One of many posts on my Readiness Assessment. 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.

Let me first say that I'm simultaneously satisfied and dissatisfied with this. It's as good a shot as I could give it under the circumstances (satisfied), and there's room for improvement of both process and product (dissatisfied). I've got the next two weeks to puzzle that out before my oral defense -- but in the meantime, I'm... I'm...

...I wanted to say I was going to bed, but I'm actually going to catch up on homework for tomorrow morning that I've been ignoring in favor of writing this paper (...draft, as I think of it). There are gaps and holes I've drawn crayon lines around ("I know I'm not talking about this, because there's no time!") that I would very much like to fill, typographical things (must... figure out... how to enable normal American quotation marks...) and at least one spelling error. BUT IT IS A THING! THAT HAS BEEN MADE!

A final note before I post the paper: technically speaking, I'm still somewhat under embargo until the end of November 9th, when I defend this document (or whatever it's become in the meantime), so it will be another two weeks before I start talking with people about this stuff. Just so you know.

And now... my brain. I'm... yeah. I know there's some good stuff in here, but I'm not entirely sure/convinced of all of it -- it's in many ways a massive thought experiment I'm throwing up against the wall. Here goes!

Mel's Readiness Assessment

Appendix A: Original Questions

Here's the colored key that maps these questions to the final document, in case you want it.

#1 Literature Review (red) What learning theories could best inform or explain the kinds of learning happening in this image and the key assumptions within the radically transparent research (RTR) model as a learning environment? Use this as an opportunity to articulate the many complexities within the RTR concept such as: (1) the characteristics of RTR as a learning environment, (2) the different kinds of learners (and learning communities) within this context, and (3) the nature of what is being “shared”, “accessed”, or “revealed” within these learning environments. As appropriate, comment on the role of boundary agents that link the learners within the RTR context.

#2 Research Methods: What research methods would be most appropriate for investigating the learning that could occur? What would be the relative strengths, weaknesses, or limitations of these methods? Remember to be clear about what will be studied (which learners, practices, processes, etc.)

#3 Unexpected Opportunties (Option chosen): Drawing on existing work, what are the “affordances” of RTR in the context of college level engineering education? What are the “action possibilities” and how might this influence or transform current practices in engineering education?

(Option not chosen) Theory: Examine and evaluate the idea of radically transparent research as a kind of community engagement (see below for details) that can speak to the complexities of this idea as a goal, a learning environment, and a practice or form of active participation. A premise of POSSE was to provide faculty with experiences and a community that would support the transformation of their professional practice as educators such that their efforts would introduce students to the world of open source participation. When we ask questions about the efficacy of this process, who is studying whom? Are we looking at the faculty and their journey as learners? The students and their learning? Or, is the system we are examining more complex, requiring us to engage our subjects of study actively as collaborators in our research questions? If so, how do we answer those questions with rigor, and what methods do we employ to answer them? Explore the literature surrounding community engagement as a scholarly practice and examine the question of rigor and open participation critically through the lens of that literature. In what ways does this help explain “radically transparent research” as a goal, a learning environment, and a form of active participation?

(Option not chosen) Applications: This last question builds on a question you posted on your blog: What might happen when you let people overhear discussions about designing cross-disciplinary courses. What might be the limits or risks of RTR in these situations? If you were going to create such a RTR situation, how would you design it so that it would be successful (remember to be clear about your assumptions and what would be evidence of success)? What would be your role, and can these be successful without this role?

Appendix B: Blog Posts during writeup (in chronological order)

  1. Readiness Assessment: BEGIN!
  2. RAT: thoughts on the literature I might be looking at
  3. RAT: starting with exploring methodologies
  4. RAT: what’s the relationship between RTR and ethnography?
  5. RAT: how and why RTR opens up boundaries and what the tradeoffs are, plus rediscovering my first exposure to Patti Lather’s thinking (in 2007)
  6. RAT: I found books on affordances! And the gameplan shifts again.
  7. Sleeps now.
  8. RAT: starting with Gibson, figuring out what the heck affordances are in the context of RTR
  9. RAT: more affordances stuff — Gibson the Second, in which I thumb my nose at positivism for the night
  10. RAT: finally coming to the end of my readings on affordances
  11. RAT: important task — food, stretch, and naptime! (brought to you by Burnout Prevention Mel)
  12. RAT: all right, research methods! what’s the current state of things post-naptime?
  13. RAT: crap, I’m stalled. gotta unstall.
  14. RAT: Paradigms
  15. RAT: feminist research methods
  16. RAT: More things about qualitative research
  17. RAT: I have a draft!
  18. RAT: document now in computerized form, 8 pages and 55 tasks to go
  19. RAT: project management mode
  20. RAT: who the heck else is doing RTR stuff?
  21. RAT: Wherein Mel finally defines, describes, and backs up what the heck the praxis of radical transparency is, sort of.
  22. RAT: documenting conversations
  23. RAT: Part of me hopes that my entire thesis statement is wrong, because if it’s right, it’s stupidly audacious.
  24. RAT: Mel, it’s a PASS/FAIL exam. Seriously. (Also: RTR affordances.)
  25. RAT: What RTR looks like in real life
  26. RAT: What does RTR on a non-open community look like?