Posted in MA Thesis

Getting The Ball Rolling!

Reflection last Weeks Progress Report

In last week’s class meeting, members in my assigned group had the opportunity to share the essence of what their thesis project will be. From hearing everyone express their passion within their own research/project inquiry, I felt a huge surge of inspiration! Everything felt so natural and open when we shared our ideas. With that being said, a sort of activity we did was that everyone was assigned a peer to take notes while they explained their project. Below you will find my notes from my designated peer:

Main Contribs: the adventures of the writing process

Research Thus Far – lit review completed, research proposal completed,

Methodologies Applied/Will Apply: Plan to use digital online website and google sites to bring together a presentation

Next Steps 

– implement final steps in project 

– use methodologies to compete research ( grounded theory) 

– add more research to project ( research process ) 

It was very refreshing to share my project thus far with my peers and have them give their opinion and feedback. With this form of round table conferencing, I was able to communicate with others on what aspects of my research I need to do next. Which leads to the next element of this post.

Comment on My Lit Review thus far

Through the help of Dr. Nelson during the Spring 2020 semester, I was able to get an early start to my research proposal that I will be submitting to the IRB in the very near future. If you click on the image below, you will have access to my Lit review thus far (more so an annotated bib). I need to add one more piece of literature and I believe that it will be complete.

Click the image above to review my Lit Review

Methodology Used

Below is a snippet from my research proposal that explains the methodology I will be using and how I will conduct this research with my future writing scholars!


The kinds of measurements I tend to use are the following: testing benchmarks issued by Orange school district, surveys, and writing prompts. Each measurement is essential in its own way, due to it targeting a different aspect or seeing the effectiveness of the T.A.W.P digital writing program. 

Benchmarks in education are defined as the following: “Benchmarking in education occurs when measurable standards are set for learning. For example, benchmarks might be set for the concepts that must be mastered in each grade. They might also be used to see where a particular student, class, or even school ranks in comparison to others.” (Dance-Schissel, n.d.). Within a northeastern U.S school, Benchmarks are given throughout the school year. From September 2020 – December 2020 (First and second marking periods). I would also look to use surveys throughout the course of the study to get an emotional and mental aspect on how the students feel about the program. Surveys will be given at the end of each “adventure” in the program to take into consideration students’ understanding and feeling towards the program. Survey would be best suited for my study due to my being able to control questions to specifically address the program without outside variables affecting any raw data. The survey will be formatted in the most simplistic form that 3rd grade students and below will be able to understand.

The last measurement I would use is writing prompts. Prompts will be designed and given based on each “adventure” being covered (e.g., brainstorming, prewriting, drafting, complete essay, etc.). 


My research study plan is to conduct acas study. Addressing my research question, “How does implementing the digital writing program TAWP into a 3rd Grade classroom affect the writing of the students?”, I plan to test this digital writing program designed by me. I want to use this study to test the effectiveness of the T.A.W.P program within a classroom setting to aid in the development of writing eLearning content. The type of research I am conducting is a case study research using Grounded Theory. With collected data obtained through my service, I was able to apply this information to further my inquiry on how to help my students improve in their writing. The data-collection methods I intend to use are the following: surveys, feedback from writing prompts, and experiment. I am still open to other options.

The data that was generated that stirred me towards Grounded and my research question is through participant observation. As a Reading Coach, I would not only work side by side with students, but I would also observe their actions throughout the course of the class. When students would go start writing assignments, they would either have trouble starting it or not doing it as a whole. As for when I work with that students using the T.A.W.P program, I will be still doing participant observation alongside surveys, writing prompts, and benchmarks.


The methodology I choose to use for my research to collect data for my eLearning content, T.A.W.P, is Grounded Theory. Grounded Theory is a particular way of collecting and analyzing data with the intention of developing a theory from the data that explains the phenomenon. As explained previously, the phenomenon that appeared in both of my 2nd grade classrooms I worked in was the struggles within approaching writing. In using Grounded Theory, I am following the approach of Mills and Birks (2014). but in disclaimer, as Grounded Theory does not necessarily have a blueprint, or ‘format’ to go by to take me step by step. So with that said, I can only give the information I have thus far and continue to go back and forth between the process of data collection and analysis. I am looking to see whether or not my writing program had any effect (whether positive or negative) on the students’ writing.

The data will be analyzed through a Grounded Theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Lastly, the methodology that formulated my research question is Grounded Theory. My research question was not a predetermined question. Through my work as a Reading Coach working with 2nd grade students.

Data Collection


From my research, the designate grouping together instances of events, process, and occurrences that share central features. As the research processes on, I will be able to categorize data as it proceeds.


The coding process is not a discrete stage as it is in some research methodologies but rather a continuous aspect of the analytic nature of classic grounded theory. Beginning with line-by-line open coding of data and comparing incidents to each other in the data, I aim to compare phenomenons that may occur during my time working with the students. 


There are different variables that can affect my conclusions. Everything except for the program must be the same for my control group and my experimental group (group with your program). If anything else is not the same (e.g., after school or not after school), then I have two different variables at play (after school and your program).


The data will be analyzed through a Grounded Theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Lastly, the methodology that formulated my research question is Grounded Theory. My research question was not a predetermined question. Through my work as a Reading Coach working with 2nd grade students. A phenomenon 

Working calendar

The following is a calendar of my prospective research schedule. This schedule covers important dates for the Thesis class itself, my agenda when conducting the research, and other important attributes to my research that I will be covering at the end of my blog.

Other essential attributes I will be doing throughout the course of the semester are the following:

  • Applying to conferences to present my research
  • Publishing my work
  • Expanding my knowledge by continuing my work with digital media/applications to develop TAWP
Posted in NJIT (Fall 2020)

A Guide Through Grad School!

Hi all, and welcome to my blog! For those of you who are new to my blog… excited to meet you! My name is Patricia Dennis, and I will be your blogging hostess for this site. I have done so many introductions throughout the course of my many blog posts that I kind of run out of ways to “introduce myself” any differently than before. With that being said, in my Welcome Page, you can find a brief (but welcoming) introduction of who I am. Please, feel free to check out my entire blog and tell me what you think!

The main theme of this blog is to share education, knowledge, and experiences on an open digital platform. My blog is set up in manner to display my journey through graduate school; each tab is broken down into semesters. As stated in my welcome page: “I use this blog to share my many experiences, thoughts, works of art, and education!”. When looking back at how far I have come in my educational pursuits, it dawned on me that some aspects of this journey could have been a lot “easier” if I was guided. Please do not misunderstand, I truly enjoyed every part of “figuring things out”… but I would have loved a bit more of advice and help with other aspects of the journey. 

As I begin to wrap up Chapter 25: Masters Graduate Student, I want to give back the education and experiences I have gained through this amazing journey! This portion of my blog is dedicated to, A Guide through Grad School: From Beginning to End! I decided to keep the theme of my blog being educational, I just decided to switch the topic up a little bit. This portion of my blog will serve as something like a guideline to those who are preparing for education beyond the undergraduate level. Whether you are going for a Masters, Doctoral, Grad Certificate, or whatever it may be.. I want to lend a word of advice for those pursuing more education! 

My blog post will cover these main topics:

Alongside my advice, I will give you my own personal experience, some really interesting and informative books and articles I read to help me along the way, and youtube videos to give visuals to my personality. By all means, everything I write and speak about is not the only way to go through grad school (there is never ONE way to do most things in life). I was compelled and inspired by one of my professors at NJIT (You are amazing Jenna!) to give back to those who may need the advice. With that said, please enjoy my youtube video below to put a face to my blogs!

P.S. I would love for this blog to expand by covering topics of grad school I may not have presented. Please feel free to leave comments on some aspects of grad school you would like me to cover! 

Posted in Electronic Literature

Getting into Elit!

Overview of the readings

When reading Pressman’s article Navigating Electronic Literature, we are introduced to the breakdown of electronic literature. The main aspect that I got from this article is the way electronic literature can be interpreted and read in different ways, by different readers. As stated in the article: Regardless of your view, however, navigating a hypertext not only promotes questions about the role of the reader and the reading practice but also about the structure and significance of literature itself.” 

From this point, this is where I tie it to the first piece of electronic literature of the semester: 

This piece of electronic literature was a very interesting introduction into the world of electronic literature. I am going to be completely honest, I was a bit intimidated by the use of hyperlinks to jump from different parts of the story (I see why we were instructed to read for 1 hour). There are so many different directions and patches you can go in the reading that the reader has the chance to see it both in a consent order/theme or in random order (or maybe this was just my experience. Nevertheless, this piece of literature uses hypertext to guide readers through the stories of each character

Deeper Reflection on Twelve Blue

When applying the knowledge from Pressman’s article to Twelve Blue, I mainly focused on how hypexted and hyperlinked embed images served as a guide through the story. After 15 minutes into the reading, I realized that this type of storytelling needed to be spoken aloud, rather than in the head. Again, I was pretty confused when trying to read Twelve Blue as an ordinary piece of literature. 

I was not necessarily confused by the content, but by the order in way the text would appear or navigate me to. Once I let go of trying to read the text as “normal”, the story began to flow. As I read this blue text, with blue background, with Blue essentially being within the title.. I decided to do a little research of what blue might represent for the reading. Calm, cool, water.. These themes surrounding blue are evident in each piece of hypertext present in this piece of literature. This idea of mother/daughter relationship, to father/daughter discussion of reproduction, the sea being compared to sperm… this reading is definitely one that needs to be read 4 or more times.

Posted in NJIT (Sprong 2020)

PTC 606852-Advanced Information Design

During my Advanced Information Design course, I learned the essentials of being an instructional design. Through this, I was able to turn my research idea into a digital learning space for all to access. With that said, this page displays my assignments, projects, and growth throughout this course. From this course, I was able to build my mock site to my now TAWP e learning site!

Below are links to my assignments done through the course of the semester:

Unit 1 Assignment

Unit 1 Discussion: Traits Of An Instructional Designer

Unit 2 Assignment: Analyze and Outcomes

Style Guide

The Dick & Carey Model Presentation

Unit 3 Assignent Timeline

Creating An Introduction

Setup Your Training Website

*Note: These are not all of the assignments assigned for this course, but these are the core components that led me to making my final site for my thesis research!

Posted in Electronic Literature

Intro into Elit .. and P!

Greeting fellow ELit scholars! My name is Patricia Dennis and I am a continuing graduate student within the Writing program. This is actually my last semester and I will be done with my MA (jumps up and down like a three year old)! With that being said, I am excited to take this electronic literature journey with you all! This blog (alongside my MA Thesis blog) is a bit better sweet, being that this is my last first blog of my MA studies. 

Quite honestly, I have done so many introductions throughout my course of the MA program that I kind of run out of stuff to say (sorry). The best way I can sum up a “good introduction” is from my Welcome Page on my site, so here you go:

Hi all, and welcome to my blog! 

So a little about me… My name is Patricia Dennis and I am a native of Newark, NJ. I am an aspiring artist, student, traveler, and educator. I use this blog to share my many experiences, thoughts, works of art, and education! 

All my life, my mind and voice has been my sense of power. Being able to express myself through many different forms has gotten me to where I am today. I continue to strive for my own potential of greatness and wish to share my journey with the world, in hopes that I can inspire generations to come.

As for my educational and professional background, I received my B.A. in English with a minor in Studio Art from the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ. After graduating, I began to serve under AmeriCorps as a Reading Coach for 2nd Grade students where I am currently serving my second term. I am also currently pursuing my M.A. in English Writing Studies at Kean University in Union, NJ. As a graduate student at Kean, I work as a Graduate Assistant for The Kean University Writing Project directed by Dr. Maria Zamora.

Another fun fact! I am also a chess instructor for young beginning chess players!

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the journey just as much as I am!

If can not be the best, I will do my best

If I do my best, I will try my best

If I can not try my best, then the best is yet to come

Either way, the best is what I strive for!

Posted in MA Thesis

Road to MA Thesis: Getting things done!

Quick Introduction 

Hi all! My name is Patricia Dennis (P for short). Quite honestly, I can not really complain about my time during COVID. I was pretty sad about not being able to do my summer internship, but other amazing opportunities did happen for me! I am not going to go so in depth about my fortunate outcomes, as I do not want this blog to be all about that. What I would like to share is my … RESEARCH PROJECT!

Story time: Back story to my research idea

I am going to turn into a major “Nerd” but these three acadmics/scholars have been the driving force to my epiphany of my thesis project: Professor Donald Murray, Dr. Charles Nelson, and the great Peter Elbow! Through these amazing scholars, I was able to start, refine, and now ready to execute my thesis research project! In a sense, my research idea was kind of beginning to form in my Writing Theory & Practice course where I was first introduced to the Writing Process. Professor Donald Murray, who claims in his article, Teaching Writing as a Process not Product; this idea of teaching writing in the form of a process and not just an only end product, made a lot of sense to me. So much sense, that I started to question why I never heard of this “writing process” before, even though this claim was made in the 1970’s. This is where Dr. Nelson comes into play. My Research & Methodologies course is where I discovered the question that was born through my two years experience as an AmeriCorps member (I will have that experience soon available, as it pertains to my research question!). During my time with Dr. Nelson, he truly mentored me through using research methodologies; not just during the spring semester, but also throughout this past summer … he has been nothing short of amazing. The one advice he continued to repeat throughout the summer to me was, “You must find that gap of literature to aid in your research questions (which I will provide at the end of this lovely blog, so please hang on!). Here is where, last but certainly not least, Mr. Peter Elbow is introduced! Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process, written by Peter Elbow gives a very extensive breakdown on how to approach various ways to go through the process of writing. This book is literally the holy grail to my research! With that said, I can now get to the nitty gritty of what my research question is, the scholarly research I intend to produce, and my end product that will be a part of my PhD application.

As I stated previously, I was lucky enough to start my research interest in the Spring 2020 semester. This year has been an express train of educatioction, I have not stopped since the spring semester! And again, THANK YOU SO MUCH DR. NELSON! He served as my unofficial/official advisor throughout the process of polishing my research proposal and other supplement material to hand into the IRB. So here is where I am right now: Time to implement the research.

Here is the research!

The title of my research is shown in the beginning of this post: The Adventures of the Writing Process (TAWP). My research interest is turning this idea of the writing process (with my own modification and adaptation of the MIT Writing Process) into a free online digital instruction for young writers. From my currently pursued education at NJIT, I am learning new technical skills to turn my idea of teaching the writing process into a digital platform.Taking the Advanced Information Design course at NJIT opened my eyes to instructional design and the importance of it in today’s classrooms (that’s a post for another day!). I also have this experience documented in my site as it is a vital part of my research and how I created my digital instructional database. I will have my research proposal available for view soon, once I submit it to the IRB.

This part of my thesis is dedicated to turning theory into practice, and using my research and creation to help young writers (between grades 3rd – 5th). I am currently waiting to hear back from another AmeriCorps position so that I can do my research at the school I will possibly serve. AmeriCorps for a possible third year in a row! I plan/hope that the end product to this research will be a research result article and possibly an ebook that will act as a “map” on this adventure. Hopefully I can make this book in my Electronic Literatureand New Media and Design courses this semester!

With that said, I am excited to start this adventure and to see where it takes my always curious mind. Until then, Namaste my fellow writing scholar cohorts!

Posted in Research & Methodologies

Phenomenology, Discourse Analysis, and Grounded Theory


This article gives a breakdown of the following qualative methodologies: Phenomenology, Discourse Analysis, and Grounded Theory. Within the artile, Starks and Trinidad gives a simplistic breakdown of these methodoligies as in defining them, explaining how data is collected, how to go about using the methods, and etc. This article really gets down to the nitty gritty and puts theory into practice (obviously my favorite saying at this point); these methodologies were put into use, using the same research topic in the health filed involoving Primary Care physiciand and prostate screen caring. Each methodology poses its own questions with t e set of data given for the research.


I belive this article gives a great simplistic but informative breakdwon of these three methodologies, while also giving a great research to follow behind. Even though at this point of the semester, I already have an inderstanding of these methodologies, this article reassures me of my undersatnding. The authors explanations of this artcile, and the fact that it is short and sweet, made the reading even more enjoyable! I was a bit worried about the topic, due to being in the health field, but breakdown of the study made it so easy to understand. Quite honestly, this article is in my top 5 articles from this semester.

Turning Theory into Practice: Using this information in my own studies!

At this point in the semester, I am doing my last bits of cleanup for my research proposal paper! My main focus is to finish up my litearture review and breaking down the methodology I will be using (good old Grounded Theory!). I belive I will be using this article because it gives me an even better undersatnding of Grounded Theory and how to go about using it. My research topic does not having anything to do within the health field, but I am using the one of the methodologies and having more information to simplify it makes completing my proposal much easier.

Posted in Research & Methodologies

Computers in Human Behaviors


The base of this article is discusses the phenomenon of online classroom discussion surrounded around these two proposed research questions: (a)How do students’ uniqueness – seeking needa relatae to the different discource moves they exhibit in online discussion? (b) What does a comparison of dicource moves and feelings about the online discussion (enjoyment and engagment) across the semester reveal about students withdiffrent uniqness – seeking needs? The research was conducted through 13 graduate – level students, in the setting of an onlince clasroom. The groups were broken up into 4 subgropus catogorized as: Group 1 (high contributors), Groiup 2 (mid contributors), Group 3 (low contributors), and a special case. The data was drawn using the discource anaalytic approach and constant comparison coding.


This article was very helpful to my own research interest! As far as I can see, there is reall a gap in literatuer for this article (again, not a true professional). This article was simplistic in a term that I was able to follow along while also making my own mental ties. This article has a lot of relevence to it, espically now that under these curcumstances, students are pratically glued to their screens! But any who, I enjoyed reading this article.

Turing Theory into Practice: Making Connects!

I recall in the early stages of the semester when Dr. Nelson explained how articles embed (non technical terms) within articles can ultimately help us in our own research inquiries. Quietly honestly, I had no idea what the was talking about. But now, approximately 3 classes away from this semester being over… I get it! I plan use this article (and others embed into it) to finish off my last couple of articles needed for my Research Proposal. Another takeaway from this article is the formatting I would like to go with within discussing my literature review. The Background literature in this particular article was laid out very simplistic and easy to follow. I like to format my scholarly work in way that is simplistic for not all, but most to understand!

Posted in Research & Methodologies

Impact on advanced academic literacy development


In this article, Orna Ferenz (PhD in Linguistics) conducts an experiment based on L2 English learner, NNSE graduate students, with experience in a required EFL academic writing course. Each participant within the study holds different degrees, study backgrounds, and native language: 2 PhD, 4 MA; 5 Hebrew native speaker and 1 Russian native speaker. This study shows how a socially driven environment has an impact on the students’ advancement in English literacy skills. Ferenz wants to know if social networking beyond the basic groups (ex: teachers, classmates, advisory, and etc) will progress the students’ abilities in building social and academic relationships.This research conducted interviews and post interviews to collect data from the participants. 

My Thoughts

In my personal opinion, I believe there should have been more participants. Even though it was pretty simple to follow through (thank you!), I think the research would have came out a lot different. Six people can not generate enough information to go off. Referring to Megan’s post:

“I think this study could have been done differently. Out of 31, 200, to choose only six representatives ( 5 females and 1 male), is not proper. I understand choosing different academic departments, but I think Ferenz could’ve used more samples, split the six into an equal gender amount (3 boys and 3 girls), or expand the study outside the university to possibly other universities with similar departments and/or increased the length of time for the study (half a year).”

I totally agree with Megan in the sense of adding more diversity. But now even questioning Ferenz research, it makes me ponder on my own…

Making Connections

In a way, my research approach is somewhat similar to Ferenz (specifically surveys being conducted.. possibly some interviews). I am hoping that I have at least 10 students using my program (T.A.W.P) and fun fact.. a lot of the students I will be working with are L2 learners (Spanish and Creole being the native languages). My expected time frame of working with them is September 2020 – November 2020. Obviously my subjects are much younger and do not hold the educational background as the subjects in Ferenz study, but there are some common ground: L2 learners, all at the same school, etc.