Defend!

Since my last post, I met with one of my committee members and one of my co-chairs and discussed the differing perspectives I’ve been receiving.  One of them told me that part of the prospectus defense is actually defending the kind of study I want to do for the committee (shocking, I know).  The point being that it’s normal (esp. with 5 committee members) for a few not to agree with everything completely, and part of my job in the written document and in the defense will be for me to make a case to do the study the way I want to and think is best.

Sooooo…..I’m going with having other instructors implement my unit, I think, unless something major happens to change my mind.  I think the pilot work I’ve done in my own classroom over the past 3 years has prepared me enough to be able to design a specific, useful unit that others can implement.

So back I went to working on the prospectus.  Today I really dug into the conceptual framework section and changed a lot.  I’m grappling with if and how I want to try and include my assessment model in the paper as a “pedagogical model” or something.

I’m going to work tomorrow and see if I can get the CF mapped out and start working on the actual unit that I would implement in a classroom.  So tonight…to bed and rest, and hopefully to rise early tomorrow and get back to it.

Juggling multiple perspectives

I met with my 5th committee member today, told him about my project, and asked him to officially become a member.  He said yes – but was surprised that I am choosing (so willingly) to have 5 committee members.  I am a little worried myself about juggling all the feedback.  Already I have received some conflicting advice and different reactions.

One area that my committee members have different views on is my idea to make the dissertation and the prospectus multimodal in some way -which probably means including some video if I can for data presentation.  I have received the following pieces of advice from different people:  1) don’t worry about the irony of composing a print dissertation about new media composition; just write it.  2) Don’t attempt to do anything multimodal because we’re not ready for that yet.  3) Do it – it sounds exciting and wonderful.  4) I’m on board, but I have no background knowledge about composing with video.  And I don’t read on a screen.  5) Using video makes sense for data presentation (perhaps for showing interview footage of participants) but not anywhere else.

In an ideal world, my diss would be able to house videos and written text, and it wouldn’t take me 3 times as long to compose a short video.  But in reality, readers can’t read pdfs with embedded video in the ways they are used to.  Some readers think that including video is just using “bells and whistles.”    And I don’t have all the functional knowledge I need to do it well yet.  But I WANT TO!  Perhaps the diss just isn’t the place, though.

A second area to consider, which the committee member I met with today gave me lots of advice on: do I try to study others implementing instruction in new media composition, or do I do the lessons myself and study the outcomes for students?  Originally (back a few months ago) I wanted to implement the curriculum myself and study my own students.  But I was advised against that by a few professors and mentors.  So I had the idea to create a unit and have others implement it and study them, the instruction, and the students.  But today, my 5th committee member advised me to implement the curriculum myself.  His argument was that I’m not actually studying myself at all, but the instructional moves I’m making and what the learning outcomes are for students.

But now I’m just confused – study a unit I do with my own students or study a unit others do with their students?  Either way, I’m studying the unit and its outcomes.  Just when I think I’m coming to a point where I know what I want to do and I think I know how to put it together, I get thrown for a loop.

AAAAAHHHHH.  I will mull this over tonight, and I hope the morning will bring some clarity.  I end with a prayer…