Spent 4 hours this afternoon wrestling the literature review chapter into some sort of shape – it’s still far too long, but I’ve lost about a third of it. I think it does read rather better too. One of the strange things about thesis writing though is that you can’t really do it in a linear fashion. In a funny sort of way I need to know what the data I’ve collected tells me before I can really bring the literature review chapter, or the methodology chapter in. That’s not the way you’re supposed to do it of course – the literature review is supposed to inform the methodology, and the research questions, which are then answered by the data. Of course reality isn’t exactly like that. I’m not suggesting you fit the questions to your answers – You don’t. But you do have to do something a bit like that to make the thesis read coherently.
Where I’m at now anyway, is an argument that there are quite strong structural pressures on EDUs to deliver – but that these pressures can lead to them doing the wrong thing. One thing I found interesting was that they do tend to like putting on workshops and training sessions, but that these only work if the client groups actually want them. Seems obvious, but the pressure to be seen to “doing something” means that there’s a possible that the EDU can be hitting its performance indicators, by providing workshops that nobody goes to! Actually, most of the interviews reveal that they actually offer quite innovative forms of support – assisting with teaching in other disciplines being one of the most striking, but also working with staff to meet student demand, or trying to see how e-learning might fit into completely new disciplines (New to the developer I mean). The problem is that these are “expensive” – they tend to be one to one, time consuming and add greatly to the developer’s workload. But they’re exactly the sort of model that teaching and learning theorists advocate. Which does suggest that the theorists might be right! So in spite of an implication I found in the literature that educational developers don’t practice what they preach, I’ve found some evidence that they sort of do!