23 March 2009

Second seminar details

Seminar 2: Coventry University
Coventry University

The role of typography in the presentation of PhD theses:

Migrating literacy transactions: reconceptualizing "text" in the doctoral thesis
Myrrh Domingo, New York University

This presentation calls for revising the doctoral thesis format given the variety of text forms associated with multimodal (Kress & van Leeuwen) and digital literacy studies. Drawing on my ethnography of a group of Filipino British youth, I theorize about their migrating literacy transactions—movement across physical spaces navigable by the body and imagined spaces negotiated in online communities—to redefine what counts as text. Aligned with critical literacy that teaches students to "read the word and the world" (Freire & Macedo), I am beginning to develop a new theoretical direction for studying multiliteracies (New London Group; Cope & Kalantzis). The proposed new direction will account for hybrid (Bhabha) texts and remix (Knobel & Lankshear) of cultural artifacts that the youth transact as they shape and are shaped by the embodied, digital, and multimodal resources they employ in their daily lives. From this perspective, students' reading and writing practices are seen as pluralistic and dynamic, actively engaged with a local and global audience. To display the multimodal, hybrid, and remixed literacy practices of the youth, an attempt must also be made at reconceptualizing text in the doctoral thesis. In a more traditional doctoral thesis format, isolated modal resources (e.g. image, video, music) beyond the written text often serve as additive ways of making meaning. In contrast, the layering of modal resources throughout the dissertation will generate new ways of making meaning to arrive at different ways of understanding students' multimodal and digital literacy practices.

From typewriter to flashdrive: a technological snapshot of the development of the PhD by research
Erik Borg, Coventry University

“The doctoral degree is old” (Noble, 1994, p.4). The doctoral degree is both old and new; although it has an ancient ancestry, the doctorate earned by research is less than two centuries old, and in Britain, less than one. It is a product of new institutions, the research universities, and both reflects and generates new tasks, in the creation of new knowledge. It has been supported over much of its modern history by a then-new technology, the typewriter. This talk will look at the confluence of institutions, tasks and technology in order to see if they provide any guidance on new forms that the doctorate might take.

Noble, K. A. (1994). Changing doctoral degrees: An international perspective. Buckingham, UK: SRHE & Open University Press.

Mark Evans (Coventry): A performing arts perspective

Mark Hill (Northumbria): Multimodal thesis presentation

It ain’t what we write it’s the way that they say it, but that’s not what gets (PhD) results
Jonnie Robinson, British Library

Jonnie Robinson will draw on recent experience to suggest possible alternatives to the ‘traditional’ PhD thesis in sociolinguistics. Drawing on prestigious collections held at the BL, such as the Survey of English Dialects and BBC Voices, he will illustrate how the wealth of data they provide has arguably provided the more important academic legacy than the PhD theses they produced. He will outline a number of recent and current BL initiatives that combine traditional analysis and interpretation with ways of presenting such data and making it more accessible to future researchers, exploiting the opportunities afforded by multimodality.

Resourcing the Third Space: a multimodal investigation of changes in learning priorities and modes of meaning-making
Christina Preston, Institute of Education, London

Multimodality is an emerging branch of socio-cultural semiotics that is increasing in importance in this digital age. The focus here is on a specific multi-modal, multi-layered, multi-authored and multi-media artefact defined as a multidimensional concept map (MDCM). This discussion about the multimodal assessment of learning explores the relevance of multimodality theory to meaning-making and its assessment.

The evidence in this doctoral study has been derived from MDCMs drawn by three cohorts of advisers in teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) in Information and Communications Technology (ICT). However, in this talk, the spotlight is turned onto multimodality issues that are relevant to the writing-up processes and assessment procedures undertaken by doctorate students. Firstly the value of mono-literate as opposed to multi-literate texts is discussed. Secondly, questions are asked about the role of the supervisor as the expert in a multimodal learning context.

Finally a digital Third Space is recommended where doctoral students can join a community of practice in order to share a lifelong process of collaborative knowledge creation.

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