Saturday, February 14, 2009

Assignment 5 - Feedback on the course

Dear Lauren,

I can tell that the course has been wonderful to me in terms of gaining more practical perspectives of doing qualitative research. Since my knowledge on qualitative research is still very limited, many of the things covered in class were new, yet helpful to me. Believe or not, this course has been perfect for my needs and all of the assignments were very helpful.

I am glad that I had a chance to learn about CAQDAS through this course. I only had a very vague idea of what CAQDAS was until I started working on Assignment 4. Working on Assignment 4 helped me to get exposed to different CAQDAS packages and see their own advantages and disadvantages. CAQDAS is a still very new research tool to me, and I have not used any of the CAQDAS packages yet. I am looking forward to learning more about them and hope that I will be able to use it for the grant research I am involved in soon.

The research tools that I have found the most helpful are bibliographic managers. Building reference lists is one of the things I often do as a research assistant, and I always felt that this task was time-consuming and bothersome. Actually, I used a trial version of Endnote a year ago, but did not find it effective. Now I guess that I did not know how to use it effectively. Through this course, I was introduced to one of the bibliographic managers, Zotero for the first time. One of the features I really like about Zotero is that it enables me to export my bibliography directly into my word document. I am still learning how to use this tool now, but trying to build my reference lists for my candidacy exam (which I will be taking next spring quarter) with this tool. (I really wish I had known this earlier!)

The information on creating a blog was also very useful. It was my first time building my own blog with blogger and it was real fun to post things on it although I had a bit of trouble uploading an audio file on it. It was great that one of the classmates shared good information on “Switch” for posting audio files. A year ago I took a course where I learned how to make an educational website with Dreamweaver. Compared to creating a website on my own, I have found using Blog much more effective, espceically time-wise.

Overall, this course has stimulated my interest in qualitative research and its practical aspects of it. I really appreciate having been informed of so many wonderful digital tools for research throughout the course; the course has surely helped me update my tech/reserach knowledge and skills. Thank you a lot, Lauren!!!

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