“I’m alarmed that some students seem to find 2000 words a huge challenge, and I wouldn’t want to lose the requirement to write at some length on one topic, because to do so would, in my view, dilute the academic integrity of the subject.”
Indeed Rob, like you, I am also alarmed by the perceived challenge in writing 2000 words, and fully agree that to be unable and unasked to do so (especially at Master’s level) would very much dilute the academic integrity of the subject. I also feel that many of the conversations around these issues can be patronising, and belittling. Personally I would feel insulted if anyone thought that because I was a busy teacher, that I couldn’t actually write a coherent, well developed and sustained argument of 2000 words or more. I guess I see the benefit of approaches like the patchwork text in bigger, and perhaps more professionally driven pieces of work. I’m doing quite a lot of thinking at the moment about the traditional dissertation requirement, especially in the context of postgraduate professional development, and wonder if there is scope there for some smaller, but still significant and sustained pieces of work, to be then brought into some sort of relationship through a unifying commentary… perhaps it’s the size (or at least the significance?) of the patch that matters?