November 8, 2007

End of the Ed.D. Study Groups

I tossed in the proverbial towel. Too many complaints about the times chosen. Too many people who are interested in coming but are "too busy" to attend. Too many people who won't make attending a priority but then turn around and complain about feeling left out. Too many people who enjoy the opportunity but then won't defend the existence of open study groups when the complaints roll in.

It's not worth the aggravation, not to mention the hours that I spend in just finding a room on campus for each meeting. Informal groups will form within the cohort. People will be left out. I've decided that it is not my problem.

November 1, 2007

Technology Covered in Study Groups

We've had two study groups which were quite successful in the last month, both focused on technology available to aid our research and projects.

The first was on EndNote, a software package used to maintain a local database of references which then can be used during writing papers and preparing bibliographies. I showed that package as an introduction to bibliography-producing software, foreshadowing a presentation by our librarian that week on RefWorks, the University-owned, web-based alternative.

The second session was one lead by ITSS on blogs and wikis. We talked about not only the tools but considerations regarding choice of the most appropriate tool and how to use it well. Most of the focus remained on learning to use the tool as such. Figuring out pedagogy seems to take a back seat until the user can figure out exactly how to operate the tool, even at a basic level. At this point in our careers, many students have not used any of these tools at all and have rarely, if ever, seen them in use. It will take some practice and experience before they can envision a use for a tool.

September 27, 2007

Study group September 27, 2007

We met! We being 4 people, which is a decent number for a start, and it allows everyone to have a big stake in the conversation.

Points of discussion:

- Discussion assignment descriptions do not fit our process very well. We all tend to not only summarize the reading but also jump right into application ramifications in the first post, rather than wait until the third post of the week. Some students have difficulty summarizing the reading after the first person has done so. I've run into this myself when teaching online; students question the value of writing mostly the same thing that the first student wrote. The assumption is that the first person got "the answer" and there is nothing more to say. They don't consider that the first author's interpretation may actually have been inadequate or that they may find something unique to write from their point of view. How do we get around this?

- Some of the students who met are going well beyond the requirements of the assignment while still feeling that their contribution is not sufficient.

- Students are starting to work on topic selection for the two three-credit courses and finding a partner for some of the assignments. This is promising, especially since some presentations need to be done in a couple of weeks!

September 21, 2007

Study group canceled

I canceled the evening study group for 9/20/07 since no one was committed to attending that one. A couple of people have expressed interest in doing it next week, however.

September 20, 2007

Morning study group a bust

First attempt at having a cohort reading/writing group looks like a bust. I'm here (3rd floor Kirby lounge - near our summer classroom), but everyone else is at least a half-hour late.

The perpetual problem of scheduling adult, non-traditional students to engage in face to face sessions remains in effect. Also, the constant problem with all students - what doesn't directly result in a grade - may come into play here as well. Location confusion may also be a contributing factor, although this space should be one familiar to all members of our cohort.

I'm not mad. I'll keep trying to get this organized since I know from experience that a lot of the transferable learning in becoming an academic happens in these sessions. But it is a mark of what does not work well with a hybrid situation, especially one that involves busy adults.

We'll see how the session at 7:00 pm tonight goes.

September 18, 2007

Study groups September 20, 2007

This week, we are setting up study groups! Agenda is TBD, based on what attendees need at the moment.

Rod already hosted one informal meeting at the Burrito Union to which about 1/3 of the cohort came. That one was largely to try to get our heads around the course requirements and navigation schema for this fall's classes in Moodle.

Thursday, we start up two meetings (one morning and one night) to focus longer term on how to read and how to write at a doctoral level. A lot of us have been out of school for a long time. Even those fresh out of a master's program may need to adjust to the amount of reading and scope of writing at the next rung of the ladder.

I hope that we can set aside weekly or semi-monthly sessions to work on two prime academic skills together and get enough people in each time slot to sustain the effort. We'll see - and I'll try to remember to post at least meeting dates in this blog - if not specifics on what we covered.

September 12, 2007

Journal of Interactive Online Learning

Yet another journal. This one seems to focus on higher education populations in online learning. It might be a good resource to inform our research with middle school kids in virtual worlds. But what I really need is to get some articles published somewhere....


September 11, 2007

The Problem with FITness for Girls

Ever since I joined the Tech Savvy Girls project, I've been trying to figure out what bothers me about the fit between its mission and my own. Since November 2006, I've been uneasy. And it is because their mission and mine don't align perfectly. In fact, in many ways, the two are at odds.

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September 10, 2007

Teacher, Proof-Read Thyself

Today, I received a communication from a professor. I won't name names, but any of my current three professors should probably heed this advice.

Teacher, proof-read your own writing!

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August 29, 2007

Games and Culture

This recently founded journal (January 2006), focuses on the relationship between digital video games and aspects of our rapidly changing culture. Edited by Douglas Thomas, the journal has great potential to gather together work done by some of the leading authors in the field.

The initial issue (table of contents) featured articles by Jim Gee, Ian Bogost, Constance Steinkuehler, and Yasmin Kafai. There is even an article for beginners in the gaming world!

After the pent-up flood was released, however, the river seems to be drying up. Game studies are still hot, but articles seem to be finding their way into more established peer-reviewed journals or are just not being written quickly enough to fill a long table of contents.

Potentially, this journal may also be developing a more rigorous selection process, but I doubt that is the sole reason for the decline in number of articles per issue. I do not even recognize any of the authors in the most release. These are probably acceptable scholars on the subject, but they are not the pillars of the game studies club.

So, this is a journal to keep an eye on. The occasional gem might fit into a literature review or even form the spring board to your own research. But it does not look like an essential item for an individual's library - or even the school's library. More likely, it is worth bookmarking for selection of individual articles and to use as a place for submission of your own articles.

August 8, 2007

Hanging Out and Talking

Yesterday, we talked in class about the old expectations of how a doctoral student progressed. Our professor currently is in his 60's and so has the historical view point that explains some of the underlying assumptions behind the traditional doctoral program.

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August 7, 2007

Advising redux

Last December, I wrote about my struggles with getting time with my advisor. Having switched colleges, I'm happy to report that the situation has taken a complete 180!

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January 30, 2007

Grad School Boot Camp

For the second time in as many weeks, I feel that I am going off to some final, epic battle. Epic in terms of my life - not in terms of the cares of the universe. A sort of combination between the Last Samurai and Real Genius. It is not a pleasant feeling.

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January 28, 2007

What is ethnography?

Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1986). What is ethnography? Ethnography: Principles in practice (2nd ed.) (pp. 1-53). London: Routledge.

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January 26, 2007

Journal of Educational Computing Research

One of many - too many! - recommended journals for those of us interested in the intersection of education and computer technology, this one is currently available entirely in electronic format, although it is not free.

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