It is great to have some comments. Thank you. I have been away from the Internet for the past three days. Laura-Beth’s comment said she was not sure how the session relates to improving her writing for task D or E. I think that we were trying to focus on the Why of task D or E not so much on the How. We wanted to support understanding; the reasoning behind the tasks thinking that if you understand why something is required then you will be able to investigate how to do it. I would investigate (research) how to write academically through looking at the Rubric on Peter and Paula’s blogs and through standard instruction books that give advice, and through reading academic literature. But why are we asking you to do this? And why are we asking you to do this at this point in the course? This is where the learning is for you beyond acquiring a skill in writing because we told you to.
The idea was that task D & E are about communication of ideas. We are then going on to say that there are specific ways or style of communication for this kind of work – academic writing. The session was to raise questions for you about your personal style of communication to find ways to link this to the tasks so that they are meaningful to you and more than a tick-box requirement.
Donna commented that she feels that the ‘rule’ of academia are to think as if you are in a debate. I know what she means and this is an example of having your own relationship – making the tasks mean something to you. (That is how this course will be useful to you beyond the year or so of the course). For me I imagine academic writing as it being really important to be gentle and not to assume anything, to feel as if you are a part of something being goingly constructed and you want the bits you add to be strong and supportive, not collapse if someone started using it. Also you want to add gently with respect and knowledge about how other people have added to the construction. Donna also asks “Regarding tasks D & E, I’m having a little trouble deciding what to write about, do all the different writings have to be about the same thing?”
I would just say it is the way you write not what you write that we are asking about.
Rachel talked about the academic style and the Literature Review. A literature review is to tell us about what other people have said (written about) the things you are talking about. You then summarize this into a document that is a Literature Review (just like a review of a play it summarizes what happened and who was involved and what they said). It gives us a sense of what is going on. This will also be written in an academic style.
I think that continual reference back to the information you found about Kolb’s learning cycle will be useful. What we are trying to do in this first module is to help to define yourself through what you have done and your interests i.e. the information on your blogs. Also to identify yourself in terms of starting to know how you learn and then saying now for you to engage with this course you need to start to find your own voice within the academic arena. This is a life-long process but the first step is to start to learn how you write in the academic style.
I know for some people myself included writing is really not a preferred mode of communication. But remember it is just a way to communicate. The first part of the session on Dec 7th was saying that you can still think and work things out in your preferred form. But to be heard in academia you need to be able to learn to communicate in its language to some extent, (and you want a BA hons which is an academic certificate. This can come with a wealth of history (baggage). I got laughed at a by people because of my spelling and because I miss out words and letters sometimes when I write and because the spell check can put the wrong word in. BUT don’t worry remember your writing is not your thinking, believe in your thinking and try your best to take this opportunity to learn a little about how to write in this particular way.