Posted in NJIT (Fall 2020)

Getting your application started!

Now that you have decided on the type of program you would desire to apply for, it’s time to get applying! If you are not quite at this stage yet, I suggest take a look at my last blog post (How to choose a school) to get things in order. With that being said, I am going to give you guys some tips, pointers, and my own experience on how to narrow down the important aspects of getting your application done!

General Checklist

I am a firm believer of speaking AND writing things into existence. When it came to applying to my first MA program, I was pretty much oblivious to the whole process of what materials and items I needed in order to get a completed application. Of course, all programs clearly state the criteria and materials you need to be considered an applicant, but the process of doing it can be quite difficult. It was not until I applied for my grad certificate and second MA that I realized the beauty of checklists. So here is my quick tip: 

General Checklist:

Even though each institute may ask for different things, they all have the same items that will be needed for the application. With that said, below are two checklists that I found on google (for free!). I would print them out and store them in a PhD binder (also pictured below!).

Institutions Checklist

Like I started earlier in the post, each institution has their own specific set of critters for a completed application. Here are the application materials needed for the MA in Digital Media Design and Marketing program (the next MA I will be attending in Fall’2021!). Also below I have snapshotted a snippet of the site as well.

Remember:

  • See if any of your undergrad or previous grad program credits can be transferred over to another program. It saves you time AND money!
  • If you are an international student, be sure to check specific criteria you may need to complete.
  • Be sure to answer the specific question they are asking you to write or submit. Nothing is worse than submitting a bland personal statement that can fit any institution. 
  • Ask for those letters of Recommendation very EARLY! Most professors may agree to do it, and figure to actually do them (they are very busy and very gumane too!).

Getting materials in as EARLY as POSSIBLE!

Please, please, please! If you can not stress this enough, please be sure to get your materials in as early as possible. The reason for this is that you may lose out on scholarship, fellowships, grants, etc that can aid your grad finance. Graduate school is pretty expensive; from registering for courses, to trying to buy your 5th cup of coffee for the day. What not try to have your education paid for? Be sure to check with the graduate admission counselors and application to see for these scholarships and important deadline dates.

Staying Positive

 Even through all of this very much busy work, be sure to always stay calm and recreate yourself. There is nothing wrong with taking a step… grad school (all the process of it) can be overwhelming. Be sure to take some me with me.

Posted in MA Thesis

Here’s How It Went!

Today’s thesis blog post will be a reflection of my presentation from last class. For those who did not have a chance to view my presentation or just want to look back at it, please feel free to review it: My time to Shine. So with that being said, let’s jump right into the befores and after my presentation.

Emotions/Thoughts Before Presentation

To be quite honest, I was both excited and nervous about showcasing my work to my fellow thesis writers (I truly value their feedback and opinions… you will see this in the latter part of my blog.) As stated in my presentation, I have been working on my thesis, or so the idea around my thesis, since the Spring 2020 semester. From both my Research Methods and Information designs class, I have been able to make both moc versions of my Research Proposal and eLearning site (I will eventually have these items available, once I earn my Masters officially)! But, of course there is a nervous part to this point in my research….

As I stated, I have been working from Spring of 2020 – until now; and yes, that does include the entire summer. So with that said, I have been at this project pretty much… non stop. So much to the point that I felt that my thesis was the only thing I felt like talking about. With that being the case, I also felt that no matter what I did, my thesis would be nowhere finished by time I had planned. So with that in mind, let just into a quick snapshot of my presentation!

Presentation Takeaways

Here is my new (self designed) Little P animation!

Overall, I think I did pretty well! My presentation targeted the most important aspect of showcasing the essential elements of my thesis. It was a pretty cool feeling walking through my eLearning site with my fellow thesis writers! Thank you so much Linda for adding to the creative portion of my thesis work. For the meantime, I am going to sticking with the format of using Bitmoji and Canva designs. But please be sure that I am currently learning how to make my art turn into animation to incorporate an advanced version of me eLearning site in the near future! Maybe we can make a learning site together one day! I would also like to thank Karel too for insight on the navigation and target audience for my eLearning site. It has made me reconsider the structure of my inquiry statement. Would also just like to thank my thesis cohort as a whole in giving me those good positive vibes and encouraging my ambitions and goals.. You guys are the real MVPS!

Dr. Zamora’s Worldly Advice!

Have you ever had someone that does no wrong in your eyes? Well in my academic world, it is Dr. Zamora. She knows how to give the right advice, at the right time. Dr. Zamora suggested I bring my research goal a bit down. She 100% believes that I should continue to do research with the children, but only document the behaviors. She wants me to establish a vocabulary using Ground Theory. She also reassured me that my research was far beyond this Masters degree… even PhD worthy! With that said, I am kind or relieved that I spent all summer working on this.

So What Now?

I think this is where the extra interesting part is going to happen! I will be attending the IRB webinar on Monday, to see the next I should take when submitting my documentation. Lucky enough, I have also been assigned my after school students, who will be participating in my research project. Also, for the next class meeting, I will have a bit of time with Dr. Zamora to see my next steps… Monday will start The Adventure of the Writing Process. I look forward to what this week brings!

Posted in MA Thesis

My Time to Shine!

Hello fellow thesis writers! Below you will find the an image the will direct you to my presentation. Please feel free to look at it before our class conferencing tomorrow.

Click this image
Posted in Electronic Literature

Breaking Down Bots

Hi fellow lit scholars! In today’s post, I will be targeting Kevin’s assigned text  “Bots”. This electronic literature is from Volume 3 in the Electronic Literature Collection and is primarily made up of a mini collection of pieces centered around setting of Twitter. With that, I decided to break down my blog in the format of a series of questions presented in Dr. Zamora’s last class blog post. Below you can see the break down of how I answered the questions:

What are some of the significant textual elements?  

Some significant textual elements from BOTS is the use of the social media handle twitter. Even though each mini collections has its own theme that makes it unique, 

How did you choose to navigate these texts?  

I choose to navigate through each piece in the mini collection by opening up the live twitter action made by each BOT. I did not go in any particular order, I just clicked and looked most interesting to venture into.

What visual, sound, interactive elements left an impression?  

Since there are 12 different parts of the mini collection, I am going to do a quick breakdown of the ones that were most intriguing to me!

@TinyCrossword: The visuals that left an impression on me was the crossword images. The main aspect of the crossword puzzles tweeted is that the answers are simple and easy to find. This is a great interactive tactic to connect people (I actually started following the account!)

@everyword: This one is particularly my favorite due to it be something like the “twitter encyclopedia”. The project is done between 2007 – 2014 and has a book that you can buy a alongside the tweets! http://www.instarbooks.com/books/everyword.html. The imagery within the site the host book is very playful and bright (two things I really like).

What overall effect do these texts create?  

Twitter in itself is such an engaging communication application, so seeing it being used in this manner is pretty easy to navigate. The tweets within each mini collection has their own theme of the text (bots being the main controller of the tweets).

What themes and symbolic language emerge in navigating the text? 

The themes I see in the emerging language is the use of bots in twitter feeds. As I said before, the navigation was pretty simple, due to twitter being one of the main mediums being used within my MA program.

What is literary about the text?

I am not sure exactly how to answer this (seems like this my theme for every #elit blog post), but isn’t that what electronic lit is all about? The literary aspect I see in this Elit is the language being used to distinigsh each account from one another. Again, I am not to confident in my answer.

Posted in NJIT (Fall 2020)

How to Choose a graduate program/school

In this week’s blog post for A Guide Through Grad School, I will be discussing the first topic: How to Choose a graduate program/school. I will be breaking this down into three crucials steps when choosing, while also providing my own experience and feedback to how I approach each step. With that said, let’s jump into it!

How to choose a graduate school

  1. Know the type of program you would like to dedicate one  + year to! Graduate level degrees prepare students to have a deeper understanding of specific fields, while also preparing to contribute knowledge to the field. With that being said, you should decide what you would want to further your understanding in. You should take the following into consideration:
    • Are you continuing the same field of study from your undergraduate degree?
    • If you are not, what prerequisite courses do you need to take before applying?
    • How will it take you to finish? (This does not mean that you need to finish this degree in record time).
    • Will you need to relocate for this degree?

My experience

  • I decided I wanted to further my understanding within the English Discipline: but English studies has so many branches under it, so I decided to stick with writing studies because I like to write academic papers! I had to narrow my search, which leads me to the second step:

2.) When in doubt, Google it out!Google is a great search engine to see different programs and their institution. Try using keywords that relate to your study. Google will show you All the options available. 

My experience: I would copy and paste all the programs I found interesting onto a google doc to keep track of them all. I tried to aim for all schools in driving distance from my home because I was not ready to relocate.. yet!

  1. Once you have a list, time to do more research!
    • Look at their program overview
    • Look at the curriculum
    • Look at the staff
    • Reach out to the program director!
  • Oh yeah, be sure to look at tuition costs…
  1. Be real with yourself
    • Just because a school sounds/looks good, does not mean it’s for you
    • Explore ALL options and be open to trying different experiences… That’s what higher education in general is all about!

I hope these little guideline were helpful to you! Please look out for my YouTube video on this topic.

Posted in MA Thesis

Waiting in Blissful Exhaustion


Today’s post will be relatively short, so there is a good reason for this. As far as my thesis work is coming along, I am pace with my projected research calendar. Currently, I am making my last edits for my research proposal and documentation for the IRB. Dr. Nelson (again to the rescue!) agreed to look over my documents before I submit everything. Great news, I was approved by my AmeriCorps site to conduct research with nine students in my own after school club (The Writing Club)! I am just waiting for my AmeriCorps site that agreed to let me do the research to sign the School Bases Research document. 

Other actions I need to make is to connect with Dr. Zamora or Dr. Nelson in helping me break down the categories and other aspects when trying to apply Grounded Theory to my research. With that being said, this is pretty much where I stand in my project and awaiting in my blissful tiredness.

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!

MEASUREMENT

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.). 

DATA-COLLECTION METHODS

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.

ANALYSIS

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

Categories

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.

Coding

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. 

Instruments

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).

Analysis

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.