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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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Statistics for October

As of this moment there are 2913 hits to this blog based upon the straight counter. It read 2514 at the end of August. These hits came from 379 unique visitors: 330 first timers and 49 repeat offenders for an average of 12 visitors a day.

These visitors came from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Thailand, Macao, Malaysia, the Philippines, and France.

Until next month...

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

Monday, October 30, 2006

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program...

... To bring you the next installment of blog entries dealing with gaming. So, here's a few from the past two or three weeks:
Until next time...

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Scholarship, Open Journals and Peer Review

Time for a couple of posts on the academy. I've been reading a lot lately about online journals and the whole issue of publishing in general. For some good examples see:

I guess these four in particular caught my attention because they all deal with the concept of open access or open source and how problematic that can become in the academy.

For the record, while I know very little - beyond a pedestrian knowledge - about the open source movement, on face value I believe it in. Here are UGA we have thousands, maybe tens of thousands of journals that are available online, full-text, through our password protected library system and I'm always saddened by the fact that it isn't too much longer that I will have access to this and the institution that I end up at next may not have this kind of resource.

While I know that the number of open journals available on the Internet, or e-journals, are growing, I get the sense that they are still not seen as being as "quality" as the traditional print journals. There is also the legitimate issue of scope. Take the online journal the Morning Watch: Educational and Social Analysis as an example. Here it is a journal that used to be print based but because of cutback at Memorial University of Newfoundland it was moved online. It is a regional journal for all intents and purposes, printing articles that are largely focused upon the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, largely being written by Newfoundland-based individuals or Newfoundlanders abroad.

The problem come when you consider the fact that now, as an online journal, it has a much greater and wider geographic audience. One of the things that this allows is for what you see in their current issue (vol. 33, no 1-2), where you have a special issue that has authors from a variety of locations in Canada, writing about a variety of places in Canada. Does this now make the Morning Watch a journal with a national scope and audience.

Compare this single issue with another Canadian e-journal, the International Electronic Journal for Leadership and Learning. This journal has always been online (to the best of my knowledge). It has an international editorial team and even uses the term international in its name. However, with the exception of the past couple of year, the vast majority of the articles that they published were written by or focused on research conducted in Canada. This would have made them a national journal with some international representative based upon their content.

In the same way that the regional Morning Watch is shifting its focus to a somewhat more national perspective, the International Electronic Journal for Leadership and Learning has been shofting to a more international focus. So how do we tell?

For the record, I believe that the Morning Watch is still a regional journal and the International Electronic Journal for Leadership and Learning is an international journal. But as someone who has published in both of these outlets more than once, I am more interested in how others see them?

The reason I ask this is because I'm not going to be the one who is judging my third year review portfolio or my tenure portfolio when the time comes. What I believe is not necessarily the same as what is generally accepted in the academy. And while I support the movement of open source and try to publish, where possible and strategic in open source publications (such as these two online journals), I wonder in the end if that will help or hurt my advancement in the academy.

Once, at an AACE e-Learn conference, Stephen Downes told me that he refused to submit manuscripts to journals that were not open source anymore. While Stephen Downes works for the National Research Council as a senior researcher, I wonder if he could have made the same decision as an assistant professor within the academy.

Tags: open source, online journals, e-journals, academy, tenure, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Interns Are Getting Started

In my last post from AECT, When You Wear Many Hats, I alluded to the fact that as a group of interns that we were specifically working on some action items. Well, if you head over to the Intern blog and see the entry for AECT 2006 Interns: Continuing to Strengthen Connections you'll see three things that we have started to work on (it was actually the third one that I was referring to a couple of weeks ago, as it was in keeping with the graduate student issues wihin AECT that I was dicussing at the time - but all three are worthwhile action items).

Anyway, take a gander over there and see what we have started to work on. Hopefully sometime in November we'll be able to post more information on the third item and provide graduate students out there an opportunity to provide us with feedback as we move forward.

Tags: AECT 2006, AECT, blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Opinions Expressed...

So, after something that happened last week a friend and fellow blogger suggested that I write up one of these.

The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and if you feel that I am speaking on your behalf, please re-read this post as necessary.

The purpose of this blog is to discuss my transition from a doctoral student to a member of the academy. This should have included the completion of my comps and prospectus, along with the current work on the dissertation. It may also include some of my own research interests (minus virtual schooling which is discussed on my research blog - Virtual High School Meanderings). It typically also includes my opinions about various things in the academy and the different organizations that I am involved in.

Speaking of being involved, I am - quite actively in most instances. Because of this active involvement, people tend to talk to me about their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. From time to time I will share these thoughts, ideas, and concerns on this blog.

In these instances, I may from time to time use the term "we". This is not an all encompassing we, so it does not represent any specific group of individuals that I may be associated with, it does not represent any institution I may be affliated with, and it does not represent any organization that I may belong to. The "we" is simply me and the people who have talked to me to express a similar theme to what I have written about. If you didn't talk to me about this theme or if our opinions differ, than you are not included as a part of the "we".

Blogs are like online, public journals - diaries even. In the same way someone wouldn't write to speak on behalf of others in their journal or diary, the opinions expressed on this blog are mine (the above noted "we" being the exception).

If you feel like I am trying to speak on your behalf and you disagree with what I have said, I'd ask you to do three things:
  1. post a comment to the entry expressing your disagreement;
  2. remember that the opinions expressed here are mine or mine and the people who have talked to me that I agree with; and
  3. re-read this entry as often as necessary.

Thanks for the counsel and suggestion Scott...

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Something I've Been Sitting On For A While

Okay, so I have had this as a draft entry for quite some time and have never really gotten aroundto finishing it up. It was initially titled "Something We Don't Do Enough Of In Education".

I saw this entry over at Playing School, Irreverently, where ~profgrrrrl~ had posted an entry entitled Which student were you? (which I think has been taken down since she moved her blog).

It got me thinking about, both about what type of student I was at these stages and what those memories have to do with the type of teacher we become. As a teacher education, I often tell my students that the ways that we learn best in many instances become the ways that we teach. So, the exercise of remembering what type of student we were AND, taking it a step further, to assess how common this was or how typical we were compared to our classmates, is a useful exercise in reflecting upo our own teaching.

For the record, to use the stages that ~profgrrrrl~ used...

The student I was:

In Kindergarten

I honestly can't remember much about kindergarten other than these construction paper shoes taped to the front of the classroom underneath the chalkboard that we used to practice tying our shoes - mine was red.

In Elementary School

I can't recall much of my early elementary school either, so most of my memories come from after we moved from Buchans to Corner Brook early into grade five. From that point on, I would probably say that they type of student I was could be classified as competitive - I wanted to be the best in the class at everything we did.

In Junior High

This was an interesting time to look at who I was as a student. It could best be classified as the student who tried to be different. I had a unique style, particularly when it came to fashion, that was all my own and that I was usually solely associated with (I can still remember someone who didn't like me all that much dressing up like me at Halloween to try and make fun of me - everyone knew who he was dressed up as because what he wore was only associated with me).

In High School

I was the overachiever - if there was something to be involved with, not only did I have to get involved, but I had to be in charge. If there wasn't anything in a particular area that I wanted to get involved with, I'd simply start it up.

In College

In my first undergraduate degree, I was more interested in moving what I thought would be my future career ahead than I was with being a student. Consequently, my work in politics often took precedence over my studies (which was reflected in how I did).

In my second undergraduate degree, you could pretty much copy and paste the description of me in high school here.

In Grad School

Well, I'm still in grad school and I think that many of my colleagues would say that the description I've written for high school would still apply. Personally I think I'm a much more calculating student, planning out how my curent actions can be used to benefit me in the future.

Now, how does what type of student I was, affect my own teaching? I'm not sure... In thinking about what I have done in the teacher education style courses that I have taught, I believe that my experiences as a K-12 teachers helped me to realize that very few students were like me. And while I still enjoy, and may even gravitate to those few students, I think that my own teaching style has been a much more relaxed style (especially compared to the more uptight styles that I had as a student).

In thinking about the non-teacher education courses that I have had experience in teaching in the academy, I think that in my planning the uptight-ness still comes through. I have some of the longer and more descriptive syllabi of any of my colleagues. But my more relaxed style still seems to win out when I'm in the classroom itself.

So, maybe the type of student I have been has helped me teach in a way that is almost opposing that type of student because I have come to realize that, as a student, I was fairly unique.

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

Monday, October 16, 2006

Some Updates on Gaming

So, it has been a while since I posted one of these - well, a couple of weeks anyway - so that are a number to let you know about this time...
Until next time...

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, October 13, 2006

When You Wear Many Hats

For those of you who have known me within AECT over the past two and a half years know that I like moving, and moving quickly, on things that I perceive to be good ideas. This was evidenced when it was suggested that the graduate students have a forum to communicate more often and I managed the graduate student blog, The Program, for most of 2005. It was also evidence when I chaired a committee to bid and then organize the Graduate Student Lounge at the 2005 conference. It was also evidenced when tw0 days ago someone whom I respected a great deal within AECT suggested to me that I should pursue the ideas that I expressed in "So, I'm Finally at AECT".

The problem, or challenge is probably a better way of putting it, is when you wear a number of different hats and especially when you wear a number of different hats within the same organization or group of people. You see this year, I'm not just the guy who has been doing graduate student stuff or the guy who has been vocal about graduate student issues and AECT governance, I'm also an AECT intern and a part of a group of five individuals that will be forever linked or associated as a group.

The challenge associated with that is being able to express yourself while wearing each of those hats individually and not having it be seen as coming from a different hat.

I'll be honest and say that two days ago I was given what I thought were two very good, and somewhat related ideas. I decided to start to pursue one as "the guy who has been doing graduate student stuff or the guy who has been vocal about graduate student issues and AECT governance" and one with my fellow interns. The one that you've probably read about in "So, I'm Finally at AECT" was the that I was pursuing as "the guy who has been doing graduate student stuff or the guy who has been vocal about graduate student issues and AECT governance" - although some sober second thought from another individual that I respect a great deal within AECT suggested that there may be a better and more comprehensive approach to dealing with the issue.

As for the second idea that we have discussed as interns, and one of the greatest advantages of working on a group is that you get the benefit of many minds, while I proposed or relayed the original second idea - with the input of the other interns we have taken what was a good idea and made it that much better and I can't wait until later in the week when, as a group, we can have the opportunity to articulate it to those at AECT and the larger community.

But this whole episode has given me a chance to reflect upon this notion of having to wear many hats and how to express one's self in a way that doesn't stiffle them, but also doesn't leave the impression that you are expressing beliefs or ideas of those who may be associated with a different hat. My original intention when I created this blog (as I have three or four, each with individual purposes) was as a way to "chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job". Part of that process is learning how to manage the roles that I will play as a faculty member, where I will again be called upon to wear many hats. And being able to clearly convey the distinctness of one hat, both in the written word and in verbal expression (regardless of how clear that division is in your own mind, ensuring that the division is also evident to everyone else), is one of those management issues that will come into play during my final year of doctoral studies and my beginning years as a faculty member.

Tags: AECT 2006, AECT, , , blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So, I'm Finally at AECT

Addendum: Please read When You Wear Many Hats after you have finished this entry.

Okay, so I finally made it to Dallas yesterday and got there for the final meeting of the evening (and a really good dinner that was still left there from earlier).

So, apparently there is a real shortage of graduate students here - not really - but the numbers are down from previous conferences. There are some on the board who feel that the reason the number of graduate students are down is because we're in Dallas, and not somewhere like Orlando or Anaheim (Disney World or Disney Land - not necessarily in that order, as I'm not sure which is where).

I have to respectfully disagree!

Back in January I posted an entry entitled AECT - You've Got to be Kidding Me!. It was actually a follow-up to a piece that I wrote about having to make decisions about post-graduate school association memberships and how as a faculty member, memberships are expensive so you can't belong to all of them (see Having to Pick and Choose - or - What Does AECT Have to Offer?).

Anyway, in the more recent post I was commenting on AECT's decision to increase the student rates, so that rates would be as follows:
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 was describing how this would see a decrease in graduate student attendance because other professional associations are becoming more student friendly with their conference offerings. The one that I used as a comparison point, which starts meeting today in Hawaii was AACE's e_Learn conference.

The volunteer commitment for AECT is 12 hours over a two and a half day conference. Let's compare:
  • 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

If you are a graduate student with limited funds, you tell me where you are going to go when you have to pick a conference.

So, one of the things that I (hopefully along with my fellow interns) will be doing this week is bringing this issue up with the AECT board. Specifically, we would like to be able to present a petition to the board with graduate student signatures of people who agree that there needs to be some lowering of the overall and the volunteer student rate to keep AECT competitive.

This is where you can come in, if you aren't at the conference this week and can't sign this petition, simply post a comment to this entry and I will include those names along with the physical signatures that we receive. I look forward to hearing from you.

Addendum: Please read When You Wear Many Hats.

Tags: AECT 2006, AECT, , , blog, blogging, blogs, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Selective Weather

Well, I'm sitting here in Atlanta airport supposed to be on my way to AECT in Dallas. Because it was seven dollars cheaper, I went with American Airlines (as the conference airfare provider) instead of my usual US carrier.

My original flight was at 12:20pm, arriving in Dallas at 1:40pm - in tons of time for my 4:00pm intern orientation meeting. When I arrived at the airport, I discovered that my flight had been cancelled and that I was booked on a 3:05pm flight (arriving 4:35pm). The agent informed me that weather in Dallas was to blame and that she would put me on priority stand-by for the 1:50pm flight (arriving at 3:15pm, still time to make my meeting).

Well, the 1:50pm flight didn't actually leave until 3:00pm - without me on it. I was listed as the first person on the stand-by priority screen that was shown at the gate, and even though I never moved from that position, somehow at least four people were able to be confirmed before me.

So, I had to go back to the 3:05pm flight, which wouldn't be so bad, I mean it was only five minutes later. However, this one was now been delayed until 4:05pm (arriving at 5:35pm).

The funny thing is that Delta had three flights to Dallas today, same airport too, and United had one - all of which left Atlanta at the correct time. Pretty selective weather that it only delayed American Airlines flights, don't you think?

Tags: AECT 2006, AECT, American Airlines, graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Statistics for September

First of all, let me say that I appreciate those people who contine to come to this blog, even when I haven't been updating it that much in this past month. I have been busy working on my dissertation, a post-doctoral fellowship application, and five presentation at AECT and three at the Virtual School Symposium. I will be honest and say that October probably won't be much better, although I'm sure that the AECT conference will provide me with some material, particularly my experiences as a Cochran Intern and all.

As of this moment there are 2514 hits to this blog based upon the straight counter. It read 2398 at the end of August. These hits came from 98 unique visitors: 89 first timers and 9 repeat offenders for an average of 3 visitors a day.

These visitors came from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, Austria, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and India.

Until next month...

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