#AcWri, #AcWriMo

My #AcWriMo Goals for November

acwrimo1-01

Happy Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo)! November IS #AcWriMo… however as a student every month is #acwrimo… BUT in an effort move forward on a few writing deadlines and projects I thought this accountability would change my typical “creative process.”

The Creative Process

#AcWriMo main features include:

  • Setting academic writing goals
  • Writing down said goals & tracking (see the AcWriMo 2013 Writing Accountability Spreadsheet) collectively
  • Strategy sharing for #AcWri
  • Sharing my progress (will be weekly for me)
  • WRITE!!!! (most important)
  • Show results (see spreadsheet & future blog posts)

I have participated in this #acwrimo in the past, and I thought that this type of peer/social pressure was very productive. I liked the idea of declaring goals, being accountable and tracking my writing progress in chunks. I also think that this will be a very useful practice to step up my word count and complete writing projects that need to be completed.

My #AcWriMo Goals for November:

  1.  Complete my doctoral dissertation proposal so that it is ready to DEFEND to my committee.
  2. Finish Technology in Advising for Higher Education manuscript to submit to the NACADA Journal.
  3. #iConf14 Social Media Expo – paper & video for conference.
  4. Complete a minimum of 2 blog posts per week – on writing progress and projects.

Here is how I plan on achieving these goals:

  1. Write for a minimum of two 60 minute time blocks per day.
  2. Have a total of 750 words per day written.
  3. Logging my projects, words written, and more to the #acwrimo accountability spreadsheet.
  4. My Tweeps & other social networks can call me out and inquire at ANY time to see how I’m doing.

Are you going to JOIN IN THE #AcWriMo FUN? You should!

#phdchat

The Dissertation Proposal. #phdchat

For those of you who are not aware, I’ve been grinding away at my dissertation proposal the last couple of months. This (as I am told) is 80% of the work towards the final dissertation product. The plan is to complete and defend this piece of literature prior to March 28, 2014 (so that I can graduate and be finished in May 2014 – YAY!). For my specific doctoral degree program, the faculty in the Department of Learning Technologies provided their doctoral candidates with a rubric to guide the dissertation proposal process. Here it is:

I thought I would share a couple of key pieces of advice I have found to be quite valuable so far in the “proposing” stage from Appendix A: The Dissertation (Gray & Drew, 2008):

#163: PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO WRITING YOUR DISSERTATION PROPOSAL. The proposal provides two important payoffs:

  1. It usually provides one or more chapters of your end product, the dissertation.
  2. It is a contract between you and your advisory committee on what you must do to receive the degree. In general, if you do what you promise in the proposal, the committee should sign the final document. If, because of circumstances, you cannot accomplish all you set out to do, you have the basis for negotiation.

#166: IN DOING A LITERATURE SEARCH, use the “chain of references.” Begin with one or two recent articles (a survey article helps!). Look at the references that are cited. Then read those publications that seem apropos and look at their reference lists. Some things will pop out often. These are usually (but not invariably) the classics in the field that you must reference. Proceed from reference to references until the law of diminishing returns takes over.

Lessons to Learn #phdchat

In Gray and Drew’s (2012) 2.0 version of this same advice book for graduate students, they include a whole chapter on The Dissertation. There are a few useful tidbits for those of us who are (what I lovingly call) “dissertating”:

#19: PROBLEM-SOLVING MODE. Don’t assume that if you are having trouble defining a dissertation topic that the entire dissertation process will be that arduous. Once you define the topic, you are in problem-solving mode, and most people do well in solving a problem once they know what the topic is.

#26: MATCH THE LITERATURE SEARCH TO THE DISCUSSION OF RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS. You may find that as your dissertation progresses, some parts of your literature search are really irrelevant to your research. In this case, you should be ruthless. Despite the brilliance of your pose and the long, tedious hours you put into creating the material, you must delete these pearls. Of course, you should save what you don’t use as part of your file of references so you can use it over and over in future publications.

Right now, I am spending much of my time refining and working on #163 and #19. I just met with my faculty advisor, Dr. Jeff Allen, to review my chapter three research methods and discussed how to develop the recipe for this section. Stay tuned as you will soon learn more about  my topic and direction I am going, and hopefully I will get some input when I crowdsource my data collection in the very near future.

For those who are currently developing your dissertation proposals as well OR those who have successfully defended your dissertation proposals, what sort of advice and tips would you give? Please share!

Reference:

Gray, P., & Drew, D. E. (2008). What they didn’t teach you in graduate school: 199 helpful hints for success in your academic career. Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Gray, P., & Drew, D. E. (2012). What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School 2.0. Chronicle of Higher Education.

#phdchat, PhD

I’m Qualified… to Work on My Dissertation Proposal

Today I received the “official” paperwork letting me know that I am qualified to move onto the dissertation/thesis phase of my PhD. At the end of the Fall 2012 semester I defended my ATPI Portfolio, as part of my comprehensive or qualifying exams, and became a PhD Candidate.

This semester (much to my faculty advisor‘s surprise) I am not enrolled in any courses at UNT. The goal for this term is to concentrate on completing my dissertation proposal for a successful defense by the end of April 2013, if not before to be eligible for scholarship and/or other opportunities. Other than a few publications/projects, conference travel, and editing for the Learning and Performance Quarterly, you will probably see my nose deep in research methodology as I fine tune my literature review. Stay tuned…

#phdchat, Learning Technologies

CFP: Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Conference #et4online

The 6th Annual International Symposium for Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (#et4online) from April 9-11, 2013 (Planet Hollywood Resort – Las Vegas, Nevada) wants YOU to submit a conference proposal. Proposals are DUE by 11 pm CDT on December 10, 2012

The Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, a joint Symposium of Sloan Consortium and MERLOT, is designed to bring together individuals interested in the review and evaluation of emerging technologies’ impact on online teaching and learning.

The 2013 Emerging Technologies Symposium chairs know technology for learning is shifting quickly:

“New discoveries in technology happen rapidly and far too frequently. It is difficult to keep up with every new release or innovation.  Advances in technology often become the vehicle for new ways to learn or enhance learner opportunities in our classrooms. As educators we progress forward, gaze back, and aim to bring the best of old and new to create an optimal environment to our students. However daunting this mission is, we tackle the problems and learn best from those who are already building the bridges and taking on the tasks we want to try. The field is advanced by those who share, scrutinize, and study. We invite you to contribute to the progress by presenting and attending this year’s symposium and encouraging your colleagues to join our efforts.” 

The #et4online steering committee is interested in interactive sessions that engage and inform participants for the following areas:

  • Higher Education and K-12 Faculty
  • Future professors and graduate students
  • Educational technology leaders
  • Students
  • Instructional designers
  • Instructional technologists
  • Academic administrators

Sessions can be targeted to all attendees and or specified (novice, intermediate, or expert) levels of proficiency. The committee would like to see a wide range of involvement from various presenters/facilitators – this includes proposed sessions from graduate students TOO!

The #et4online symposium will accept presentations that offer attendees “real solutions,” pioneering practices, and future trends, specifically submissions which emphasize evidence-based practice and the impact of topic tracks on teaching practices and student learning outcomes using a range of research methodologies (e.g. case study, longitudinal comparisons, within group comparisons, quasi-experimental, etc.) and rigorous approaches to the analysis of supporting data, qualitative or quantitative. Here are the #et4online symposium tracks and research areas:

Here is the presenter FAQs and Webinar Recording from 11/29  to help you with your proposal submission: 5 Tips on How to Submit a Successful Conference Proposal

There will be a wide range of emerging technologies for online learning trends, talks, sharing, and more! What happens at #et4online in Vegas will NOT stay in Vegas. And that’s a good thing! Follow @et4online for more updates as well!

#phdchat, ATPI, Learning Technologies, LPQ, Reflections

LT Forum Interview – About My PhD Experience So Far…

The LT Forum is a place for students, staff and faculty in the Department of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas to share news, announcements and updates. Here is an interview I did for them over the summer, that I forgot to cross-post here. Thanks to for inviting me to share my thoughts Jenny Wakefield.

« on: June 02, 2012, 01:24:32 PM »

We have many talented doctoral students in The Department of Learning Technologies. Our hope is to be able to interview and showcase these PhD learners here in the LT Forum as each reaches milestones through-out their journey towards their graduation. Reading about other students’ successes may boost that extra energy needed for others to push themselves forward and learning about challenges may help guide others. We also want to spotlight our students so that new learners come join our team and travel with us in the Learning Technologies – a great place to be! [Jenny Wakefield.]Our third interview is with Laura Pasquini, Doctoral Student in the APTI program:

Laura Pasquini – PhD Learner in ATPI

JW: Tell me a little bit about what made you decide to enroll in the ATPI program and pursue a PhD/EdD. (When did you enroll? How long have you been working towards your exam and course completion?)

LP: In looking for a graduate program that suited my scholar-practitioner interests in higher education, I thought that the Department of Learning Technologies at UNT was best suited for my talents and interests. After completing a course in Fall 2009. I decided to join the ATPI program in Spring 2010, as I liked the interdisciplinary approach and learning model that was built into the curriculum. As an ATPI doctoral student approaching completion, I appreciate the ability to study in the field of applied technology, human resource management, organizational change/theory, and educational research while connecting with faculty and leaders in the field. The end of 2012 marks the end of my course work and movement into being a PhD candidate. I am fortunate to be one of the first ATPI doctoral students to complete the NEW ATPI portfolio (instead of the comprehensive exam) by November, and after my last ATTD class with Dr. Nimon this Fall I will be ready to propose my doctoral dissertation and move on to being a doctoral candidate. The tentative plan is to be complete the ATPI doctoral program and graduate around May 2014.

JW: Who is your major professor?

LP: Dr. Jeff Allen is my major professor. It has been great collaborating and learning from one another. I appreciate the ability to work with and contribute to research, publications, and opportunities in the LT department. He has been a great faculty advisor who knows how to challenge and support my professional/academic needs.

JW: What has been the most challenging parts of your studies so far?

LP: Balance. I am a student, staff, and instructor at the University of North Texas. My role as an Academic Counselor/Instructor with the Office for Exploring Majors, Undergraduate Studies supports undecided students with their major/career choices and academic journey; whereas I am often found on campus, late in class, or researching/writing for another project. Besides working on courses, I have found great values in collaborating with other authors on publications, connecting in the field with other educators, and meeting corporate leaders. Besides working on courses, I have been busy with contributing to professional associations and journals with research, publications, and presentations. This year I have taken on the role as the editor for the Learning and Performance Quarterly (LPQ) which is a student-led, blind peer-review open-access online journal. We just published our first issue on May 22, 2012 and I’m looking forward to working with our reviewers and editors on the second issue over the summer.

JW: Tell us a little bit about your journey so far. What are challenges you’ve had to overcome? Have you had any pleasant surprises, aha-moments you’d like to share?

LP: I am originally from Toronto/Niagara Falls, Canada, so it took me a little while to adjust to the climate and the ways of Texas. I have been fortunate to meet some hospitable friends and colleagues who have helped my transition to the Lone Star state. So far I have really enjoyed my PhD journey. I have appreciated the projects, classes, discussions, and, most importantly, the connections with peers from UNT and in the learning technology field. I think that learning is an ongoing process, and developing as a researcher and academic is a continual experience. I have learned to celebrate the accomplishments and milestones along the way, and to be open to any feedback and new ideas I am exposed to along the way.

JW: What presentations have you attended/presented at? Tell us a little bit about one of them. Anything in particular that comes to mind? Advice for others?

LP: I have been fortunate to present research, papers, and theoretical sessions at a variety of professional associations and conferences over the last few years. Some have been collaborative and others have been a great learning experience where I have engaged with participants in meaningful discussions about shared research experiences.

LP: Over the last year I have been fortunate to be asked to share ideas and thoughts around connected learning and social practices for professionals as an invited speaker a few conferences/meetings. Last fall I was invited to talk to the University of Hawaii System Advising group at their annual workshop in Honolulu, HI about “Why Advising Networks Matter” and how holistic, community models of connected advising practices best support our learners. I just returned from Helena, MT where I was invited to be the opening keynote speaker for the Mountain MoodleMoot. During this talk I shared strategies for developing learning curriculum and ideas to support social learning with Digital Pedagogy to Engage. Both talks offered me opportunities to share my research ideas and practical experiences with social, connected learning; but more importantly it allowed me to connect with colleagues to discuss how these ideas can be applied to provide solutions for issues in education.

JW: What publications and/or creative works have you published?

LP: In collaborating with a few authors from our campus and other locations in the US, I have experience publishing book chapters, monograph chapters, and conference proceedings around topics in technology for advising, collaborative learning, and innovative practices for performance and learning. I am currently working on a few manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals. If you want to see my publications, I have current publications shared on my Mendeley account. Besides formal publications, I am often reflecting and sharing thoughts about my research on my blog or podcasting with the BreakDrink.com Student Affairs and Higher Education community on the Campus Technology Connection podcast.

JW: Have you decided on your dissertation topic and if so what was it? If so, what made you decide on this topic?

LP: I am currently culling through my literature review and narrowing my dissertation topic – which should be finalized over the break in coursework this summer. My current research thread and interests are in the areas of collaborative learning environments and personal learning networks, specifically how these networks and environments impact learning, training, and development in organizations. What interested me in these topics was personal experience connecting and learning in both formal and informal learning networks – specifically with peer-to-peer learning and mentoring in professional organizations. I hope to share some insights and values to how alternative forms of learning, training, and mentoring can impact professional development and career growth.

JW: Have you been studying full-time or also been working? How do you feel about combining PhD studies and working full-time (if you did)? What are things to potentially keep in mind?

LP: As I shared above, I have been working full-time as well as working on my doctoral studies, research, and publications. I will say that it is quite busy and challenging; however with some effective time management and organization it is not impossible to accomplish your academic goals. I am grateful to have supportive peers, colleagues, faculty, and family who continue to motivate and push me along my PhD journey. Although it is not impossible, I will say that it takes a great amount of energy, effort, and time to commit to doctoral research and academic professional development.

JW: Any recommendations you would like to share with the rest of us on the journey towards a PhD/Ed.D? 

LP: Stay the course. It seems like a long journey to the end of the PhD/Ed.D, but I think that there are some valuable experiences and rewards along the way. Embrace the challenges and opportunities that you have as a doctoral student beyond the course/program requirements. You can help shape your degree and academic experience, so be sure to make the most of it by getting involved, getting connected, and embrace new learning experiences that you stumble upon along the way.

JW: Anything else you would like to add?

LP: Thanks for asking me to share my thoughts about the Learning Technologies department and ATPI doctoral program. For those of you who want to follow along my PhD journey, I can often be found tweeting or reflecting on my blog. Get connected and share your experiences with me: http://about.me/laurapasquini