The Scamp Finishes a Project

Today I finished the corrections for my PhD. I’ve spent the last 6 months in agony since the disastrous viva. I avoided the corrections for about a month and half, and then the pressures of a fulltime job got the better of me and I lost the motivation to work on it. When I went to California for Christmas, I spent three weeks writing like mad and managed to get quite a bit of the rewrite done. I was feeling pretty good about myself. That slowed and then halted when I  came back to Scotland, partly because I was back to work, and partly because I came back to Scotland feeling like I hadn’t actually had a vacation.

I’ve spent the last month fighting a battle between work, fatigue and these stupid chapters. The last couple of weeks has been me staying up late, ignoring my work commitments and completely isolating myself to get it done.

But I am finally done. I think this is a better piece of work. It was the thesis that I wanted to write 5 years ago. It is something that I am proud to have my name on.  I will submit tomorrow and hope and pray that the examiners have a heart and accept the corrections. I literally have no way of knowing if they will. If they don’t, I am not sure what I will do. At the moment though, I am way too tired to think about it. I’m also behind in my work. I was meant to be taking some days off starting tomorrow, but I think I am going to have to cancel the time off so that I can attempt to catch up. To be honest, I can’t travel, so I would be working on the marking and all the work that has piled up, so I might as well get paid for it.

The annual leave can wait until I can sit on the beach again.

Here are the dedication, acknowledgment and the abstract in case anyone is curious about what the work is all about and the people that really helped me through.

This thesis is dedicated to all the graduate students who lost their lives, in part, or as a consequence of pursuing a PhD.

You deserved the opportunity to write your own thesis.

May you always be remembered as part of mine

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This thesis has been a labour of love (and sometimes loathing), and there are several people that deserve much more than a few lines at the start of this work.

Thanks to:

  • Tansy Jessop for having lunch with me at the 2015 Assessment and Higher Education conference and making sure that my TESTA journey was a successful one.

 

  • David Carless for helping me refine the recommendations and pointing me in the direction of a strong definition of feedback.

 

  • David Nicol for saying to me, ‘You should be critiquing my model! It worked in the time it was written, but it is time for something new’. You will never know how much that bolstered my self-confidence.

 

  • Joan McLatchie, Velda McCune and Mark Huxham – thanks for taking a chance on a cat loving Californian.

 

  • The Llama Ladies- You are the best friends a girl could ask for.

 

  • Errol Rivera- You talked me off many a ledge and helped me outline many a draft chapter. I’m forever grateful.

 

  • Joe Ameen- A million thanks for the chats and life advice.

 

  • Dr Ana Georgieva- You kept me sane and reminded me to be kind to myself.

 

  • Martha Caddell- You are the best mentor a girl could ever want. I hope I’m half as great as you one day.

 

  • Anne Tierney-Because everything’s better with puppets!

 

  • Kelsey Austin- My travel buddy, my heterolifemate, my unwavering support. I love you and our many adventures.

 

  • Declan- you know why.

 

  • Mondo, Brandon, Jackson, and Matt- I love you.

 

  • Wombmate-You gave me nephews, you listened to me cry and you never let me forget that I am better than my anxiety.

 

  • My parents, Rick and Michelle- I’ll never be able to pay back what you’ve given me. Thank you for never squashing my wanderlust and for all the support. I love you to the moon and back.

 

ABSTRACT

 

In designing sustainable feedback practices, it is crucial to consider the kinds of learning that higher education is intended to cultivate. This research study investigates how a programme-focused approach to curriculum design affected a students’ feedback literacy. This research stems from the growing focus on feedback literacy and what that implies for student engagement with feedback as a learning tool (Carless & Boud, 2018; Molloy et al, 2019; Han & Xu, 2019). While the current research focuses on feedback literacy at the student or individual module level, this study investigates what features of a programme can help, or hinder, a student’s feedback literacy journey. In this context, feedback literacy will be defined according to Carless and Boud (2018, p.1316) as:

 

the understandings, capacities and dispositions needed to make sense of information and use it to enhance work or learning strategies.

 

Based on a review of the literature on feedback and feedback literacy, a survey was distributed to students across five programmes at Edinburgh Napier University. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the programme leaders as well as module leaders, and follow-up focus groups were conducted with the students who participated in the survey. Analysis of the findings found that there were five programme characteristics that factored into a student’s engagement with feedback literacy. They are:

 

  1. Staff attitudes to feedback
  2. Whether there is a programme-focused approach
  3. Students’ role in feedback
  4. Whether there is a sustained approach to feedback
  5. Institutional acceptance of the challenges of developing a sustained approach to feedback

 

 

On this basis, it is recommended that not only do programmes consider a programme-focused approach to assessment and feedback, but that in order to help further the development of the students’ feedback literacy, staff must first be feedback literate themselves. Further research is needed to identify whether a shift in programme structure has an overall impact on student engagement with feedback and leads to the development of a stronger feedback literacy.

The Scamp has Some Feelings

I have long neglected this blog. I didn’t mean to. In fact, I started this blog to be the exact opposite. It was my safe little corner of the world where I could work through being so far away from my family for the first time, and be able to share what it was like for this little Scamp to live abroad.

It then morphed into a way for me to process my grief and my reverse culture shock. From there it become my coping mechanism for the horrors that I went through with CSUF. It was a place to share my gratitude and voice my fears.

I am not sure what it will be now. I haven’t sat in this space for a long time. I was too emotionally drained to even try and write for fun. I was too much of a zombie to try and be witty and pithy and admit to the world that my life was reduced to writing, stressing about writing, and trying to get all the work done for all 47 jobs that I took on….or that I failed the UK driving exam for the second time.

Today I handed in my PhD. A month ago I started a full-time job. I commute almost two hours one way, work from 9-4ish and still sort of worry about money. Soon I will have viva prep and hopefully by October I will be a full fledged doctor. My travelling and adventures will now be limited to preset times during the year with prior approval from my boss (who I love and will give me the time off).

Today I ate two cupcakes.

Today I saw a photo of a woman I went to high school with at her sister’s graduation. Standing next to them was the woman that told me I was a cheat and a plagiarist and that if I didn’t apologise for being white I’d never be a good academic.

Today I text an ex who used me to cheat on his gf and (I’m pretty sure) is a complete sociopath. I knew that if I messaged him I could justify feeling crappy about myself and pretend that I was not upset by seeing a photo of the woman that all but broke me.

Today I should be happy about finally submitting my thesis….and I was. Then I spent a little too much time overthinking and creating a plot of misery. So, in order to not waste my first time back in this space by sharing the acknowledgement page from my thesis. It is but a small gesture to the people who refused to let me fail. There were a lot of people who did not make it to the list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them or appreciate them. Here it is, exactly as it looks…complete with a thanks to my supervisors that I am still on the fence about. This means I can end this day with feelings of gratitude rather than feelings of self-loathing.

This thesis has been a labour of love (and sometimes loathing), and there are several people that deserve much more than a few lines at the start of this work. Thanks to:

• Tansy Jessop for having lunch with me at the 2015 Assessment and Higher Education conference and making sure that my TESTA journey was a successful one.

• David Carless for helping me refine the recommendations and pointing me in the direction of a strong definition of feedback. • David Nicol for saying to me, ‘You should be critiquing my model! It worked in the time it was written, but it is time for something new’. You will never know how much that bolstered my self-confidence.

• My supervisors, Joan McLatchie, Velda McCune, and Mark Huxham – thanks for taking a chance on a cat loving Californian. I know that I have tried your patience a few times, but we got there in the end.

• The Llama Ladies- You are the best friends a girl could ask for.

• Errol Rivera- You talked me off many a ledge and helped me outline many a draft chapter. I’m forever grateful.

• Joe Ameen- A million thanks for the chats and life advice.

• Dr Ana Georgieva- You kept me sane and reminded me to be kind to myself.

• Martha Caddell- You are the best mentor a girl could ever want. I hope I’m half as great as you one day.

• Anne Tierney-Because everything’s better with puppets!

• Kelsey Austin- My travel buddy, my heterolifemate, my unwavering support. I love you and our many adventures.

• Declan- you know why.

• Mondo, Brandon, Jackson, and Matt- I love you.

• Wombmate-You gave me nephews, you listened to me cry and you never let me forget that I am better than my anxiety.

• My parents, Rick and Michelle- I’ll never be able to pay back what you’ve given me. Thank you for never squashing my wanderlust and for all the support. I love you to the moon and back.