Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Thoughts on Re-media-ting My Thesis

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I tend to occasionally think of ways to make my PhD thesis more accessible and more useful…and so tweeted something about wanting to re-mediate my thesis in some way. Kevin and someone else (can’t remember who now, sorry) suggested i make a comic of it. I looped Nick Sousanis into the convo and in later email exchanges with him I suddenly remembered that I spent a lot of my youth (well ages 10-14) drawing a heck of a lot! I was good at drawing faces and figures. Then for some reason I stopped. I didn’t need someone’s help to draw my comics coz I could do them myself if I wanted to. I haven’t had the courage to pick up a pencil and draw yet, but not just because I feel rusty (I am pretty sure I can pick it up) but:

As Nick Sousanis when interviewed about his comic thesis, asks here

how can we use the visual to do things we can’t do in words?

Having for some odd reason resigned myself to being a more verbal than visual person… I only rarely think of this. But i do believe in only doing visuals when it makes sense and adds value. I like doing visual things that express complex ideas more quickly or powerfully than text would. And I do use visuals in those cases. Also to save word count on twitter (haha) and to express non-linear thoughts.

An unrelated conversation led me to this quote from a post Mariana Funes sent me – I tweeted it out

I don’t wanna keep listening to my own voice over and over but to open myself up to dialogue. Can I do that for my thesis, something I worked on for so long on my own?

And then I realized what matters. What matters is to find a way to represent my thesis in a way that I can share it with people on my campus (research is about it) to open up critical dialogue on how we can use (or challenge)  what I have learned to improve conditions for learning for diverse students. This was my goal after finishing my thesis. I challenged traditional notions of critical thinking and I questioned the accessibility of different influences on critical thinking development for students from different backgrounds taking divergent pathways through university

I wanted to share and discuss all this while I was doing it but I was on maternity leave for parts of it. I wanted to share after I defended but life got in the way. I share tidbits all the time and in committee work when it is relevant but not in some consistent manner.

And that research is useless unless it can
A. Be shared, challenged, start critical discussions that could effect change
B. Grow beyond the data I collected in 2008 and presented in 2013 when I defended my thesis. It isn’t enough that I have a couple articles/book chapters based on it. Those aren’t read by people in my institution.

Still not sure how to go about all this but I am glad I am thinking about it. Because we are still in critical times in Egypt and we need critical thinking and critical citizenship to help us through this.

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