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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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Early Adopters or Preaching to the Converted?

Well, seeing that no one wants to "pick up on an old idea," let's continue the theme of discussing the future of AECT. First, I'd like to give a shout out to Rick at Disruptive Technocrat, who I think has a great idea in proposing A Communications Officer for AECT?

But anyway, I wanted to continue a line of thinking that Nate (from Cognitive Dissonance) started with Between Camelots. In his entry, he asks a couple of questions:

Can it possibly be the case that the AECT really is not the kind of community that I believed it to be? Can it be that we’re more interested in controlling the discourse than in participating in it? Is it simply that we don’t know we CAN have a discourse unless we’re all in the same place at the same time?

Or do we really not have enough in common to make the kind of connections necessary to create a community of practice? Am I misguided in my search for a Camelot within the AECT community?
Basically, what Nate is asking is roughly the same thing I was asking a couple of weeks ago when I posted my thoughts in Continuing the Conversation. In that entry, I pointed out that at present there is a small group of us who are having this conversation in a varety of locations (I specifically listed Cognitive Dissonance, Disruptive Technocrat, Midquel..., Cultivating Minds, The Overlay - Plug In, Link Up, Turn On, and Scott Adams). But without the necessary critical mass, we are essentially a bunch of contrarians (to use the term I used before), simply yelling in the middle of a windstorm.

I finished that entry by asking:

While I realize that we are the group of "early adopters", if you use Rogers' model from Diffusions of Innovation, but I don't see any of the other groups Rogers describes joining the conversation yet. So, if the conversation is largely among the group of early adopters, aren't we just preaching to the converted? And if we are, then is contributing to the conversation enough of a reason to continue stepping up to the pulpit each week?
Is this the case? Are we simply the early adopters and the other groups described by Roger's just haven't arrived on the scene yet? Should the others have started to arrive by now and because they haven't are we the only ones going to come to this party? Is this really how the world SHOULD be according to this small band of contrarians or are we really ahead of the curve?

I ask these questions because they are all relevant to Nate's questions and even Rick's suggestion... Is AECT a community that will eventually arrive where we are (or furthermore where we want it to be)? Or is this just a pipe dream because AECT is simply too big and the current divisional model does not provide enough focus to make the kind of connections necessary to create a community of practice (as Nate has been arguing for a while - see Divisions Are Counter-productive for example)?

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

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