Spoke to my graduate school advisor about my thesis today.  I completed my coursework a year ago and am a thesis away from getting my Master’s degree.  It’s not been going too terribly well.
    The problem, in addition to moving twice and having a baby, is that I get pulled away by a bunch of different questions and ideas.  All of which fade as I get into the next one.  However, I think I might know the general direction that I want to go.  Might as well share.
    I’m thinking about doing my thesis on the educational technology stuff that I’ve been immersed in these last seven or eight months.  I haven’t been here long, but I’ve found technology to be a thread throughout my teaching and learning.  These new mediums are fascinating to me — not because of computers, but because of the ability to connect, reflect and build community.  I can do stuff with the web that I can’t do in the classroom.  My hunch, and I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, is that these technologies, used properly, can help us to teach better. 
    No.  That’s not right.  They help students to learn better — because they require that students take the wheel and drive their own learning.  It’s not too hard to fake a worksheet — but try to fake a blog or active participation in a learning community. 
    I’d love to back that up and be able to cite some research on that.  I’d also like to analyze what works when it comes to creating community online.  I guess I’ve got at least two research questions here:
    1.  How do web-based technologies affect student learning?  Teacher preparation? 
    2.  What are some effective strategies to use when teaching with these technologies?  How do you create a successful and (self)sustaining community of online learners? 

    These are definite first draft sorts of questions — but I’ve really been thinking about them for a while.  I know I’m not alone.

2 thoughts on “Thesis

  1. Hi Bud…I’ve been hard pressed to find any statistical research that supports (or doesn’t support) the use of these technologies with students. Hope you have better luck than I did.

  2. There’s actually plenty of data out there supporting learning technologies, but you’ve got to know how to narrow down the focus of what you want to do. There’s a bunch of academic journals available for e-learning, knowledge management, and also a (very fast-growing) section on how teachers and students use online environments for teaching and learning, and another sector which deals with CME – computer-mediated education.

    Your university’s library SHOULD have an academic account to access centralised, searchable databases like ScienceDirect, Factiva, Ebscohost etc. You seem to be quite web-savvy, I don’t think it’ll take you long to handle the search-parameters and find out what you’re looking for.

    I’m having a bitch of a time trying to think of a thesis topic too. Good luck. I feel your pain. And write me if feel like letting out grad school frustration. 🙂

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