PhD

Thriving… Not Just Surviving in Your Ph.D.

Today is the start of the UNT Learning Technologies (#untLT) Doctoral Fall Writing Boot Camp (October 17-18, 2014). This program has been developed by our department to support our doctoral researchers in their dissertation progress. Currently a number of doctoral researchers are writing and working in the LT Agora with snacks, support, and relevant available resources.

DocStudents

I am looking forward to joining the “Doctoral Campaign Strategy Meeting” tonight on a panel this evening with our faculty, including Drs. Cox, Ennis-Cole, Knezek, Tyler-Wood, and J. Wircenski. (Drs. Allen and Warren will participate remotely if they are able). This Q & A session will provide some advice and give some ideas for not only how to “survive” but also thrive in doctoral research regardless of the phase.

This presentation is a remix of @drjeffallen ‘s wisdom/advice

I like to use the phrase thrive not survive, to for the doctoral process. There are a number  a number of supportive strategies and ideas to get to the PhD finish line, including:

  • Making a habit of WRITING & scheduling only #ShutUpAndWrite session
  • Social, emotional & mental support
  • Identifying champions in your department, on campus & in your discipline
  • Outlining the major professor-advisee working relationship – needs & expectations
  • Using the advice of your committee wisely
  • Organizing your research materials & literature review effectively
  • Mapping out your data collection process
  • Attending to your personal-wellness & well-being
  • Connecting to a cohort of scholars in your personal learning network
  • Giving up something, to get something to finish your dissertation
  • Understanding how you work best
  • Consulting & using the resources available
  • Focusing your efforts wisely

Want to learn more? I will be sure to post notes and advice from our panel of professors and doctoral researchers who attend. What is YOUR advice on how to THRIVE in a doctoral program and through the dissertation process? Please share!

UPDATE (post-panel):

Doctoral Strategy Panel - Group Photo

From left to right: Drs. Cox, Ennis-Cole, Knezek, Pasquini, Tyler-Wood, and Wircenski.

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PhD, Reflections

#Dissertation Thanks and Acknowledgement for my PhD Journey

“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

~ Etienne Wenger

My doctoral dissertation research is dedicated to all the members of my personal learning network and communities of practice, who connect, inspire, collaborate, interact, challenge, and share with me personally and professionally. I am thankful for your passion.

Here are a few slides from my final dissertation defense from Thursday, June 12, 2014. Some slides have been removed to prepare for journal publications, and I promise that more will be shared on this blog or here:  http://socialmediaguidance.wordpress.com/

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to acknowledge the support and encouragement I received during my doctoral research. I am incredibly grateful for those of you who stood by to support me along the way. Thank you for helping me during my PhD journey.

Fiachra

My husband: Fiachra Eamon Liam Moynihan – I am truly grateful for your love, support, and patience. Without you, I would not have been able to thrive in my doctoral program or balance my research with everything else. Thanks for joining me in this scholarly adventure – I could not accomplish this feat without you by my side.

Thank You Dissertation Committee

To my  doctoral dissertation committee:  Dr. Jeff Allen, Dr. Nick Evangelopoulos, Dr. Kim Nimon,  and Dr. Mark Davis.  I appreciate the support during my dissertation research, and general advice you provided about academic writing, publishing, career development, and life on the tenure track. I look forward to our continued collaboration in publishing, research, and more.

Mi Familia

My family: My parents, Michael and Coleen Pasquini, and my siblings Mark and Katie. You were the first community that encouraged me find my passion in learning. For this, I thank you.

PLN

My friends: A sincere THANK YOU to my friends near and far. I am honored to have an eclectic support network to challenge and check in on me. A heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you who provided support, inspiration, mentoring, peer pressure, and motivation along the way. Shout out to: #untLT, #AcAdv, #PhDchat, #EdTech, #HigherEd, #SAchat,  and other communities and/or hashtags we created along the way.

OEM

My colleagues: Thank you to the fantastic team I have been fortunate to work with over the years at the Office for Exploring Majors in Undergraduate Studies at UNT. Although this division no longer exists, you all will hold a special place in my heart.

Thank You!
Image c/o Flickr member Chris Piascik
#phdchat, PhD

My #Dissertation Defense

This Thursday two epic events kick off:

  1. The 2014 World Cup (3 pm CT)
  2. My FINAL Dissertation Defense (2:30 pm CT)

Conveniently, I found this @PhDComics cartoon (circa 2010) shared in my network:

World cup soccer and PhD

c/o PhD Comics: World Cup vs. PhD

Here is my dissertation title and abstract:

Pasquini, Laura A. Organizational Identity and Community Values: Determining Meaning in Post-Secondary Education Social Media Guideline and Policy Documents. Dissertation Abstract, Doctor of Philosophy (Applied Technology and Performance Improvement), August 2014.

With the increasing use of social media by students, researchers, administrative staff, and faculty in post-secondary education (PSE), a number of institutions have developed guideline and policy documents to set standards for use. Social media platforms and applications have the potential to increase communication channels, support learning, enhance scholarship, and encourage community engagement in higher education. As social media implementation and administration has developed in the PSE sector, there has been minimal assessment of the substance of social media guideline and policy documents (McNeil, 2012).

The first objective of this research study was to examine an accessible, online database (corpus) comprised of 24, 243 atomic social media guideline and policy text documents from 250 PSE institutions representing 10 countries to identify central attributes. To determine text meaning from topic extraction, a rotated latent semantic analysis (rLSA) method was applied (Evangelopoulos & Polyakov, 2014). The second objective of this investigation was to determine if the distribution of topics analyze in the corpus differ by PSE institution geographic location. To analyze the diverging topics, the researcher utilized an iterative consensus-building algorithm (Winson-Geideman & Evangelopoulos, 2013).

Through the maximum term frequencies, LSA determined a rotated 36-factor solution that identified common attributes and topics shared among the 24,243 social media guideline and policy atomic documents. This initial finding produced a list of 36 universal topics discussed in social media guidelines and policies across all 250 PSE institutions from 10 countries. Continually, the applied chi-squared tests, that measured expected and observed document term counts, identified distribution differences for the content related factors between US and Non-US PSE institutions.

This investigation offered a concrete analysis for unstructured text data dealing with of social media guidance. This resulted in a comprehensive list of recommendations for developing social media guidelines and policies, and a database of social media guideline and policy documents for the PSE sector and other related organizations that guide social media use and implementation.

Additionally, this research stimulated important theoretical development for how organizations socially construct a semantic structure within a community of practice (Wenger, 1998). By assessing the community of practice, comprised of PSE 250 institutions that direct social media use, a corpus of documents created unstructured data to evaluate the community. The spontaneous participation and reification process of the social media guideline and policy document database reaffirmed that a corpus-creating community of practice can instinctively form a knowledge-sharing organization that provides meaning, values, and identity. These findings should stimulate further research contributions, and provide practitioners and scholars with tools to measure, understand, and assess semantic space for artifacts developed within a community of practice in other industries, organizations, or distributed associations.

 

My doctoral dissertation committee from the University of North Texas:

Co-Major Professors:

  • Dr. Jeff M. Allen – Department of Learning Technologies, College of Information
  • Dr. Nicholas Evangelopoulos – Department of Information Technology & Decision Sciences, College of Business

Committee Member:

  • Dr. Kim Nimon – Department of Learning Technologies, College of Information

Minor Professor:

  • Dr. Mark Davis – Department of Management, College of Business

Updates to my dissertation research methods, social media guideline and policy document database, and more can be found on my dissertation website:

http://socialmediaguidance.wordpress.com/

If you are interested in attending my dissertation defense, my meeting is scheduled:

Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm at Discovery Park, Department of Learning Technologies (Room G150)

Side note: I really hope a certain football fan I know attends my defense. I am sorry these two events were timed so close together. 🙂

References

McNeill, T. (2012). ‘‘Don’t affect the share price’’: social media policy in higher education as reputation management. Research in Learning Technology, 20.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Winson-Geideman, K., & Evangelopoulos, N. (2013). Topics in Real Estate Research, 1973-2010: A Latent Semantic Analysis. Journal of Real Estate Literature21(1), 59-76.

Evangelopoulos, N., & Polyakov, S. (2014). Indexing with rotated latent semantic dimensions. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Social Media, Uncategorized

Universities want broader regulation of their communities’ social media

 

Just in time for my dissertation deadline, Fortune published this piece on their blog on May 22, 2014:
Featured Image -- 2988

Fortune

FORTUNE — Conventional wisdom underscores the importance of being careful about posting those Facebook photos of a night out or a tweet that an employer might find distasteful. News reports about people losing their jobs because of social media are cliché. But up until the last few years, specific regulations have been lax and specific guidelines few and far between.

But what happens when a university explicitly sets out guidelines for your Twitter, Facebook and other online activity? New York University is doing just that, and the act has prompted concern among some faculty members at the elite institution. If accepted in a final round of reviews, this could have wider implications for misuses of social media and other electronic communications both in the workplace and at school.

The policy’s aim, which is based in part on similar guidelines at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, is to promote “awareness…

View original post 651 more words

#phdchat, Dissertation

Dissertation Boot Camp, Part II

Last week I attended my second Eagle Dissertation Boot Camp. This was a three-day #ShutUpAndWrite session created for UNT graduate students to help us focus our time on our thesis/dissertation projects. My first Eagle Boot Camp was successful as I crafted a great chunk of my dissertation proposal and successfully defended said document in February.

#UNT Dissertation Boot Camp

My data analysis is complete, so my primary objective for this boot camp was to write up and explain the findings (Chapter 4). So, I am happy to report this chapter is almost complete with 28 new pages (which includes some large data graphs). I also spent the time reviewing edits and updates made to Chapter 1, 2 & 3 (my proposal). As many of my doctoral researching friends know — it’s not the page number — you write until you’re finished explaining your research.

 

I signed up for another boot camp because I enjoy the dedicated space, time, and peer support of these writing groups. Although my morning writing in solitary has been going well, I did appreciate a solid three days of concentration on my dissertation without disruption (texts, emails, etc). During the boot camp I also scheduled a few meetings with my major professor (Dr. Allen) and had a productive meeting with my new my co-chair (Dr. Evangelopoulos) and Dr. A. to review the scope of what I am reporting on for my dissertation. We had a great talk day #1 to review my data analysis, timeline for writing, and inclusions for my dissertation. I am thankful for the time and feedback each advisor has given me over the past few months.

 

Just like training for a marathon, it is critical to map out a realistic and effective training schedule. In this case, my training  = writing, reviewing, and editing. In planning for August graduation, I have to hit a few upcoming dates set by our graduate school, so my final dissertation defense date is on the near horizon.

DEFENSEphd040914s

Photo c/o @PhDComics “Defending My Thesis

Dissertation Timeline

Date Task
Toulouse Graduate School Dissertation Boot camp:

Chapter 4: Data analysis review; Drafting updated analysis and findings from data productions

4/20/14-4/28/14 Chapter 5: Drafting concluding chapter discussions, social media guidelines & policy development, further research, etc.
4/28/14-5/5/14 Consult with Faculty advisors and dissertation committee to get feedback on first draft (as needed)

 

5/6/14 Final dissertation paper and PowerPoint ready – Mock defense with Dr. A & Dr. E
5/6/14-5/12/14 Review comments & feedback from Co-Major Professors; make edits or additions based on feedback

Consult with dissertation committee members as needed

5/12/14-5/20/14 Send to external editor: final edit and polish
5/20/14-5/27/14 Review edits and comments from editor on dissertation paper; adjust as needed
Clean up and prep final defense PPT
5/28/14 Send FINAL DISSERTATION to committee; officially schedule defense date for June 12, 2014
5/28/14-6/11/14 Edit presentation slide deck, meet with faculty advisors; meet with committee members to review/allow for questions
6/12/14 Dissertation Defense
6/27/14 All paperwork due to Toulouse Graduate School & FINAL COPY of dissertation sent to the Grad School Reader

It’s go time. Back to my “training” — write on, my PhD friends. Write on!

#phdchat, PhD, Reflections

Defending My Dissertation Proposal

Well there you have it. I successfully defended my dissertation proposal to my faculty committee on Tuesday. My proposal represents Chapters 1, 2, & 3 of my dissertation.

This slide deck might give you some insight, but probably not enough to cover my 89-page proposal. Really, this was just a visual to talk about my research plan. From this meeting, I have some helpful notes, comments, and questions to answer before moving forward with my data analysis. After I clean a few things up, I will be sure to detail more about my these chapters, specifically the literature review and research methods.

20140225_104145

Our department also invites other researchers, including students, faculty and visiting scholars, to our dissertation proposal and final dissertation defenses. This open forum style provides other doctoral researchers with ideas and examples for their own research and defense. I have attended a few proposals (and final defenses) before presenting my own. These defenses are great learning opportunities to gain insight and ideas for the doctoral process. During this post defense meeting, I really do appreciate the SUPPORT and FEEDBACK given by my scholarly peers (near and far). Thank you all!

Although it is not the end (just one FINAL defense left), my faculty advisor told me to celebrate. Take heed of important milestones. It is important to recognize steps throughout the doctoral experience since it is a long journey. I am not finished; however my dissertation proposal lays the ground work for Chapter 4: Results and Chapter 5: Discussion, a.k.a. my contract to freedom and to finish my PhD. It’s go time.

#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…”

phd

For 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.