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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.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Back to blogging

I came across a post that Heather had made over at Cultivating Minds called "Finally a defense of blogging". It was actually inspired, for lack of a better word, by an article in the Chronicle entitled "Do Not Fear the Blog."

This past summer and fall, the Chronicle ran a couple of articles (referenced in both pieces above) that talked about why graduate students and junior faculty members shouldn't blog. I even joined the fray and wrote pieces on Careful about what you blog and Be careful about your web presence.

The main point that I made in these pieces, that others are starting to pick up on now, is that it is not so much that you shouldn't blog, that you shouldn't have a web presence, but you do need to watch out what you do put out there. As I have suggested in the past, if you haven't done so already, you should Google yourself and see what comes up. Is what you see reflective of the type of image that you want to put forward of yourself. If the answer is no, then you probably need to re-think some of the things that you have been doing. If what you see if fairly reflective of what you would want a potential employer to know about you, then keep doing what it is that you have been doing.

Personally, I look at the six blogs that I post to on a semi-regular basis and I'm okay with putting that out there about myself. I have this blog, which I use to talk about more academic things, getting my Ph.D., trying to find that first job, and issues surounding both of those activities. I have what I call my research blog, Virtual High School Meanderings, where I throw around ideas and issues surounding virtual schooling (as that has been the topic of much of my research and is the topic for my planned dissertation). I have what I call a personal blog, Rock Ruminations, where I tend to do those stupid little online quizzes and post the results, talk about different trips that my wife and I have taken, or discuss my on-going struggles with my bird feeders and the squirrels. There are two organization blogs that I either maintain or am the main contributor: AERA's Rural Education SIG and AECT's graduate student blog - The Program. Finally, there is a blog which I maintain for my EDIT2000 student reflections.

I can honestly say, other than those stupid little quizzes that I personally find kind of funny, there isn't much there that I would have a difficult time answering a question about during a job interview (even the battle with the squirrels).

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Where am I now?

So, now that I don't have AECT to complain about, it appears that propectus has taken over my life again and I don't have much to say anymore.

Basically, over the past three weeks (i.e., since AECT and the VSS) I have been working on my prospectus fairly consistently. I have submitted drafts of chapter one (the Introduction) to my co-chairs twice and a draft of chapter three (the Methodology) once. I am awaiting feedback on both right now while I am working on chapter two (the Literature Review).

To date I have found the experience a good one. The first round of feedback that I got on chapter one was wonderful. My paper was more red than black and white, but it was good because it really helped me clarify my own thinking on where I was taking this and, more importantly, how to explain that to others. It also gave me a good sense of this is what my co-chairs think prospectus-level writing looks like. I hope that my second round on chapter one is more up to par and that my first attempt at chapter three comes back a little less red - not because I don't appreciate the feedback, but because I hope I did a better job this time around.

I should also note that second round and first draft are a little bit misleading, as a group of us doctoral students in my program have developed a great team environment here where we are frequently sending stuff (i.e., prospectus and dissertation chapters, potential manuscripts, even random writing) back and forth to each other for comment and feedback. This little network has been tremendously helpful and something I would recommend to anyone who is writing on a consistent basis.

So, that's all from me for now... I'll post some things as I continue to wrestle with new ideas over the next few weeks and, hopefully, post a copy of my prospectus as it becomes a finished product.

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