Posts tagged ‘summer research’
September 4, 2015
805 begins next week and in an effort to staunch the flow of panic I’ve been feeling all summer, I’ve begun chipping away at the course reading. It’s interesting stuff and as with the 804 pre-reads…my curiosity is very much engaged.
One thing I have noticed and indeed what’s prompted me to write this post has very little to do with the messages I have been reading and everything to do with the medium. For the first time this year I’m doing a significant amount of reading in a physical textbook as opposed to reading digital articles or even a digital edition of a text. As I said, the content itself is interesting but in many ways the whole experience feels oddly isolated.
Sure I can read in public places and even read aloud passages and then discuss with those around me but…it just feels so different than the process I’ve been engaged with over the last many months and called “reading”.
I’ve spent most of this year (and indeed my time as a doctoral student) reading on a screen in a fairly non-linear manner—looking up info about authors as I go, linking to other articles references, looking up unfamiliar words, referencing Twitter, watching videos. My process feels part word decoding/traditional “reading” and part archeology…with a generous twist of wandering built in. The interface of my computer makes these shifts seamless and though I can get sidetracked, the distractions often prove serendipitous. While I could do all these things simply by opening my computer next to my book…it feels cumbersome and almost like I’m cheating on my book to not give it my full attention.
It’s interesting to think about why I do what I do when reading on screen and when this shift happened. I spent my undergrad studying art history thus was steeped deep in physical books and then did a masters in graphic design thus was steeped in making artifacts, primarily using screen-based methods. Perhaps now as I work on my doctorate the two worlds are beginning to merge? Or perhaps I’m at a point where I’m still trying to figure many things out thus favor a more fragmented approach to on-boarding information? Perhaps the analog format of the book itself is subtly corralling my wandering mind while the screen is beckoning me to explore?
I doubt there is one reason or answer but it’s been an interesting meta bit of reflection on my own learning process and particularly on just what I tend to mean when I say I’m “reading.”
August 26, 2015
Hi Jesse and Sean,
Sorry that I am a bit delayed in writing my thanks + recap note. Just after DigPedLab I took a weeklong holiday in New York City. My original plan was to spend the week paying homage to the Beat Generation by writing brilliant, reflective, philosophical stuff—preferably while sitting in an outdoor cafe. In reality, it was sweltering outdoors so I spent the majority of my time eating cannoli, wandering museums, and being dazzled by an endless stream of people watching. The week was not productive in a word count sense but…I’m fairly certain my soul is better for the rest and inspiration. In addition, I seem to remember a wise person mentioning that often one doesn’t really know what was learned until some (or often lots) of time has passed so perhaps a delay in reflection is exactly what I needed!
But…back to DigPedLab.
First off, thank you so much for putting the event together and allowing me to attend as a Fellow. From the initial Sunday evening meet-up onwards, you both radiated hospitality and I am convinced that your generous spirit set the tone for the week. Your tangible willingness to have open hands, trust the process, and honor a spontaneous spirit in all that may or may not happen encouraged us as participants to do the same. It seemed during the week what mattered most were our own stories as opposed to our institutional affiliations and this focus bonded me in particular with my Networks tribe very quick and deep. The lack of ego and insider/outsider dynamics was so refreshing and because of this unity, I think we constructed something pretty phenomenal.
Though the majority of my time as a student and all of my time as a teacher has been enacted via online methods, I came to DigPedLab having never thought what impact the digital may/may not have on the pedagogical. The opening chat where Jesse poured glasses of water back and forth and then inverted the second cup and sent the water streaming onto the floor was the first of many “aha!” moments as I realized what a profound impact not just the content but the entire structure, posture, setting, etc. has on a learning experience. It’s daunting to realize everything from typeface to body posture to ambient lighting contributes to pedagogy and yet it’s also dazzling to realize the privilege of being invited into an experience where everyone and everything matters. If I had to distill a single takeaway from DPL it would be this: digital pedagogy is alive and enacted rather than a static construct and from that, digital pedagogy is best as an inclusive dialogue.
This realization has caused something inside me to shift fundamentally on Day 1 and the remaining four days helped nurture the change. Now, whenever Sarah (who I am so so so happy to have shared the experience with) and I are together in a new situation we do a quiet analysis of the pedagogy of the moment, scoping out the room, format, etc. identifying what’s helping and hindering—whether the messages the speaker is saying actually matches the message the space is broadcasting.
This shift feels a bit like how perspectives expand for the better after travel to a new place or after making a new friend. This new way of looking at the world has also shifted the lens through which I am engaging in my doctoral research study. Previously I was very interested in the “how-to-do-it-best” of studio pedagogy mediated via an online space. Now, I find I’m much more interested in exploring the intersection of space and experience and the whys of studio pedagogy in online space. The shift in vision/scope is a bit inconvenient to my ego (as it has de-centered me from the place of the all-knowing researcher) but I think it’s ultimately more sustainable and I’m glad to engage the world with these new eyes.
As far as practical feedback on DPL, it feels generic and unhelpful but everything truly was pretty awesome from my perspective! I enjoyed the high interactivity format and the way each keynote presented a challenge for deeper engagement. I liked the active back channel and the ways all tracks quickly became interwoven. And I loved the experimental, open spirit that seemed to pervade everything from meals to focused track sessions to the keynotes and even the unconference. There’s lots of grim in the world of education but this week reminded me there is even more good and hopeful creativity in community. As we are all committed to working in open ways and engaging in active dialogue in public places, I have no doubt there will be much positive change.
My only criticism is that each day was a bit too long for me. Though I know we were encouraged to leave if we needed some empty space…I was afraid I’d miss something! I think long days for the first two are good (as they get everyone bonded) and then maybe slightly shorter days for the remaining so that there is more time for absorbing ideas. Oh, and I wish DigPedLab temporary tattoos would have been part of the swag as the logo is legit awesome and I’d gladly wear it! : )
Overall, thanks again for the opportunity. Looking back, DigPedLab has become a cairn in my academic journey. I am so thankful for all the ways it has already changed me and am excited to see the ways the experience and the community will continue to do so.
August 11, 2015
August is a week old and Digital Pedagogy Lab—the event that was once a lifetime away—officially began this morning. As befitting a fellow, I’ve completed all my pre-reading (even for tracks beyond my own!), sent out appropriate encouraging and excitement generating tweets with the proper hashtag, begun a list of potential blog post topics for future writing, and volunteered above and beyond to work as an on-site buddy with my sister for the Virtually Connecting initiative. Though all of the previous items are exciting in their own way, I will confess I am most excited about the last item…being an onsite-er able to do my part to extend in a small way what we all at DPL will experience over the next week.
July 9, 2015
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.
April 24, 2015
Recently a friend who is making a transition asked me if I had any examples of my own teaching philosophy, personal research plan, personal statement of intent, etc. Though I don’t know that I have quite what she was looking for, her request made me think of the documents I’d written for AU and so I dug them up, reviewed them, and passed them along. Reading them was a bit like coming home and though I have much more fancy academic language to describe these ideas, I think the majority of this still is true. Heading into what will be a strategic summer filled with big decisions, it’s good to remember where I came from…where this mission began. What follows after the break is my official statement of intent and my research goals.
Here’s to the new adventure….
April 20, 2015
Hello Cohort 7!
At the beginning-ish of the term I wrote you a short message that I hoped would generally cheer you on in an effort to promote cross-cohort pollination. From my position as part of what Dr. Anderson has called the “ghosts of 802 past” it seems you’re just about finished with 802 thus I want to bookend that first message with my own congrats and specifically a couple recommendations I would make about the summer.
So first….congratulations!! 802 is the antithesis of easy-breezey and if your experience was anything like mine, you are probably emerging from the other side of it with lots more learning and a little (or a lot) overwhelmed/humbled with how complex the research process actually can be. Ideas that mostly lived in your head as potential dreams were tested and exposed to peer and professorial feedback. Hopefully they (and you) fared well and 802 was a good place of refinement, exploring what is worth pursuing and stripping away what might not be the perfect fit you imagined. Be somewhat lavish in celebrating the completion of this next step in your doctoral process and your first year in the program. It’s a huge deal and should be rewarded with lots of champagne and lots of warm fuzzy feelings!
Your first summer is an interesting time in the program cycle and for me proved quite strategic…though in none of the ways I anticipated when I finished 802. The following are things that I wish someone would have told me when I’d finished 802 (actually…my supervisor may have told me some of these things but at times—terrible as it sounds—wisdom from your supervisor feels like pedantic wisdom from your parents when you’re thirteen, out of touch at best…even if it’s totally true!) Last year I was right where you are now so, as much as anyone can “get” another’s experience…I get where you are. Do with these what you will and know that they are couched fully in my own experience, which may or may not resonate with you.
August 30, 2014
I start up school again for real in the next week or so, thus it’s only fitting that I begin moving my mental state from being in overachiever in divergent thinking to one decidedly more of a tweed state of mind (Disclaimer: By divergent thinking I really mean doing a bunch of awesome totally non-academic things and then thinking—in the few minutes I lie awake before going to sleep—“Wow, I feel super guilty because I did ______ rather than reading journals, writing an APA paper or generally any activity more befitting a year-in doctoral candidate…Quick, how can I assuage my own shame? There’s totally a connection between Bachelor in Paradise and the Doctoral student experience, right???)
And, back in the academic saddle I go…where I forsake (or maybe just lessen) my hold on the saying yes to everything mantra and move a bit more back into the drawing set boundaries, mapping out plans, and generally being a bit more academically minded. Legit I don’t regret anywhere I’ve been in this summer or the ways I metaphorically traveled so far from the well trodden path because I think that in many ways things do end up connecting more than they are separated but the key rests in the observer and the overall level of investigation/thought they are wiling to put into the processing.
As my own tentative moving back into the dissertation sphere, here are three potential ways my mind has been traveling this summer regarding research and overall research questions. They’re legit raw and wet and all sorts of unsettled but they’re also reflective of a the two things that keep on coming to the forefront of my mind, namely: how identity gets created in this crazy geographically dispersed learning format and how communities, with profound strength and support, seem to form in spite again of no cohesive geography. So, here’s where I am beginning to begin this year…and the future, pretty much anyone’s guess. (And, this is copy/pasted from an email so please forgive the awkward verbiage and disjointed phrasing.)
This past year I was thinking about going down a phenomenological path and looking at the student experience of being in an fully online arts program. I think that because these programs are relatively rare there is very little understanding of what students are experiencing and a lot of the unique parts of what it means to be an art student may be getting lost in the instructional design/functionality of the program itself. I’m also curious about the identity shifts that occur in online learners and just when they begin to see themselves as “designers” and if the somewhat nebulous nature of the online learning classroom (as opposed to a brick and mortar studio) has any impact on that.
Then recently I’ve become interested in thinking of the students more as real people and less as just “online students” and wondering what role the actual geographic location of the student plays in the online learning process. I know as a graphic designer the space I work in has special meaning and when I was working on my undergrad degree the studio at my college was kind of “sacred space” for creativity and community building. So, what I’m curious about is how or if students in online programs naturally carve out these types of spaces themselves (in their home studios, coffee shops, libraries, etc) and what role those spaces play both in helping them through their creative projects and shaping their identities as artists.
Finally, I know there’s been lots of traction around the idea of teachers more as curators, assembling learning spaces through open networks where students learn through connections and the classroom itself becomes much more collaborative. I love the curator metaphor and think in an arts-focused program it makes even more sense. For example, one of the very high level goals of all our courses is to get students more aware of looking and seeing the world around them, much like a curator re-frames and re-imagines art and context. I am wondering how (or even if) instructors can curate community for their students or if that is something that rests more on the students who must be proactive in creating their own communal spaces and connections.
May 15, 2014
So it’s now mid May. Class officially ended on April 20th. I was going to take a week off before buckling down and crafting a plan for summer research. The I was going to take two weeks off because seriously, I had a pretty intense couple of months. And now suddenly almost a month has passed and oddly enough…I’m ready to get back to work. This process feels a bit like recovering from a 50K. At the beginning, you never want to run again and even the thought of running makes you feel a bit ill. All you want to do is eat cheese puffs and Nutella (though not together), drink beer, and sleep. And then you get a little itchy for just a short run…and then you’re hooked and back at it and planning the next crazy hard and painful adventure because in all honesty even the lusciousness of Nutella pales in comparison to how alive and strong you feel when you’re running and every part of your body is vacillating between throbbing pain and rushing endorphins.
So yeah, I’m there with the whole academic writing and research thing. I’m beginning to get itchy for some research and feel like I’ve finally got enough words built up in me to again begin to write and enough mental space to again reflect and actually see something inside me. Exciting!! And totally freaky because I’m no longer a total novice and I now know what it takes out of me.