Saturday, September 19, 2015

Week 2 of 13 sort of done

If I think about it long enough...
I would say that rubber has met the road, with week 2 of EDDE803 almost over. People have started being active in the course forums, interesting perspectives and illustrative stories are shared and discussed, and projects are in progress! This semester we are joined by two members of Cohort 6, who I think will be added to our cohort, and thus adding to the diversity of our small EdD group. Metacognition and reflection seem to be big in this course, so as inspiration strikes I think I will keep some notes and thoughts as blog posts, in addition to whatever I keep in evernote. They might come in handy at the end of the semester.

803 Ponderings and News

The first assignment has us going into teams to develop a competency profile for a distance education instructor.  Once our teams develop a competency profile, we collaborate with other teams to develop one of the entire course.  This seems to be part delphi process, part a way to be more mindful and aware of the process we are undertaking, and part as a way to inform our own practice as teaching interns in the course that we are interning in. The process seems to be going well thus far, and once we've come up with a competency profile (no peeking, Cohort 8!) I will post our findings here.  It would be interesting to compare with Cohort 6 to see what they got.

I am already thinking of the second assignment, even though it's not due until November 10th.  This one is indivual, and it's a researched paper on an instructional technique, strategy, or technology that holds particular interest for me based on the study of Unit 3 (note to self: remind myself what Unit 3 is). This includes a paper (4000-5000 words) plus a presentation on the topic. I am not sure what the technology part is (I only see techniques and strategies in our readings), but I guess I will ask Susan in a little while for clarification. I really want to get the literature review done by October 15th at the latest so I can focus on synthesis and paper-writing.


In the internship arena, things are progressing there as well.  I was having a bit of a problem getting a start in week 1.  Part of the problem was conceptual.  I see a distinct Pat influence to the course, and (despite loving my conversations with Pat) sometimes I wonder if questions posed as a way to kick off discussion are rhetortical - in other words, sometimes I have issues getting "a start" in the discussion which leaves me in awe of MEd students who just jump in and start the discussion (without worrying about 'correctness' of the answer). This week I did get a better footing in the course, but as I can see there were 7 unread posts in the forums since yesterday that I need to attend to.  As a TA I am finding it hard to find my place.  As a learner I like to jump in and discuss a lot.  As an instructor in the INSDSG courses I teach I tend to be active, but a little more like a devil's advocate, and more socratic.  I have yet to figure out what my "motivation" (to use an acting term) is as a TA.

Dissertation Ponderings

Finally this week, I've been thinking about my dissertation.  Yes, EDDE805 is a year away, but I like to give things a little thought.  My idea-board for dissertation topics keeps getting added to.  However, I see some things as either not quite viable (at least for the timeframe of a reasonable dissertation), or just not that interesting any longer.  I was reading Maha Bali (et al) 's What Makes a cMOOC Community Endure, and I started thinking about autoethnography again. Since 2011, starting in January 2011 with Siemen's LAK11, and continuing until today I've been MOOCing. cMOOCs, xMOOCs, rMOOCs; MOOCs on Facebook, on edx, on coursera, on janux, on futurelearn, on Moodle, on Blackboard, on Desire2Learn, and many more; MOOCs education, social sciences, arts and architecture, comic books, and language - heck even some MOOCs on logic. Chances are that by the time I get to EDDE805 I will also have taken a handful more of MOOCs, and tried out additional MOOC providers.

The MOOC tag on this blog has taken over, and specific MOOCs like #change11, or #rhizo have representation.  I've been thinking about exploring the journey for lifelong learning through the lens of the MOOC, and through its various iterations and novelty offerings. While I didn't start on "day 1" of MOOCs, with CCK08, I do consider myself as starting MOOCs considerably early, and definitely before the big explosion.  I came to them as free ways (free in a variety of meanings) of continuing to learn. MOOCs have changed quite a lot, and have sprouted off-shoots, since then, and for the most part I've witnessed this change.  I've also tried to keep up with the literature, but there is still a ton I have not read.

So, my idea, upon reading Maha et al's autoethnography, and reflecting on the autoethnography I worked on with Maha and others, was to do either a chronological autoethnography, or a MOOC-type based autoethnography, of a lifelong learner (me) by going back and analyzing my posts, reflections, ideas, and conceptions on MOOCs from this blog. I've got 4 years worth of data thus far, so it could be interesting, right? I am also thinking that I can also continue to write about, reflect on, learn in, and experience different types of MOOCs until it comes time to dissertate which will give me more data to work with.

My main hurdle is really this internal conflict I am feeling about the autoethnography as a method. From a conceptual frame of reference is think that it is a valuable methodology for conducting research.  The researcher as the person under the microscope for the research.  I think objectivity is a bit over-rated when it comes to research, so I am not worried about having a façade of objectivity.  Just like single-subject research is valid in other fields, I think single-subject research via autoethnography is equally valid and valuable.  On the other hand, the little naysayer in me is telling me that this research won't be accepted as "real" research, and thus as such it will be problematic for a dissertation topic. The Rhizoteam had problems getting our collaborative autoethnography out there, so I think that as a one person dissertator I would probably face bigger obstacles.  So, where I am at with this is pondering the widsom of pursuing it, no matter how much I like the idea.

Any thoughts on this?
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