By the skin of my teeth

Yay! The assessments were returned a few days early. I made it to my target (HD) by the skin of my teeth which is a great relief due to the immense uncertainty I felt about this assessment. Ironically, I felt more confident in my assessment for INF520 and I did not make it over the line for that one.

I was thankful that the written critical analysis was weighted more heavily than the concept map for this assignment. I suspect that I think more verbally than visually. I certainly found the critical analysis an easier way of unpacking, explaining and expressing my understanding than the concept map. Unsurprisingly, in that case, I received higher marks on the analysis section than on the concept map section.

Concept map of the leadership structure in a 21st century school
Concept map of the leadership structure in a 21st century school (Simon, 2019).

The critique of my concept map included the fact that I included a citation against instructions (fair enough, but it was pretty much a direct quote and pertinent to my argument and it just grated to not reference it… mea culpa.) A criticism that I would certainly take on board if I were ever to revisit this was that it would have benefited from a key to the colour meanings. I also should have used more concise labels for my relational lines and kept them from overlapping with concept shapes. To be honest, that amount of fiddling would have taken a fair amount of time to tweak and possibly re-design. After hearing the instructors berate students for spending too much time on the concept map portion of the assignment, it was not time that I was willing to allocate to the task. The biggest conceptual criticism was that the change that influences the school should be internal change processes to enable 21st century learning rather than coming from the external context. On reflection, I stand by my representation. I see the pressure for change towards 21st century learning as largely coming from external forces, not arising organically from within school communities. I mapped it how I understand it and believe it to be. Apparently there is only so much idealism I can cram into a single task, at some point reality will have its say.

It was instructive to see some higher-performing concept maps in Jennie’s general feedback document. The cynic in me asks, however, whether those shining examples set before us of what a concept map could and should be were ones that people were upbraided for spending “too much time” on. Overall, my concept map criteria were marked solidly in the lower half of the Distinction range.

My critical analysis got better comments, and I am quite happy with the outcome on that section. I suspect that Lori caught every typo in the paper. I think the constant reference back to the Referencing forum and Online Meetings was meant to be helpful, but they often felt like a bit of a slap on the wrist or an annoyed dismissive snap at a child for not paying attention. This is a good reminder to me to watch my tone when giving either verbal or written feedback to students.

I know that I operate best in text. I often miss out on capitalising on the digital affordances of the blog format. I suppose the overall lesson that I can glean from the feedback on this assignment is to put a bit more effort into the non-textual components of the assignment. For assessment 2 I will need to think about what visuals I can add to create a professional, pertinent and eye-catching document, not simply worry about the words.

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