#AcWri, #AcWriMo, #AcWriSummer, #HEdigID, Higher Education, highered

#HEdigID Chat No. 5: Renew, Refresh, Reboot, Restart Your Academic Writing with Janet Salmons (@einterview) #AcWri

Hello Summer! This year, I am committing to my own projects, design, developments, and ACADEMIC WRITING (#AcWri)! That’s right. I’ve opted to NOT instruct any courses during the summer term. This is a first since I started my faculty career (Fall 2014). This is also an intentional choice. Things are building up and projects need to be completed. I decided this summer will be dedicated to completing ALL THE THINGS! This includes research projects in-progress (data collection, cleaning, coding, and analysis) and getting these to the right publication outlets and avenues.

So based on these goals and writing objectives, I’m thrilled to kick off this summer with a timely Higher Ed Digital Identity (#HEdigID) Chat:

#HEdigID Chat TOPIC: Renew, Refresh, Reboot, Restart Your Academic Writing

This Friday, June 8th the #HEdigID chat will be moderated (MOD) by Janet Salmons (@einterview) to sort out these forgotten or neglected academic writing (#AcWri) projects. This ALL DAY conversation will be hosted on Twitter with the hashtag: #HEdigID and via this OPEN Google doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid5

Do you have goals to get working on a writing project this summer? Are you changing your career goals, and this requires getting a few publications out the door? OR, if you have a writing project you’ve pushed to the side or you have neglected — then this #HEdigID chat is FOR YOU (and me).

“Academic writing includes more moving parts than other types, meaning we have more excuses for setting aside an unfinished piece of work.” ~ Janet Salmons

With a number of things to consider (e.g. updates to your literature review, methods for analysis, or even outlets to publish), you might just need this #HEdigID chat to get you to return to your own writing piece. Whether you are feeling excited or overwhelmed with your own academic writing, come join the online discussion to share what YOU hope to accomplish for your summer writing goals.

Here are the QUESTIONS you will see appear on Twitter and in the Google doc for your responses TODAY (June 8th) for this #HEdigID ALL-DAY digital chat:

  1. Please introduce yourself. Feel free to include: Where are you located? Where you work and/or your role? What you’re writing and working on these days? AND/OR Tell us your favorite place to write! #AcWri #AcWriChat
  2. Tell us about a writing project that you have left behind, let go, or let die. How long ago? What got in the way or prevented you from finishing this #AcWri project?
  3. Describe what kind of writing project are you trying to revive. What is this #AcWri project? Thesis/dissertation? Article? Chapter or book? Report or other professional writing? Please share!
  4. Is it time to revive this writing project? Reflect on your #AcWri purpose, in the context of your goals, do they match? E.g. Should this journal article now be a white paper report and/or blog post? Have you thought differently about a book chapter or book idea format?
  5. Let’s talk about updating this writing project: Is your literature review AND/OR your data out of date? What writing tasks, obstacles, and research will you need to work on to UPDATE this #AcWri piece?
  6. Does your writing PRACTICE or TOOLS need some updating to help you be productive with your project? What areas of writing practice support do you need? What #AcWri suggestions do you have for writers to be effective with their writing process?How will you commit to rebooting this academic writing project? What strategies and ideas do you have to be accountable to this #AcWri plan? Please share SUGGESTIONS and IDEAS for staying on track with this writing project revival!
  7. Final Thought (FT): What is one new SPARK or REASON you are inspired you to return to this academic writing project? What will drive you to prioritize this #AcWri project and commit to finishing it this time?

Converse with us? Join in discuss these questions and more! How to participate:

  • Tweet your response with the hashtag: #HEdigID

  • Share more in this Google Doc: http://bit.ly/hedigid5

  • Use these questions to draft your own personal reflection and response (e.g. blog post, video, audio, drawing or offline discussion)

  • Lurk and learn!

 

Update June 12, 2018:

ARCHIVE of the Tweets from this #HEdigID Chat

Follow-up blog post from the #HEdigID MOD, @einterivew: Keeping Writing Projects Alive

#AcWri, #AcWriMo

Developing Writing Habits with #AcWriMo

Woah. It’s December 9th … where did the time go? It feels just like yesterday that I logged in to post my November #AcWriMo goals.

writing block

Here’s me reporting back after the month (Note: this month was extended as I took a bit of a hiatus over American Thanksgiving & #Friendsgiving) on my #AcWriMo GOAL(S):

1. Finish manuscripts in progress for journal submissions:
(a) ICS-Shared resources in CoP
(b) ER – Remedies for learners in MOOCs
(c) Cdn institutions use of Twitter
(d) IHE – social media governance
2. Edit and submit final version of NDSS chapter
3. Complete a draft of the full article for #edusocmedia SOTL systematic lit review publication.
4.  Draft of #advtech data & article on NACADA Clearinghouse/figshare.
5. Research methods & IRB for formal mentoring research project.
6. Outline article for peer review in MOOCs
7. #FashioningCircuits – data for another manuscript outside book chapter

Not bad, eh? Who knew that I just need to hone into #AcWriMo Rule No. 3:

Draft a writing strategy. Plan how to accomplish your goals. Organize your schedule for your uninterrupted #ShutUpAndWrite time. PLAN TO WRITE IN ADVANCE!

It’s SO true. If you don’t plan to write, you won’t actually write. Here was my overall strategy and plan for the month:

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To make sure it happened, here are the strategic ways I ensured enough time to write:

  • Write EVERY day. This is hard. You are not always motivated to #AcWri every day — but it really helps you build a writing habit (21 days, right?). I am sure there are other items you can work on to fill the writing time, e.g. editing a manuscript, literature review search, organizing analysis, setting up project task lists, or organizing writing/research materials for your co-authors.
  • Determine the best time of day to write for you! For me, it was first thing in the morning between the hours of 6-10 am. These chunks of the day were for my “quiet writing” time. It could be late at night, or just after lunch. You decide.
  • Don’t check _______ before you start writing. For me the blank included e-mail, text messages, mobile, calendar invites, Twitter, RSS feeds, Facebook streams or news. I went right to the #acwri project that was up for that morning.
  • Block #ShutUpAndWrite time on your calendar (personal and work). Make it for 1 to 3 hours. Make appointments with yourself to write and KEEP THEM. I do this to reserve time on my calendar. This is a meeting for your writing productivity. (I do this with running & yoga as well — also very important appointments I keep).
  • Be an #AcWri Project Manager. Break your writing projects into smaller tasks. This will allow you to check off pieces of your writing, and motivate you as you make progress through your #acwri and research “to do” lists. (Bonus: Need a visual? Put it on a whiteboard in your office or remind yourself on your browser tabs – thanks Momentumdash!]
  • Log Your Time. This can be in your calendar notes, in a journal, or even an excel document — just to note the time in and out of writing. This helps to track when you were most productive, and what you worked on over the past week or month. If you need peer pressure, you could continue to log it here: #AcWriMo PUBLIC Accountability spreadsheet
  • Take A Day (or Two) Off. If you were VERY productive earlier in the week, it’s okay to break from the #acwri habit. Don’t burn yourself out from the writing flow. Or maybe come back to it later in the day if you’re not feeling it. #TreatYoSelf

The good news is I am still making progress on the #acwri goals not crossed off the list from November (and then some). Now that I’m armed with my #acwri plan, I will keep this writing pattern going strong for the winter break. With  ALL THE GRADING complete, nothing can stop me now. [Well perhaps a beach holiday might for a while, but I’m just adhering to #AcWriMo Rule No. 5]. Write on!

#AcWri, #AcWriMo

Learn to Write Badly #AcWriMo

In my writing process of jumping into #AcWriMo for November, I also decided to add reading to my writing goals. I have a number of books on academic writing I’ve acquired, so why not read more about said things to gain motivation, inspiration, and ideas for my writing process. As I’m personally extending my November #AcWriMo through this weekend (because American Thanksgiving interrupted my workflow, and perhaps some other fun things), I thought I would share some words of wisdom from Michael Billig’s book, Learn to Write Badly.

LTWBbook

I may have ordered this book based on the Times Higher Education review or comments from @ThomsonPat‘s blog post — either way it was not fully read until this month. I spent some time away from the screen to visit my parents in Florida and also to get ideas about my own writing practice. This was one of the books I packed and picked up again. A few comments stood out from these posts, which I agreed and wanted to read more about:

  • Academe is part of a wider world in which the use of highly technical, specialised language is endemic and possibly even necessary.” ~Times Higher Education
  • “…in writing in particular ways – doing pretty conventional social science in fact – we actually do poor research. When we turn actions into lofty abstractions, he suggests, we actually gloss over important ambiguities and difficulties and make it hard for readers to understand what has really happened, how or why.” ~ @ThomsonPat

As I agreed on both of these points, I thought — this read is for me. I will be honest. This books is not for all. There’s some historical context to academia that interested me; however there is also a delve into the discipline diatribe nature of certain social science arenas. This is not the fun “how to” light read you might be looking for; however it’s one academics comments and thoughts on how we research, write, and contribute to the cannon. If you’re into that, then you’ll enjoy this book.

A section of the book that stood out to me was in Chapter 2, where Billig discusses “Mass producing research” and the efforts academe puts into this process in higher education:

“Superficially all seems to be well in the academic world, for, along with the increasing student numbers, research is booming as never before and, as we shall see, never have academics been publishing so much. This is an age where research, across all disciplines, is being mass produced. Of course, with more academics working in higher education, one might predict an increase in research and academic publications. However, the books in research is far too big to be accounted for simply by the increase in the number of academics. The job of many academics has changed so that they are now expected to publish as well as teach” (Billig, 2013, p. 19).

[As well as service: mentoring, advising, career development, coaching, program development, course design, and then some.]

Just because there is more research or a “massification” in academic publications — it does not mean it is good. If you have had the chance to do a systematic literature review and citation analysis lately in your field or specific research area — you will soon discover a bunch of okay research gets published. Multiple times. Sometimes the same research, almost written the SAME WAY… just with different titles [I kid you not, and will dig into this topic in a later blog post].

This book had some serious slagging for how social scientists write and perpetuate a particular writing style, paired with a number of interesting historical and discipline specific references. For all academic writers, I think Billing’s (2013, pp. 212-215) recommendations offered in the final chapter provides helpful suggestions for our academic writing practice:

  1. We should try to use simple language and avoid technical terms as much as possible. We should not assume that technical terms are clearer and more precise than the ordinary ones…” – Keep it simple. Could you explain your research to anyone outside your field? Then do it in your manuscripts.
  2. “Try to reduce the number of passive sentences in your writing.” Say what you mean in present terms. Own it. The active voice should be the default voice as your sentences will contain more information and connect with your readers. Build this habit in your writing.
  3. “We should try to write clausally rather than nominally… I would like to see a greater proportion of them [technical terms] as other parts of speech besides nouns.” i.e. we need to express ourselves in clauses with active verbs. Be less passive in how we write (see #2).
  4. “Treat all these recommendations as either guidelines or aspirations, but not as a rigid rules.” You need to know the rules to break the rules of writing. I may have this rule for most things in life. Understanding more of the rules to guide how you draft your publications.
  5. “As social scientists, we should aim to populate our tests – to write about people rather than things.” The goal for this suggestion is to describe and write about what people think, do, feel, etc. How do your research findings actually impact the world around you? What does this mean for your discipline, field, or society?

Reference

Billing, M. (2013). Learn to write badly: How to succeed in the social sciences. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

#AcWri, #AcWriMo

Accountability for Writing with #AcWriMo

Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) is a month-long academic write-a-thon that happens every November. Are you in it, to win it? I am!

acwrimo-unsw

Thanks to @CharlotteFrost for setting up the 1st #AcWriMo in 2011 (she’s also the founder and director of @PhD2Published) to coordinate a collaborative peer effort around accountability for academic writing.  After the first #AcWriMo ended, many embraced the #AcWri hashtag to continue a the discussion & discourse around academic writing (Follow: @AcWri). The PhD2Published blog shares ideas and inspiration for #AcWriMo – to follow these tips via the blog, follow the Twitter account, or “like” the Facebook page.

I’ve done #acwrimo in the past during my dissertating phase, so I know it works. This is a great peer community to help keep writing in check and supports my #acwri progress. This year I’ve set my #AcWriMo goals for November to wrap up a few writing and research projects. My priority is the green list, as these are active manuscripts in progress and need to be submitted before the month’s end. Then I’ll move right to publications in development, and future research ideas to tease out. Ask me how it goes this month – PLEASE!

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Good news. As of day 3, I am already finished with green list #1 – first draft of this manuscript is being edited and sent to the editors before the week is done. I have also made some progress on the Research I.P. for the IRB application and Research design on mentoring thanks to a meeting with collaborators this evening.

It might be day 3, but it’s NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN IN the #AcWriMo 2015 challenge => here are the 6 basic rules from the @PhD2Published blog:

  1. Set your writing goal(s) & plan. This can be in words, hours, or end products. You decide. (Check out the PhDometer app or 750 Words site to help you measure!)
  2. Make it public. Make it known. SIGN UP and let your goals & plan be known on the AcWriMo 2015 Sign-Up Form and then return to edit daily your progress. Peer pressure can do wonders! Check out WHO is participating from around the world on the #AcWriMo Map.
  3. Draft a writing strategy. Plan how to accomplish your goals. Organize your schedule for your uninterrupted #ShutUpAndWrite time. PLAN TO WRITE IN ADVANCE!
  4. Share your writing progress. Post it publically. Twiter, blog, Facebook, Instagram — share with the hashtag #AcWriMo how things are going AND track your daily progress on the community #AcWriMo PUBLIC Accountability spreadsheet.
  5. Keep the #AcWriMo-tivation going. Don’t slack off. Write like it matters. Push yourself to reach your goals — chunk out projects, writing sections, and manuscripts to GIT ‘R DUN!  December will be here sooner than you think…
  6. Declare your results. Update the spreadsheet or whatever space you are keeping track of your writing progress — then let the #AcWriMo community know about your writing results at the end of the month. It helps to share and be accountable in the open — it is also a chance to get support, cheers, and feedback along the way.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your academic writing ON! See you out there, #AcWriMo!

 

#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).

#AcWri, #AcWriMo, #phdchat, PhD

#AcWriMo Peer Pressure: Time, Challenge/Support & Cheerleaders

As many of you know, I signed up and successfully completed my first UNT Eagle Dissertation/Thesis Boot Camp over that past few days. What did I accomplish? (you might ask). Here is my summary, in a tweet:

The boot camp structure helped me find time, space (physically & mentally), and support to dedicate 3 FULL DAYS of just writing and research for my dissertation. Dr. Oppong and the Toulouse Graduate School provided the group of doctoral students with advice on the PhD process, motivation, meals, and, of course, COFFEE! Boot camp let me be selfish with my time and required me to just SHUT UP AND WRITE my dissertation.

Shut Up & Write #AcWriMo Start of Dissertation Boot Camp

During the camp, I purposefully unplugged from all social streams, e-mail, phone, etc. Unless you were my faculty advisor,  my friend Paeng from our COI research lab, or my partner-in-crime – you probably did not hear from me much.

Similar to #AcWriMo November 2013, this boot camp included goal setting and accountability with our writing progress. Here’s my self-evaluation from camp:
Boot camp sel-evaluation. #acwrimo #phdchat #latergram

My main purpose for this boot camp was to finish my dissertation proposal for my committee to review. Essentially the dissertation proposal consists of Chapter 1 (Summary), 2 (Literature Review) & 3 (Methodology) for my final dissertation. Want to learn more about this writing process? Check out SAGE’s new resource: Do You Understand What is Required in a Doctoral Dissertation or Thesis? [PDF]

I managed to get most of these beginning chapters drafted, and have them loosely reviewed by my faculty advisor. I also put my writing drafts into the official UNT Dissertation format, and identified areas I need to edit and add to. I plan on using December to meet with a few faculty members to review my research methodology (the recipe for research), and then I will work with my faculty advisor to set up a time for my dissertation committee gather for review in early 2014.

Overall, this boot camp was a great experience, and I am quite pleased with my progress. I think that agraphia groups and writing support programs are invaluable for doctoral students. Events like this offer peer pressure, social support, and, most importantly, TIME for writing. I would like to attend the next UNT boot camp in February to write up Chapter 4 (Data Collection, Analysis, & Findings) and Chapter 5 (Conclusions) in the Spring.

Thanks for the challenge & support from the following tweeps: #AcWriMo writersinstigator of research ideas, and especially those of you who cheered me on. Always be writing…

#AcWri, #AcWriMo, Dissertation

#AcWriMo Discipline: Dissertation Boot Camp Here I Come!

In honour of my #AcWriMo November Goal #1, I decided to apply to the UNT Eagle Dissertation Boot Camp that is happening this week (November 21-23). To date, my word count for the month is 19, 344; however I need to dedicate more of these words to my dissertation drafting.

BootCampGraphic

Image from UDaily post from University of Delaware.

After approval from my faculty advisor and support from my supervisor, I applied to this 3-day boot camp to SHUT UP AND WRITE.  I just received my official acceptance to the program from Dr. Joseph Oppong, the Associate Dean for Research and Professional Development in the Toulouse Graduate School:

 Dear Student,

Congratulations, you have been accepted to attend the Eagle Dissertation Boot Camp! It will be held in the Willis Library Forum (first floor area). The boot camp is designed to provide you 3 days of interruption-free, stress-free, no-excuses-just-do-it writing time for your dissertation. To help you prepare so that you optimize your output here are some packing tips.

Be sure to clear your calendar for the whole of the boot camp. You need to commit to attend the entire workshop. You will not be excused to teach or attend class. Arrange transportation and childcare so that you are free to attend each day.

This is your notice that you are enrolled in Boot Camp. If you cannot attend this session let me know immediately. If you cancel within 3 days of the event you will be considered a “no show” unless you situation truly is serious. If you “no show” you will not be allowed to participate in the next session and your advisor will be notified. We have limited funds, space, and resources and you must commit to coming or give your seat to someone else.

Please bring a laptop, a mug (coffee/tea available) and/or water bottle. If you don’t have a laptop, you can check one out from the Library, but, bring a flash drive to save your work. MP3 players and headphones are recommended if they help you concentrate, or if you find nearby conversations distracting. Work tables, lunch, and snacks are provided.

No lateness, please. It’s distracting for the other campers…

Here is the line up this week’s dissertation boot camp – so don’t expect a whole lot of tweets, email responses, social network posts,  or interaction from me as my Interwebs use will be limited from Thursday (11/21) morning onward:

Boot Camp Schedule

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
8:00-9:30 a.m. Formatting Workshop
9:30-10:00 a.m. Roll Call, Welcome, Introductions, Breakfast
10:00-11:30 a.m. Writing
11:30-12:00 p.m. Wellness Activity
12:00-1:30 p.m. Writing
1:30-2:00 p.m. Lunch
2:00-3:30 p.m. Writing
3:30-6:00 p.m. Optional Writing Time or Optional Individual Consulting
9:00-10:30 a.m. Writing
10:30-11:00 p.m. Wellness Activity
11:00-12:30 p.m. Writing
12:30-1:00 p.m. Lunch with Advisors
1:00-2:30 p.m. Writing
2:30-3:00 p.m. Self-Assessment and Discussion
3:00-6:00 p.m. Optional Writing Time or Optional Individual Consulting
9:00-10:30 a.m. Writing
10:30-11:00 a.m. Wellness Activity
11:00-12:30 p.m. Writing
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-3:00 p.m. Writing
3:00-6:00 p.m. Optional Writing Time or Optional Individual Consulting

Each day includes:

  • several blocks of writing time
  • scheduled, limited time for web-browsing
  • tip sheets
  • wellness breaks
  • a lunch conversation with fellow campers (box lunches provided)
  • space to continue writing in the afternoon (if interested)

The reason I applied, is to have specific time carved out and a dedicated space to move forward on my #AcWriMo goal #1. A number of things get in the way of my dissertation writing, including other writing projects, presentations, work items, and life. Also, as a student who wears “many hats” on campus and outside my job, I can sometimes find it challenging to pick up where I have left off, and my motivation to just write is fragmented with other responsibilities. I think this dedicated writing schedule will push me further along with my dissertation goals.

I will report back in after “camp” is over. Write on, my friends. Write on.