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 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!