This week is devoted to initial synthesis of ideas from phase one. “Synthesis” involves thinking about multiple concepts as a set rather than individually or sequentially. The argument you develop for your final inquiry project is effectively a synthesis of the evidence you choose to enter into the argument. So, we’re going to practice synthesis by putting the dreamers into conversation. “Into conversation?” you ask? Yes. If you learn nothing else this semester (OK, that’s a little overstated, but, still, this is important…), it’s that nearly all research, scholarship, literature is part of a larger conversation. This is most noticeable in empirical research where there are “lines” of research; e.g. a group of scholars studying a particular issue. Those scholars typically cite each other in the articles they write that report the results of their own research. But, scholarly “conversations” are not always so obvious.

Your job this week, primarily, is to put the dreamers into conversation.

By Wednesday, October 21

Mapping my Dreamers (concept experience)

Select three of the new media readings and synthesize at least five conceptual bases for comparing them to one another. Select useful concepts or insights, summarize them briefly, and then relate them to each other in multiple different ways. The goal here is not a huge amount of writing, but intelligible notes that will be useful later on for yourself and your peers. Compare, contrast, recognize patterns within, and impute the motives behind the dreamers’ work, and you’ll be on the right track. This is not an easy thing to do, and you may find it easier to create a visual version of this process and then either scan it to your blog or use a digital app and then link to it (or embed).

IMPORTANT: when you write the blog post where you share your synthesis, tag the post synthesis so that the #thoughtvectors motherblog can filter these posts usefully and so that you can see it in our tag cloud at the bottom of our clubhouse page.


By Friday, October 23

Last week, you spent some time thinking about argumentation and about your inquiry projects. This week, it’s time to start collecting evidence to support your argument. At this point in your higher education career, you should have had some exposure to doing library research. The goal now is to step up your expertise a little bit. We are fortunate in that there are LOTS of online resources for us to work with. 

First, start by spending an hour checking out the Google Hangout we did with VCU librarians in the Summer of 2014, when we last did the #thoughtvectors course. 

Second, VCU Libraries produces a series of great research guides. You should start by going through the “Research Basics” Guide. You don’t have to read everything in there, but it should serve as a good refresher. Then, you should go to the UNIV 200-specific research guide. Read through that whole guide and watch the tutorial videos. 

Finally, by the end of the week, you are to have posted three PRIMARY SOURCES that you think are relevant to your inquiry project to our Diigo group. 

By Sunday, October 25

Revise your Mapping my Dreamers post after visiting the sites of at least four students, two from your section and two from outside your section, preferably those who wrote on the same three essays. 

By the end of the day, post Finalizing my Dream, in which you reflect on the past week, the three new media dreamers you selected, and what your peers have taught you about them. Link to their synthesis of the dreamers and compare your efforts to theirs.