lecturer in Education in the School of Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University. I’m obviously pleased for him, but it kind of forces me to do what I was thinking of doing on the basis of a rash decision anyway – i.e. change my supervisor.

I can now understand why he was a bit fuzzy about when to hand in my re-written thesis proposal…

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