More braindumping on my readiness assessment task (RAT) . As a reminder of the ground rules, this is a solo assessment, so while I'm allowed to think out loud on my blog, I can't ask for or get (intellectual) help. Cookies and emotional support are, however, welcome.

Lindsey cheered me on this morning with a reminder that the RAT is an emotional process as well as an intellectual one. There'll be a time (around day 7-10, she said) when you just want to curse the world and wonder why you're so incompetent and etc. Remember to vent that rage when it appears. It's normal. Okay, good to know.

I was thinking about my RAT in the back of class and as I ran through campus. What do I know, what have I read, and what do I know I can access and read that would be helpful? Turns out it's a lot -- some of which are stronger alleys to run down than others. I was only able to type this time, so my next step is probably to map it out visually (because I think better that way)

Note that this was all written without internet in the back of class without references to any documents, readings, citations, etc. This is purely "what's the lit review in Mel's brain at 10am on day 1," which is a jumble.

Types of participants in RTR

  • Researcher, Subjects, and Audience is the usual framing; I'll probably use/reference this. Not sure if I can (or should) take time to find citations to back this up as a "standard" portrayal.
  • Novice/apprentice vs Expert/master (and the gradients in between -- it may make sense to juxtapose the Dreyfus levels of skill acquisition alongside the master/apprentice continuum.)
  • The "core" vs "peripheral" participants (and the gradient in between, and how people move back and forth along this dimension over time -- and orthogonally to their movement along the novice/expert continuum).
  • In my specific context, the job titles involved might look like this (with some people holding multiple roles): Researcher, teaching faculty member (the professor actually instructing the engineering course in question), teaching staff (TAs, etc), enrolled student, non-enrolled non-expert (students, laypeople), non-enrolled expert (fellow faculty members or experienced industry people in the same field). Note that for simplicity, I may end up lumping "teaching staff" and "teaching faculty" together into "instructional staff", which gives us a convenient quadrant -- core masters (instructional staff), core novices (enrolled students), periperal masters (non-enrolled experts) and peripheral novices (non-enrolled students/laypeople), plus the random Researcher role hovering about as a metacognition/reflection facilitator. (I'm not sure I like this separation of the Researcher role, but I can roll with this for now.) I may also lump peripheral and core novices together into just "novices." I'm not sure yet.
  • There may be an offsite/onsite aspect as well; does it matter when participants are or aren't colocated? (This may make the scope too complicated for me to tackle.)

Communities of Practice (CoP) and Situated Cognition (SitCog) area

  • Cognitive apprenticeships (CogApp): how apprentices learn from observing the processes (both learning and production) of experts and other apprentices both less and more advanced than they are, and thus how instructors need to take deliberate steps to expose their cognitive processes to apprentices. Also some interesting notes on the dual teacher/learner role of participants in this framework; everyone does both. Most of the citations and notes from my paper for Dr. Evangelou will be reusable here, methinks.
  • Legitimate peripheral participation (LPP): lurking and watching as valid activities that confer status and identity on participants (both in their eyes and in the eyes of the community of practice in question). I also want to write about how LPP isn't just a way to help novices become experts, it's also a thing that experts do when they don't have a lot of time to devote to a CoP. (In other words, peripherality is not synonymous with novicehood, nor is core participation synonymous with expertness.)
  • Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): this one is interesting, because I'd like to write about a twist I see in RTR. Usually, it's "inside" experts who create ZPD for "outside" novices learning skills that move them more deeply into the community -- and sure, that happens here too. But I also see RTR as having a strong effect of lurking (LPP-ing) outsiders being the ones that create ZPD for inside core participants.
  • Social learning: this is moving more in the direction of the effects on individuals even as it loops back into CogApp territory. I'd like to look over Bandura et al again and see if there are things I can use to support my CogApp section.
  • Motivational effects: This blends Bandura out into some of the sorts of references in the Svinicki paper I drew a graphic outline of, but I would like to write a bit about how motivation works in the situated/community-based lens.

Public performance area

  • Clearly the "your work is viewable by others" aspect of RTR is going to have some effect on participants. Let's characterize that.
  • Look for CoP literature based in performing arts domains to see if there's anything specifically about the effect of public performance on student preparation and achievement that might be applicable here. This is likely to be a thin quick skim more useful for anecdotes and structural inspiration, or possibly something that points me back towards deeper theoretical ground I haven't explored yet.
  • Look in the Design literature for writing about design reviews -- same as above, what's the theory on how the "performance for others" aspect influences what participants do, particularly expert-level ones?
  • Peer feedback in regular dialog circles: read Sally Fincher's work on disciplinary commons and Jennifer Turns's work on portfolio development classes to see how they structured their theoretical and methodological arguments.
  • I want to say that David Wiley or some other open edu blogger who's also a faculty member wrote about a year or two ago that his PhD student was looking at the effect of public performance in the classroom. If so, I gotta find out if there's stuff they've written in the meantime that I can read.
  • This is a hail-mary shot I'll peek at just for fun, I think, but Pooja sent me some interesting educational psychology papers a while back that she and Karpicke and others had done around the area of testing and retrieval and their affects on learning, which seem to connect to public performance (when you're performing publicly, you're retrieving constantly as you get tested in high-authenticity situations).

Metacognition area

  • I have a hunch that one of the big benefits of RTR is going to be in the reflection/metacognition domains, and would like to back that up with some theory on what they are and why they're important, along with some notes on methodologies used to study reflection and metacognition.
  • Thank you, Robin, for assigning that Design Thinking paper for which Reflection was one possible topic. I will be reading the heck out of that paper's bibliography.
  • I'd like to get more ideas where to look on this.

Fears area

  • Since one of the things I want to look at is the process of learning the practice of RTR, I'm going to have to look at fears and barriers to transformation. Junaid's investigations into transformative learning (Kegan & Lahey) are likely to be handy references here; I should not go too deep, though.
  • I want to talk about the role of setting rules and boundaries for safety. How do you make and enforce a safe space, remind people gently of the cultural norms and rules -- how do you protect them as they set down some of their shields?
  • Oddly enough, some of the things I've been reading about community facilitation (Calling the Circle, etc.) might help, though they're books for practitioners and not academics (but hopefully that's okay). Maybe some of Ray's papers might be interesting here. I'm not sure. Potential thing I can peek at, but not something I have to look at.
  • This doesn't fit in the "fears" area, but I wanted to note it so I'll read/write/think about it: one of the things I'm intrigued by with RTR is that there are two relevant practices happening: the first is the domain/practice of the academic field of study (for instance, biochemistry if you're working with biochemistry researchers and/or a biochemistry class). The second is the domain/practice of transparency -- and oftentimes the experts in the academic domain are novices in transparency. It's a juxtaposition I want to unpack more.

Boundary-blurring and role fluidity

  • This is squarely within the realm of the post-structural stuff I'll be studying at OSU in the spring, but I should sketch some outlines as to what post-structural thinking is, and what I know-that-I-don't-know about it as it relates to RTR.

Methods and ethics

  • I'm purely qualitative, smallish-scale. Remember this. If I start reading about large-scale data mining and analysis, Something Is Wrong.
  • Ethnography. Narrative interviews. Go back to readings from Silbey's class; you have most of the books on your apartment shelf.
  • I also want to discuss aspects of various paradigms in order to describe mine (since I don't know much about post-structural research yet -- though there's some useful stuff from Dolby's class I can refer to). I have the deep interviewee participation of constructionism, but the sort of activist-style driving force of critical theory -- and then I do weird things with boundaries that don't quite fit into either. Focus on how the paradigm I view my research through affects and is affected by (they co-evolve!) the research acts I'm doing (data collection and analysis get all mushy and blendy for me, so I will simply call them "research activities").
  • Whenever I read an empirical-study paper, I should note its methods and if there are any good methods sources it refers to.
  • Check out the dissertations of Efimova and Coleman and Pawley again, and look at how they explained their methods.
  • Check out the Efimova, Coleman, and-anyone-who's-done-ethnography-in-Wikimedia-Communities work (Jodi! Mako!) and look at how they explained their ethics, along with some of the critiques Coleman et al (the Digital Humanities crowd in general) have written about the current IRB process and the cruftiness of its limitations. Go back to my EPICS paper proposal and see if there's a part of that I should be writing here.
  • I might end up writing a little about grounded theory for analysis, because I use it all the darn time -- even if I myself come in with particular theories and frameworks, grounded theory analysis seems to be the thing I try to get periperhal participants in RTR to do (after all, a lot of participants don't have the time to get deep theoretical backgrounds on specific frameworks I might be informed by, so they're going to be looking for patterns emerging from the data because that's all most of them will be seeing).