Planning for the 1st task

As is the case for any assignment task it is really important to attend to the specifications, i.e. if you don't do all of the bits that are asked for you can't be rewarded for them. I've put the information from the profile in italics and annotated it in plain text.

This assessment asks students to identify an aspect of digital culture which is of interest to them professionally. They are required to locate research papers and related online resources related to the aspect of digital culture to inform the preparation of a scholarly essay.

What is available in scholarly journals or books will vary from focus to focus. For instance there is a lot published about games but the most recent analyses are not yet in journals - a serious lag time. You may be working on a field in education that has been relatively untouched by the digital. Here, you might go back and look at practices as they currently are, perhaps why there has not been a lot of interest in things digital. There will be clear logics about the way particular education spaces should be taught. It is also likely that the status quo is being challenged. It means you have to play detective. Some searches will fall into your lap. Others you may have to follow names, or related leads to try and track down where the game is at. If you need a hand then you have to ask. I don't have ESP!

The word counts here are indicative only. Word counts don't make for quality writing. I see word counts as upper limits but if you have a good case to go over then let's talk about it. For the 1st task ~2000 ought to be enough. The important part of this is the thinking you do. The ideas you assemble. It does not matter if some of these ideas are from a blog or other informal sources but you must acknowledge where they come from. This is such an important point and a crucial habit to get into. This is why your notebooks are so important. When you come across an idea, a post, make a note of its location so you can cite it properly if you end up using it.

The assignment includes:
• A statement of the aspect of digital culture that is the focus of the paper and its relation to their professional interests. This statement should identify the key ideas and summarise the relationship with the student’s professional interests (200 words).

A good way to set up any piece is with an engaging story. Go back to your note books. Write about maybe your early ideas and why you were kicking them around, i.e. the link to your professional interests. Make it compelling. Show the passion. This may not seem much like academic writing, but all writing is, in one way or other, trying to persuade the reader. If you don't engage the reader it is going to be way tougher to persuade them.

• A synthesis of the literature and resources that relate to the topic. The synthesis should include a mapping of the key research questions, the influential thinkers and sites that are associated with the topic. It should also include a brief history of the topic and indicate the directions of contemporary research. The paper should include a reference list of all sources used in the paper. (Not included in the word count) (1600 words)

This is the meat of the activity. You could think about it as a kind of scholarly backup for the resource you will develop for the 2nd task, i.e. something a curious user of your resource might find helpful to explore the ideas further. Important things to think about here are questions like: where did this idea come from? who appear to be the influential thinkers in this field? how could you map the various strands of thought around the topic if there is more than one?

• A short contribution to the course Wiki which integrates the topic into the existing resources on the Wiki, including a summary of the synthesis and a final version of the document. (200 word equivalent)

This will depend upon how many hooks you can locate for your work in the Wiki. But, at the very least there ought to be a short synopsis in the Wiki with a link to the document you submit. You can put it all in the Wiki if you wish. You can locate the work either on your own page or you can put it up on its own page with a link from your page1. I'll try and pull them together as the course proceeds, i.e. links between your work and the work of your colleagues. You, obviously, can't do that given the timing of the submission!