Reflections on 4th Week Work-in-progress Seminar

Last week, I been working on my question and title and I have narrowed down to two possibility so far:

“How do students benefit from tutorials in this age of mass intellectualisation?” &

“How can tutorials one effective in a student’s learning process?”

In our session, we shared our work in large A3 project paste-ups /pin ups and my peer feedback were:

1. I don’t understand what is meant by mass intellectual in this context

2. This looks like a lot of work in a small space of time.

3. Personal issues / sensitive comments are sometimes discussed in tutorials

Mass intellectualisation is a term that I have come across in a book by Hall, R and Winn, J. (2017) Mass Intellectuality and Democratic Leadership in Higher Education (Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education). An excerpt:

“The university is being restructured and refocused as the driver of and for competition, markets and the short-term economic needs of the state and corporations. Central is the (re)production of students as customers and consumers (with degree programmes as investment projects (Lawrence and Sharma 2002) focused on ‘employability’ (Chertkovskaya et al. 2013)), staff as service providers and research entrepreneurs (Kelly 2013), and both as forms of academic labour (Winn 2015b). As ‘edufactories’ (Edufactory Collective 2009), universities are businesses with CEOs, corporate strategies and branding, business plans and partnerships, cost-benefit analyses and key performance indicators (Bok 2009); and all labouring within this set of relations are reified and valorized as human capital (Bourdieu 2010) ……. They are not merely complicit in, but initiate and promote ‘the academic capitalist knowledge, learning regime’ (Cantwell and Kaupinnen 2014).”

This trend / phenomenon has an impact on my inquiry. I guess what I am trying to say is that tutorials in a large cohort can be demanding for the tutor and not beneficial for the student as the contact time is short.

During this session, we also discussed about effectiveness and what are the ways to achieve that. This prompts me to think about the expectations of a tutorial from a student and tutor’s perspective. These can vary and my questionnaire replies should unpack the initial views about this myth I always have on my mind.

I want to re-iterate that my rationale for choosing my/the methods for this inquiry is dependent on the ability to predict and generate a set of data that forms the basis to build a case study/understanding. My peer’s comment about too little time to complete this enquiry comes at the correct time where I start to think PhotoVoice might not be needed as I start to use a question to replace “a good location for lecture?”

In the last part of week 4, we discussed the triangulation approach to draw various viewpoints using many methods. In general, this seems to work for my enquiry. To prove, I will start to research into how I could do that with my Questionnaire and Backcasting method.

For ethics in our research, we were shown the Milligram Experiment which reveals the dire consequence of a person with authority (researcher) inflicting bodily harm on to participants whom are too afraid. In a subversive way, I empathise yet enjoy watching this. Perhaps it was a combination of “I-have-not-seen-this-before” and also how we (humans)  can be so obedient at times and completely opposite the next moment !

Lastly, during the course of this week, I have also been shown a document which illustrates the academic/communication practises in China which leads to the Confucian-Heritage Educations having social cultures disparities with UK Higher Education. In this document, I see some interesting topics (silent seminar, diligence, authority and participation) which I can draw upon.

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