My self-evaluation against the assessment criteria
Demonstration of subject based knowledge and understanding
Demonstration of subject based knowledge and understanding. Broad and comparative understanding of subject content, knowledge of the appropriate historical, intellectual, cultural or institutional contexts.
I continued my research approach from part 2 and to read around the course work, looking at current topics in newspapers and journal as I was interested in understanding deeper and wider. I tried to read more primary, original sources. During part 3, I figured out that for my understanding and application of critical thinking mediated secondary sources could be very beneficial. These helped me to compare my understanding and position with others.
The material on semiotics and post-structuralist theory are at times quite heavy, especially reading primary sources. Alongside secondary sources and ‘very short introductions’ (the Oxford book series) I could see the wider context. However, I felt that texts on contemporary thinking after postmodern era would have helped me, to be at times ‘less cynical’ and to see postmodern theory better in contemporary context. Reading other texts (e.g. newspapers) was helpful, being surprised how much of poststructuralist/postmodern thinking is still valid today.
Demonstration of research skills
Information retrieval and organisation, use of IT to assist research, ability to evaluate IT sources, the ability to design and carry out a research project, locate and evaluate evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources (visual, oral, aural or textual).
Partly said above. I was glad to collect my notes from reading in some database, hoping it would be of benefit in the future and for upcoming HE levels. I used Scribd for ebooks and found documents and accessed through my local university library some journals via JSTOR. I collected my bibliography, notes and comments in Endnote and internet sources in Evernote. I found the search function in Evernote extremely beneficial as it allows not only to search tags but also words insight pdf documents as well as my own uploaded handwritten notes.
After my assignment 1 feedback I looked mostly at academic sources. Nevertheless, for my assignment essay I referred to internet sources for popular perspectives on Reality TV. Knowing well, that those are not as trustworthy as others. I also found that newspapers, especially the commentary are written often rather in a popular, very subjective and times distorted views.
Last not least, I took the opportunity to upload my draft for peer review in the OCA discuss forum. I was glad and thankful for many replies and comments. It showed me how subjective certain topics are but also how dense academic writing can be for those not used to it. What made me question for whom I write. Overall, this review helped me to see my issues better (more relying on reading, less argumentative of my position) and to learn from that. I think my final essay does reflect this.
Demonstration of critical and evaluation skills
Engagement with concepts, values and debates, evidence of analysis, reflection, critical thinking, synthesis, interpretation in relation to relevant issues and enquiries
Perhaps the weakest area so far, mirrored by mentioned peer review. I understand that it is not about reading and collecting, but about positioning oneself based on evidences and examples. I can see that this is something not so familiar to me. My role in my professional practice it is not about convincing and defending my position but more of listening to others and support them.
Nevertheless, I felt very excited by topics in the material. And my further reading gave me much more valuable insight. Following debates, I rather tend to stay at distance though.
After reflection on peer review, I decided to re-write and not only editing down. With thinking first what I want to say and than to start building a story, a synthesis, helped me to focus on relevant arguments and adding references and examples. This felt quite rewarding.
All together, I sense that writing is different to making visual art in practice. In latter, I am starting to experiment, to play, to combine what I know and than incrementally build up artworks. However, what is similar is the starting point of what and how I want to ‘say’ something. I found to have a certain temporal distance from reading helps to stay clearer in my message.
The ability to communicate ideas and knowledge in written form, including presentation skills.
The peer review showed me my weakness of communication clear messages with convincing examples that people can relate to. Partly, this has to do with what academic writing as such (less personal, following certain form). Also the knowledge of the reader might be different and could make it more complicated in conveying understanding through writing (I could tell from the feedback received whether they did UVC or not in the past). My wife was a good sparring partner, as she reflected on my at times ‘weird’ language i.e. postmodern relativistic deconstructive bla-bla. Well this was spoken language, writing seems for me still another box.
Overall, I am happy for the opportunity of peer review, as it allowed me to rethink my essay approach in general. Thus, I am submitting my final to my tutor and posting it up to the forum for further feedback. If more comes out, I will reflect and re-use it for possibly further edits prior assessment.