blogs, Reflections

TechKNOW Tool 2013 – Blog Posts In Review

In the process of auditing my social media and web life, I thought I’d take a gander at what I blogged about in 2013. What the heck was I reflecting and sharing in 2013?

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 8.26.57 AM

Photo from  marsmettnn tallahase on Flickr

TechKNOW Tools received a number of views on older blog posts; however the key themes that were clicked on for 2013 included: academic writing, research gathering, teaching support, role transition, job search/application, conference sharing, learning design, and social media auditing.

Thanks for reading, and following along. I’ll be sure to share more in 2014. 🙂

Title

 

Digital Clean Up: Social Media Audit & How Not to Be Hacked
Lucky 13: Top Blog Post Views for Summer 2013
The PhD: Troubles Talk… and Moan… and So On
Using Verbs for Specific Learning Outcomes
Supporting Student Success at #UFTL13
#EDUSprint 1: Beyond MOOCs – IT as a Force of Change
Do You Have Social Media Goals?
The Dissertation Proposal. #phdchat
Your Higher Ed Website + Search: “Social Media Guidelines” or “Social Media Policy” = A Database for My Dissertation Research
Help My #ugstSTORY Class Tell Their Story
Gathering #SocialMedia Guidelines from Higher Education #SoMe #edusomedia #highered
#SXSWedu Panel: Social Media in Higher Ed – Where Are We Going? #smHE
#AdvTech at #nacada13…More Than Just a Hashtag!
#AcWriMo In Review: My Output
#AcWriMo & Accountability to Write
#AcWriMo Peer Pressure: Time, Challenge/Support & Cheerleaders
My #AcWriMo Goals for November
I’m “On the [Job] Market”: The Application Process
Passing the Torch: Leadership Transition in Our Professional Organizations
The Vitae: Brewing Academic Experience for Your CV
Social Media

Digital Clean Up: Social Media Audit & How Not to Be Hacked

As a digital ethnographer and networked researcher, I tend to play in different social (media) spaces. I typically try out new websites and platforms that I hear about from other scholars, practitioners, and researchers. Most of you know I can be found in a few key social media spaces (I’m looking at you Twitter, WordPress, SlideShare & Flickr); however I do use a number of other social platforms to collect, archive, research, collaborate, and write.

2013.04.04_Cleanup_DataImage from responsys.com

Over the past week, I started conducting my own social media audit for what I use and how it’s being used. Part of this is process is to keep track of files and resources, and also think about what I’m sharing and using online. In being purposeful with social media and my web tools, I wanted to see what I am using or not using. Recently I have been cleaning up a few of my digital spaces, to take inventory and assess how I’m using these spaces personally and professionally.

For example, I updated a title on a LinkedIn employment role by adding “Graduate Student” to my Research Affiliate position for the Center for Knowledge Solutions (which I have been contributing for the last couple of years), and I received a number of “congratulations” for the “new” job:

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 11.47.33 AMThen I discovered my name had changed on my Delicious account. I use this account to archive my tweets & tags for what I share on Twitter, so I was surprised to find my new found love for “fun and enjoy with my friends” while advertising mature dating single websites:

Delicious HackThis was quickly fixed within hours thanks to the Delicious Team, and I’m back to my normal nerdy self on this social bookmarking website:

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 9.03.00 PM

This incident reminded me it was time to review my social media spaces to see what I use and what I need to lose. It is easy to take advantage websites like JustDelete.me to kill off your pages; however I wanted to take stock of what I am using and document how I am using it. To assess my digital footprint and identity, I started my own social media audit spreadsheet o’ fun with the following columns:

  • URL for the profile
  • recordupdate passwords
  • review account settings (privacy)
  • date activated
  • date terminated (if deleted or archived)
  • verify information is correct
  • update bio, picture, etc.
  • review platform access & connections
  • assess unused or less accessed social media spaces to delete
  • identify how these social media platforms are being utilized

Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 12.50.53 PM

Have you conducted your own social media audit lately? If so, how have you review and cleaned up your online accounts on your various social media platforms? How do you keep track of what social media spaces you use? Please share any tips & tricks. Thanks!

#phdchat, PhD, Reflections

The PhD: Troubles Talk… and Moan… and So On

As a PhD candidate, I am trying to be more cognizant  with my response when asked the following (common) questions:

  • “How’s your dissertation going?”
  • “When are you going to finish your PhD ?”
  • “Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in ages…”

phdFor those who are also “dissertating” like me, you understand how easy it is to offer a roll of the eyes, smile/nod combo, and “just great” to friends and family. When talking to fellow PhD candidates and scholarly researchers, we seem to be more open to dig right in to slag the our dragging timelines, cry about our progress, complain about our faculty support, identify dissertation distractions, and, of course, whine about the TIME we used or didn’t use productively.

I recently read an article by Dr. Inger Mewburn (a.k.a. The @ThesisWhisperer), who discussed such “troubling talk” among PhD candidates. Often it is the talk of troubles that brings PhD scholars together to form communities  of practice, like a learning network and/or support group. There has been a large growth in online blogging, tweeting, slidesharing, podcasting, and more from PhD and early career researchers. There’s an active online community that supports personal/professional development and sharing of resources.

One section in particular interested me as Inger shared her own experience with the transition from student to professional academic. Specifically Mewburn (2011) discusses how there is evidence for doctoral researchers who interact with one another often whine and encouraged this type of struggle storytelling with others, even if they were not having any challenges. In recounting experiences of PhD gatherings and discussion over lunch, Inger identifies with the camaraderie of a shared PhD struggle:

 “The recognition that others were struggling too certainly made me feel better, but at the same time my own role in the talk was strangely discomforting. I realised I was amplifying my writing trouble, making it into a ‘war story’  in order to make it amusing and interesting to others. I wondered: was my performance of an   ‘inept student’  in the kitchen a form of PhD student identity work? By talking about being ‘in trouble’ with my writing, I was positioning myself as ‘one of us’  (a student) and not ‘one of them’  (a professional academic)  which was closer to my lived experience. I began to wonder: did my fellow PhD students ever deliberately perform ‘non competence’  too? It’ s likely that many of them experienced good writing days, but I rarely, if ever, heard about them in the lunch room” (Mewburn, 2011, p. 322).

Which brings me to my own experiences, and thoughts about my PhD progress. Do I keep quiet or join in with the slagging if I am around others who are complaining about the struggle? Do I try to down play my advances in writing and publications with other grad students? Have I told any “war story” to entertain my peers, rather than the reality of my own research progress? It is easy to fall into this, especially when there are funny xckd.com images or brilliant PhDComics.com cartoons. Just posting something like this to get a like, RT, or share from others in my PhD community is commonplace with those of us who claim #GradStudentProblems:

grad student motivation graph

A number of blogs, such as The Thesis WhispererPhD Talk, and PhD2Published; and Twitter hashtag communities, like #phdchat#gradchat, and the @GradHacker community of bloggers/Tweeters, have actually been quite helpful for my PhD progress.  I appreciate theses online communities for sharing ideas, talking about writing resources, offering advice, and linking to research methodology. When thinking about my own approach to “catching up” with my social networks (online and in person), I’ll be sure to not just moan about things. Although I do value my online networks, there’s nothing better than having a bit of a chat with other doctoral students/candidates or researchers when we get a chance to meet up and socialize.

Let’s not just use these social moments to be A.B.M. (always be moaning). As PhD candidates, our lives aren’t THAT bad. We were selected to study and research in a field or discipline we want, and really if it’s not your cup of tea … then maybe it’s time for a change anyways. Much of our PhD negative self-talk or even group-think can stifle research and writing momentum. Sure – there’s going to be issues and challenges; however we need to celebrate the small victories along the way. I know we have more productive and interesting things to talk about when we get together (online or in person), so let’s collectively encourage, motivate, and positively influence each other with our research progress. We CAN do it!

Reference:

Mewburn, I. (2011). Troubling talk: Assembling the PhD candidate. Studies in Continuing Education, 33(3), 321-332.

#AcWri, #AcWriMo, Dissertation

#AcWriMo In Review: My Output

Many things come to an end as the month of November closes. See you later Thanksgiving, Fall 2013 semester, #Movember, and Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo). (Actually – it’s more of a see you soon, really.) Officially, the month of November is dedicated to #AcWriMo; however a number of graduate students (including yours truly) used this past month to complete a good chunk of their dissertation to loose this moniker:

Why my weekends are filled with literature reviews, data collection & #acwri sessions... #acwrimo

Review of My November #AcWriMo Goals… and my Lessons Learned:

  1. Complete my doctoral dissertation proposal so that it is ready to DEFEND to my committee.  Almost there. I did get a good chunk of writing accomplished at the UNT Dissertation Boot Camp – so this helped #acwrimo my progress. Although drafted, my dissertation proposal is not ready to defend yet. In working on a new application for methodology for social science, I want to meet with a couple faculty members on campus to hash out specifics and needs for Chapter 3 (Methodology) and test some of this during the month of December. It looks like a January 2014 date is more realistic for my dissertation proposal defense. I’m okay with this – because once this proposal is approved then Chapters 1, 2, and 3 for my dissertation are DONE!

Lesson Learned: Dedicate the time for the dissertation. As a doctoral candidate you need to be selfish with your writing time. Since this is large project, you need to chunk out your research and writing time that is supported by realistic short- and long-term goals.

  1. Finish “Technology in Advising for Higher Education” manuscript to submit to the NACADA Journal. Since I started #AcWriMo a day later, I used December 1st to work on the #AdvTech research findings and drafting of this manuscript. I am not sure why this project was put on a back burner, but I definitely need to move forward and submit this in December 2013 for Spring 2014 publication eligibility. This goal is not complete, but I will plan on sharing it with my co-authors before the week is out so we can submit to the journal editors for review.

Lesson Learned: Finish your #acwri projects before taking others on. Sure the promise of more research and writing might be enticing, but how productive will you be on your own or with a collaborative writing team if you are not finishing your manuscripts and publishing them? Always be submitting.

  1. #iConf14 Social Media Expo – paper & video for conference. After a lunch brainstorm session with Andrew Miller (@findandrew) and @FiachraM last week, I found the momentum to draft the abstract for the #iConf14 proposal.  Although not submitted (just yet), the abstract is being wrapped up and edited this evening. The final video will be compiled tomorrow evening; however our team Dropbox is filled with photos and images, with Andrew to capture video tomorrow.

Lesson Learned: Innovative ideas come from interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving. Research that is participatory and collaborative drives my writing and efforts. Also, when you experience #acwri well with other scholars, be sure to include these researchers as conspirators for your common research interests and projects.

  1. Complete a minimum of 2 blog posts per week – on writing progress and projects. Done. Whether I was reading, researching, or writing – I was able to share what I was working on with my blog readers, and provide on-going updates about my #acwrimo progress.

Lesson Learned: Stating goals out loud and adding social pressure is great, but reflection and sharing always helps me to process ideas more. Although my “official” month of #acwrimo accountability is over, I am fortunate to have my blog to share and write about my research progress, dissertation progress, teaching methods, and more.

Overall…

This month of academic writing has been very productive for me. In looking at my contribution to the #AcWriMo Accountability in the Spreadsheet o’ Fun you can see I logged at least 35, 097 words, and have been dedicated to the daily habit of writing. It is not so much the word count, but really the completed projects, which are finished and not taking up real estate in my research/writing space. I am taking the #acwrimo lessons learned with me by continuing this #acwrimo habit in December by setting specific project goals, carving out dedicated writing time, and reflecting my progress via my blog.

How did #AcWriMo in November go for you? What have you learned from this academic writing month? Post a comment to share, or respond to this #AcWriMo Questionnaire (not mine).