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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, March 31, 2006

Another Set of Gaming Links

Some more blogging entries about gaming for those out there who are interested. Not broken down into categories this time, my apologies, but hopefuly still useful nonetheless.

Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, March 27, 2006

Research and Distance Education

As most of you know, my research area of interest is virtual school (see my reserach blog Virtual High School Meanderings). Broadly defined then, my research area would be distance education and over the past month of so there have been two entries dealing with distance education sitting in my blog lines that I wanted to capture somehow in an entry.

Research in Distance Education in Canada from e-Learning Acupuncture

This entry is actually a reflection on an article from the journal International Review of Research in Open and Distance Education, where he looks at the findings that the authors offered based upon what is being researched in distance education in Canada and how are they going about researching it.

Citation Ratings in Distance Education Journals from Virtual Canuck

This entry provides the citation ratings using Google Scholar as the source of the various distance education journals that are out there. His findings were quite interesting, as the two journals with the highest scores were both the Canadian journals from the list (also the only two which were open access journals with full text of the articles available online). But interesting nonetheless.

Tags: open source, distance education, Canada, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Thursday, March 23, 2006

More on Being an Academic

Once again, here are some more entries from around the blogsphere about entering the world of higher education and becoming a member of the academy.

Teaching

Networking

Writing, Presenting, and Publishing

Funding, Grants and Proposals

The World of Academia

Blogging in Academia

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From Manuscript to Reviews to Publication

So I am working on this manuscript today that I submitted some time ago and got the reviews back from recently. I find this interesting, and while I have been told that this is common, it still makes me curious everytime I go through this process.

What perplexes me so much is how three people can read the same manuscript and come up with three totally different reviews. For example, one of the ones that I had published in the past two years had an accept without revision, an accept with revisions, and a reject (without invitation to re-submit). The editor decided to give me a month to see if I could address any of the issues that the second and third reviewers had raised, and at the end of the month when they had to send things to the printers I sent the manuscript back into with some changes that I was able to work into the draft and they published it as I sent it.

This one that I am working on now, I got an editor's compilation of the reviewer's comments broken down by each section of my manuscript, with an invitation to re-submit. This was a great way to present the suggestions to me, as I could go through section by section and try and address what I could based upon the limitations of my own study. However, once again I find it interesting that even in the examples of the reviewer's actual comments that the editor decided to include, there are contradictions. The other thing that puzzles me is that I get reviewer's comments that do not jive with the actual manuscript. For example, I got one comment where the reviewer said that my data was weak and cited an example of where I used one quote in my data to support a particular theme that he felt did not fit. There was probably a good reason why he felt it didn't fit, the quote that he referenced was used to support a theme that was discussed three later than the once that he had cited (e.g., the theme he cited was discussed, then I discussed two more themes, then while discussing a fourth theme I used the quote to support this fourth theme - keep in mind he claimed that the quote was used to support the first theme in this sequence). To make matters worse, each theme was sub-sectioned off within the manuscript. Makes you wonder if this reviewer even read the manuscript of just kind of skimmed it the day that his review was due.

Oh well, I should have these requested revisions completed within the next five to six days - I just need to print it out again to check for flow and then re-work the discussion section based upon the expanded literature review (yes, I still do my major editing with a hard copy instead of on the screen - a sign of a digital immigrant). In the end, it will be a much better paper, and hopefully something that the editor and reviewers will find more appealing.

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

Monday, March 13, 2006

Still Pouring

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that when it rains it pours, at least on the job front. In addition to the campus visit that I have scheduled for the end of this month, and the college that called to schedule an interview later this month, I got a call last week from the chair of another search committee asking if I had time to chat.

We started discussing my dissertation research, which the committee was interested in. From there we went through a history of distance education in Newfoundland and virtual schooling in North America to my instructional technology and social studies education teaching experience to my K-12 teaching experience to my thoughts on teaching online or teaching teachers how to teach online to my thought on standards and standardized testing to my previous career as a professional political organizer.

While I have only completed one other telephone interview, this was not what I expected from any interview. In fact, I'm sill not sure that it was a formal interview - okay, it probably was, but it wasn't that formal.

It was just a conversation, nothing more. In the previous interview, first of all there was more than a single member of the committee participating and you could tell the "interview questions" that they had and that they wanted answered. I'm not sure exactly what were the formal interview questions from this last interview, minus the first question - can you tell me a little more about your dissertation research.

I can honestly say that it was an enjoyable conversation, but a very odd interview.

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

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Blogging on Vacation

Well, I'm a week without Internet access. Which is kind of frustrating, as there are a number of wireless networks in range, but they are either not strong enough for me to stay connected to the web for more than a few seconds at a time or are password protected.

So, I have taken to blogging in Notepad - which I will post when I return with the date and time signature indicating when it was originally written. This will probably mean that I post numerous entries at the same time, but that's okay as well.

Hopefully San Francisco has been access when we travel in April for AERA.

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs

Friday, March 10, 2006

Going On Break

Please note that I will not have Internet access for the next seven days, starting tomorrow. So there will be no updates to this space for at least seven days after today.

Tags: blog, blogging, blogs

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What is the Future of 2.0

Nate Lowell over at Cognitive Dissonance asks the question, Why Web? In his response to that question, Nate basically says it is for the art of it - specifically this notion of not creating something static, but something dynamic (such as a blog). This has been a good trigger for me as I start to think about the sheer number of entries that have appeared in my bloglines lately about the facebook and myspace, and how this all ties into the next generation of the web (both in terms of what it will physically be and who will be using it).

One has to wonder what impact, if any at all, technology will have on the education system and the learning that goes on in it. Particularly when one reads pieces like this one, Technology aging in schools from Distance-Educator.com's Daily News. Then on the other hand we have items like this one, Tech Will Shatter Traditional Modes Of Education from The Committed Sardine Blog, which pull us in the other direction and tell us that this new technology revolution will finally revolutionize the classsroom.

I'm not sure where I fall on this spectrum. While I guess I am more of a Clark supporter in the Clark-Kozma debate (does media affect learning), I still believe that the kids that we have in our K-12 system these days are different than what I was only a decade ago. They have grown up digital and that has to have an affect on how these learn (as evidenced by Schools need to meet the needs of the 'digital natives' - JIM CRAIG, South Bend Tribune from Online Learning Update, Millennials at work from joannejacobs.com, and How to engage the Net Generation? from E-Learning Perspectives).

So where does this leave us? I think it brings us back to the realm of this notion of Web 2.0, or the read-write web - where content is not static. I don't post a webpage which I update every so often, but I create a blog that can (and should) be updated on a regular, even daily basis. This is happening in some circles, as has been written about in Growth of the Blogosphere from Weblogg-ed News: The Read/Write Web in the Classroom and State of the professional blogosphere from Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~ Edu_RSS Most Recent - RSS old. But to bring us back to my field of instructional technology, are these people simply the "early adopters" in Roger's model presented in Diffusion of Innovations? Are these people, myself included, the bandwagon jumpers - simply waiting for the next tehnology craze to come along so we can be ahead of the curve on that one as well?

However, in addition to the blogsphere (and I would argue more importantly at the K-12 level) there is the growth of social networking such as Facebook and mySpace (see Social Networking Sites - The Next Big Thing?). Sephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~ Edu_RSS Most Recent - RSS old has directed me to a number of posts recently that have been discussing the social networking phenomins of facebook (see What Facebook Teaches, Facebook Face Off, and Developing a Facebook/Myspace Bibliography) and myspace (see the significance of MySpace, Why the Young Value MySpace, MySpace hits home, "Controlling" Phones and MySpace, and My Space - Cheat Sheet for parents - and MySpace Analysis from Weblogg-ed News: The Read/Write Web in the Classroom and Honesty about social networking from elearnspace as well).

This focus recently on social networking has kind of merged in my mind with how this will affect students' (I say students to bring this back to an educational discussion) ability to interact and network within and outside of the classroom, and also ties in this notion of Web 2.0 - where students dynamically control their own web content. This can be a funny thing, as the classroom can be defined in many ways. Are we simply looking at the four walls of the classroom? Or does that include the description of his daughter that Chris Dede provides during most of his keynotes that I have had the pleasure of sitting through - where she sits down at the computer to do her homework, her iTunes is playing, Google is open, her e-mail is open, five or six IM windows are open, and she and her friends collectively get their homework completed, along with getting caught up on the latest gossip and all of their advanced planning for the coming weekend - is this part of our classroom? What about for our online students, both at the K-12 and post-secondary levels, does their ability to network and interact online increase their learning in their online classroom?

Three more pieces from Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~ Edu_RSS Most Recent - RSS old have started to look at these issues, maybe not with answers to these questions, but at least asking some of the same questions: 'Power Users' drive pedagogy: Research suggests tech-savvy students are having an impact in the classroom - Robert Brumfield, eSchool News, College students are wired, but can they connect? - MARY JANE SMETANKA, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune , and Online Groups and Social Loafing: Understanding Student-Group Interactions.

I guess the bottom line is, how will Web 2.0 affect student learning? Or more specifically, how will the social networking aspect of Web 2.0 affect student learning?

Tags: Web 2.0, Facebook, mySpace, blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, , , ,

Monday, March 06, 2006

Congratulations to Dr. Jones

Like Nate with his Congrats, Dave!, I must congratulate Dr. Susan Jones on her election as the Division of Distance Learning Representative to the AECT Board. As most of you know, I was asked by a couple of couple to put my name forward for this position as well, part of a group of reform minded candidates I believe (see AECT DLD Board Member).

Having said that, while I have never met Dr. Jones had I not been running I do believe that she would have gotten my vote.

Also congrats to my colleague here are UGA Rick West, who was elected at the Division's Communications Officer.

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

Saturday, March 04, 2006

On The Lighter Side...

I saw this in The Coffee News earlier this week:

Business conventions are important because they demonstrate
how many people a company can operate without.

I wonder if the same can be said about academic conferences and departments or colleges?


Friday, March 03, 2006

Lessons Learned

Okay, so I just figured out some more things that I should have done with my Endnote database when I first set it up.

For those that don't know, Endnote is a piece of bibliographic software that can be used in conjunction with MS Word (and I assume other word processors) to insert citations while you are writing and then build your bibliography for you based upon whichever citation method you want to use.

In any regard, tonight (yes, a Friday night, and I am posting this at 11:29pm) I took a paper that I wrote for this Social Studies Education class last summer and turned it into a manuscript for submission. Actually, that is a bit misleading, I had taken the paper and turned in into a manuscript months ago, but the journal that I am targetting uses University of Chicago style and the paper was originally written in APA format. So, tonight I spend over five hours converting it.

It may have haelped if I practice what I preach, as I tell all of our first year doctoral students to download a copy of Endnote (free to UGA students) and start their database as soon as they walk in the door. I didn't bother to start mine until I was working on my comprehensive exams last summer, and it is still very incomplete. I also encourage our first and second year doctoral students to attend one of the five Endnote Orientations sessions that our student association, of which I have been the President of for the past two year (and VP the year before that), but I haven't attended a full one myself yet.

The bottom line is that I have an incomplete database and I don't quite know how to use the "Cite While You Write" feature yet, so I haven't bothered with it. I keep thinking that I'll get the database updated to my liking before I finish my Ph.D., so at least when I start my first academic position I'll be able to use Endnote more effectively.

Granted, if I had my database up to date and had used Endnote to cite while writing the original paper, it wouldn't have helped me tonight anyway. When I entered the authors into my database, I only used their initials - which is all you ever need in APA. Well, you need to write out first names in University of Chicago and if my database was completed up to date, if I had entered all of the citations in correctly in the first place, and if I had used the "Cite While You Write" feature, all I would have had to do tonight was click my mouse a few times, switch the style guide from APA for University of Chicago and my manuscript would have been done.

But, you see all of the "if"s in that statement... None of which I did... So, tonight I spent more than five hours converting the paper from APA to a manuscript using University of Chicago. When will I learn?

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

Thursday, March 02, 2006

When It Rains It Pours

Well, it seems that within eighteen hours of being asked for my first campus visit, it seems that I have also secured my second telephone interview (note that the institution offering the campus visit did not conduct a telephone interview, so my first telephone interview was where the application stopped at that institution - got to wonder if I don't come across well over the telephone). Anyway, so as of 9:00am yesterday I have two potential opportunities.

When it rains it pours...

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

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Statistics for February

As of about 9:00pm last night (28 February) there has been 187 unique visitors to this blog, that is 177 first time visitors and 10 returning visitors for an average of 7 per day.

It appears that my popular days or spikes in traffic were on 05 February, 11 February, 14 February, 15 February, 19 February, 27 February, and 28 February.

Some of the popular pages from this past month included:

The majority of the visitors came from the United States, with other visitors from Canada, India, the Netherlands, Romania, Germany, Botswana, Malaysia, and Turkey.

That's all for this month...

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