Week 13 – Well done, thank you and dialogue around the digital assignment

Welcome everyone to Week 13 of the EDC course. Earlier this morning Jeremy and I made the short walk from the School of Education to the Scottish Parliament to record a video introduction, again playing on a current Internet meme. Unfortunately a rain shower/suspicious glances from the local constabulary put paid to our plans therefore we’ll have to make do with a written summary. 

To begin, thanks and well done for submitting your Lifestream Blogs. Jeremy and I will start looking at these from the end of this week and you will receive feedback and a provisional grade (subject to moderation) by Friday 28th of April. That said, the nature of the ongoing dialogue around the Lifestream Blog, combined with the mid-point feedback, means that our comments and provisional grade hopefully won’t come as a surprise to you.

Still on the subject of the Lifestream Blog, we really do appreciate the effort, thought and imagination that has gone into the exercise over the last 12 weeks. At the same time, your willingness to embrace the spirit of openness has helped to draw attention to the EDC course from interested onlookers beyond Edinburgh. As recently as this morning I had a conversation with a researcher in Sweden about the possibility of featuring the current course in some form of published study, based upon the innovate approaches on display. Again, thank you.

With the Lifestream Blog now submitted, attention turns specifically to the digital assessment. We have enjoyed some really interesting dialogue about your plans over the last fortnight and this exercise seems to be shaping up really nicely. If you haven’t already taken time to share your plans with Jeremy or myself you can still do so in the first part of this week before we immerse ourselves in the Lifestream Blogs.

There will be a final video summary at the end of the course (weather permitting etc).

Until then, thanks again for all your great work and enthusiasm over the last 3 months.

James (and Jeremy)

Week 12 – Assessment questions

By popular* request, we are happy to use this week’s introduction to respond to questions about the two coursework assignments: the lifestream summary and the digital assignment. We’re mostly treading ground we have already covered here, however depending on which of the week 10 tutorials you attended you might not have been party to the same conversations. Here goes then…

Questions about the lifestream summary

‘What should the final 500-word summary include?’

This should be in format of a blog post, very similar to your weekly summaries. However, the final summary should be the last entry in your lifestream, and comment on your blog as a whole. You should reflect on what you think your lifestream represents as a record of your learning in this course. Try to identify any key themes, activities, or lifestream items that you see as central to your learning process. What worked well in your lifestream, and why? What didn’t work so well, and why? See page 10 of the course handbook for additional details.

‘Should the 500-word summary go in place of the final weekly summary?’

Yes. You should have 11 weekly summaries corresponding to the previous weeks of the course, and 1 final summary.

‘Can I go back and edit earlier content on the lifestream?’

Yes, however we suggest proceeding with some caution here. We want to see lifestreams that are records of your learning journey, and all the messiness, confusion and disorder that that might entail! Your lifestream should be ‘scrapbooks’ rather than slick websites. So, if you do want to go back and edit your lifestream, try to add rather than delete; supplement earlier content with additional reflection or comments, rather than replace your previous work.

Questions about the digital assignment

‘I’m thinking about building my assignment in [x]: what do you think?’

A good starting point here would be to consider what is it about the particular format that helps to put across the different ideas you want to share. Does the the format offer anything over-and-above a fairly conventional essay hosted in a digital space? For instance, if you are thinking about presenting the work as a video or a podcast, what is about those particular formats that particularly helps to puts your ideas across? It could be that the subject of an assignment particularly lends itself to a visual (or aural) approach, for example. Or perhaps you want the medium to work in a critical way in itself, where the format of the assignment is tied to the subject matter? What is important then is to think about how the format is suited to the subject matter, either in a critical way or simply because it helps to convey your thinking particularly well (both of which are a good justification for a particular approach).

‘Will we be assessed on the technical quality of the work?’

It’s important to emphasise that this assignment is about giving you the chance to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of ideas from the EDC course: we are interested in your critical ability rather than your technical skill. That said, it is really important that your ideas – in whatever format you decide to use – are presented clearly and cogently therefore a talent for images, video or other approaches might support this very effectively. Really, this will come down to choosing a medium you are comfortable with.

‘In the absence of a word limit, what size should the assignment be?’

This is a difficult question to answer when we’re looking for an assignment that in most cases will extend beyond words. In the absence of a fixed size limit for the assignment be wary though of producing a piece of work that becomes too broad (trying to tackle too many ideas) or where the key ideas become lost (due to length of the piece) or lose their conviction (on account of over-discussion). It’s perfectly natural to ask about the word limit, however perhaps a more useful way of approaching the assignment is by first asking ‘What are the really important ideas I want to put across?’ followed by ‘How can I convey these ideas in a compelling and clear way?’. Hopefully this approach will enable you to produce a piece of work that very effectively demonstrates your knowledge, understanding and talent more widely.

‘I want to bring in a subject from outside the course into the assignment: is this OK?’

This could make for a really effective approach as you use an idea or ideas from the EDC course as a critical lens upon another area of scholarship or practice. For instance, you might bring ideas from the algorithmic culture block around discourse or practice within assessment. Or perhaps you might wish to consider your own professional work using the literature around cybercultures. What is vital however is to make a really explicit connection to ideas we have covered this semester: we want to see a piece of work that demonstrate your understanding and knowledge around themes from the EDC course, not a piece of work that more generally talks about another area of digital education or technology.

‘Do I need to credit images I use?’
Yes, we would strongly encourage you to do this. In the same way that we expect you to acknowledge the author (whether that’s an individual or organisation) behind a piece of language-based work, it’s important do this for other forms of content. Therefore where you use image, sound, video or other work that isn’t your own, please do acknowledge that to be the case. It’s possible that you might not have needed to cite some of these digital resources before therefore we would point you towards the Cite them right online service that is available using your university (MyEd) login. http://www.citethemrightonline.com/


Finally, if you haven’t yet had a chance to discuss the content and format for your assignment with us please do get in touch.


*6 ‘Favorites’ on Twitter counts as popular in our book.

Your visual artefacts

Thanks everyone for all your hard work on the visual artefacts which we have gathered together here in one place. What we would like you to do now is to comment on the work of other members of the group. In fact there is already some interesting discussion unfolding, which is great. Jeremy and I will spend some time looking at all the work and sharing our own thoughts later in the week. That said, I couldn’t resist the temptation to get a quick snapshot of some of artefacts and there’s fantastic work on display.

If you haven’t already had a chance to share your artefact please try and do so as early as possible this week in order that you can benefit from the comments of other members of the group (which from what I’ve seen so far are really thoughtful and enthusiastic).

Once again, thanks for all your effort on this – we can see that lots of work has going into your artefacts. We hope you found this to be an interesting and enjoyable way of rounding off the Cybercultures block.