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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, January 30, 2006

AECT DLD Board Member

About three weeks ago, I was asked to let my name stand for the AECT Distance Learning Division Representative to the Board. As someone who has only been a member of AECT for two years, I was a little honored at being asked. I note that the call for elections is now up at DDL elections underway!

Inspire by Nate Lowell and his run for AECT Board Member-at-Large, I would like to follow suit and provide more information about myself using Nate's template.

1. Describe your involvement with AECT, past and present.

I have been involved with AECT for two years now, having been a proposal reviewer for the DLD for the past two annual meetings (i.e., 2004 and 2005), as well as being one of a half dozen students at UGA who helped put together the Teacher Ed division's program for the 2005 annual meeting. At the actual conferences, I was a volunteer for the 2004 annual meeting in Chicago and was the Chair of a joint UGA/VT effort to host the Graduate Student Lounge at the 2005 annual meeting in Orlando.

Up until last month, I spend ten months as the primary contributor to The Program - the AECT blog for graduate students and put my name forward as a board member within the Distance Learning Division this past October.

At the last annual meeting in Orlando, I was one of five graduate students who acted as invited discussants for the International Division's Socratic Seminar and I was also awards the ECT Mentor Scholarship.

2. Describe your education, career and other experience including leadership roles in other professional organizations.

At present I am a third year Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia. Prior to coming to UGA, I completed a Master's in Literacy and Language Arts - with a concentration in Technology in Education from Memorial Uiversity of Newfoundland. I also received my Bachelor of Education (Intermediate and Secondary) from Memorial and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) with a major in Political Science and a minor in History from Carleto University.

Outside of my educational background, I worked as a professional political organizer for four years before going into education. After a year of substitute teaching, I secured a full-time secondary social studies position at Discovery Collegiate in Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada.

In terms of leadership roles, I have been active in many different organizations. In addition to my involvement with AECT thus far, I have also been responsible for leading the student association in my department for the past two years, I have taken a leadership role in the Rural Education SIG of AERA, and I have been active in community groups as well - such as the Royal Canadian Legion and various minor hockey associations.

3. In 500 words or less, describe your vision for AECT?

AECT is supposed to be an organization representing professionals in the field of communications and technology. However, I feel the organization has not been reflective of those they claim to represent in these two areas: communications and technology. I see the potential for AECT to become an organization that is using cutting edge technology to facilitate communications between its members. This will that AECT is more to the membership than simple a couple of publications and an annual meeting. We need to find ways to talk to each other to ensure that our field moves into the future with its members, instead of holding them back because it has become outdated.

4. What would be your agenda be and/or what should the agenda be for moving AECT forward in the next 3-5 years?

I think that the first thing that must happen is that AECT must come to grip with its own technology needs and find ways to manage those technologies. It should not take years to make changes to the AECT website, the aect-members.org domain should not expire when it is the most dynamic and fastest growing source of AECT content, the newsletter can't remain an outdated PDF file that gets uploaded to the website months after its content is actually published.

Aect.org needs to be better managed and it needs to become a dynamic site. The list of division executive members can't be two years old. And if the group currently managing the website can't do it, we need to find someone who can.

AECT needs to promote communication between its members, and provide technologies and support for them to actually do it. It can't remain a group of contrarians using blogs and RSS feeds to preach to the converted and yell into the wind. We need to encourage others to join the conversations and give them the tools to do so (both technology and technical support).

This organization will only get better when we work together to make it better. As an organization, AECT has to put thigs in place to allow this to happen - not hinder it from even starting. This is what I would like to push for over the next three to five years.

5. Why do you think you would make a good candidate? Also, please reflect briefly on your leadership style and group facilitation style.

I believe that I bring a fresh set of ideas to the table - ideas that are shared by a number of other AECT members who have been involved longer than I have. These are ideas that I hve discussed with them, that we have blogged about, argued over, and because of these interactions these ideas have improved.

In addition to these ideas, I believe that I bring a co-operative process to the table. A process that allows new ideas to not only be considered, but to really be hashed out to ensure that they are moved forward in the best possible format or discarded only after they have bee thoroughly reviewed.

I also think that I have proven over the years that I have the ability to both work well within a group setting, but when needed take the bull by the horns and lead by example. This year's Graduate Student Lounge is a good example of this trait. In Chicago in 2004, I made the suggestion in a meeting of graduate students that the GSL should become a bid process where students and/or student associations actually made proposals to host the GSL. From April to June of this past year, when no other groups came forward to host the GSL, I organized and chaired a successful proposal from a team at two universities. Throughout the process I delegated a great deal of the work to the othr members of the committee at both institutions, however, at the annual meeting I took the responsibility of ensuring that things went smoothly. I believe that, within AECT, this is probably the best example of my ability to be able to work with the other board members (should I be elected), but when needed take a leadership role to ensure the job gets done.

Thank you for your consideration for this position, and to Nate for the idea.

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

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I'm for Sale

I was alerted to this a few weeks ago in a post that Trey Martindale made on his blog Teachable Moment (see So now Amazon sells “my” research articles).

This stood out to me because I recall in the year between my M.Ed. and my Ph.D. or during the first year of my Ph.D. I came across a site that the took Master's thesis and Doctoral dissertations that were deposited at the National Library of Canada and sold those for $20 or $50 each (without the knowledge or permission of the authors - granted when you submit your thesis or dissertation at most Canadian universities you sign a NLC form that says you give them blanket permission to do what they want with your work).

In any regard, apparently Amazon has one of my pieces as well - see Michael K. Barbour.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

AECT - You've Got to be Kidding Me!

A few days ago I was asking the question Having to Pick and Choose - or - What Does AECT Have to Offer? Well, tonight I'm sitting at my computer minding my own business and I get this message for David Winograd, the Distance Learning Division representative to the AECT executive board. His message contain the notes from the latest meeting, nothing too bad I suppose.

I open up the attachment to actually read the minutes and I find this:

2006 Convention Registration Costs (Wes/Phil) - Early Bird rates

Grad/Retired/International - $195 (up $5)
Volunteer rate - $ 95 (up from 50)
Regular member - $390 (same as Orlando)
One Day Member - $165 (same as Orlando)

non member adds membership cost

Regular Registration Rates adds $50
I mean you have got to be kidding me! Two hundred bucks for student registration, one hundred bucks to volunteer for twelve hours during a two and a half day conference, you have got to be kidding me!

Let's do a little comparison...
  • AERA - student rate $50 (add $35 for non-member)
  • SITE - student rate $155 (add $20 for non-member) / volunteer rate $0 with eight hours over three days
  • e-Learn - student rate $155 (add $20 for non-member) / volunteer rate $0 with eight hours over three days
  • ED-Media - student rate $155 (add $20 for non-member) / volunteer rate $0 with eight hours over three days

Now if I'm not mistaken, the graduate students make up a significant chuck of the membership of AECT and about the same percentage of conference goers. What is AECT thinking? Let's screw the students once again so that even fewer of them will stay members once they graduate?

In response to the question I asked earlier Having to Pick and Choose - or - What Does AECT Have to Offer? My answer right now is starting to come back to the same answer that I had when I first became involved with AECT. Absolutely nothing!

Don't they see that they are pushing those people that the organization needs the most away from participation? I have always said that if I had a choice between AECT and AACE that I would choose AACE because it is a more student friendly organization that has a lot more to offer than AECT. Unfortunately AECT continues to prove this point to me more and more each year.

Over the past year and a bit, since I have first gotten involved with Nate and AECT, I have tried to keep an open mind about AECT and tried to work on its shortcomings as an organization. But the problem is that those who manage AECT don't appear to be interested in addressing these and, in fact, continue to create more problems for the organization.

I'm not even sure where to start or whether it is even worth the time to try and start somewhere. Maybe Nate is right when he talks about AECT and its current structure not serving its membership at all. If this is the case, you have to start asking yourself is membership even worth it?

I wonder what would happen to AECT if all of the graduate student members decided for two years to boycott both their membership and attending the annual meeting? Would AECT be able to continue to exist without this constituency? If not, why do they continue to make it a less and less student friendly organization?

This entry has been cross-posted to The Program and The Overlay.

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

More Blogging Advice

Here are a couple of things that have come across my Bloglines that may be of use to some people out there:

I'll post more as I come across them...

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Having to Pick and Choose - or - What Does AECT Have to Offer?

Over at The Overlay - Plug In, Link Up, Turn On, which was the site created to connect AECT conference goers to each other in a way never done before - until there was no Internet available (see Wireless and AECT for more on that), Nate posted the first entry since about a week after the conference ending in which he asks:

What do they get out of being members in the first place??

He is actually referring to the fact that the aect-members.org website was done and musing over how we can communicate to those who do not belong to divisions, particularly those who don't want AECT to contact them.

The question though is a good one, and one that I have been asking about a number of organizations lately. At present, I am a member of:
  • National Council for the Social Studies
  • College and University Faculty Assembly
  • Distance Education Association of New Zealand
  • American Educational Research Association - Rural Education SIG and Instructional Technology SIG
  • Association of Educational Communications and Technology
  • Canadian Association for Distance Education
  • Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education
  • Canadian Society for the Study of Education
  • Canadian Committee of Students in Education
  • Canadian Association for Teacher Education

As a graduate student, membership in these ten organizations (including two SIGs) costs me $285.50 - not including any additional journals that I may sign up for from organizations ike AERA or AACE. These same memberships would cost me $642 as a non-student or faculty member (which is where I hope to be).

Basically, if I want to continue spending about $300 a year on organizational memberships when I graduate, I can be a member of three or four organizations. That's quite a difference, from ten to three or four! But it leads me to an important question that I have been trying to answer over the past year and the coming one...

What do I get out of being a member in the first place?

It will come down to a cost benefit analysis in the end - am I getting enough out of the organization to justify the expense of membership.

Applying this to AECT, I can raise a question that Nate has posed in the past - what is AECT other than TechTrends/ETR&D and the annual conference? When I have to end my association with six or seven of the organizations on this list, what does AECT have to offer?

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

What You Don't Learn in Graduate School

This has been an interesting series that I only just came across:

Check them out.

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

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Problems with CUFA / Problems with AECT

Well, this weekend I am attending the ?annual? CUFA retreat in Gainesville, Florida. It is an interesting gathering, as it is partially a conference - with thematic sessions that are delivered or discussed - and partially a real retreat - with actual who are we, what are we about sessions. It has been an interesting experience, as the plenary sessions where we are considering the "retreat" portions of the session people are asking questions like:
  1. How do you define/conceptualize the mission/purpose or CUFA?
  2. Do you believe that this mission/purpose "matches" our name?
  3. Are we a gathering of college and university faculty, as the name implies, or are we the "theory and research" arm of NCSS? If the latter, should we change our name?
  4. Is political advocacy part of our purpose as an organization? If so, what form should it take?
  5. Two thirds of our members do not attend the annual meeting. How do we serve the needs to this group? Should this be a concern/priority for CUFA? Why or why not?
  6. Only 15% of our membership currently votes in elections for CUFA Board. How do we increase our voter participation? Should this be a concern/priorit for CUFA? Why or why not?
  7. How do we bring new colleagues into CUFA? What do we do to make this a place for them?

In your opinion, what are the crucial questions/issues that CUFA should address/discuss in the future?
Now, if you aren't familiar with the acronyms, you may be wondering what CUFA is? CUFA is the College and University Faculty Assembly. Now, unless you know what NCSS is (as it was mentioned in the questions above), you're still asking what is the College and University Faculty Assembly. Basically, it is the higher education arm of the National Council of Social Studies.

In any regard, when addressig these questions it was interesting to watch the group, as there is a real division in Social Sciences or Social Studies Education between how social studies should be taught and even what should be taught. This idea of do we teach a grand narrative of a great nation based upon the history of a bunch of dead white guys or do we teach students to be critical of their society and the democracy that has been developed in their society. But during the sessions, there is no disagreement, little passion and a real lack of willingness to tackle this division in any real way. Having said that, I should also admit that this is my firt real or true social studies education conference/retreat experience.

The reason I wanted to post this information, other than the interesting issues that it raises for this organization and its unwillingness to engage in a real discussion about itself, I was reminder of the discussions that we have been having about AECT.

If you look at the list of questions above, many of the same questions could be asked of AECT. How do we conceptualize the purpose/mission of AECT? Questions five through seven are excellent ones and fall quickly in line with the discussion that we have been having about the communications (or lack there of) aspects of AECT, between AECT and its members, and between members of AECT and other members of AECT.
For those of you out there involved or interested in AECT, how would you respond to questions 1, 5, 6, and 7 (and any others you'd like to take up)?

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

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

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Picking Up on an Old Idea

Okay, this is picking up on something from what seems like year's ago, but was only from the Spring. Anyway, in the Spring, a bunch of us had the following conversation (and this is pretty close to the order in which things appeared):

Okay... Now that you are up to speed (or re-freshed - depending on whether or not you followed the original conversation), I am current at the 19th Annual Conference on Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies and just left this session:

Mentoring Qualitative Research Authors Globally: The Qualitative Report Experience
Ronald J. Chenail, Nova Southeastern University

Authoring quality qualitative inquiry is a challenge for most researchers. A lack of local mentors can make writing even more difficult. To meet this need, The Qualitative Report (TQR) has helped authors from around the world develop their papers into published articles. TQR editorial team members will discuss their philosophy of author development; challenges working worldwide; solutions for managing differences; manuscript development strategies; authors’ feedback; and the collective global futures of TQR and qualitative researchers.

TQR's manuscript development strategies from initial submission to final publication
Sally St. George ,University of Louisville

TQR's philosophy of author and manuscript development: The place of openness,
acceptance, and respect
Dan Wulff, University of Louisville

Using authors’ feedback to create a mentoring of the mentors’ relationship for TQR's editorial team
Mareen Duffy, Barry University

Challenges of working with authors worldwide and solutions for managing experience, culture,
language, and technology differences
Martha Laughlin, Valdosta State University

Challenges of working with authors worldwide and solutions for managing experience, culture,
language, and technology differences
Kate Warner, Valdosta State University

TQR's manuscript development strategies from initial submission to final publication
Tarmeen Sahni, Nova Southeastern University

Sitting through this session, I was reminder of the conversation that I tried to trace above. If you go and look at their Article Submission Guidelines and A Guide for TQR Authors (particularly this second link), while it isn't exactly what we were driving at in the conversation above, it is a step in the right direction.

Their paper for this was a wonderful description of the e-journal and its publication process - which I will be contacting them to get their permission to post or link (if they have it online) here. But in any regard, I was thinking that this process described by The Qualitative Report may be a starting point for getting this conversation going again.

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

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Some Tips for the Emerging Academics

Here are some random entries that I have collected over the past month or two that can all be characterized as being advice for those of us who are hoping to become academics in the next few years...

Presentation Advice

Teaching Advice

Writing Advice

Not a lot of them, but since I have taken a step back from AECT's The Program, hoping that other graduate students will come forward to keep that resource going, this will be the place that I post some of these advice-type findings that I come across.

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

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Continuing the Conversation

Okay, a few hours ago I posted a message to my research blog (i.e., Virtual High School Meanderings) entitled What is being accomplished?, where I asked the question of myself:

"What am I accomplishing for myself by maintaining this blog?"
And the question of my readership:

"What am I accomplishing for you by maintaining this blog?"
All of this blogging soul searching was prompted by a message that Nate posted over at Cognitive Dissonance (see Happy New Year). The basic idea of Nate's entry was to give a year in review of sorts. This got me to thinking about the fact that up until today I was the sole or main contributor to five (or six if you count the one I use for my teaching) different blogs - thankfully I have stepped back from one (i.e., The Program and we'll see what happens in my absence - I'm hoping they thrive - but that's another story).

The basic idea of my own post was to reflect on what I have gain and what others have gained by my maintaining a blog on virtual schooling. I can ask the same questions of this blog (not really of my other two: as one is an organization one which I just post announcements and the other is just a fun personal one).

With this blog, my stated goal was to discuss things surrounding:


"As a third year doctoral student, in addition to comprehensive examinations, prospectus and dissertation, my thoughts have started to turn towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This blog will chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job."
And I've done a lot of that... I've talked a lot about the future and direction of AECT (one of the professional associations in my field). I've talked about my comprehensive exams, prospectus, and starting now on dissertation. I've yet to talk about, but have alluded to the job hunt. I've chatted about other topics from my field, such as gaming in education, that have peaked my interest or that I'm toying with (but not being a main research focus). So, I've basically done what my stated goal was. But what have I accomplished for myself and for you by maintaining this blog?

In a response to the entry that I posted at Virtual High School Meanderings, Nate commented:

"You're contributing to the conversation.

My sense is that we haven't begun to scratch the surface yet."
But at this stage in the game is that really enough? As I outlined in my entry What is being accomplished?, this blog (like my other one) is largely me posting ideas about things. While I will admit that I have done a better job with this blog of having conversations, largely through commenting on the ideas of others and using the trackback features, but we have had conversations. But at the end of the day, what have we accomplished.

Let's take AECT for example. Based on what I can remember looking at the titled, I have posted twelve of sixty-three entries on AECT. Many of these have been parts of conversations that I have had with people from Cognitive Dissonance, Disruptive Technocrat, Midquel..., Cultivating Minds, The Overlay - Plug In, Link Up, Turn On, Scott Adams, and others. Yet, other than being a group of contrarians (to borrow a title from the conservative group in Social Studies Education), what have we accomplished? Another conference came and went and many of the things that we were talking about, that we are still talking about were not addressed or even part of the conversation (outside of our little circle of contrarians).

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?

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

Statistics for December

Some stats for you for the past month...

We have had 125 hits to this blog in the past month - which brings the total to 1104. These hits have come from 79 different visitors to this blog, 65 of which have been first time visitors (most of them from the "Next Blog" feature - given that 36 of them spent less than 5 seconds here) and 14 people who have seen reason to come back again and again. This makes an average of 4 hits per day from 3 unique visitors.

Now that I have started to get some content back up here again (at least later in the month), the popular entries have included:

Other than the 36 mentioned above, the average person spent from 30 seconds to 5 minutes viewing the blog, with one person who had nothing better to do and spent longer than an hour looking around.

The people who found this blog came from Florida, Georgia, California, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Carolina, Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio in the United States; Alberta and Ontario in Canada; along with Singapore, the United Kingdom, the Ukraine, Bangladesh, Spain, Lithuania, and Poland.

Until next month...

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