151 MC: Sketchbook Task A


An academic paper by itself can be one of the most challenging things to take information from, because for a student the language used is one not experienced often. The academic uses the type of language that differs completely from one from a blog. Yet there are still ways for the reader to extract information quote easily.

The title of the paper is a great start for us to look at, as we are told what the paper is going to be about, and we are given a brief introduction of what the aim of the paper is going to be about: quite simply the authors, SIÂN BAYNE AND JEN ROSS, are going be critiquing these two terms. And from reading the intro, one may question that has the conclusion already been achieved from the wording? Well usually, this is the case as the introduction would have simply have been made to show us what the contents of the paper would be in a simplified method, to allow us to see if there is any information that would be of value.

Each other section of the paper is highlighted with its own title (one that we could address from the introduction) and of course, is filled with long sentences that has a degree of words that we might not be used to (raises the question of just using simpler words to make it easier to understand.) So it is a struggle to fully understand at times what the paper is talking about. There are points, which are quite clear and understandable, but it leads onto an explanation that is very high levelled.
So really for us to really understand what is going on, we have to read over sections two, maybe three times as that we have a clear comprehension of what is going on.

Lets look at an example:

There is little evidence, in fact, that students do desire more technologically-driven approaches to teaching and learning (McWilliam 2002), and research demonstrates that they often resist and themselves de-privilege the modes of identity construction and teaching associated with e-learning (JISC 2007, Bayne 2005). Across the literature, we see the ‘needs’ of the ‘native’ – for instant access, for customer-service orientated provision, for flexible, modularised approaches – used as justification for the perpetuation of a particular, commodified view of how higher education should be. Unsurprisingly, the ‘native’ discourse – which constructs the teacher as redeemable only through his or her active engagement with a development agenda – is itself one which originates with, and is primarily perpetuated by, developers themselves. Academics within this model have a duty to constitute themselves as entrepreneurial, flexible, responsive and ‘switched on’.

Now with this section, you can’t read it once and understand what is going on completely. For instance, when it says there is “little evidence” from the source McWilliam, we have to ask what evidence is there though? None is supplied at all by the authors, so it raises the credibility of this source? This means that we would have to go out and look at the paper McWilliam published so we can have a look at both sides, rather than having any bias at all.

If it were me writing this paper, I would have talked about the evidence so that it would enable a better contrast of what has been said, so that we can get both perspectives of the argument (or discourses as they use!)

And also, the arguments presented in this section are clearer than the rest of the paper and not drawn out longer, yet there is still a need for us to go over the a few times so that we are on the same lines that the author is on as well.

Skipping out on the rest of the paper as I don’t want to kill you of boredom, we move onto the conclusion (hoorah!) The conclusion is there to fulfil a couple of purposes. Firstly it is to somewhat allow us to get back on track with what the argument of the paper was (so that we haven’t lost track or gone on a different line.)
Secondly, it’s for the authors themselves to close the argument with their viewpoint. In this article’s case, they say: As teachers, developers and researchers in higher education, we need to become more critical of a discourse which otherwise promises to over-determine our future understanding of the complex relationships between teacher, learner, technology and higher education.
This highlights what was said in the introduction: We end the paper with a call for a more carefully critical and nuanced understanding of the effects of new technologies on the practices and subject positions of learners and teachers in higher education.” So they are backing up what they said again.
What’s interesting with this conclusion is that the authors are actually calling for action to be taken with this “discourse” in the way that action is really needed now.

The article I feel is quite valuable in the way that we call ourselves ‘digital natives.’ It highlights the issues that we, students, do face on a day-to-day basis. So it does raise some questions on the way we act with technology today.


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