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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Going to the Library for continuing students

I have been reminding the continuing students about the MDX library at Trent Park for specialist books about acting and performance and dance and education (including research)- there are also the Cat HIll and Hendon campus libraries. If you are at Cat Hill anyway - the library is downstairs to the right of Reception. Cat Hill has specialist media and art books as well as research. (New students - we are planning more talks about the resources later in the programme).

For the Trent Park library - stop at Oakwood Tube Station (Piccadilly - one stop before Cat Hill) and take the MDX bus to the campus. The bus stop is to the left (the big plastic awning in front of the cake shop) after leaving the station - the bus is white with a MDX logo - it comes on the hour and every fifteen minutes. This happens on the way back from the bust stop where you get out on the Trent Park campus.

The library at Trent Park is in the Bevan Building - you walk down to the Mansion and walk past it to the right - down some stairs (by the sphynxes) and then toward the right and up a ramp for the entrance. TAKE your library card - and coin change if you need to photocopy - Many of the books are short-loan (7-day or 14-day return) so but you can turn them in at Cat Hill. The fines for late return are such that you might want to photocopy a chapter if needed to avoid the hassle of returning. You can renew online, however, but the library will probably email you on your official university email address.


You may want to plan the time by looking at  the LibGuide

One word from the wise - plan a visit if you are going to make one by making sure you have enough time. Rosie is the librarian at Trent Park - and if you think you need her to help you you may need to call to make sure she is there. She has listed on the LibGuide the Dewey decimal numbers under which the books are organised - 792s for theatre and 793s for dance, TV production is 302/384, and education 370s - go straight back to them and concentrate on the information you need for your project.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Reputation and Professional Practice for NEW and Continuing

This entry is the start of a longer consideration of an important topic for us all, and one that also is linked in with considering professional identity.

While Sheika Edwards and I were discussing current job and career opportunities that might be used for what we are doing in BAPP course on the 21/9/10 orientation day, it dawned on me that Sheika must have a good reputation among her peers in order to be getting on with things.

So the idea about reputation has really taken hold on my thinking because I do think it is an important one. People 'vet' other people through their reputation, it is important that your peers know that they can count on you. When I talking about the blogs at orientation, I tried to use 'good examples' of current and interesting entries, and I

I went first to the blog entry Laura Davitt blog entry because she had a recent entry (more please Laura)... there are of course others who have updated entries like Rosina Andrews and Abbi Williams, who is a distant learner with a good reputation among the network for her blog work.  Joe Pegram has also noted recent work as has Sophie Gilbert.

Procrastination and perfectionism put aside - it's about being there and preparing so that people can see you and respond to you. For example check out Mark Iles blog. Is that you in the dance pose Nicholas Norman? good brief accounts of skills and future direction and Natalie Less and Ross Dunning were also quick off the mark.

I think I will come back to reputation after more study, but it is one that relates firmly back to the goals of the course - it people know who you are and respect what you do - that is the start of a great reputation.
I came across this entry about this issue for establishing designers after a quick google. I would like to work on my reputation as a good blogger this term.

One other point that Alan has made before, and came up in our orientation discussions, the blog is one way for you to exert some control over something cohesive about yourself going up on the web. When, not if, people google you, a learning blog with some interesting evidence of personality and intellect, everyone can see some of it is for a degree course, is more interesting than random entries.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Continuing 3861 BAPP - dates for chapters for feedback

The dates listed for feedback are 19th Oct Chaps 1-3 and 16th November Chaps 4-6. I thought it was later...  This is something we will discuss on our 1st Campus Session 1st October.

Read the Handbook - it is actually pretty clear about things. Write a version 1 draft - then version 2 and so on... The writing usually has structure by Version 3? SAVE SAVE SAVE on memory sticks and hard drives...and SAVE some more....

Cite ALL sources using the Harvard method. Colour-code text to make sure in your drafts if you are using quotes from digital sources...

Remember the text you had from 3835 has been assessed - so if you have similar things you want to say - they need to be reworded (also you are talking about things you have done) for the 3861 report.

Joe Pegram is supposed to be blogging on this subject... over to you Joe.

AND everyone- is it time to get blogging again?


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Induction - Logan's Run

Induction day exercises using critical thinking

Here are some sample comments from the group-work undertaken on Induction Day 14.9.10; these are bullet points that could be edited further. The exercise attempted to look at the blogs with critical awareness of content (i.e. Stella Cottrell’ Critical Thinking book) and structure of the writing.

·      The sexual element – the cultural context and what is ‘acceptable’
·      British views compared with other views in other countries
·      To make it appear as a ‘sport; it needs structure – does this already exist
·      Sport or art form?
·      What are the consequences of promoting either the ‘sport’ or ‘dance’ (erotic) quality?
·      An element /discipline of gymnastics?
·      It’s name? ‘pole-work’
·      How other ‘excluded’ disciplines have become ‘acceptable’?

·      Critical of more than 1 thing
·      Spell-check needed
·      Students can relate to what’s being said
·      Work in progress
·      How should do things differently (trial and error)
·      Are the readers developing the same opinions?
·      People interested to go back and read the entries from the beginning
·      How ideas change and progress over time?
·      Did writing the diary help her in the long run?
·      Did Laura find feedback and comments made helpful?
·      Reference Laura’s ideas and refer back to them at a later date
·      Not obvious what Laura did as a profession… people don’t automatically draw opinions
·      Personal style /personal journey

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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Well done everyone who came to today's Induction for WBS3002

Right, I just got home from work at 8:15pm but Alan did say to start right away.... Great job today, good sessions and I learned alot. Good groups and hopefully the new curriculum will suit your needs.

Don't forget Rosemary's quiz!


Monday, 13 September 2010

Libguides for the arts

For subject Libguides for dance, television production, music, theatre arts etc.go to the site and look at books and journals for literature.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Your reseach and project work needs to show critical thinking.

This blog reflects some of the questions people have been asking me... I am a bit surprised that people are not clear on what literature is as this was something that we covered in the last module, but after the summer months you might need to reconnect - I know this is something I need to do...

The research and project work that you are doing needs to be considered using critical thinking.

This means an thinking about the project work and research you are doing with conjunction with an examination of the literature - the things that people have written about your topic (this is the literature review in Chapter 2). Literature is a generic term for the things that you have read and seen (in the case of videos for example) that have informed the way you think about your topic - often in the case of academic research, the things that people have written about or researched have been peer reviewed so they have been scrutinised for their academic arguments and the evidence they have presented.

For example, Boal talked about (invented theories about) theatre being a political art form (you could quote something Boal said from his books using the Harvard style of reference - for example Harvard referencing style looks like this (Boal, year, page number) and maybe something someone has said about Boal like "... Boal is no stranger to crisis within the theatre and without. His engagement with disparate meanings of the political, and his persistence in finding meaningful applications of his work act against the impulse to have crisis bring theatre to an end" (Martin, 2006, p. 23). - this is the authors name but the source book the reference came from would be in my Bibliography/References. In your literature review you would explain what the quote had to do with the work you did. Not all of the literature is academic - it may be education policy that you had to refer to... a report from a dance organisation that said something about your topic etc.

Things that people have written about the methodology go in Chapter 3 - people who have written about the type of research and the process you are using - like Bell or your Handbook - need to be included to back up the methods you are using. You may need to find a source to explain what you are doing. Your Academic Advisor can help with this.

 The lack of critical thinking means that the work will not be as strong in the assessment process...  

Getting back into the project work - refer to your learning objectives in your 3861 Handbook and to the Level Descriptors for Level 6 on the MDX website...  - think about your own work and compare - have you looked at 'arguments' in your reading up about your topic? What concepts or ideas or issues have been discussed ? What do you have to say about your project? What did the research you did say aobut what you do in the workplace? What did other experts say about your topic? Were they right?

As you analyse your data from your research - these ideas are used to consider the 'findings'... Be prepared to discuss these with your Academic Advisor and peers... they are interesting becaseu they are real but you will need to back up what you say with 1. evidence from your research and project 2. from the things you have read.

Some key words repeated below:

Arguments “are sets of ideas which are expressed, and how they are constituted, in writing or in other forms is fundamental. Making an argument therefore involves working out how to construct, communicate, support and substantiate it….” (Mason 2003)

Concept – an idea “a unit of thought or element of knowledge that allows us to organize experience” (Janet Gail Donald (2001)

Theory –a rationale or justification based on ideas or evidence… “a system of ideas intended to explain a phenomenon especially a system based on general principles and therefore independent of the target phenomenon” (Brewerton and Millward 2001)

*Note – this is so that theories can be used to relate to more than one ‘problem’ being examined or explored in the field (first hand phenomena)

What does an academic theory have?
Academic theory – a way of looking at something – a way of explaining to inform and direct a point of view – when applied, it can structure an argument - different academic disciplines interpret concepts and theories differently (Anita Walsh 2008) i.e. the Health professional needs to understand theories and practice in a clinical setting that might have different ‘givens’ than a creative arts professional

Critical thinking

“critical thinking is reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do`’ (Norris and Ennis, 1989,extracts from Fisher 2001).

Glaser (influenced by Dewey) defined critical thinking as:

“Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends.” (1941, p. 5 from Fisher 2001)

Stella Cottrell (The Study Skills Handbook 3rd ed) says that Glaser emphasises the importance of 3 main points about critical thinking
1. persistence
2. evidence
3. implications

Stella Cottrell (The Study Skills Handbook 3rd ed) also suggests applying analytical thinking - being able to do things like
•    “ looking for possible flaws in the reasoning of evidence, or the way in which the conclusions were drawn”
•    “comparing the same issue from the point of view of other theorists or writers” and “checking for hidden assumptions” (Cottrell 1999).

You use critical reasoning to:

•    Identify elements of a reasoned case
•    Identify and evaluate assumptions
•    Clarify and interpret expressions and ideas
•    Judge the acceptability and credibility of the claims
•    Evaluate the arguments of different kinds
•    Analyse, evaluate and produce explanations
•    Analyse, evaluate and make decisions
•    Draw inferences
•    Produce arguments (Fisher 2001)

These ideas are linked to what I would call critical curiosity  - your ability to want to know about something using a framework that is wider than what you already know (Nottingham, 2009).

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Digital Dieting lecture about searching the web on topics

Learning from the internet WATCH this it is funny... one of our lectures from Middlesex. It is rather long so when and if you have the time - it goes through searching for information on the web.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Back in the office... NEW Libguide info site - contact me to touch base.


Avni sent the new schedule out to you BUT we now have this new repository to inform and update you on BAPP related stuff

For the schedule go to

FOR THE MAIN LibGuide site go to

This should be an easier and accessible route - so let me know through comments if you think so...

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH about your projects or other courses to discuess feedback and progress.