In research strategies you’ll find the set text, and what to have done by our first class (week 2). Don’t leave this, start it immediately. Yoko’s, Francesca’s, and Adrian’s studio blogs are happening, read them regularly. (Adrian’s has the set text, and what is to be done.) Lab membership is online and current and we have a FaceBook group you need to find and ask to join – it’s called 2016 Consilience Lab. Finally, all assessment is listed….
Imagine a drum roll…. 2016 labs (as of 12:16pm 26/02/16)
z Lab – Francesca Rendle-Short Tuesday 9:30am
- Alix Palmer
- Christopher Cody
- Darius Kedros
- Hazel Gordon
- Josefina Huq
- Louisa Buchanan
- Philippa Newell
- Tobias Brodel
- Tristan Barr
- Hazel Gordon
x Lab – Yoko Akama Thursday 1pm
- Claire Griggs
- Emmeline Kildea
- Hope Lumsden
- Matt Adair
- Michelle Wallace
- Mikaila Siegersma
- Nam-Chi Tran
- Ryley Lawson
- Timothy Snowdon
- William Yanko
y Lab – Adrian Miles Friday 9:30am
- Angela Kasprowicz
- Brendan Eichholzer
- Christopher Vik
- Fan Ching Wong
- Geordie Mcdonald
- Jake Reeder
- Jake Troughton
- Jessica Junor
- Mollie Cowell
- Zoe Blain
The timetable page for honours has been updated to show semester one….
Letters are being prepared, envelopes sealed, posties posting the invitation to this years two day pre-honours workshop. Wednesday 24 February and Thursday 25 February. 10am to 4pmish each day, in 9.2.6. More details will be in the letter.
Second round offers have been made for Media and Communication honours in 2016. Everyone who has not received an offer has also had their application processed so you will receive notification that your application has been successful. Places this year were particularly competitive, and as has been the case each year, we find ourselves having to say no to more and more applicants.
In semester one everyone does Research Strategies and Media and Communication Futures. They are taught as a single large group. The only other subject you will do is your research lab. There are three different research labs (X, Y, and Z), which you will hear about during the honours orientation. You do one, and as there are three each will be on at a different time. Also, you won’t know which one of the three you will be in until after orientation. All honours classes are held in 9.2.6
The two subjects that you all do together are provisionally scheduled as:
- Media and Communication Futures, Tuesday 1:30 to 4:20
- Research Strategies,
Wednesday, Friday, 9:30 – 12:20
Everyone does one of the labs. There are three labs, you will be allocated a lab as part of the orientation workshop. The provisional lab times are (remember, you will be doing one of these):
- Lab Z Tuesday 9:30 – 12:20
- Lab X Thursday 1 – 3:50
- Lab Y Friday 1:30 – 4:20
So, many are wondering what’s going on for honours in 2016. First of all there have been (to date) 76 applications received for the 30 places available. The selection committee met in November and first round offers have been made. These offers have an enrolment deadline, and so in mid January enrolled numbers will be confirmed, and if necessary second round offers made.
This means that if you have applied for honours and heard nothing then you did not receive a first round offer. The way the RMIT system works you will hear nothing until we either make you an offer or let you know that you missed out – there’s no in between. (We often begin the year with nearly 40 students, as honours seems to have a high attrition rate (students leaving) to finish the year with 30 or so.)
You need to enrol in the full year of study, following the honours program plan. The timetable is not known at this point as honours has its own classroom (9.2.6) so we schedule things independently of all other courses. But this does mean teaching staff first have to find out their undergraduate teaching to then see when their honours teaching can happen.
In semester one you will be doing three hours of research strategies, three hours of media and communication futures, and three hours of research lab one. Semester two is only three hours of research lab two. We will try to have strategies and futures on the same day as this is something you all do together, but cannot promise this. Research lab is divided into three separate labs, you do one of them, so these get scattered across the week.
Finally, if you have received an offer and have enrolled you will receive a letter with details of a pre-honours orientation workshop. This goes over two days before semester begins. Dates for this aren’t finalised yet as there is a chance I may have to travel immediately before semester begins (and in the first week), so a few things need to be sorted out first.
After the first staff student consultative committee some great questions, observations, and points were raised. Here are some answers or discussion to provide some of the context that was sought.
It was pointed out that research strategies appeared geared more toward project based research. Fair point I reckon. Historically and pedagogically this has been because a) over 70% do honours by project + exegesis, b) those writing theses come from disciplines where writing essays has been the norm and so largely know how to do this, and c) most doing it by project have not had to write critically to doing before. However, I think this is a very strong point so I am hoping to re-boot the research strategies class into thematic groups. This should be started this week and will probably take a couple of weeks to sort out.
There was a question about the work in the courses getting in the way of ‘meaty’ research. Not much to say or do about this. Honours is not only research, largely because historically this leads to poor outcomes (low retention rate, and feelings of isolation) as students end up only working on individual research topics (this is currently a major issue with our PhD students because all they do is their individual research). We also want our honours program to provide students with knowledge relevant to media and communications, hence the communication futures subject. We want themed labs to a) address the social/collegiate qualities of research practice and culture (which they have historically done extremely well and other honours programs regularly ask how we do it), b) to have the experience of being taught and learning about a reasonably narrow specialist topic from an active researcher in that area. In the past honours had additional coursework in semester 2. The current honours has moved all major coursework to semester one to provide time for ‘meaty’ research, as in semester 2 all you do is your research (and through the mid year break as well). With 12 hours per week available in semester one (we more or less treat a credit point as an hour of time), and 48 hours available in semester two, there is plenty of time to do meaty research – historically the issue is not that the time is not available, but that students choose not to spend it in this way.
A good point about honours research topics, where students are told they don’t need one to apply but then in the honours orientation workshop we wanted you to write one to help with the shuffling you to research groups and supervisors. It was pointed out that if you were asked to bring ideas about possible research topics to the orientation workshop this could be avoided. That’s a great point and if we do the same process in 2016 that is what we’ll do. (This year was the first year we allocated supervisors in this way, and obviously there are kinks that need to be ironed out. However, I think finding supervisors for everyone has been the simplest and most effective for everyone we’ve had. Particularly for new students to the school and also finding supervisors who may be outside of your undergraduate course – there is a lot of expertise in the school and so your supervisor might not be someone who has taught you before, so the issue then is how as a student can you know who might supervise. This is one of the problems we are trying to address in how we did it this year.)
Lockers. We have not allocated lockers yet because we don’t know about moving to a new room, as if we are moved then we will not be using these lockers. I appreciate that it is frustrating having lockers there and them not being used. (The lockers were only installed in 2014 so they are a recent addition to honours.) One hold up here is that the staff member who manages our buildings and would know what is actually going on here has been on leave so information has been scarce. I am asking if there is a timeline for our move, and once I have an answer there what we do next will become clear. If we do move you will still have access to the current kitchen and printer in the PhD area. We won’t have lockers but the room will have swipe card access and be only honours and not a mixed room of PhD’s and honours and researchers.
Over crowding at beginning of semester. Yes. Always is. Not a good answer perhaps but all the research shows that resourcing (eg quality of equipment and how crowded we are) runs a distant second to what gets described variously as a ‘community of practice’, ‘studio learning’, ‘academic collegiality’ and so on. this means I prefer to have a crowded room if that means the room is ours and we can do what we like in it, when we like, rather than teach in normal classrooms and have the timetable dictated to us, and we can’t rearrange the room, or leave things in there for use by classes. We usually begin honours with nearly 40, and by about now we are usually down to around 30. 30 is crowded but manageable, and that is pretty much where we are at.
There was a question about assessment in media and communication futures, and I’ve asked Linda to make sure the assessment that I understand you’ve discussed is documented. I’ve also had meetings with Lisa from the critical play lab about the precursor. The precursor is a) something you define that combines the theme of the lab with your individual research, b) with feedback from the lab leader and the lab participants, c) they generally take the form of an artefact that lets you think differently about your work (and it is an artefact because having to make physical or concrete something forces us to think through what we are doing much more than just talking about it), d) they can be experimental, d) they can let you ‘test’ in a small way your research problem and method (so it might be a ‘slice’ of your research, some interviews if you think you’re doing interviews).
Was a very good meeting, so thanks for the input, questions, and suggestions.
This graphic is the enrolment or program plan for BH066, Bachelor of Media and Communication (Honours). This is what you should be enrolled in.
We are now open for applications to undertake honours in 2015. The program continues to kick goals with over 30 students expected to complete in 2014. We have room for 30 more in 2015, so if you’d like more information, then: