About this Research Networked [Open] Seminar
What is this about? This site is the hub for Advanced Seminar I and II : Research in Writing Studies ENG 5698 (Fall) and ENG 5699 (Spring) the thesis seminar for students in the Master of Arts in English Writing Studies at Kean University.
Officially, the course is described:
Designed to bring graduate students together for the purpose of exploring significant concepts or issues in their area of graduate specializations, this course consist of reading, research, writing, and practice, culminating in the completion of a thesis evidencing competence in the field.
Part of the unusual iteration of this course, your instructor, aka me, Alan Levine, is teaching it remotely from Arizona. We have the tools, we have the technology, we have the ability to connect, collaborate, and research from wherever we are in the world.
In addition to the traditional methods of scholarly activity, we are adding the elements of using digital / professional networks to extend your reach and access to expertise, resources. So this is a Research Networked [Open] Seminar, abbreviated and tagged in places as
A significant node in our network will be connection to the Fall 2017 DIKULT 303 “Digital Aesthetics” Seminar at the University of Bergen, taught by someone the Kean Students know well, Dr. Mia Zamora.
While this class is a single semester course focused on a research project in digital culture, there will be sufficient overlap in the research process and mutual activities between our two seminars.
Also, by nature of being an open seminar, we hope to bring in and make available to both groups of students, the expertise and ideas of colleagues in our networks.
The process for Kean students in the first semester is to develop and hone their thesis concept, formulating it into a clear argument or claim, conduct background research (via both literature review and network extensions), identify research components/methodology, develop an outline for activities to complete research, and to establish path for completion.
The scope of research may be quantitative or qualitative, and may be central to supporting the thesis hypothesis or may support a creative output. Mostly, it should be unique, relevant, important, and in a scope somewhere more than a term paper and less than a dissertation.
For the first semester the objectives include:
- Develop and refine a topic and develop it into an MA thesis proposal.
- Perform a comprehensive review of the relevant literature.
- Utilize digital networking tools for connecting to experts and external resources that support the thesis.
- Formulate the theoretical approach to be used in the thesis.
- Propose a delivery format that may range from written to digital.
- Develop a plan for data gathering, analysis, research design, and or creative output.
- Present the thesis topic research findings at close of semester.
Expectations of Students
I expect you to operate individually, maintain frequent contact with me (both scheduled and as needed), regularly publish updates and ideas to your own blog, engage in network activities (communication in Slack, hangouts with experts, shared resource building, discuss readings via hypothesis).
Let’s dispense of grade worry. By regular participation and publish your progress, you will start with and maintain an A grade. Should your work start to lag, you will hear from me with options for what you will need to keep that grade.
Outcomes and Activities
See a general flow of activities described in the course spine. For at least the first month, we will hold regular meetings at the course scheduled time and location, Thursdays 4:30-7:15PM in Center for Academic Success Room 350 . I will be present via video.
I will be also scheduling at least 2 individual meetings by phone or audio in the first weeks of the seminar.
Students are expected to:
- Publish regular updates to their own blog (which will be syndicated to this site). Note that I am not mandating a number of posts nor a weekly “report” There should be enough activity each week to provide a clear indication of your work, developing ideas, and questions you would like help with. The blog is for you, to map your process, not for me.
- Communicate with other students and me via Slack. We have at http://resenetsem.slack.com/ a private space for managing asynchronous messaging and document/resource sharing in a place more manageable than email.
- Communicate as needed with wider public questions via twitter using the #resnetsem hashtag. Twitter is a place to reach and connect to a wider group of academics.
- Participate in ResNetSem activities including twitter chats, hypothesis swarms, video meetings, collaborative document editing. Attendance will not be taken, but a showing of participation is expected. Scheding will be flexible and negotiable, we all have lives outside,
- Develop a draft thesis proposal There will be refinement of it as we go, in forms from long form written, to tweet length elevator speech. You are expected to develop a means of explaining your topic to both people on your field as well as outside.
- Develop and share your literature review We will constantly be sharing readings, videos, web resources, but individually you will be required to condense and essential formal literature review using the Zotero platform.
- Create an Outline and Plan for Completion A year may seem like a long time, but turning in your thesis will depend largely on a long term plan of steps to get there, including methodology, a timetable, and a publication plan. This will be due by the end of the semester, and maintained as a public document on your blog.
- Publish a “state of the thesis” short paper that will be part of an issue of our own Arganee Journal.