ETEC 500 – Research Methodology In Education

This is the beginning of my Master’s work at UBC in the Master of Educational Technology program – which culminates in a project. I’m not sure where that will end up – I would (despite my media background) prefer to do some length of writing around digital literacy, information seeking behaviour online and informal learning communities (and why they are effective). I decided to take ETEC 500 first because it is a core course, and required, and it would provide the biggest challenge to me as it’s one of the few things in the curriculum that I feel is somewhat unknown to me. Like, let’s face it, I’ve been at some level of LMS administration since 2008, supporting eLearning since 2001, and overseeing a team of educational technology folks for just under a year. I’ve read most of the texts that are offered as readings, I know some of the authors’ work quite well. I’ve seen some of the authors speak multiple times, so I’m familiar with the arguments they will put forth. In scanning the curriculum, I’m thinking that I’ll have to be mindful of the amount of commentary with my history, experience as that will limit discussion honestly.

AND that’s why research is a good place for me to start because the novice brain I bring to the subject matter will be truly a novice brain. I love the academic rigour that research demands. I suspect that where I fell down is getting too bogged down in my own machinations and not being clear enough with outlining my thinking about a subject. While I did well, it was hard work. It will be interesting to see how this sticks with me, and while I really enjoyed the process of taking apart research papers to see what makes them tick.

I learned a whole lot about qualitative methodologies – and understand better why education (or at least progressive education) papers typically use quantitative – qualitative are often structured assuming that there is one, or a few, reasons for learning happening. Whereas, qualitative tend to be better at understanding the context of learning. I am absolutely much more interested in qualitative. Maybe that comes from my history of developing media objects – and the subtleties of those projects. Subtlety requires a bit more finesse, and a well designed media bit has some subtlety, whether it be in framing the subject or just working within constraints. A lot of the similarities between the two are immediately apparent to me, working creatively in a media and working with data is fundamentally similar.

The fact that it was unknown territory, and procedurally all different than any previous online course I had taken, was so refreshing, so new. Novelty will wear off, from the program and from the course of studies. Not everything will be new. Dealing with that and making it interesting for me will be a sub-challenge for this whole Master’s. I wonder how folks who have been professionals who have gone back to school for higher degrees in the same discipline manage it?

NOTE: I wrote this back in July. 2021, so I dated it as such, but decided to make this public so that I can add it to my (future) portfolio.

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