I should start with ‘forgive me blog, it has been two weeks since my last post’; the last few weeks have been really busy. I travelled to London last week for a family celebration. I organised Sconul access to University Libraries in London (thanks to Mary Dundon, UL library) and was feeling very proud.
Early Friday morning, I made my way to a yoga class at Euston and travelled on to Central St Martins, UAL. I chose Central St Martins library, as it’s easy to access via the Northern Line tube, I suppose curiosity also influenced my choice. Central St Martins boasts an impressive list of talented alumni, such as: M.I.A.; Alexander McQueen; Stella McCartney; Jarvis Cocker; and Paloma Faith.
I weaved my way through exhibitions, stairs and conversations and found a desk with a view (see below). I sat with my back to the art students to avoid getting distracted and also because I felt slightly out of place. I planned to pull together ‘draft 1’ of my proposal by the end of the day. However, I only managed a few uninterrupted hours of editing until a lively group of students arrived. I wanted to ask them to be quiet, fortunately I spotted the ‘group study area’ sign before saying anything.
It was time to relocate.
I took the opportunity to explore the campus, which is an unusual mix of static art pieces and performance art. The table tennis area impressed me the most; an amazing open space with lots of natural light. I found my way back to the entrance and as a man jogged past wearing a luminous pink tutu, I decided it was time to leave. I continued editing on the tube.
I got back to the proposal on Wednesday and submitted this morning.
Last semester we completed a research report for TW5221: Technical Communication 2: Theory. Yvonne Cleary guided us through the process of preparing a research report/ minor dissertation. I really enjoyed the stages that led to the final report – particularly the usability study. I’m so glad we had that module in advance of the proposal; it provided me with a framework on how to approach the proposal.
The dissertation proposal is our assessment for RM6011: Research Methods. The module is worth 3ECTS and is assessed on a pass/fail basis. The purpose of the proposal is to demonstrate an argument or question and outline how to prove or answer it later (Cassuto, 2011). Strategically, I should have invested a minimum amount of time to ensure I achieved a pass. I have the summer period to complete my dissertation, with no competing assignments. However, my research includes student surveys, generally students stop checking their student e-mail accounts when exams finish. Therefore, I need to finalise my survey by mid-April and send it out in advance of the exams starting on the 24th April. Preparing the proposal helped me to clarify the information I want to elicit from students in the survey and usability study.
The proposal stage also helped me to piece components of my topic together. There are three aspects to my dissertation: first, to establish students’ learning styles, within an online learning environment; second, to examine the relationship between learning styles and preference for learning tools; and third, to use the findings to develop guidelines on how to integrate learning tools that facilitate students’ learning styles in an online learning environment.
It was a relief to submit the proposal this morning. I know we have a mountain of work to get through over the next 30 days (I’m counting). For now, I plan to enjoy the Friday feeling and take the evening off.
Cassuto, l. (2011) ‘Demystifying the Dissertation Proposal’, The Chronicle of Higher Education [online], 11 September, available: http://www.chronicle.com/article/Demystifying-the-Dissertation/128916 [accessed 31 Mar 2017].