Monthly Archives: November 2014

The best two books on doing a thesis

Looking for some help!

The Thesis Whisperer

I started my PhD at the University of Melbourne in early 2006 and finished in 2009. I did well, collecting the John Grice Award for best thesis in my faculty and coming second for the university medal (dammit!). I attribute this success to two ‘how to’ books in particular: Evans and Gruba’s “How to write a better thesis” and Kamler and Thomson’s “Helping doctoral students write”, both of which recently went into their second edition.

photoI use both of these books in my teaching practice and refer to them often in my blog posts. My old copies had been photocopied so often they had nearly fallen apart, so I was glad to get a brand new copy of each. Both of them have been substantially refreshed, so it seems like a good time to finally give them a proper review.

I picked up “How to write a better thesis”

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Glossary of multimodal terms

I found this blog so helpful when trying to understand multimodality for my own research, I want to share it if someone can make use of it.

Why this glossary
Multimodality studies how and to what social and cultural effects people use and transform resources for communication including speech, image, gesture, gaze, and others. In the last decade or so multimodal studies have introduced many new terms (such as ‘mode’); and they have begun to redefine many ‘old’ones (such a ‘genre’). The aim of this glossary is to provide inroads into this cross-discliplinary enterprise.

Who it is for?

Keep on reading

How did human beings acquire the ability to do math? with Keith Devlin

(October 29, 2012) Keith Devlin concludes the course by discussing the development of mathematical cognition in humans as well as the millennium problems

Calculus one of the most successful technologies, with Keith Devlin

The birth of calculus (focusing on Newton + Leibniz) in two parts with Jeremy Gray

Part I

Part II

Impact of Social Sciences – 30 tips for successful academic research and writing

How can you treat your PhD like a project?

How can you treat your PhD like a project?.

Scaffolding pockets of social learning: ideas for practical implementation

Scaffolding the social learning! Learning from Julian Stodd!

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

Engagement over time is valuable in learning, giving us time to reflect, to try things out back in the real world, to draw together our learning. Providing appropriate, flexible and easily accessible social learning spaces around formal learning experiences is one of the easiest and most effective ways of expanding our professional practice.

The point of these spaces is to facilitate discussion and enable learners to play with the learning. Through appropriate challenge and moderation, it’s a way of making the learning more relevant, of making it more immediate.

At a practical level, i find that it’s valuable to choreograph the spaces for social learning much as we would any other parts of the experience. Not choreograph the content of the discussions, after all, this is a semi formal social space and we want spontaneity, but rather to create the spaces and times for the discussion to take place.


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It’s ok to have a stationery fetish

This is a lovely recipe and a fabulous idea!! I will cook it and see how it taste 🙂



Admit it, you probably already do. It’s OK, so do I. I have a favourite make of pen. I have a favourite notebook. I have a particularly favourite make of pencil.

There is an academic myth that, upon realising that his favourite Moleskine notebook was no longer being manufactured, a reasonably famous academic was so upset that he was no longer able to think (see Chatwin (n.d.) for a further example). Although this might or might not be true, we do develop emotional attachments to the tools we use – in many ways they become part of us, our thinking, or our processes. At their best, they become embodied, visceral artefacts – the deepest of ontological elements.

This may seem a gratuitous and frivolous recipe but there are some serious underlying ideas. We often underestimate just how much emotional and sensory attachment we make with the objects we use…

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The making of a mile of PI