You are not the only one: general assignment feedback

Sorry for the length of this post, but here are some general observations I made about the Research Analysis 1 assignment. Hope you find this useful. Any questions, feel free to post a comment.

Understanding of issues

  • Most of you had a good go at getting across some difficult concepts for this assignment. There were some misunderstandings of the material, though, so, if you’re not clear about something, then feel free to ask me and I’ll try to help.

Critical engagement with issues

  • Again, many of you tried really hard with this — thanks. In fact, I was very impressed with how you tried to engage with key unit themes at a scholary level. The standard of critique, though, was occasionally wanting, not least because you are relying on low-level sources that you find on the web. You will do better if you find and engage with peer-reviewed, scholarly material. This means you have to improve your search skills and not rely so heavily on G-G-Google.
  • You might also consider developing a more coherent, focused ‘angle’ into your topic and work from there. You will likely interrogate and critique the material more thoroughly if you have a scholarly position on it.

Technical and pedagogical knowledge of ICTs appropriate for educational purposes

  • This was mostly OK, but some of you lost sight of the education issues. Always strive to link your work back to an educational/schools focus. It’s good to explore ICT and social issues generally, but they should always connect to educational implications in the end.
  • Higher grades were given to those who explored these debates in terms of theoretical, pedagogical, and/or philosophical frameworks.

Communication and style

  • Clear writing is essential to good scholarship and this is where many of you let yourselves down. In fact, a lot of your work really suffered, here. Many analyses read like a series of Facebook updates or wall comments, i.e., short sentences that don’t have any coherence or linking thread. If you can’t get your point across in a coherent fashion, then you can’t communicate your ideas; if your reader can’t understand your ideas, then your grade will suffer — no matter how great those ideas are.
  • Paragraph unity was a problem for many of you. If your paragraph has a number of different topics in it, then it is not ‘unified’. Stick to one topic per paragraph, only.
  • Paragraph coherence was also a problem. Your sentences don’t relate logically to one another throughout your pragraphs, meaning that the reader can’t follow a ‘thread’ to your ideas.
  • You also need to develop your ideas more carefully. If your points don’t ‘hang together’ then you can’t move your analysis forwards.
  • Grammar and punctuation. Common problems included fused sentences, comma splices, mixed constructions, faulty predication, and misuse of the semi-colon. If your grammer and that ain’t rite pepul dont no what u on about.
  • Style. Many of you could afford to relax a bit with your style: you’re trying to hard to sound ‘scholarly’ and it’s just not working. Instead, write formally and correctly, but don’t try to push yourself into language you don’t understand or can’t handle. Similarly, considerations under issues impede comprehension for attaining questions about the integration of style and concerning expression. OK, so I didn’t get that sentence from anyone in particular, but it’s an example of what can go wrong when you think you’re writing formally. Sadly, you just make a hash of things, instead.

And finally,

  • If you read scholarly, peer-reviewed material, you will have proper models of academic writing to work from. But, hey, many of you aren’t looking at that stuff, so you’re having to make it up as you go along. Read the real stuff and you’ll get more of a sense of how to put together a scholarly analysis.

Now, go forth and be a huge success on the next assignment.

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About michaelsisley

Teacher, shambolic ruin, cricketer, singer, writer
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