Introductory module materials musings
The beginnings of a definition
The introduction module to the subject opened with a tidbit of information about digital literature. We were given the beginnings of a definition – noting that concepts key to the notion of literature in digital environments are different degrees of connectivity, interactivity and modes of access. I look forward to exploring the definition of digital literature as we get further into the meat of the subject.
A bone to pick – Why include Why Cite..?
I was satisfied with most of the content of the introduction module and have already posted a reflection on the video interview that presented the views of various emerging UK authors on digital literature. I question the inclusion of one of the materials, though. The following video by UTSA Libraries (2010), entitled Why Cite.. was included in a grey assignment box at the conclusion of Topic 2: Referencing resources.
The video was in a box simply titled “Watch”. This gave it the weight of a reading or viewing assignment. There was no additional text to give context regarding what level of attention students were to give to this material or what weight to accord to it. As it followed the section on referencing and was in postgraduate subject materials, I expected it to be a comprehensive summary of reasons to use referencing in our academic writing. While it was an amusing piece of digital storytelling, it seemed rather a fluffy trifle to include in postgraduate materials. As an introductory video about referencing for a high school or first year undergraduate student, it has merit. However, it only covered the basics of reasons to cite works originally produced by others.
The main points were that you cite in order to:
* Get better marks,
* Give the original author credit for the work they have done, and
* Provide “context” for your work (UTSALibraries, 2010).
This covers the basic ideas of academic honesty and avoidance of plagiarism but does not do so with any significant degree of rigour. The notion of “context” is broached, but not seriously investigated. There is no indication of why content is important, such as for grounding your work in existing theory and research and establishing the authority and level of comprehensiveness of your literature base (CSU ALLaN Team, n.d.). These are important factors for establishing the credibility and authority of the analysis presented in academic work .
If this video was intended as a learning object, I think it fell well short of the mark for a postgraduate course. If it was intended merely as a humorous reminder of material we are expected to be well versed in by this point, I feel this should have been indicated somewhere in the presentation area or presented in a weekly message or other less formal communication. My educational philosophy includes the belief that the material presented in a class should model the expectations for top-level student work. If it does not, the way in which it differs from that expectation or the reason for it being presented to the student should be clearly indicated. As I move into my third and fourth subjects, this is an area where I continue to be disappointed in CSU course materials.
Charles Sturt University Academic Literacy, Learning and Numeracy (CSU ALLaN) Team. (n.d.). Referencing [Workshop course materials].
UTSALibraries. (2010, July 21). Why Cite.. [Streaming video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9cqC8nNSdU&feature=youtu.be.