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July 9, 2015

lisa hammershaimb

It’s been over a month since my last written entry, July is moving along at a much faster rate than I ever remember it doing in previous years, and my own feelings of guilt about my lack of writing are mounting thus…time to get back to it.

In February I had a mild crises at the thought of all that was going to happen over the next 11 months with a looming candidacy proposal to be produced and coursework to finish. I’m fortunate that my supervisor is totally okay with being a combination guru / therapist / drill sergeant / cheerleader thus whenever I feel an academic meltdown on the horizon…he’s on the email equivalent of speed dial.

To my panicked question of “Should I just forget that summer is even a thing and spend all my time in the equivalent of thesis boot camp?” I received the following staid advice:

“You don’t need to do anything to prepare. Trust. The. Process. But, if you’re interested in getting started, I’d encourage you to take stock of the courses that you’ve taken and the content of those courses. Once you’ve done this, start by brainstorming things that interest and motivate you. What are you passionate about in digital learning? What are challenges and problems that you face in your system? What is a provocative problem statement that addresses any of these challenges? 

I would encourage you to set a limit on this, so it doesn’t hang over you like a bad responsibility. For example, decide something like: From July 1-15, I will spend one week mapping out course content to date and one week mapping out research opportunities and challenges. Then shut it down. You need down time, time to refocus, time for self-care.

Hearing this was fabulous in February because July was a lifetime away. That said now that it is July and enough time has passed from the intensity that was 804 and enough time remains until the intensity that will be 805, I’d say it’s the perfect time to make good on the whole two week evaluation time. And as I need to write more on here anyways….win all around!

What follows are my thoughts on the first two questions regarding passions + challenges. In the next few days after things ferment, I’ll address the third question and generate a couple research statements. All of these ideas are couched in my own experience and interest in exploring the studio transition to online delivery in fine/applied arts.

What am I passionate about in digital learning?

  1. Creating access (opening doors to previously excluded learners)
  2. Creating community (asynchronous dialogue/safe spaces)
  3. Creating connections (both in a scaled and geographic sphere)
  4. Human Freedom / Flexibility / Independence (ability to bring all of life to learning experience)
  5. Potential for unbundled delivery system (multiple platforms/formats)
  6. Exploratory potential (practices are more emergent and less set in stone)


What are the challenges and problems that I face in my system?

  1. Computer/User literacy (medium becomes problematic / more concrete wall than open channel)
  2. Cultural view (education is of lesser quality)
  3. Network/Connection/Digital literacy (don’t know how to navigate non-F2F relationships)
  4. Qualified instructors/lack of PD (hard to be a guide into the unknown/no defined pedagogical models)
  5. Uncertainty about how to convey more tacit learning w/placelessness of digital environment
  6. Lack of historic precedent (no historic/cultural narratives in place to frame and shape ideas)

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