Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemNo common view: Chinese students and Australian graphic design educationMiceli, Lucia ( 2007)Graphic design relies on the use of visual elements to communicate and transfer messages to a predetermined audience. The effective implementation of graphic design solutions is consequently highly dependent on the societal and cultural influences that have shaped our understanding of the world. International students and local teachers often do not share this knowledge and as a result outcomes produced by international students in post-secondary graphic design education programs often do not meet teacher expectations. This research project used a qualitative approach; it employed the field methods of interview and visual analysis to gather data. The study followed three Chinese international students and their Australian teachers through the realisation of individual design projects. The cases were selected from three different post-secondary settings, using three course specific projects. This allowed for variation in actual situations to be observed, thus increasing project scope and depth. Chinese students were selected because they form the largest minority of international student in each of the environments. All participants in each case were interviewed at three stages: after the brief presentation, after the first critique and at project completion. The project aimed to track the processes of teacher and student alike, observing mismatch in expectations, processes and decision-making. The data collected provided the opportunity to identify points of choice and variation between study pairs, as they occurred. This data then allowed analysis of the complex, multilayered differences that influenced misalignment in practical outcomes. To achieve this, interview data was analysed to extract, review and align processes to final design outcomes. The visual data, in the form of the project design solution, revealed how the misalignment was manifest in the student's work. These two data sources provided insight into attitudes and beliefs of both teacher and student. The research has revealed variation in teacher and student visual meaning and design processes from the outset of the project. This variation is manifested in the final design outcome and visually reveals how meaning and aesthetic values are shaped by socio-cultural knowledge. The study shows that the misunderstanding between teacher and student is not a simple linguistic matter, but stems from differences in underlying assumptions. The need for open and transparent discussion of these assumptions in the highly subjective domain of graphic design is evident.
ItemComputerised accounting systems, curriculum and business needsGoode, Maureen Louise ( 2007)Globalisation, information technology, and in particular the development of sophisticated Computerised Accounting Systems (CAS) software, have become driving forces that continue to enhance and transform business needs and practices. A review of the literature suggests that the design of current accounting curricula does not sufficiently expose students to the concepts of globalisation and technology. This study aimed to discover the extent to which existing Australian CAS curriculum models did reflect business needs. Guidance was sought from the literature and from academics' accounts of how they develop the CAS curriculum, and the perceptions of business needs of business professionals, (key knowledgeables and young gun managers), and current students with business experience were explored. The study also considered the match between the CAS curriculum offered at the university where the researcher is employed as a lecturer and business needs, through an exploration of what the cohort of current students with business experience perceived the subject to offer. A mixed-method research strategy of enquiry, using two separate methods of data collection, was used, to better understand the relationship between curricula and business needs. This approach provided numeric trends from the quantitative research and detail from the qualitative research. The study was conducted in three phases: a survey gathered data relevant to the current students with business experience and the young guns, an Internet search for appropriate subject descriptions was made and an analysis was undertaken, and interviews provided rich data as the perceptions of academics, key knowledgeables, young guns and current students with business experience were explored.. Rogers' (2003) adoption-diffusion study influenced the analysis of data gathered from the Internet search for Australian relevant subject descriptions. Academics were classified into adopter categories on the basis of innovativeness of curriculum content, and thus provided a basis for understanding the aims of their CAS curriculum, their perceived importance of business needs to the curriculum, and why a particular software became a feature of the curriculum. The data was analysed thematically and the key findings were drawn from the participants' experiences in business and at university. All participants were aware of the increasingly dominant role of CAS in business but a variety of different opinions and beliefs were presented as to the value of CAS as a part of university curricula. However, the overall view was that the academic's response must prepare students to participate in the business world, by ensuring curriculum content included learning processes, teaching practices and software offerings that would provide appropriate business solutions. The findings showed a number of impediments to future curriculum design that need to be addressed. These include academic inadequacies, pedagogical beliefs and practices related to the place of software applications in curriculum design, the need for different software solutions for different business problems, and cost factors related to the decision to introduce new technologies. Recommendations were made as to appropriate topics to include in future curriculum design. All cohorts agreed that enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions will be the future business software solution of choice to both large and small to medium enterprise (SME) businesses, and a solution was proposed for innovative curriculum design in order to master the complexity of such applications.
ItemExploring the relationships between student experiences in robotics and their cognitive styleFryer, Susan ( 2007)With the increasing availability of technology in schools, more students are gaining experience in the use of robotics in the classroom. This study examines student experiences in an educational robotics program and also assesses their cognitive style using the Cognitive Styles Analysis developed by Richard Riding (1998). The data is then analysed to determine what types of relationships may exist between a student's cognitive style and their experiences in the robotics unit. The participants in the study were a class of Year 9 students at an Independent Girls' school in Melbourne, with the class being taught by the researcher. It was found that there may be some relationship between some student experiences in robotics and cognitive style, although further research with larger numbers of research participants would be necessary to explore these relationships further. The determination of the type of relationships that exists would be of interest to educators who are involved in the delivery of educational robotics units.
ItemEducational accountability and organisational capacity in school science departments: a material critique of management models of mandated curriculum reformsBainbridge, John ( 2007)In Sociology, Bourdieu (1977), Giddens (1984) and Schatzki (2001) have developed theories of practice to offer an alternative to rational and normative concepts of action and to solve the problem of the relationship between agency and structure. They argue that cultural, political and economic processes are mutually constitutive of social agency, as agency can be productively read as a historically specific confluence of discursive and material processes. In applied disciplines such as organizational and management studies (Niccolini, 2001) as well as in education (Southerland, Smith, Sowell and Kittleson, 2007), practice has been adopted to redefine the concepts of knowledge and learning and to understand change in working life. In these contexts, practice-based research has become part of new research areas, such as organizational learning, knowledge management, innovation and workplace studies and this research is in this modern tradition. This is a study of the praxis of two groups of science teachers, in different countries under different policy regimes of state mandated curriculum management. It is a study towards an understanding of the pedagogy of resistance and transformation. The significance of the resistance of material entities for the objectivity of knowledge is an important theme in the sociology of knowledge. The practice theorists in science and technology studies (for example Pickering 1993,1995, Latour 2000, Miettinen, 2006) have taken this resistance manifesting itself in experimental activity as a constitutive factor in accounting for the emergence of facts and scientific concepts. Pickering (1955: 560) talks about the temporal emergence of experimental activity in research as a "real-time dialectic of resistance and accommodation". Resistance refers to the blockage in reaching a goal or realization of a hypothesis. Fleck (1981) proposes that a fact is understood as a resistance expressed in experimental work and interpreted by the practice community. The widespread notion of "constraint" is usually understood as some kind of external condition that objectively limits scientific activities and epistemologies of transformative material activity more generally. "Resistance" is to be preferred, Pickering argues, because resistances are genuinely emergent in time, as a block arising in practice to a passage of goal-oriented practice" For Latour (200) objectivity refers to the presence of things that "object to what is told about them". This study uses surveys of whole school and science department staff as well as interviews conducted over a year in each of two schools, one in England and one in Melbourne Australia. It looks at the agency of science teachers as a transformative material activity, its relationship with policies of State mandated standards, and the objectivisation of teacher knowledge. Whereas subjective identity operates here in terms of types of experience that are available, agency of these teachers has to do more with a distribution of acts. Bhaskar's (1993) Transformational Model of Social Action has been applied to the analysis of staffroom praxis and offers an informing under-theory to the study of teacher agency and practice.