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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Statistics for October

Well, for much of the past two months I haven't left you with much to read (save the last two weeks), but you still keep coming. My straight hit counter is up to 864.

This past month I have had 143 unique visitors - 134 first timers and 9 veterans. That's an average of five per day.

What are they coming for you may ask, well...

And they've come from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Egypt, the Philippines, Lithuania, France, and Pakistan this past month. Where will they come from next month?

Tags: graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Final Thoughts on AECT 2005 - I promise

Okay, only because a good friend of mine provided it for me, and only a week after AECT 2005... If you have read much of this blog, or my contributions to any other blog, when the topic of AECT and its annual meeting comes up, I am known to compare to it an organization similar in size, similar in purpose, and even similar in membership, AACE.

Well, a week after AECT 2005 ended the AACE held one of its three annual conferences... e-Learn from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Now, before AECT we had all sorts of wonderful ideas about using the Overlay and Skype as a way to provide a virtual presence for everyone at the annual meeting. I even recall reading about how I'dbe able to sit in a room and by using my Skype be able to tell which others may be sitting in the same room, and then converse with those individuals about the session we were sitting in or anything else that tickled our fancy. Access to the Overlay would provide us with a way to plan out gatherings, official and social, along with give us a place to discuss what we were getting from various sessions at the annual meeting. As you can see from clicking on the Overlay link, little of this happened due to the fact that AECT was not able to provide wireless access for the conference (yet again). The lack of wireless also rendered the Skype thing impossible as well.

Well, a week later a friend of mine went to AACE's e-Learn in Vancouver. As normal, AACE brought their own system along and in addition to setting up a bank of computers to be used as an e-mail lab for conference goers (something else AECT didn't have this year), they were able to provide their own wireless cloud (as they always do).

Here are some of the entries from my friend that came from this situation:
Imagine what the masses of us at AECT could have done, had we had similar access to the Internet.

This entry has been cross-posed in both my blog area at the Overlay and my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

Tags: AECT 2005, AECT, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Post-Mortem on AECT

Well, it is almost a week since AECT ended and I've been reflected on what happened and how I make sense about it all. The UGA-VT committee that organized the Graduate Student Lounge will have its own report, and will allow others to have input in that report through The Program (once they figure out the problems with all the AECT blogs), on how that part of the annual convention went.

Anyway, thinking back on the convention this year... The obvious flaws come to the fore-front: namely all of the work and at least lip-service support of the use of the Overlay as a way to extend how people connect and interact at the convention and then the total lack of Internet support provided by the association. Standing at the ECT Foundation table for a bit, I heard one of the organizer state that it would have cost $600,000 to provide Internet access. I find that hard to belive that the cheapest that an organization that is largely based on technology (and populated by a lot of tecnically saavy people) couldn't provide wireless access at a cheaper cost than this. I can only wonder what Denver will be like.

Other than this, I don't really have much of an overall report or assessment of the convention. I spent the vast majority of my time in the Graduate Student Lounge (basically all but one session that I was a discussant in and a couple of instances checking my e-mail at one of the six-eight stations that ceased to exist about halfway through the second day of the convention - another mind boggling revelation, that the organization I described above couldn't provide a few workstations for convention goers to use for the complete convention).

My only other comments deal with the choice of locations... While Disney was nice and it was good for thoe of us, myself included, who were able to take their families (in my case my wife) down to Disney for their first times in their lives and enjoy that aspect of it. For the money that was spent, the site was horrible. The prices were over-priced everywhere you went, the quality of rooms at the All Star Sports Resort - where many of the participants stayed, including myself - was a cheap dive to be perfectly honest. I stayed in a Ramada Inn in Denver two days later at the Virtual School Symposium (for more on that conference, see Virual High School Meanderings) where my room looks like a castle compared to what they gave us at the All Star Sports Resort. I wonder what the thinking was in selecting Disney, as opposed to other convention sites in the Orlando area.

So, an overall assessment of my two convention experiences with AECT thus far... Chicago (2004) was not the level of professional conferences that I have been used to attending as an Instructional Technology students and Orlando (2005) was two or three steps below that. I can only imagine what Dallas (2006) will be like.

This entry has been cross-posed in both my blog area at the Overlay and my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

Tags: AECT 2005, AECT, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Sunday, October 23, 2005

So, what value do you find in this blog?


My blog is worth $4,516.32.
How much is your blog worth?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Second Full Day

Well, the second full day of AECT has come and gone, and I'm actually getting ready to leave Orlando now. The second day of AECT, which for me meant the second day of the Graduate Student Lounge, went rather well. We continued to have good turn-outs, with a low of six on Friday (for the 8:00am session, which was rather ambitious of us, given the fact that we are talking about graduate students here) to a high of 40. Over the course of the day, we averaged about 12-14 if you take away the highest and lowest sessions (in terms of attendance).

This was fairly true of both days in fact. We would average about a dozen people a session, with a few exceptions on both the high (e.g., 32 and 40) and low (e.g., 4, 5, and 6) sides. We've learned a couple of things that we plan to pass on to the next team to do this, in fact we'll prepare a little report (with the help of graduate students who were at AECT and those who weren't, but have an interest in next year).

If you would like to provide some input into what gets included in that report, I'd direct you to the entry entitled "Graduate Student Lounge - Final Say" on The Program blog.

In terms of what else happened at the conference, I was hoping someone could tell me. Outside of the Socratic Session (where I was one of the invited discussants), the Distance Learning members' meeting, and the AECT/ECT awards reception; I was never really more han 50 feet from the GSL space except on two occasions to check my e-mail or update my blogs in the exhibit hall.

This entry has been cross-posed in both my blog area at the Overlay and my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

Tags: AECT 2005, AECT, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Friday, October 21, 2005

First Real Day

Well, the first real day of AECT went well, minus the Internet woes and all of the other negative first and second impressions. As the chair of the committee that organized the student lounge, I spent most of the day in there. We had a good turn-out (a dozen to a dozen and a half for most sessions, with 32 at one session) right up until the around 2:00pm (when we had four and five people attend the last two sessions). I note that the discounted AECT disney after 2:00pm tickets are less than $40, which I'm hoping explains the dramatic drop off.

In any regard, we had a total of ninety-eight people attend the seven sessions that we held today (now some, many of these were repeat customers - in fact I was counted five times in that list, but it does give a total.

Here's hoping to having as good a day today... I'll update you at the end of the day if I can.

This entry has been cross-posed in both my blog area at the Overlay and my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

Tags: AECT 2005, AECT, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Thursday, October 20, 2005

More Internet Woes

Well, I decided that I was going to bite the bullet and pay the $10/day for Internet access (this relevation came to me after I checked my e-mail at one of the six AECT Internet stations and found 300+ messages there). So, I go to the front desk, only to find that the Internet is not available anywhere at the All Star Sports Resort, only at the Coronado Springs. So, I could pay $10/day to use the Internet in common areas at a hotel that I'm not even staying at.

This entry has been cross-posed in both my blog area at the Overlay and my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

Tags: AECT 2005, AECT, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Second Impressions of AECT 2005

Well, today was my first unofficial day at the conference. I say unofficial day because I didn't actually go to the conference. As the conference sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday, and since this is my first trip to Disney World and I decided to take my wife with me to share in the experience, we arrived yesterday and took today as a tourist day and spent the day at Epicot.

The unfortunate part of the day was that for reasons unknown to me (historic ones I suppose), the Distance Learning Division scheduled their board meeting for today at 3:30pm to 4:30pm. Now, I was just elected as one of two board members to the Distance Learning Division, so this was a meeting that I was supposed to attend.

While I take my responsibilities as a board member serious (all evidence to the contrary I know), but let's be realistic. For me, that 3:30pm to 4:30pm session was the only thing that would have been on my agenda for the day. If I hadn't taken my wife to the conference with me, I wouldn't have actually left Athens until today and would have arrived sometime after 5:00pm. So, I missed it because she was here, but I would have missed it if she hadn't come with me. So I would have missed it either way.

My problem, and yes I'm having lots of problems with the AECT conference thus far, is that why would this be scheduled for 3:30pm on the day before the conference even starts? I mean, had it even been scheduled for 5:00pm or 6:00pm this evening, I probably would have been able to attend on either account. With Lisa here, we had already completed Epicot by 5:00pm and would have welcomed leaving the theme park for supper before returning for the 9:00pm fireworks and light show. If Lisa wasn't with me, as 5:00pm start time would have ensured that I would have arrived from Athens by then (leaving at 8:00am or 9:00am and assuming a 7.5 to 8.5 hour drive).

Anyway, I think this would have made too much sense. Granted, I didn't know that the meeting was scheduled until after I registered and started scanning the program book. I'm assuming that if my presence was required or even badly needed, someone would have e-mailed me before this week to let me know that the event had been scheduled in the first place.

This entry has been cross-posed in both my blog area at the Overlay and my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

Tags: AECT 2005, AECT, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

First Impression of AECT 2005 - Continue to Disappoint

Well, today was my first day at this year's AECT annual meeting in Orlando and I must say that I continue to be underwhelmed by AECT as an organization.

My point of comparison is, and always will be, the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). It is an organization of roughly the same size and has a conference going attendance roughly the same as the AECT annual meeting. I have been to a total of five AACE conferences. At each and every one, there was free, good wireless Internet access in all of the common areas of the conference and poor access in most of the conference rooms. I have yet to meet a volunteer who didn't have their schedule weeks in advance of the conference and you only needed to volunteer for eight hours to receive a free registration.

I show up at AECT today and find out that most of my graduate student colleagues that have elected to volunteer are arriving on site without their volunteer schedule in advance. These students must also still volunteer for twelve hours and still pay $50 for their registration. The first half of this bothers me, because the volunteer registration system allows graduate students to submit the times that they are available to volunteer. With this information and a spreadsheet, anyone willing to spend the time would be able to create a schedule in advance of the graduate student arriving in Orlando. In fact, this was the only part of the proposal that we submitted in relation to organizing the Graduate Student Lounge that was not accepted. I had hoped that our competing bid from the group up north would have also served to correct this situation somewhat, but alias it is as bad as it was last year and I predict that those who do volunteer will log 150% to 200% of the hours that are supposed to because anywhere from 20% to 35% of volunteers won't bother to show up at all.

The second issue I was confronted with yesterday, that really bothered me was the status of the availability of Internet. In Nate's initial preview of the conference site, he indicated that AECT would be providing wireless access for most of the conference site. In addition, the whole concept of the Overlay and, in addition, the ability to use Skype to network while at the conference was based upon the ability that I could sit in a session and use the overlay, have my Skype open, etc.. Now, because AECT has decided to be stingy on how, where, and to whom it provides wireless Internet access to, this is not possible and, to be perfectly honest, most of the work done on the Overlay over the past six to eight months has been for nought.

Anyway, not off to a good start thus far, but we'll see how the event transpires. Granted, I'll have to tell you about it after the fact because I may not have Internet access until I get back to Athens (unles I break down and shell out the $10/day to use it only in my room or the $10/day to use it only in the common areas of my resort - which is not the conference hotel).

This entry has been cross-posed in both my blog area at the Overlay and my academic blog (i.e., Breaking into the Academy).

Tags: AECT 2005, AECT, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Statistics for September

Just a few quick statistics for the past month...
  • there were 103 unique visitors, which breaks down as 95 first timers and 8 returning visitors for an average of three per day
  • they came from the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom
  • Television, Good and Bad is still the most popular entry
  • the majority of people reading this blog spent between 30 seconds to 5 minutes

See you again next month...