Table of contents
Introduction to Doctoral Foundations, Media Psych 525
The success of any PhD program is predicated on students' abilities to acquire fundamental competencies in the areas of doctoral writing, research and reasoning. This course seeks to offer newly admitted media psychology students an introduction to a number of important competencies in this regard, based on the outcomes of the Media Psychology program, as well as competencies established by Fielding Graduate University. The competencies are listed below in the Table of Contents and are further defined in each module. In addition, they have been compiled and presented on a page devoted to competencies.
It is important to remember that this course is meant to be an introduction to competencies, and that their development and mastery is an incremental process nurtured over successive foundational courses throughout the doctoral program.
Paying attention to writing. Although each module is important, we ask you to pay particular attention to scholarly writing throughout the course. Historically, much of our feedback to new students has addressed their underdeveloped or inappropriate use of written English within a scholarly context. In fact, many of our incoming NSO students often have only a limited understanding of what scholarly writing is, or how it differs from the other forms of writing that they are used to, whether business communication, email or personal correspondence.
Students also tend to have a limited understand of the essentials of using APA style. And yet, Fielding’s assessment model is predicated on a student’s use of written English in APA format. Thus, infused into each module is an emphasis of writing. The goal for scholarly writing, in a sentence, is to explain complicated ideas using clear, crisp, uncluttered English that are supported by research and well developed arguments. Don't try to sound scholarly. Just try to be clear, logical and well-organized.
Pursuing your research interests. One of the core principles of this course design is that you are allowed to choose you own topics for your writing and research activities, based on your professional or academic interests. This is particularly pertinent at Fielding since the Fielding model is based on students identifying an area of interest as early as possible in the program, which they can then use as the crucible of their ongoing specialization.
Given you are taking this course at the beginning of your programs, we don't expect you to know your area of research interest at such an early point in their Fielding careers. In fact, we encourage you to delve into new areas to see what interests you. However, if you have identified your interests then we encourage your to use this course as a means to explore those interests.
Developing a meta-perspective. Another core concept in this course is the use of meta-perspective and self-assessment with regards to your own learning. You are asked to write about not only the new material you are learning, but also about the learning process itself. As your writing improves, I want to know how you view its improvement. I have found that self-reflective learners tend to learn more and see their own progress more clearly.
Using many media. Lastly, this course uses a number of different media to aid in academic inquiry, including text, video, audio, social media, structured group discussion, and so on. We know that using a variety of media to present information increases the chance that material will resonate with a diverse audience of students. This is particularly relevant for students who have not been involved with academia for some time, and feel apprehension about a return to the rigors of scholarly rhetoric.
Jason Ohler, Summer 2015