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WE/ME in epedagogy design » Blog Archive » Master Thesis in question


Master Thesis in question

Hello friends and ePeds,

before I start: I’m glad to see this board has finally come alive. Generally it’s great to see that “some” type of communication is happening! – We still can’t really say that about mimerdesk: I posted a question there several days ago in regards to the material of the courses from INHOLLAND which I could not find…I hope that since we’re supposed to look for info on that platform as well this blog will infect mimerdesk with life sooner or later (or else kill it ;-)).

Anyway, as the title of my post suggests, I have started to look into composing my Master Thesis and in doing so realized that there are still a lot of questions that – maybe just in my case – keep me going in circles and therefore paralyzed. I thought I’d share these questions with those who are (or soon will be) going through the same process, or better yet: those who have any clue as to how it could be done.

My first question is concerning the kind of “paper” we’re supposed to be writing: In my first draft I followed pretty much the regular procedure of scientific writing in that I created a linear written outline. Once I started thinking about the digital concept though and the fact that I could include a lot of multimedia-material (photos, movie-clips, audio files etc.) and make use of the nonlinear concept of hyperlinks I was wondering whether that would still be the right kind of approach? When I addressed this question to Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss, he sent me an email containing information on the structure of an MA-thesis (which I later found on the web in form of a quite detailed PDF file.) However, that did not really answer my question to understand the concept, the way it could be more or less text portioned into different amounts of required or optional reading etc.

The second question pretty much ties into the first: So far I’ve only come across one example where the concept of a digital MA-thesis (in this case a dissertation) has been realized. Can anyone point me to other good examples that maybe also include more multi-media features (as was suggested by Mr. Sonvilla in Helsinki) and that are on the subject of humanities? It seems very similar to what we have been discussing in terms of the LO and how that could (or could not) be defined…and from what I remember we have not found a general answer yet but individual solutions at this point.

Last but not least, I guess it depends on the topic: My topic – “The Experience of (Non-) Closure in Digital Work”- turns out to be a topic that is not too “factual” – compared to a science topic where a simple step1-step2-step3 model could be followed (as seen in the product presentation of “learning software” in Helsinki) …so maybe that is why conceptualizing it is even more difficult? I can imagine that some of you read this and just shake their heads in amusement because they don’t see what the problem is. So if you have figured something out, can you enlighten me please?

Thank you 🙂

7 Responses to “Master Thesis in question”

  1. weytan Says:

    Hello Jana,
    your MA-title sounds stunning, more like a postdoctoral thesis. I think that, considering the topic of your MA, a non-linear approach would be quite fitting. I haven’t encountered a truly hypertextual version of a humanities-thesis so far, unfortunately.
    Astrid Blumstengel comes to mind with her excellent hypertextual version of her dissertation Entwicklung hypermedialer Lernsysteme; Gonzalo Frasca has tried a short paper about simulation vs representation (a very nice read) with embedded Flash-Media, whicht hits the point nicely, though the text itself is linear.

  2. weytan Says:

    Hmm… strange… testing if I can post a comment at all.

  3. weytan Says:

    Here’s a ‘bad’ example of a divide between topic and realization of a thesis (Diplom/Informatik): “Navigation im World Wide Web als Hypertextsystem”, probably because it’s still academically required to deliver a printable linear version, while a second, heavily interlinked and multimedial enriched version means quite a (additional) workload for the poor student…

  4. weytan Says:

    And another one (a little bit better from my POV), though it’s only an ‘unpublished’ Thesis “Hypertext” (deutsch).

    There are still not enough precedences to define a style for a hypertextual thesis… this task is probably still up to the respective author. I think the work should be technically as easy accessible as possible, I would (and will in my own HT-Thesis) omit anything fancy, just plain links and pictures, and the possibility to retrieve the whole thing as a linear or at least guided text.
    There’s a wide playground when you have ‘closure’ as your topic… even within a ‘regular’ linked text.

    Did you know that ‘The Sims’ was partially inspired by Scott McLoud’s book ‘Understanding Comics’ (I showed it to you once)? Especially by McLouds beautiful claim:
    “„If visual iconography is the vocabulary of comics, closure is its grammar.“
    “Comics are closures.”
    The same could be said about hypertext, though you have granulated textnodes instead of iconic entities.

    You may find McLouds website of interest for your topic.

  5. yana Says:

    Thank you so much Wey!

    I already knew of Astrid Blumstengel’s work (linked as an example in the original post as well) but was rather impressed with Gonzalo Frasca’s “simulation vs representation”. The other links were interesting as well, but as you said not as well done in their (visual) realization.
    Thank you also for the quotes, of course I remember Scott McCloud (I HAD to buy that book after you lent it to me :-)), maybe I can use some of his insight, even though my topic rather needs restriction than expansion – after all it’s indeed supposed to be a thesis, not a dissertation (yet).
    Altogether, very helpful advice and a confirmation of what I had in mind: to focus on usability and accessibility, create several “paths”, find a good balance of visual “easy-on-the-eye” enhancements and scientific text.

  6. Camilla Says:

    The INHOLLAND courses can be found on Mimerdesk and if I understood it correctly Jaap has added us all to the groups. There are some documents available for download, but nothing telling more about what we are supposed to do with it and by when. If you are not members of the groups I suggest you conatct Jaap so that he can add you to the list.

  7. yana Says:

    Just to build our information pool here: this is important info for all those who are thinking about writing their Masters these days (or any day).
    Ralf can we have some more categories, like for the Enrolment stuff and the Master thesis? Thanx.

    Graduation and Submitting the Master’s Thesis

    1. The master’s thesis can be submitted when both the student and the supervisor of the thesis agree on the thesis being ready.

    2. The thesis must be submitted to the department in two copies. The abstract of the thesis must be written by using the form for the abstract that can be found from the UIAH website on graduation: University of Art and Design Helsinki > Studies > Services for students > Graduation.

    3. In case the thesis includes an exhibition or some other performance, the student is responsible for informing all the necessary parties in advance about the time and place of such event.

    4. Graduation seremony: If the student wants to graduate in the public seremony (“publiikki”, arranged twice a year), the thesis must be submitted at the latest on the 20th of October for the Christmas ceremony and on the 20th of March for the spring ceremony.

    5. The students can also graduate without public ceremony, but, nevertheless, the thesis must be submitted two months before the supposed graduation.

    6. The diploma request form (available on the website) should be filled in and sent to the Study Services three weeks before graduation at the latest.

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