31 December 2006

NET11 - Module 2: Email, Lists, Newsgroups & Chat

1. What information about a user's email, the origin of a message, and the path it took, can you glean from an email message?
An email address is in the format 'username'@'domain' and there are a few things we can learn from this. Firstly, the domain is the mail server address and can tell us the name and type of organisation the email address belongs to, for example .edu for an educational facility or .com for a commercial entity. In many cases you can extract this part of the email address and type it into the address bar of a web browser to learn more about the organisation as in many cases there will be a web site using the same domain.

The username component of the email address can sometimes provide a clue as to the context of the message. The use of a particular email address will usually be based on the situation in which it is used - for example for personal communications with friends I use my personal email address (username is based on my name or nickname), for business/work I use a business email address (username is an alias - "sales" or "info").

Examining a sender's email address can sometimes provide an indication as to whether the email is legitimate or spam. Spammers often use automated software to generate a 'from' address using random words and letters in an attempt to bypass spam filters, these can usually be quite easily detected when compared to 'legitimate' email addresses.

2. In what cases would you find it useful to use the 'cc', 'bcc' and 'reply all' functions of email?
In the case of 'cc' (carbon copy) I would find it useful where I wanted to send the same information to a group of people - for example, the minutes of a meeting at work. The 'reply all' function would be useful if I received such an email and wished to pass along further information to the same group of recipients. I would find 'bcc' (blind carbon copy) useful where my message was addressed to one particular person, but I wanted another person to see the message discreetly without the original recipient knowing - such as a communication with a client that I want my boss to see. Another common use of 'bcc' is the sharing of jokes and funny stories to all one's friends without letting them all see each other's email addresses, hiding the email addresses in this case is more a case of etiquette than discretion.

3. In what ways can you ensure that an attachment you send will be easily opened by the receiver?
Well the obvious answer is to ASK the person you intend to send the file to, since you cannot assume they run exactly the same platform/software setup. This isn't always possible though of course, so it is a good idea to be aware of the more popular file formats - RTF, PDF, JPG etc and use these in preference to more specialised formats.

Worth mentioning here is that some file formats such as PDF have only become popular because of the distribution of freely available file "viewers". PDF was a format developed by Adobe, who offer free download of the Adobe Acrobat Reader (they also made the format available for use in other programs). Microsoft have also released viewers for applications in their Office Suite, however these do not seem to enjoy the same popularity as PDF - possibly due to the ongoing development and changes of the DOC format.

4. What sorts of filters or rules do you have set up, and for what purpose?
One of the primary purposes for sorting mail with filters and rules is to aid in retrieval of information. With the quantity of information exchanged by email it is not possible to memorise everything, it is more effective to categorise information and know where and how it can be retrieved.

I have several email accounts which are used for different purposes - business, work, study, personal interests. I have all my mail forwarded to my account with Gmail which, as a web based email service offers greater convenience to me. I have several rules set up in Gmail to apply various labels to items of mail. For example, messages to my work address are labelled with the name of the company I work for, messages from a particular client are labelled with that client's name.

Another tool I use with my email is applying a flag (in Gmail it is a star) to specific messages where follow-up action is required. I can pull up a list of all my "starred" messages like a "to do" list and "un-star" them when I have completed the required task.

5. How have you organised the folder structure of your email and why?
As mentioned above, I use Gmail which has its own method for storing mail without using folders, mail can be categorised with labels and is retrieved through filtered searches. One advantage to this method over using folders is it is possible to assign more than one label to a message if it fits into more than one category.

Over time I have used several email clients - Pegasus, Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, where I used folders similarly to how I now use labels with Gmail. One of the reasons I switched to a webmail system is the number of occasions I have lost email archives due to a software or hardware failure. With Gmail my archives are stored on the web and accessed from any computer (I also have a backup in Outlook - just in case Gmail breaks!)

There are two main concerns with using a web based email service. Firstly is the risk of identity theft, if some nasty person guesses my password, logs in and "steals" my account. Regular, obscure password changes help guard against that. Secondly is the possibility that the service provider may experience technical problems or go out of business (I'm taking a calculated risk with Gmail!)

There are pros and cons with both types of email access but I think the important thing is to be aware of these and have a contingency plan.

1. What are the pros and cons of email lists versus discussion boards?
Of the two my greater preference is for discussion boards. My main gripe with email lists is the format - whether I subscribe to receive posts individually or compiled in a daily digest, opening each email to read the contents is tiresome; and might be particularly so for anyone who processes a high volume of incoming mail each day.

On the other hand, an email message is more of a "keeper" if it contains something important or useful, it can be filed or labelled for later retrieval.

Threads in an email lists have a greater tendency to lose continuity, since there is a lot of screen switching as each email post is opened to be read. Additionally poor quoting and short replies to a thread sometimes make little sense, particularly if you've started reading the thread halfway.

On the other hand, the discussion board displays all the posts on a single page (or sometimes if the thread is long, multiple hyperlinked pages); it is easier to locate the first post in a thread and scroll down the screen to read through its entire contents.

Email lists (particularly moderated ones) seem to have a tendency to remain more on topic than discussion boards. I think this has a lot to do with the format - emails versus posts on a web page. Email lists seem to be a lot more specialised whereas discussion boards cover a broader area, and individual threads seem more prone to posts that are off-topic.

2. Are there certain kinds of communication or purposes more suited to one than the other?
Where the content is useful, relevant to work or studies and well-moderated to exclude junk mail I think mailing lists are a good way of disseminating information and keeping up to date with changes in an industry or study.

Discussion boards, particularly busy ones are more suited to less formal communication - brainstorming, and open discussion. The format is more conducive to conversation.

These have many similarities to email lists, in fact with many of the lists and newsgroups I encountered it was difficult to see the difference - particularly since both are now commonly accessed via the web as well as the traditional mail and news reader clients.

When searching through the newsgroups for topics that interested me it was offputting to encounter so much spam and junk. I finally joined a group that had very restricted access - I had to apply to join by telling a little about myself and my reasons for being there. I was accepted, and this was my first post:
From: "Liss"
To: "Messy Mamas"
Subject: Girl from Oz
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 04:54:03 -0000
Message-ID: <1168232043.051078.238440@11g2000cwr.googlegroups.com>
User-Agent: G2/1.0
X-HTTP-UserAgent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20061206 Firefox/,gzip(gfe),gzip(gfe)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Hi my name is Liss and I'm from Australia. This looks like a lovely, friendly, chatty place and I look forward to getting to know the other members here.

As it says in my bio I'm 37 years of age, married to Herman and not a mommy (we say "mummy" in Australia). I work from home for an internet provider company and I am also studying part time at university. I am very interested in all things internet, and one of the reasons I joined this newsgroup was to help meet a requirement for the course I'm currently doing. Our task was to learn more about how newsgroups work, by joining a group that interested us personally.

I am probably not the most well organised housewife in the world. Where I fall down most is planning and shopping for meals. I never seem to remember to write a list and as a result my pantry is crammed full of canned tuna, tomatoes and crackers. Hopefully some of the other girls here will be able to give me some tips :-)

Best wishes,

The group I joined "Messy Mamas" is part of Googlegroups and is a group of housewives (mostly from the US) trying to bring order to their homes! I also subscribed to some other groups including aus.culture.true-blue and aus.tv. These last two use the traditional hierarchical form of address in their name.

Googlegroups has introduced some good features to newsgroups; one of these is in the threading of posts, there is a flag that lets you know if the subject has changed (it is still part of the same thread but has branched off to a related topic).

I subscribed to many newsgroups in my early days on the internet, over ten years ago. I have since graduated to forums and instant messaging, and think of newsgroups as "old hat" - but I like the way Googlegroups has "webified" them.

I've used ICQ off and on for many years. It is a very useful tool at work, particularly where telecommuting is involved. It can be tempting to carry on chatting and gets counter-productive sometimes, so I tend not to use it a great deal.

I've added a few NET11 students to my chat list and had a chat with Melissa G on the weekend. One thing we commented on was the practice of using nicknames - made it difficult to know who you were chatting to (my nickname is "mejane"). One of the main reasons I use a nickname is for privacy, only people I choose to tell know who I am.

I participated in a WebCT chat also and it was quite pleasant to chat to the other students and our tutor about the course and other things - it broke the ice.

As a communication tool online chat definitely has its uses. As a means to disseminate information it is probably not as effective, due to its informal nature.

This form of chat is reminiscent of Telnet in that it is command line based, it doesn't have the same "bells and whistles" and intuitive interface of other chat clients like ICQ or Messenger. It has fewer tools also - for example there is no contact list management. IRC, like Telnet is an important internet application but rather a relic of the past in terms of client use.

2 December 2006

NET11 - Module 1: Telnet, FTP & Internet Tools

I am familiar with telnet from managing web sites hosted on a Linux/Apache server platform. Not only is it useful for performing various file management functions, it is also a very quick way to make small changes to web pages - directly on the server instead of transferring files back and forth between server and client. To do this I use a simple little text editor tool residing on the server called Pico. The telnet client I have used in the past is called Putty, but for the purposes of this exercise I used Windows' built-in client.

Compared to search on a web page, the command interface of telnet is more awkward to navigate, and the appearance is less 'friendly', but the server response time seems faster. It was fascinating to watch the Star Wars 'movie' over telnet, probably the most creative use of telnet and ascii I have encountered.

FTP - File Transfer Protocol
My favourite client at the moment is Filezilla. The thing I have always liked about windows-based FTP clients is their similarity to Windows Explorer and the ability to 'drag and drop' files. The default set up for most FTP clients is to display local files on one side of the window and remote files on the other side, making it very easy to compare folder contents and files.

Internet Tools
I began with a traceroute from All Net Tools, a server based in the United States which reached Curtin in 18 hops in an average of 305.55ms.

Results from US server 18 hops; average 305.55ms

I then performed a traceroute from an Indonesian server which reached the Curtin server in 23 hops with an average of 445ms.

I compared these results with a traceroute performed from my own internet connection in Queensland and reached the Curtin server in 14 hops, and an average of 110ms. The best result overall was a trace from the Telstra server, reaching Curtin in 13 hops in an average of 43.98ms.

Results from Telstra server 13 hops; 43.98ms

What do my results tell me? My connection and the Telstra server are both located in Australia, yet Telstra reached the Curtin server at more than twice the speed. From the international tests, although Indonesia is geographically closer to Australia than the United States, it produced a slower result indicating that geographical location is not a decisive factor in traceroute results. Telstra is the largest network in Australia and is the backbone to many smaller networks including my internet provider, so it is possible the size of a network influences traceroute results.

I then used the Windows built-in Ping utility to contact webct.curtin.edu.au as suggested in the exercise. Request timed out! I tried pinging curtin.edu.au and and had a better result, the average round trip time was 110ms (same as my traceroute). I am aware that some servers block ping to prevent DOS (denial of service) attacks; this could be what is occurring with the WebCT server.

28 November 2006

NET11 Assessment tasks

Ok well I have the orientation and introduction out of the way, I am now looking at the assessment tasks. I noted from my quick scan of the curriculum that most of these are continuously drawn from the modules I'll be working on throughout the unit, so I think it is a good time to start planning.

There are four tasks or areas we are assessed on, three of them I can start working on straight away. These are:
  • Resource Project due in week 9 (26/01/07), worth 30%. In this project we must compile a list of web sites we think would be useful for someone learning the content of the first four modules of this unit - at least two links per module. In addition we are to annotate each link with a summary and discussion of how and why it might be useful. We should also try to identify which concepts they relate to or illustrate. We have a choice of either web site or blog presentations. Hmm.. decisions, decisions! This looks like fun, I really enjoy research and writing.
  • Participation in forum (tutorial) discussions, worth 10%. This will require me to keep pace with the other students, otherwise I risk becoming a 'lurker' catching up on old posts. We are expected to complete a module per fortnight, it is halfway through week 1 right now and I notice quite a number of students are powering through the first module. Unfortunately this week I am doing some rather intense study in my last unit for the final exam on Thursday, but I expect to do some serious catch up this weekend.
  • Learning Log due in final week (23/02/07), worth 30%. Yay, I've started this! As well as being part of my assessment, this log will serve as a record of work I've completed, as well as reflection on my experiences as I work throughout the unit - similar to the Learning Log I completed in my last unit for SSK12. The suggestion for this one is to set aside a couple of times a week to work on my log.
The fourth assessment task is an essay (eek!) due in the last week of the unit with the Learning Log submission. It requires reflection on the conceptual understandings acquired throughout the unit, hopefully this will be covered in my log and will be a matter of revision. I shall revisit this task a bit later in the unit. I need lots of practise in my essay writing.

NET11 Curtin orientation

Unit outline from OUA website:

This unit will help you to develop your skills and understanding of the internet to a more advanced level, mainly through practical exercises, but also through a parallel investigation of the concepts which underpin the way the internet functions as an information and communication system. The unit includes consideration of email, chat, newsgroup and other communications, blogging, websites, file sharing and information management.

Very enthused with this course after logging on for the first time yesterday and ‘meeting’ some of the other students. The unit is conducted entirely online so, unlike my previous unit I have not felt swamped with a lot of printed reading material. Everything is online, seems to be well organised and easy to navigate.

To begin, there was a brief orientation tutorial which was quite good because it didn’t go into too much depth but explained nearly everything I wanted to know, such as turnaround for email responses from tutor (72 hours) and expectations for the minimum amount of time required for this unit (10 hours per week). There was a short survey before and after the tutorial asking similar questions, so it was interesting to see how my responses changed. After the tutorial I felt a lot more comfortable with commencing my first unit with this university.

I logged into OASIS to set my password and had a look around. Apparently I need to check this system at least once a week for any official communications. It seems to be connected with the Library as well, I will have a better look around soon. There was not a great deal about OASIS in the orientation tutorial, which I noted in the feedback section of the survey. I think it would be helpful to mention OASIS and briefly explain the relationship of this system to our participation in this and other units. (I dimly recall logging into a similar system at Murdoch, but beyond initial login I don’t think I ever returned!)

Next I logged into WebCT. This is where I will be going every day to read up on unit and assessment information, find course materials and enter the online discussion forums. It is the same system used by Murdoch during my last unit, so it was very familiar.

After having a good poke around the different sections in WebCT, my next task was to introduce myself on the forum. I discovered the thread started by our tutor Cynthia, who provided some very useful information and guidelines for the unit. We are expected to complete one module per fortnight, and our participation on the forum counts for 10% of our final assessment.

Quite a number of students had posted after Cynthia and I took the time to read through their responses. Cynthia had introduced an interesting topic to help “break the ice” - our first experience of the internet. I was quite encouraged to see many of the other students have things in common with myself - such as geographical location, study goals, interests and personal situation. I took some brief notes of a few names and points as a memory jog.

This group seem very different, and more appealing than the group from my last unit. There are fewer students for a start, and the majority of us are here with a common purpose and interest in Internet Studies. A few of the students have started blogs and posted links, I shall probably share mine at some stage. I suspect my participation on this forum will be greater than it was on my last unit’s forum. I am looking forward to it.

25 November 2006

The situated self - Samovar & Porter

Samovar, Larry, A. & Porter, Richard, E. 2004, 'World views', Communication between cultures, 5th edn, Thomson, Wadsworth, pp. 85-86.

The importance of world view:

  • overarching philosophy which influences perception and behaviour in large and small ways

  • knowledge of a culture's particular world view can help to predict behaviour and motivations in dimensions such as business, where there is thought to be a direct link

World view is an 'overarching philosophy', directly linked to perceiption and culutre, and used as javascript:void(0)
Publish Posta basis for behaviour. If a culture's world view is understood, then it is possible to predict the behaviour and motivations in various dimensions such as business.

22 November 2006

Communicating at university - Bizzell

Bizzell, Patricia, 1986, 'What happens when basic writers come to college', College Composition and Communication, vol.37, no.3, pp.294-301

A discussion on the intellectual adjustment required by students entering higher education and the difficulties this can cause. Also provides an introduction to the work of William Perry who has provided an influentual scheme of the intellectual and ethical development required of students in the process of becoming acculturated to the Western university discourse community and its world view.

What do you think Bizzell means by her use of the terms 'outlandishness' and 'outlanders'?

Bizzell is using metaphor to describe the cultural disparity of some students entering higher education; while there may be some students seem able to blend into the culture of higher education there are others that stand out because of the greater difference between their home culture and the culture of the college. These students are like foreigners or outlanders.. they visibly stand out because they have quite obviously not acculturated into the college.

What are the three cultural clashes experienced by students in their acculturation to the university? How do these three interact?

The first obvious cultural clashes is language or dialect - the university dialect is of a specific standard, which creates different degrees of difficulty for students who are struggling to communicate in the university. The second is discourse or the manner of communicating, for example the writing style used for essays. Both language and discourse style are shown to contribute to a specific way of thinking, so if there are clashes in either of these it follows on there will be a cognitive clash. Bizzell argues that focussing on merely one or two of these is too narrow a view, and that they should be treated overall using the notion of a 'language community', which ties the three together to form a particular world view.

What world views do basic writers bring to college?

Basic writers bring a world view with them that is very different to what they encounter at college. It is so different that there is a 'clash' of cultures. It is a world view that requires some adjustment on the part of the student in order for them to progress through college.

What is the new world view demanded in college? What are the essential components of Perry's scheme of intellectual and ethical development?

The world view demanded in college is the outcome of the closely linked dialect, discourse forms and ways of thinking required in higher education. These all lead the student to question knowledge in a way which clarifies or challenges, to seek and produce evidence which supports knowledge, and to dispel assumptions which cannot be backed by logical thought.

Perry's scheme of intellectual and ethical development of students in the culture of higher education is one that recognises the learner as someone who believes there are no 'Absolutes', and questions even their own long accepted beliefs. In analysing and evaluating knowledge the learner must also examine how data is organised - how knowledge is backed up by evidence, compare this to other learners to form 'Commitments'. By forming a commitment the learner is establishing a relationship with other like minded groups, which rules out autonomous motives. The learner seeks integrity of knowledge, integrity of self and they are likely to preserve the links to home culture which help them achieve this.

Do basic writers have to give up the world views they bring to college in order to learn the new world-view?

As put forward in Perry's model of intellectual and ethical adjustment, it is likely the student will not give up their own world views, although there is just as likely to be some adjustment due to the critical and dominating nature of the new world view. In most cases the student's home world view will remain a guiding influence in the way they examine knowledge, it gives them a context while being guided within the greater context of the new world view of higher learning.

20 November 2006

Communicating at University - Ballard & Clanchy

Ballard, Brigid & Clanchy, John, 1988, "Literacy in the university: an anthropological approach" in Taylor, Gordon, et al. Literacy by Degrees, The Society for Research into Higher Education & The Open University Press, Milton Keynes, pp. 7-23

Argue that "learning within the university is a process of gradual socialisation into a distinctive culture of knowledge" and that 'literacy' "must be seen in terms of the functions to which language is put into that culture".

How do Ballard/Clancy define literacy in the university?

Ballard and Clanchy assert that a definition of 'literacy' needs to go beyond 'surface correctness', it needs to address the demands of the university's culture of knowledge and disciplinary sub-cultures. Literacy refers to a student's cognitive and linguistic abilities in performing functions required by the university, in ways and at a level judged acceptable by the university.

Why is it called an 'anthropological approach'?

The Concise Oxford English dictionary defines anthropology as "the study of humankind, including the comparative study of societies and cultures". Ballard and Clanchy are taking an anthropological approach to the concept of literacy in the university, by looking at the university culture, its language, way of thinking and what it means for students who are regarded either literate, or illiterate in that culture.

How do the authors define 'culture' in this extract?

It is referred to as the "culture of knowledge", which encompasses various distinct rituals, values, styles of language which affect how its members think and behave. The values and understandings which arise from the culture are what determines if a student is 'literate', their ability to effectively argue, produce evidence - think critically. 'Distinct' because most forms of literate behaviour fly in the face of the rules by which the university culture is bound.. eg. political discourse, literature.

What are sub-cultural rules?

Sub-cultural rules have developed over time from study of different subject matter - methods of thinking become differentiated and specialised within different disciplines. There exist 'sub-cultural' disciplinary rules which govern how thinking and language may function in specific contexts of knowledge, within the wider context of the 'culture of knowledge'.

What importance do the authors place on spelling and punctuation in student's writing? Why?

Authors point out that generally, academics give higher priority to the structure and development of argument than the correctness of language. In exploring the concept of literacy, the authors are suggesting that things like spelling and punctuation are simply at the surface and to address problems at the surface does not deal with the problem entirely. While correctness of language has a place, it is more important to look deeper into the cultural demands which determine literacy.

Why is it that students can perform well in one discipline and not in another?

This is touched on a couple in one of the questions above - sub-cultural rules present in different discipline can be quite different and if the student does not recognise this it can affect their performance within two or more different disciplines.

How does this article relate to the idea of world view as discussed by Hobson (and the next reading by Bizzell)?

Hobson states that all knowledge we encounter at university is within a certain context - it is attached to a particular person or group of persons, within a particular time, culture and context. The authors in this article state that the culture of the university is a culture of knowledge, and that this is expressed and maintained through language and values.

18 November 2006

Thinking critically at university

Marshall, L, 2006, "A guide to learning independently", pp 42-44, Pearson Longman, Frenchs Forest NSW

Critical thinking is central to university culture in the environment of debate and discussion; each student enters with their own particular world view and will encounter other world views.

Education that focuses on critical thinking encourages students to identify and question their own world view, be open to other world views, develop a position on topics under discussion and present a cogent argument.

Elements of critical thinking pertinent to studies include:

  • presenting arguments - thesis, supporting points

  • debate - dealing with differences, opposition

  • reflection - asking questions

  • is both private and communicative

  • outcome is making a decision and acting on what one comes to think or believe

  • involves emotion as well as reason (refer Brookfield)

  • requires openness

Critical thinking skills may vary from discipline to discipline, even from teacher to teacher. Important to develop skills in addition to other learning skills - reading, listening, discussing.

17 November 2006

What it means to think critically

Brookfield, Stephen D., 1989, "What it means to think critically", Developing Critical Thinkers: Challenging Adults to Explore Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting, Jossey Bass, San Franciso, pp. 3-14

Brookfield opens with evidence from contemporary journals and reports, of a growing appreciation for the importance of critical thinking to society. He points to practical outcomes of this which is evident in the case studies of education for critical thinking - research grants, conferences and the movement for teaching "critical literacy" in schools.

He points out that the activity of critical thinking is not something new, it is something that can be observed in many facets of adult life. He goes on further that there is no clear evidence that the critical thinking skills taught in schools are transferable to the contexts of adult life.

Recognising Critical Thinking

  • Critical thinkers actively engaged in life: when we think critically we become aware of the diversity in the world and the potential for change and development. Critical thinking is a productive and positive activity.

  • A continual questioning of assumptions: one of the central tenets of critical thinking is that we are skeptical of any claims of universal truth or certainty. Critical thinking is a process, not an outcome.

  • The indicators that reveal whether people are thinking critically can be internal or external; manifestations of critical thinking vary according to the context in which it occurs.

  • In any circumstance of change we begin to re-interpret our past actions and ideas from a different vantage point. Critical thinking is triggered by positive as well as negative events.

  • The process of critical thinking produces emotions which should not be ignored. Critical thinking is emotive as well as rational.

Components of Critical Thinking

  • Critical thinkers identify assumptions and examine their accuracy and validity, search for new assumptions that fit more closely their experience of the world. Identifying and challenging assumptions is central to critical thinking.

  • Hidden and uncritically assimilated assumptions are important to shaping our habitual perceptions, understandings and interpretations of the world. Challenging the importance of context is crucial to critical thinking.

  • Realising that so many ideas and actions spring from assumptions that might be inappropriate for their lives, critical thinkers look for new ways of thinking about aspects of their lives. Critical thinkers try to imagine and explore alternatives.

  • When we realise alternatives always exist we become reflectively skeptical of claims to universal truth or ultimate explanations. People who are reflectively skeptical do not take things as read. Imagining and exploring alternatives leads to reflective skepticism.

How others contribute to critical thinking

Practically all adults function in some way as critical thinkers. In times of change, thinking at the past and future and discussing this with a "helper" (could be a therapist, or a friend) is helpful and provides opportunity for reflection and analysis - in short assists people to become critical thinkers.

Concepts of Critical Thinking

Central to developing critical thinkers must be some minimum level of consent on the part of those involved - otherwise just about any action could be justified by claiming it assists the process of critical thinking.

The concept of critical thinking has been interpreted in a number of ways, but it is generally conceptualised as an intellectual skill to be developed by those involved in higher education. However, this is but one of the settings in which it is practised, particularly in adult life. The ability to imagine alternatives to the way one currently thinks and lives one's life often entails a deliberate break with rational modes of thought (identifying and challenging assumptions.)

  • Emancipatory learning -Â evident in any learner becoming aware of the forces/influences that have brought them to their present situations and taking action to change some aspect of these.

  • Dialectical thinking - thinkers engaged in continual process of making judgements about aspects of their lives, identifying the general rules implicit in these judgements, modifying the judgements in light of the appropriateness of these general rules.

  • Reflective learning - compare, test, project justification for our thoughts and beliefs to a range of varying interpretations and perspectives

Brookfield writes "Critical thinking is a lived activity, not an abstract academic pastime. It is something we all do, though its frequency, and the credibility we grant it, vary from person to person".

15 November 2006

The Critical Self

Warren, Karen, 1995, "The Critical Self", Murdoch University

Warren opens with an hypothesis on the importance of applying critical thinking to learning - that without critical thinking, no amount of preparation is sufficient for the learner to fully engage with knowledge or articulate an argument.

She expands this further to say that critical thinking is important in all contexts of life, and is possible even from a young age. Her work with children demonstrated the benefits of applying critical thinking to learning, even from a young age - improvement in classroom discourse, engagement in what is being learned and personal development such as increase in self-esteem.


Warren draws on an definition of critical thinking from Robert Ennis (1981), as "reflective and reasonable thinking aimed at deciding what to do or believe". Operationally, she says this means critical thinking consists of certain skills and dispositions.

Skills such as giving and assessing arguments, claims etc; ordering and classifying information; comparing and contrasting; problem solving; asking questions to clarify or challenge; and using metacognition.

Dispositions such as open mindedness; contextual sensitivity; interpersonal sensitivity (?); sensitivity to contrasting points of view; persistence; decisiveness; and willingness to explore background information.

Warren goes on further to explain that critical thinking is but one aspect of reflective thinking. There are three components, which she calls the "three C's" of reflective thinking - critical thinking, creative thinking and content knowledge. Taken together they produce a whole - critical thinking involves correctness, creative thinking involves richness and novelty, and content knowledge provides the relevant subject matter.


Warren introduces the rational self by introducing the philosophically dominant western view of the self, time-honoured since Aristotle defined a human being as a "rational animal". No-one totally denies that rationality is what separates humans from non-humans. What is debated however, is what consitutes rationality, what role do emotions and intuitions play. What status does rationality confer onto humans (?are we superior to non-humans?)

She links the reflective self with the rational self by pointing out that part of being a rational self is exercising the skills and dispositions which operationally define critically thinking. While the skills create a common parameter for critical thinking she points out that the critical thinking self is not one kind of self. There is latitude in style and application of critical thinking skills and dispositions, influenced by:

  • Culture, world view "The critically thinking self is a socially constructed, historically situated and socioeconomically fashioned self." (Warren, 1995)

  • Relational - knowledge is contextual; unlike the Cartesian rational self (objective, impartial, knowing self) the critical self is an embodied, feeling, self-located relational in a community of other similarly situated selves.

  • Domain (subject matter) specificity - application of critical thinking skills is affected by the academic discipline or subject matter.

There are also variables introduced by the critical self engaged in creative thinking - open minded, exploring alternate avenues and elaborate on an idea in multiple ways.

Similarly the critical self has relevant background (content) knowledge; the giving and assessing of arguments is not context free.

Warren asserts that "[t]he more reflective a thinker one becomes, the better one is at critical thinking, creative thinking, and gaining the relevant and requisite background knowledge."


Critical thinking is necessary to learning. (I would argue it is useful to learning - since I don't think her statement has been put into context).

  • To more fully realise one's potential as a learner (eg. reading the newspaper)

  • Essential to the gathering and processing of material, engaging with it

  • Personal development - increases one's self-esteem, sense of empowerment

  • Living in the Information Age, keeping up with the pace of technologies and events, must have the necessary critical thinking skills to access the knowledge

  • Metacognition - in order to transfer a skill to a context other than the one which it was learned it is necessary to metacogitate about the skill (think about the thinking)

METACOGITATE: ask questions at three stages

  1. Before a task - define aims and method

  2. During a task - check/refine aims and method

  3. After a task - review outcome and method

30 October 2006

Essay 2 - outcomes of success at university

Bizzell (1986) argues that in order to succeed at university it is necessary to become 'bicultural'. Critically discuss this idea drawing on relevant SSK12 materials and your own experience.

Bizzell, Patricia, 1986, "What Happens When Basic Writers Come to College?", College Composition and Communication, vol. 37, No. 3, October, pp. 294-301

What is the question about? It is about the outcomes of what might be considered success at university. It is about the importance of biculturalism to these outcomes.

What do I already know about the question? What is success at university? graduation, acquisition and production of knowledge, demonstrated learning/knowledge skills such as the ability to critically evaluate knowledge, to situate this knowledge, to present this knowledge in an acceptable manner.

How important is culture to these outcomes? The product of culture is world view. A world view is used to create sense and meaning from our knowledge. A student brings their own world view to university, and there is an academic world view at university.

What is the academic world view - that there are no 'absolutes', no right or wrong that holds good for all time and places. Academics show a willingness to question even their own thoughts, at how their data is organised and the assumptions they have made, and compare these assumptions with other academics. It is necessary for academics to adopt a common 'transactional' language and discourse conventions which both presents and creates knowledge.

What is culture? it is the everyday language, conventions and rituals of a community or group. University has its own culture, and we bring to university a world view formed by our own culture.

What is the significance of our own world view to the culture we experience at university? although academic world view is dominant, it makes us question and might even alter our world view, it is our world view that ultimately situates our knowledge, creates the meaning necessary for us to draw conclusions which we verify by comparing to the conclusions of other academics.

What might my theme or thesis be?

We go to university to acquire and communicate knowledge. We find meaning from knowledge in our background culture, and we develop and give expression to knowledge through university culture.

An important outcome of success at university is the demonstration of knowledge in such a way that it is accepted by the academic community. At university we learn that there are no absolutes with knowledge, that it is situated and it is our particular world view that situates this knowledge (substance). It is the academic world view that validates and presents this knowledge (form). The two world views must co-exist since form does not exist without substance, and substance cannot be communicated without form.

How much breadth or depth can this essay have? It needs to be discussed with reference to what I have learned in SSK12. Length 1200 words.

What we bring to university and what we take away.

What are the possible main points?

  • what it means to succeed at university
    - the main objectives, desired outcomes

  • what it means to be bicultural
    - the culture we bring with us to university
    - the culture we acquire at university

  • the necessity of becoming bicultural
    - its affect on outcomes
    - its importance on outcomes

How will I structure my answer to the question? CRITICALLY DISCUSS - give a judgement about the merits of theories or opinion, about the truth of facts, and back this judgement by a discussion of evidence.

"... in order to succeed at university it is necessary to become bicultural."

There are three parts:

  1. to succeed at university

  2. to become bicultural

  3. the effects of becoming bicultural - whether it is necessary for success

What role might my personal opinion play in this essay? How I define "success at university", the difficulty of acquiring university culture and merging it with my own culture.

26 October 2006

Analysing an essay question

Exercise 24 (pp 271-282) from A Learning Companion (Marshall, 2006)

Important because:

  • helps with research and forming initial thesis

  • helps ensure you answer the question

Developing and analysing a question:

  • what is the question about

  • what do I already know about the question

  • what might my thesis or theme be

  • how much breadth or depth can this essay have

  • what are the possible main points

  • how might I structure my answer to the question

  • what role might my personal opinions play in this assignment

Researching information

Quality is better than quantity! Avoid being overwhelmed by keeping in mind your purpose, the scope of your assignment, how much material you need, how much you can absorb and how much time you have.

Preparing for your research (from Guide to learning independently)

  • Selecting relevant material - draw up list of main points and search terms when analysing material. If you have time, peripheral info handy to get a wider overview of the topic; sometimes an idea can be illuminated with material from an unexpected source; look for material that is not obvious - avoid 'tunnel vision'.

  • Evaluating your selection - according to your objectives and its complexity

  • Buy, copy or borrow material?

  • Previewing research material - be especially careful with material on the internet (a "free-for-all"). Also start thinking about how research materials will be recorded, stored and retrieved.

  • Thinking about your audience - different genre's acceptable?]

As you work with material

  • Questioning and evaluating - interpret primary and secondary sources confidently. Above all, trust your own intelligence and common sense in questioning and evaluating research material.

  • Selecting, recording and filing information - always back up your research material. Read material and edit notes before you file them, no point keeping stuff that is not useful.

  • Organising and integrating ideas and information
    - Write a tentative thesis/theme of your essay, keep this in front of you as you work
    - Write each of the possible main points as a heading. Enter relevant information and ideas under each heading.
    - As you work, add new heading if you decide on another major point, re-organise and delete material as necessary.
    - Check number of major points you want to make against the essay length and time available. It is better to have fewer points that are well backed-up than many points that are only covered superficially.
    - Check that each main point supports thesis/theme and clearly relevant to topic/question.

  • Expressing your ideas - talking to others helps sort out your ideas and put them into words; write things down as you think of them to help you capture an idea you may use later. Trying to express your current thoughts accurately can lead you to other useful ideas.

Towards the end of your research

  • Your revised definition - review your written statement about the essay objectives and produce a revised definition; re-analyse the topic or question. Compare the definitions - is anything missing, does your revised definition still reflect your objectives for the essay. Make sure you are answering the set question or sticking to the set topic. Remember that focusing your written work around a thesis is a fundamental expectation for argumentative essays.

"An assignment is designed for a specific, limited purpose, rather than to find out all you are ever likely to know on a topic. Analysing a question and researching a topic should enable you to select from your current knowledge of that topic, even if your knowledge continues to grow and expand in areas far beyond the focus of your assignment." (Marshall, 2006 p.112)

Research Skills

  1. Technique?
    - only look for material that relates to your analysis of the question
    - refer to study materials for a starting point
    - look under relevant subject headings in library catalogue
    - check references mentioned in lectures

  2. Secondary sources?
    - websites, books, journals, newspapers, lectures, television programs, microfilm etc

  3. Primary sources?
    - experiment data, ABS, interviews, original manuscripts, contemporary records

  4. Usefulness?
    - keep question in mind throughout
    - use effective reading skills - previewing, skim reading

  5. Problems?
    - books not available
    - too much information
    - too little information

  6. How to deal with problems?

  7. Recording information?
    - keep bibliographical details on all info
    - only make notes that are relevant
    - only photocopy absolutely useful stuff

  8. Organising information?
    - develop system before you begin

Citing material from lectures

I think the trick is to consider where YOU found this source.

If you read the transcript of that lecture, then you cite as found on the heading of SSK12 reader, p.29 with the wording text of lecture

If you read it from the SKK 12 reader, then you cite the reader itself

If you were at the theatre and heard the lecture then you do not cite, because you did not get your source from something that was published, but from personal witness, so you just say: In the Murdoch Theatre #45, on March 26, 2004, during her lecture about Concepts of the Self, Prof Hobson said.

If you listen to an audio of the lecture that you got from the streaming web site of WEBCT, then you cite the website:

Hobson J, 1996, Lecture: Concepts of the Self, SSK12p3, WEBCT, http://online.murdoch.edu.au/SSK12p3/content/mod1_conc_audiolect1.htm, Murdoch University, WA (accessed October 26, 2006).

If you ordered by mail the free CD that includes the lecture, then you cite the CD as: Hobson J, 1996, Lecture: Concepts of the Self, CD. Murdoch University, WA

I am not 100% about all this, but this is my understanding as until now about citing

PS, I forgot to answer your question!,
The library has citation guides, Chicago is the one we use in SSK12

24 October 2006

Communicating at University - Lecture

Colin Beasley Snr Lecturer
Student Learning, Teaching and Learning Centre Murdoch University.

Informal language

  • contractions

  • hesitation filler

  • personal pronouns

  • informal vocabulary

  • unqualified statements

Formal language

  • passives

  • formal vocabulary

  • hedges (qualification - "it appears")

  • nominalisation (turning other parts of speech into nouns - eg male and female -> gender)

  • evidence

  • argumentation

Register - adjusting of language according to context

Genre - constraints operating at the level of discourse structure eg. report, essay, sermon, article

Ballard & Clanchy - to be successful at university you must learn the culture of the university - when in Rome, do as the Romans.

Bizzell - bicultural means adding to your repertoire; doesn't have to be something that you take away from one when you're adding another.

23 October 2006

What happens when basic writers come to college?

Bizzell, Patricia, 1986, "What Happens When Basic Writers Come to College", College Composition and Communication, vol. 37, No. 3, October, pp. 294 - 301

What are basic writers? why do they come to college? is college in US like university in Australia? what are basic writers in Australia? what changes? who changes?

  • basic writer - "outlander"; most alien to college community

Three major problems experienced by the basic writer at college.

  1. "clash of dialects" - the problem of a preferred academic dialect (Standard English) - how something is said v. what is said.
    - go with the majority to get ahead
    - lose focus on learning when dealing with language barrier

  2. "discourse conventions" - familiar form of discourse not academically acceptable. To what extent just a surface feature, to what extent does the form of discourse generate different thoughts.
    - go with the majority to get ahead
    - address how discourse influences thought, change criteria for success in college

  3. ways of thinking - incapable of college-level thought?
    - correct cognitive 'dysfunctions' (normalise - go with majority to get ahead)
    - don't risk ignoring cultural differences, stigmatising basic writers

  • Thinking of difficulties faced by basic writer in terms of only one of these problems is a narrow approach. Thinking in terms of college as a language community sets a relationship between dialect, discourse and ways of thinking which constitute a particular world view.
    - by learning dialect and discourse conventions - new world view is acquired
    - puts difficulties into another perspective: distance between world views; resistance to change

To understand difficulties, need to ask three questions:

  1. What world views are brought to college
    - necessary to identify class and other factors sufficiently to form a hypothesis

  2. What is the world view demanded in college
    - Perry: the world is seen as a place where there are no 'Absolutes'; critical evaluations are made which result in 'Commitments'

  3. Does old world view need to be discarded in order to learn new world view
    - difficulties in maintaining old WV with the dominant academic WV
    - privileged, more powerful position in society of academic world view can be turned to advantage
    - Perry's nature of 'Commitment' - not autonomous, necessary to connect with like-minded groups for 'Commitment' to be realised, to maintain individual integrity. Maintaining ties with old world view is part of mastering the academic world view.

Adopting academic world view has difficulties which vary according to background of student. Acquisition of academic world view by the student reaps its rewards.

Uni is easier when you know how

Vivekanda, Killy & Shores, Penny, 1996, 'Introduction', 'Joseph: A strong finisher', and 'Maria: Doing what you can', Uni is easier when you know how, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, pp 3-5, 13-17 & 30-35.

What do successful students have in common?

  • find a course that suits their interests and talents

  • good time management

  • develop good networks, utilise available resources

  • make the most of opportunities

Coping with personal challenges:

Joseph - A slow start, did not attend orientation and missed out on important information which affected his studies, spent time at the student bar and fell behind. The wake-up call was when he spoke to another student who was repeating the year because he had previously failed. Worked very hard to catch up. Got involved in various activities and discovered interests which helped with his studies. Then fell ill and while recovering he had to look at time management issues. Would work in short bursts, set small and achievable goals. Gradually recovered, changed courses to one he was more interested in. He would get up early in the morning to study, over breakfast would plan what he needed to do that day and the rest of the week. Influenced by his hard working student girlfriend found he was working harder than ever and doing better than ever. Strong finish.
Maria - Mature age student juggling study with four kids; time management a challenge. Benefits from studying in short bursts - better concentration to remember things. Combined study with housework. GIve priority to task - combine review with writing assignments, easier to study for exam.

University culture - Lecture

Dr Jenny Silburn, Senior Lecturer Student Learning, Teaching and Learning Centre Murdoch University.

Examined the Murdoch University Mission Statement.

University culture

  • a culture of collectivism, community

  • academic freedom (sometimes problematic)

  • critical thinking

  • independent learning (challenges to new students)]

  • creation of new knowledge

  • transmission of beneficial knowledge

  • learning as empowerment to the individual as well as to the community

Language - acquiring academic language empowers the student, allows them to move within the culture.

Behaviour - discourse.

Rituals - orientation, graduation

Artefacts/outputs - academic reports, research findings, applied research, debates

Strategies which enhance transition into university culture

  • quality of teaching

  • commitment of staff to student (sometimes resource issues)

  • enthusiasm and interest of staff (infectious, joy and engagement)

  • presence of clear and effective information about unit objectives and assessment

  • good orientation and transition/induction into the culture

  • successful social transition - support networks

Factors which hinder transition, or cause withdrawal

  • emotional ill health - alienation

  • university not what expected - not as glamorous etc

  • dislike of course

  • dislike of study

  • financial reasons

  • problems with daily travel

  • family commitments

Critical thinking - Lecture

Dr Liana Christensen, Lecturer in Student Learning
Student Learning, Teaching and Learning Centre Murdoch University.

Academics begin by defining terms on a conceptual level.

  • What you already know about critical thinking
    - Ennis: "critical thinking is reflective and reasonable thinking aimed at deciding what to do or believe"
    - Reflecting, gathering evidence, surveying range of opinions, seeking appropriate advice, talking as thinking, writing as thinking
    - Critical thinking is a lifelong activity, you already know how to do it

  • What you need to know about critical thinking at university
    Critical thinking at university requires a deep engagement with generic skills and qualities, as well as careful attention to specific disciplinary orientations.
    - Deep engagement: approach a subject a) intending to understand its content (ie not cramming as much information in as you can) b) vigorously interacting with the content c) relating new ideas to previous knowledge d) relate concepts to everyday experience (points c and d are how we build a bridge to new knowledge, how we draw the knowledge in) e) relating evidence to conclusions f) examining the logic of the argument.
    - Generic skills: giving and assessing arguments (deductive and inductive), definitions, assumptions, factual claims, value claims, observation reports, generalisations, causal claims (logic), predictions, points of view; ordering and classifying information; comparing and contrasting; problem solving; asking questions; clarifying; challenging; using metacognition (thinking about thinking)

  • What critical thinking can and cannot do for you
    Will not help you become rich, popular, slim, happy or ethical.
    - Without emotional intelligence, critical thinking skills can be distorted and negative. This is not good critical thinking. Need to think critically about critical thinking!
    - Personal qualities required for critical thinking (emotional intelligence): open-mindedness, contextual sensitivity, interpersonal sensitivity, sensitivity to contrasting points of view, decisiveness, persistence, willingness to explore background knowledge.

What will mark you out as someone who has studied at university is that you've learned to research effectively and think critically.

22 October 2006

Disciplining Students: the construction of student subjectivities

Grant, Barbara, 1997, "Disciplining Students: the construction of student subjectivities", British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 18, No. 1., pp. 101-114


While university is generally seen as a place where a student has the opportunity to more fully realise their individual potential, there are tendencies for this potential to be restricted by discipline and normalisation imposed by the university and the student themself, to become what is perceived as a 'good' student. The Foucauldian view of university as a 'disciplinary block' is supported by the experiences of a group of students, which is presented to help university staff and students resist these tendencies.


  • The 'good' student - autonomous and independent, a self-reliant individual. Only the fittest survive, otherwise bad luck. If help required, the student should seek it. Does not take into account that some students have difficulty approaching staff, from position of relative weakness.

  • In contrast, Foucault's view of student-subject as one constructed from student's situatedness and shaped by power relations between student and university. The student is both subject to controls of university and subject of their own self-knowledge (as produced by, and which in turn produces the university culture).

  • Essential to the relations of power is one who can act and so there are many possible responses and positions within a relation of power.

  • Disciplining the student-subject firstly through disciplinary technologies in the Foucauldian sense of a disciplinary block. Secondly through the twin-concept of "discipline" as a form of knowledge, and a means of bringing about obedience. The university holds position of authority of particular knowledge claims.

  • Technologies of domination - enrolment, teaching practices, student submissions, exams - construct the student as a governable subject. Constant domination/surveillance has the effect of students attempting to normalise themselves through self-discipline.

  • Technologies of the self - the culture of autonomy and individualism creates students who believe success or failure lies with them. Students equate good or bad grades with being a good or bad student.

  • Power relations occur between and among acting subjects, creating possibility for resistance/insubordination.

  • Adopting a critical disposition towards the way universities teach, and produce students should be accompanied by a commitment to ongoing adaptation of practices.

20 October 2006

Understanding the nature of university essays

  • Choose and analyse essay question carefully, refer back to maintain relevance

  • read and assess other essays to understand what is expected in essay writing

  • write down your own ideas in your own words before and during research, use these notes to stimulate and clarify your thinking

(From the Guide:) Choosing and analysing a topic

  1. What is the question about?
    - examine the exact wording
    - note key terms and concepts
    - any underpinning assumptions

  2. What do I already know about the topic?

  3. What might my thesis or theme be?
    - thesis (argumentative essay), theme (expository essay)

  4. How much breadth or depth can this essay have?
    - a broad overview, or one or two facets in depth?
    - limit to what is most significant from your research

  5. What are the possible main points?
    - based on level of interest or importance, either from the question itself or your background knowledge

  6. How might I structure my answer to the question?
    - directive or process verbs in the question
    - argumentative or expository
    - how many parts to the essay

  7. What role might my personal opinions play in this assignment?
    - identify and question your biases, preconceptions

Directive Verbs

  • Analyse
    Show the essence of something, by breaking it down into its component parts and examining each part in detail

  • Argue
    Present the case for and/or against a particular proposition

  • Compare
    Look for similarities and differences between propositions

  • Contrast
    Explain differences

  • Criticise/critique
    Give your judgement about the merit of theories or opinions about the truth of facts, and back your judgement by a discussion of the evidence

  • Define
    Set down the precise meaning of a word or phrase. Show that the distinctions implied in the definition are necessary

  • Describe
    Give a detailed or graphic account

  • Discuss
    Investigate or examine by argument, sift and debate, giving reasons for and against

  • Enumerate
    List or specify and describe

  • Evaluate
    Appraise and judge different perspectives; include your opinion

  • Examine
    Present in depth and present the implications

  • Explain
    Make plain, interpret and account for in detail

  • Illustrate
    Explain and make clear by the use of concrete examples, or by the use of a figure or diagram

  • Interpret
    Bring out the meaning, and make clear and explicit; usually also giving your judgement

  • Justify
    Show adequate grounds for decisions or conclusions

  • Outline
    Give the main features or general principals of a subject, omitting minor details and emphasising structure and relationship

  • Prove
    Demonstrate truth or falsity by presenting evidence

  • Relate
    Narrate/show how things are connected to each another, and to what extent they are alike or affect each other

  • Review
    Make a survey, examining the subject critically

  • State
    Specify fully and clearly

  • Summarise
    Give a concise account of the chief points of substance of a matter, omitting details and examples

  • Trace
    Identify and describe the development or history of a topic from some point or origin

Your initial working definition. Write down:

  • Your objectives and aims of unit materials, your teacher

  • Exact full question you will research

  • Your responses to questions under these headings:
    - directive verbs in the topic
    - assumptions that seem to underpin the topic
    - key concepts of the topic
    - ways of limiting the scope of the assignment
    - possible main points
    - possible thesis or theme

18 October 2006

Concepts of the Self, Hobson

"The self is a politically, culturally, socially and historically constructed concept" - Hobson, J 1996 lecture

CRITICAL THINKING: contextualise, clarify and problematise

1. What is concept?

  • Concepts are constructed ideas or notions to create meaning; can change depending on context, place, time; self is a concept

  • Sets of concepts become theories, stories we tell to make sense of our experience

  • Shared theories turn into 'world views'

Studying at university requires the learning skills to appreciate that all knowledge is constructed within a particular culture of time.

2. What have been the different concepts of self during the history of (Western) philosophy?

  • Mediaeval world view: God/soul
    - chain of being
    - self = soul
    - fixed social identity, part of a larger story
    - participatory knowing eg. walnut (looks like brain) good for brain ailments; magical thinking

  • Modern world view: light of reason opened enlightenment
    - man becomes the measure (instead of God) with reason, ratio, science, relationship between parts
    - mind over matter: I think therefore I am (Descartes)
    - social atoms (Locke); implied social contract between individuals
    - objective knowing, relying on reason instead of the senses

  • Post-modern world view: beyond Modern understanding
    - no longer can believe in grand unified theories (eg. science's claim it has all the answers). Question science.
    - critique of rationality - does not solve all problems
    - acknowledge other ways of knowing, other cultures
    - acknowledgement of the sub/unconscious - there are parts of our own mind that we don't understand

  • Post-modern concept of self:
    - many concepts of self
    - celebrate diversity
    - context is crucial

To be that self which one truly is, Rogers

Rogers, Carl R, 1967, "'To be that self which one truly is': A therapist's view of personal goals", On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy, Constable, London, pp. 163-182

Who is Rogers? psychologist, humanistic ie concerned with the whole person; feelings, the unified self, striving for self-development. The person's view of self.


  • Title - get to the crux of who you are as a person. Define yourself. It is about our identity, how we determine it.

  • Author - humanistic psychologist. Has written books about learning by knowing yourself as a person first.

  • The date - written 1967. It is a post-modernist view, therefore still relevant today and obviously an influence since it relates to themes we are studying in SSK12!

  • Introduction - observations of a world view

  • Thesis - Rogers applies his study of clients towards people in general; that people identify their goals (and therefore define themselves) through a process of moving away from or towards thoughts/concepts that help them articulate their goals and themselves as a person.
    In defining their life goals Rogers likens the approach of his clients the people, if given the freedom of choice will ask questions and find answers by moving away from, and towards ways of 'being' that help them to articulate their goals.

  • What is a facade - a constructed view of oneself

  • How do people fight against 'ought' - by looking at the person/group that has the expectations and evaluating them.


  • Toward
    - self-direction
    - fluid process of becoming. No fixed goal/being.
    - complexity, openness -> openness to experience
    - listen to oneself inner/outer experience
    - acceptance of others appreciation for what 'is'
    - trust of oneself, individual expression
    The individual moves toward what he/she really is through an exploratory journey that is directed from within, constantly changing and appreciative/open to inner/outer experiences

  • Away
    - facade, separating self
    - oughts, expectations from others
    - expectations of society/culture
    - conformity, why
    - pleasing others
    People can define their goals by realising what they do not want to be. Move away from ways of being that are externally imposed.


  • Fixity - change only occurs when an individual 'becomes' themself

  • Evil - acceptance of feelings that are bad or negative is part of the balance in creating a harmony of good and bad. Complexity.


I think on the whole I agree with Rogers. Makes sense that we should reflect on our true being in order to develop as a person.

To be the self that one truly is, is to separate oneself from the facade, to accept the complexity of who we are, and appreciate the fluidity and experiences which make us who we are.

More or less, I think people in therapy have been driven to a certain point where they've had to break down their thoughts about themselves. Not everyone might reach this point, or find the freedom in which to explore these aspects of themselves.

Yes, does ring true. Honesty is the best policy.

Honesy, openness, acceptance - all values I try to apply to my own life and my identity of who I am. STUDY: recognise what I am NOT as a student, focus, accept, experience what I want to be.

Lecture transcript: directly addressing audience
p166 'ring true'
p188 'offer it to your consideration'

Conforming to requirements of university?

It is more about being aware of the university culture and adapting to that, rather than conforming to it. It is a good thing.

Tutor Advice for Essay 2

Hello all,

In response to a few queries about Essay 2, I have compiled the following material to (hopefully) help you pull the questions apart.

Feel free to discuss these topics with your wonderful tutors in your tutorial groups.


Phil (E-tutor)

Essay 2

**Firstly, do not wait for the feedback from Essay 1 before you start planning and working on Essay 2.

Unlike the first essay, this essay is about students in general, not about the individual student. However, if the question directs you to provide examples from your own experience, then this is what you must do.

Topic 1.

Barbara Grant (1997) asserts that the end product of university education is a 'docile' student. Critically discuss this statement with reference to ideas contained in relevant SSK12 materials on culture and universities, and your own experience of university.

READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY.NOTE THE DIRECTIVE WORDS/PHRASES such as "critically discuss", "with reference to", and "your own experience".

What will your thesis be? Do you agree with Grant's statement? What is meant by "docile" student? What other words draw your attention in the question? What about "end product"? That to me, sounds like a factory production line!

Now we want you to think in terms of university culture. What is culture within the university? What examples can you think of? Remember, culture is linked to language (eg. are we expecting you to communicate ideas to us in a particular way? Yes, we want you to write academic essays!). However, remember, communication isn't just about writing. Culture is also associated with rituals. Do we have rituals at university? Yes we do, we all get to dress up as peacocks and wear silly hats when we graduate! (that"s just one example). Is critical thinking a part of university culture?

Which readings do you think would be useful, apart from Grant? Where has culture appeared before? The lectures too may be useful.

Remember too, that you are now part of the system. Have you experienced ways in which the university has tried to "make you a docile student"?

Clearly, you can see how important it is to come to grips with some of Grant's ideas before you carry on.

Topic 2

Bizzell (1986) argues that in order to succeed in university it is necessary to become "bicultural". Critically discuss this idea drawing on relevant SSK12 materials and your own experience.

READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY.NOTE THE DIRECTIVE WORDS/PHRASES such as "critically discuss", "your own experience" etc.

Again, do you agree with the statement? Yes or no? Why and how? Make notes on this. Herein lies your thesis.

Pull the question apart with questions.

What does Bizzell mean by "bicultural"? What does this mean in terms of world view? Which articles may be relevant here (in addition to Bizzell?).

By the way, what do you consider a "successful" student? What does one have to do to be successful at university? Relate this to the idea of university culture and what it entails. Eg. do you think a good student would be one who engages in critical thinking? who follows all rituals? (oh oh, is there some relation to what Grant also talks about?).

Listen to Colin Beasley's lecture. There is already good discussion on this topic on the forums.

Topic 3

According to Marshall and Rowland (2006) "A university education that focuses on critical thinking is designed to encourage you to identify and question your world view with its values and assumptions" (p. 43). Critically discuss the concept of world view in academic culture and its effect on communicating at university.


NOTE THE DIRECTIVE WORDS/PHRASES such as "critically discuss" etc

What is our central concept here? The concept of world view in academic culture and its effect on communicating at university.

Again, what is world view? What does it mean in terms of studying at university?

What do we mean by communicating at university?

Where does critical thinking come into play here? Look again at the quote. What articles are useful here? Warren, Brookfield and listen to the lecture by Liana Christensen.

Always remember the WHOLE question. Now, think about the skill of critical thinking. It is something that you already have, however, at university we hope to build on this. In otherwords, critical thinking is an essential component of university culture (that word again!).

I hope this is useful. You can see that the topics, although separate, are linked somewhat. This part of the unit is dealing with the idea of university 'culture'. Thus, the topics reflect this.

Again, I hope this is useful,


Phil (E-tutor)

The Health Report, Radio National Transcripts

Radio National Transcripts, The Health Report, 'The Group and the Self' (Robin Hughes and Penny Oakes) Monday 10th June 1996 (online) http://www.abc.net.au/ra/talks/8.30/helthrpt/histories/hr100696.htm [accessed 18 Sept 2006]

Who Am I
Self-categorisation theory
A process
- comparison
- stereotyping & inter group relationships
- ethnocentric, favour the 'in' group
- group identity

The question of 'who am I' can be answered by looking at the groups we identify with.

We can be a member of several groups, and have values that conflict between the two, but that is an individual thing.

We can deal with something on an individual level, and deal with it completely differently on a group level.

Groups are formed from a shared perspective or a common 'enemy'.

We lose our identity when a single group becomes all encompassing and excludes other groups, eg cults.

To lead many groups (eg politician) must appeal to a common thread.

Charting Post-Modernism, Lather

Lather, Patti, 1991, 'Charting Postmodernism', Geminist research in education: within against, Deakin university Press, Geelong, pp. 31-2

Define - valorise

A collectio of conceptual words and phrases depicting the three points of view of several different facets of existence - pre-modern (mediaeval), modern, post modern.

  • authority, source of knowledge

  • concept of self

  • history

  • economic

  • place of community/tradition

Thirteen years of wanting to know, Trudgeon

Trudgeon, Richard, 2000, 'Thirteen years of wanting to know', Why warriors lie down and die, Reprinted in SSK12 Introduction to University learning unit reader 2006, pp 69-84, Murdoch University, Perth Australia

Cross cultural communication is not merely about language, it is also about recognising a different world view.

Barriers to communication have serious implications on community health, which can be averted by recognising not only language differences, but differences in world view.

13 years search of Yolnu man, of reasons why bad kidneys, enlarged heart, why should he give up sugar, salt, cigarettes; doctors, specialists 'could not tell him'.

Trudgeon visited doctor with man and applied his knowledge of both language and world view to communicate between them.

Language - some words from one language do not exist in the other.

World view - each a product of many environmental and historical factors.

World view problems:

  • authority of doctor, patient would not question doctor or diagnosis

  • language, recording of information - understanding v. memorising words

  • misunderstanding role/relationships within Yolnu/Western cultures

  • unable to explain nature of illness by other than medical terms

  • questioning (authority, respect)

  • unfamiliar/unknown units of measurement

  • assumption of pre-knowledge

  • nature of providing information

Language problems:

  • conclusively

  • 'thick blood'

Understanding of world view essential even if language not a problem.

The knowledge nation, Christie

Christie, Michael, 2001, 'The Knowledge Nation', The Age as reprinted in SSK12 Unit Reader, 2006, Murdoch Uni

Knowledge is something you DO rather than something you HAVE. It is a process.

Aboriginal knowledge plays a vital role in the teaching and research effort of a university.

Yolngu -> ancestors
Western culture -> ancestors

Yolngu metaphors explain nature of knowledge, how produced. Corroborree - each shares own story, no-one else's to create a rich combination of perspectives.

White students studying Yolngu language and culture must learn both together. These studies help students reflect on their own environment, language, history, ancestors.

Epistemology: Yolngu knowledge wide ranging from medicine and law to pharmacology and educational theory.

Aboriginal knowledge process feeds into the university as much as the knowledge content.

Aboriginal knowledge brings the challenge to apply knowledge from rituals and tradition towards research of social and economic benefit to their community.

Identity in the age of the Internet, Turkle

Turkle, Sherry, 1995 'Introduction: Identity in the age of the Internet', in Life on the Screen as reprinted in SSK12 Unit Reader, 2006, pp 91-100, Murdoch University, Perth

Computers and specificlly the Internet change the way we think about ourselves, our relationships, our communities.

Computer, as well as a tool, is also a medium on which to project our ideas and fantasies.

Virtual communities - the self is constructed, the rules of social interaction are built, not received.

Computer -> internet -> virtual worlds
Modern -> post modern

As the role of computers in our society has changed, so has the thinking of our identity.

Cultural War Zone, Wark

Wark, McKenzie, 1997, 'Cultural war zone', The Australian, Wednesday October 1, p.40

- Everything is strangely cultural (in the '90's)

What is culture?

  • the most complex word in English language (Williams)

  • signals of who we are and how we are different

  • indifference makes possible the intermingling of different cultures

  • rules in different behaviour and attitudes exist both within and outside a culture, creating 'contestation'

  • 'structure of feeling' (Williams) awareness of everything around you, and how you react

  • uses rituals and artefacts to sustain its coherence across space and time, but is not defined solely by those things.

  • Is something that must be applied to everyday life. Actions.

  • Culture mades sense of time and space for its members. Familiarity - identity? A resource for times of hardship.

Modern living -> culture wars

  • Capitalism has accelerated the changes that culture has to try and make intelligible to its members

  • 'false compensation'

  • means of resistance, hope

  • the media puts culture under stress, blurs boundaries

A complex concept, one meaning is the structure of feeling that is shared (more or less) by members of a culture to make sense of things. Culture is under stress from modern living - accelerated changes and blurred boundaries of the media.

Culture is a set of signs and rules that signal how people differ and influence behaviour between people.

Modern, urban culture is as much about indifference as it is about difference. Necessary for different cultures to 'get along'.

Cultural politics - what is accepted behaviour and attitude between cultures.

Rituals and artefacts sustain a culture's coherence across space and time, but do not define the culture.

Cultures make sense of space and time for members, and create a sense of identitiy which is a resource for dealing with good and bad fortune.

The situated self, Thiele

Lecture by Assoc Prof Beverley Thiele.

1. Concepts of situated self

BAGGAGE - beliefs, perspectives, world view. Influences the way we see things.

"A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing" - Berger

Do not see the world the same way, may not understand the way another person sees things.

University study hopes to give you the skill to recognise the gap exists.

Baggage always exists, but it is not fixed baggage. Learn from experiences.

2. Think about ways you are situated as a university student

Different disciplinary baggage can be just as hard to escape as non-academic baggage.

Despite greater skills, broader knowledge etc the baggage is still there.

Privilege/power governs knowledge relationships between people who are situated differently.

Politics of knowledge - rhetoric, objectivity, knowledge of less value - is all a game.

3. Explain implications for learning

Be aware of your baggage and that of others, be open to exploring both with a view to rethinking them.

Be sensitive to the conventions and politics of knowledge (as a student - constraints, appropriateness, whether to ask "stupid" questions) - and understand your learning is not context free.

Be active in pursuing and engaging with your learning. Don't be a tourist. Make the most of the opportunity to think.

16 October 2006

Learning and remembering

How you learn, and how you remember information relies a great deal on YOU - your interest in the subject, your state of mind and your surroundings.

Reflection is vital to learning and remembering.

The information we comprehend is filtered by our world view, our senses, whether we have an active interest in the subject and how we feel.

We remember information because - it gives us pleasure, or we are interested in the subject; we apply ourselves to learning the information for work; or we are required to know the information, for example uni.


  • Pre-requisites for learning
    What is important to you
    When you are ready
    A way that suits you
    Building on what you already know
    Suspend the filter

  • Selecting what to learn
    Clarify question, objectives
    Select information that needs to be remembered
    How information is to be recorded and retrieved

  • Learning thoroughly - Once selected, the information needs to be learned thoroughly. Do what you can to sustain interest - make into a game or challenge.

  • Different ways for the same material - Repeat in different ways - read, listen, speak. Repeated and different ways helps understanding and memory.

  • Patterns and principles - Summarise visually

  • Study session techniques - Recognise different material cater for it

  • Memory keys - a precis of the information

  • Transferring what you learn - repeat and apply

18 September 2006

Citing third party quotes

From Phil Arena, e-tutor at Murdoch.

You NEVER cite the original article unless you have read it.

In other words, lets say I read a good quote by Smith (1720) in a book by Jones (2004).

I would write,

Many colonists believed that the land was "...free to be taken as it's doubtlful that these folks are civilised..." (Smith as cited in Jones, 2004, p.23).


This hypothesis was proven by Smith and Wesson (as cited in Jackson, 1998) In other words, use "as cited by" or "cited in" etc.

So... name the original work in the text and provide a bracketed citation for the secondary source.."

THEN...in your reference list, you only need to list the reference details of the source you actually used. In this case, you list the details of Jones (2004).

Paraphrasing, quotes and references

Another useful tip from Phil Arena, e-tutor.

Well, firstly, quotes should never constitute more than 10% of your total word count. In other words, use quotes sparingly; your aim should be to paraphrase as much as possible (put into your own words WITH a cited reference).

As for paraphrasing, here's what I suggest. Read a piece of writing, for example a chapter, page, paragraph or sentence and then 'close' the book. Then, imagine someone taps you on the shoulder and says, "Hey Joanna, what was that idea that you just read?...by the way, I love your shoes!". You then, write down, in your own words, the idea that you just read and then reference it. Make sure you don't change the intention of the author, but just put it in your own words.

For example,

The world, according to Grapevine (2004) had become much of an entanglement of vines, symbolically representing the bleeding of the earth.

Here, I have paraphrased an entire (fictitious) book, so I don't have to and can't put in page numbers.

Now, if you find a particularly 'juicy' quote or the quote is important in the context of what you want to say then you write the quote EXACTLY as it is written, in quotation marks AND include the citation that NOW INCLUDES a page number wherever possible.

For example,

Dean (2005, p. 1) stated, "Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the United States. He's a terrible person, but I don't think we in America go about the business of kicking every terrible person out of office."

You could do it in other ways such as,

Dean (2005) in an interview on NBC, stated, "Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the United States. He's a terrible person, but I don't think we in America go about the business of kicking every terrible person out of office." (p.1).

Incidentally, it's not the quote that gets you the marks, but rather, how you use it. In other words, the 'bit' you write after or before the quote.

For example,

Dean (2005) in an interview on NBC, stated, "Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the United States. He's a terrible person, but I don't think we in America go about the business of kicking every terrible person out of office." (p.1). Dean was adamant that it was now clear the people of the US have "figured out" that their president made a huge mistake, intentional or not, in invading Iraq and will have to face the consequences of his actions. I believe that this 'chipping away' of the lies that have governed the current US federal administration, will ultimately be its downfall.

(that last bit, was my input and thus is what will particularly 'impress' my marker).

OK......now, let's say that you have a quote that has a spelling error or a particularly sexist or discriminatory word or phrase. You MUST quote EXACTLY what you read/hear but you can indicate that it was NOT YOUR error.


Smith (2001) described the contigency as "...bloody smelly wogs [sic] and they should be kept restrained..." (p.34).

Notice here that 'wogs' may be considered racist and so I've inserted [sic] which basically means this was the original author's use of words not mine!

Another example;

As Jeffries and Craig (2003) pointed out "John Allen and his wife [sic] were infected with the illness long before it became public..."(p.2).

Again, 'his wife' in this context, is considered sexist.

Also, notice my use of ellipsis. What's this? the THREE DOTS which indicate I have taken party of a sentence or longer piece of work. You can also use the ellipsis when you want to join two 'bits' from a long quote.

For example,

Jones had desribed Steve Irwin as a "...bloody good bloke...who will be missed..." (2007, p. 23).

An important point is this...the quote should always 'fit' in the structure of the sentence.

You do not write,

Peters (2004, p.3) was, "...it was an extraordinary feat of indurance...".

You should write,

Peters (2004, p.3) noted that "...it was an extraordinary feat of indurance...".