The first change means I expect to have a little more space and time for musing and reflecting on the issues and ideas that arise from my work, and for sometimes at least writing them down. The second development has come about as a result of my Ed D thesis study, now completed in draft, and awaiting the final stage of formative feedback before formal submission in September. This study is about the contribution of informal aspects of workplace life and activity to effective practice, practitioner learning, and innovation. My research sites included a Further Education college and the R&D division of a large engineering company. My department at the Institute of Education has teamed up with the UCL Faculty of Engineering in a number of different projects, one of which is this new MSc, and I am leading one of the core modules, on Engineering and Education: Practice, Innovation and Leadership.
This module will cover such topics as:
Persuading more girls to study engineering
Organisations and change: the engineering workplace as a site for learning and innovation
Preparation for C21st engineers: innovative design in UG and PG engineering programmes
Apprenticeship as a model for learning engineering in times of change
Approaches to leadership in multinational engineering partnerships
Policy development and organisational strategies for an uncertain future
A third reason for coming back to my blog is that one of the stand-out findings of my research is the importance for effective practice, and especially for innovation, of 'writing' on the one hand, and of 'peer review' on the other. By writing I mean any form of representation of any aspect of practice, including the most informal or temporary incidences of writing - doodles and scribbles for example, also notes, drafts, rough drawings or charts, and more formal types of writing such as reports or position papers, hether or not for publication. By peer review I mean any kind of evaluative feedback, whether formal and written, or informally and unplanned as part of a conversation. Organisations which enable and encourage these practices as key elements of work, in terms of making space and time available for them, are likely, my study suggests, to be more effective and more innovative. A blog is both a platform for writing in different degrees of formality, and a medium for sharing and potential evaluative feedback. So I'm aiming to practise a little of what my study appears to teach.
My final reason for taking up the blog again is that my colleague working on the new MSc, Abel Nyamapfene, blogs regularly about Teaching and Learning in Engineering - see the link over on the right - and I like the idea of occasional blog conversations, especially as we work in different buildings!