Protected: More on the HEA OER bid

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Protected: HEA OER bid

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Well, there are number of things I need to get done – and it is stressing out. There is a book chapter that I’m currently writing on longitudinal surveys in higher education which looks to be great I think – but need to get cracking on it as it is due at the end of February!

I’ve tried to address all the comments that Paul E. has made on a paper of mine, I just need to get some space in my schedule to spend an afternoon to submit it – it looks at how students’ maths GCSE grades affect their evaluation of their mark on a maths test. I would ideally like to do this before the end of this week!

I also need to get cracking on a HEA grant on a literature review of current research methods assessment practice – but first need to get a research assistant but we should be able to do that.

And finally I need to pack-up my office for my move down to Surrey … I think I can do it between my lectures and supervision ūüôā – well, I have to!

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Technology in my Teaching

Mood: hug me hug me
Now Playing: Mexican Joe (Jim Reeves)

As part of my Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, I have to write an essay on:

Identify an existing module or unit of learning which may be enhanced by the use of technology.  Critically consider the impact of the changes you suggest.

And I have to demonstrate the following:

  • Critical consideration of the use of technology in own teaching
  • ¬†Proposals and justification for choices / rejection of technology
  • ¬†Critical consideration of the impact of proposed changes
  • ¬†Knowledge of the literature

¬†Great, so I sort of know what I have to do – but still don’t know how to do it!! AHHHHHHH!!!

I have an idea for the essay, it’s just not hitting the things I need to demonstrate ūüėÄ .

Okay so here is my idea which I have already incorporated into a unit. I want to look at the use of Autograph when teaching functions and graphs. Autograph is a mathematical software which is able to plot complex functions, so students are able to visualise the maxima and minima quite easily and also able to see how differentiated and integrated graphs look like as well.

¬†Well, I think the first thing I need to do is to critically consider the use of technology in my teaching. Let’s start with practical issues. The class on functions and graphs is a 3 hour intensive class which is focused on building students’ concepts of mathematics. Secondly, it is already scheduled for the current classroom hence using a computer room becomes difficult. So, I have timetabling constraints. I have no clue what I’m saying – I just know that I don’t want to do it ūüėÄ .

Alright let’s describe the scenario – maybe that would get my brain going (I know what is annoying me … previously when I was writing my thesis – I always had to make sure I was satisfied with it and didn’t have to meet any targets but in an essay you have to meet the targets – and that is kind of scary … I don’t know how to just let it flow …)

Okay, my example is the use of limits to find what is differentiation at a point. I used Autograph to show students the gradient of¬†a line, and then decrease the change in y and the change in x, to show how it was approaching the gradient at a point. I think showing students this visually they did not have to imagine it and I think that is good. I think I need to find the difficulties associated with teaching differentiation.¬† Okay, I found¬†a paper by Tall (1985) which talks about teaching the concept of differentiation from first principles. He however uses the graphing calculator and suggests that students explore on their own the concepts of a chord tending towards a point for a tangent. He explains that helps with developing a cognitive manner and suggests that this relates to Skemp’s¬†idea of relational understanding. He then goes on to draw from Ausubel that the learner is able to get an idea of the whole concept first and this person can be an “advanced organiser”. This is interesting because Pea (1985) also mentions that the computer can be used as an organisation tool for a learner – I wonder if it is in this context that¬†he meant?

Now the question may be asked why I chose to use Autograph. Well, there are several reasons for this:

  • It has a site licence here at Liverpool Hope and hence makes it easier for the students to have a play with it
  • I chose not to use graphing calculators although there were some available, because would have spent more time teaching students how to use a graphing calculator rather than them seeing the context
  • But, I didn’t give the students an opportunity to use Autograph, I demonstrated it instead, the reason being of course I wasn’t time-tabled for a computer room. This is really a 15 minutes task to learn – if used in a computer room it may take several minutes to learn (okay I can’t seem to make an argument right now! )

I think I have a sufficient amount to¬†make a start. I was going to bring in cognitive load theory – I could suggest that learning software itself is too high an intrinsic load and hence there wouldn’t be any germane load …?? Making this stuff up as I go along …

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BSRLM abstract

I have to put together a 300 word abstract for BSRLM by this afternoon (well deadline is tomorrow but want to get it done today) and I have no idea what to write. I want it to be based on my thesis but the problem is that it is so difficult to cut down something in my thesis to 300 words. I am trying to determine what would be most relevant to BSRLM but can’t figure.

Anyway, I thought I would write something on the analytical framework I used for analysing how students performed on tasks. So, I’m going to use this space to write this. So, here goes.

This paper looks at the development and implementation¬†of a framework for analysing students’ performance on tasks when using mathematical software. Through¬†a literature review, three¬†approaches and one affective¬†factor were identified¬†based on students’ understanding for analysing¬†how students¬†solved tasks and¬†their effect on the students’ performance.¬†These three approaches are 1)¬†processing level approach (deep¬†or surface learning), 2) self-explanation approach (quality of explanations), 3) explorations (extent of using software). The affective behaviour¬†used was¬†mathematics confidence.¬†Using these approaches and affective factor¬†a triangular framework based on the literature was developed which showed that all of these factors were related to performance and their inter-relationships. The literature¬†indicated that only confidence was related to the processing levels but there were not any studies that showed that self-explanations were related to confidence, processing levels or exploration using software.¬†

Observing¬†38 students solving conceptual and procedural tasks using software whilst thinking-aloud, the research aimed to determine whether there was a relationship between these¬†approaches and the factors using both qualitative and quatitative data.¬†An updated framework was developed based on the results from this study.¬†Some evidence was found that quality of self explanations was related to the¬†processing levels.¬†¬†Mathematics confidence was found to be related to¬†software explorations and¬†the quality of self explanations.¬†Software explorations were also found to be related to¬†the¬†quality of self-explanations.¬†The framework can be further used for testing theories on the relationship between performance and how students’ make sense of solving tasks.

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I’m a bit excited about the new courses I would be teaching. Just discovered there are personal response system (clickers) available – I just want to find some way of incorporating this into the class … of course, this should be teaching led not technology led (*tongue in cheek*).

Also, there are some flip cameras available – just need to find out how I can use them in some course. I’m sure I can find a way such as participatory videos … I’m thinking probably on the GC course – wondering if P.B. would let me tinker with it ūüėÄ – probably not since it has to be the same¬†for all presentations as well – or the PP course but haven’t met L. as yet to see how on board she would be with the use of technology.

But some how or the other, I’m going to get the technology in. P.H. has already recruited me to use blogs on the EP course – yes, I’ll get somewhere!

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Writing for a Journal Publication

At a workshop on writing. One of the key points that Pat Thompson is making is that there is no such thing as writing up because we don’t know what we’re writing up until we start writing.

The title and abstract are important as most people are selecting to read the article base on this. These are key invitational things that allows the reader to select.

Through writing we’re presenting ourselves as scholars.

By becoming a scholar – sometimes you may have devalued your previous identity before starting as a scholar (particularly for late-life researchers) – but there should be a way of meshing both identities.

The point of a journal paper is a persuasive and argumentative piece not a report on what was done. The conference paper tends to be a report – and thus the journal paper is a different rhetorical task.

Two types of text:

  • Monologic: dead text – does not draw people in (like a laundry list)
  • Dialogic: brings people in to think and engage – this is what research writing is about¬† i.e. invite the reader in to making meaning and associations such as through references and other themes and other conversations.

Fariclough’s 3 dimensional model of discourse (process of production and interpretation):

  • Layer 1: Text
  • Layer 2: Discourse practice
  • Layer 3: Sociocultural practice

Dissertation: the text is the dissertation, the discourse practice is imparted to the students by the supervisors, and the sociocultural practice is drawn from the supervisors background.

Conference papers: Text is the paper, the discourse practice is the presentation, and the sociocultural practice is the audience.

Some rule of thumbs in deconstructing a journal website:

  • Try and cite the editors from the journal.
  • Read the aims of the journal and analyse what they want from the aims. Make sure you address each of the aims.
  • Check the editorial board and see if they’re from different countries and hence it has a large reach. In the larger reach you need to work from the specific to broader issues.
  • If you’ve never heard of the editorial board you might want to use another journal.
  • Read a couple of papers from the journal and determine what is the conversation of the journal – from this – determine the ideological position and the theories.
  • Have a look at the editor’s interviews (either transcripts or MP3s) that some of the journals have – as they give you what they want
  • Cite papers from the journal
  • Check for stylistic conventions (APA etc)
  • Get people in the know to know the turn around time – such as the refereeing time
  • You may decide on the journal to put in – depending on your career progression – that is – if you need a quick turn around then probably a less famous journal
  • Check the readership of the journal and make sure you address the issues/implications for everyone
  • Reviewers are looking for the “so what” and the “now what”
  • Strongest paper has one argument or one point to make not two or three – state the argument of the paper upfront
  • State the research in the field and how it stands and what you’re going to contribute to it

The genre of the journal article (most has to be like this but not always):

  • Introduction – locate, focus, argument, outline paper
  • Possibly theoretical orientation
  • Literatures
  • Methods – explain report
  • Discuss
  • Conclude

Five moves in a journal abstract:

  • Locate: specific paper in relation to larger project/debates/issues – naming the angle
  • Focus: identify the particular question/issues/kinds of problems that the paper will explore/ examine
  • Anchor: establish the basis for the argument
  • Report: summarise major findings pertinent to the argument
  • Argue: open the argument¬†– the so what question
  • Use the abstract as the plan for writing the paper

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