Residential reflections on TEL PhD Cohort 9 #Rocks

I’ve just got back from a week residential as part of my PhD with Lancaster University.  I am part of Cohort 9 and although we have been discussing and talking together online since January, this was the first time that we met face to face.  In the beginning we were all a little nervous, not sure what the week held, where we were going, but we would have a presentation on day 1 so we needed to get all of that behind us and get on with it.  I was extremely excited about meeting everyone and to be learning new things over the week, I was also keen to meet some of the previous years cohort, including some who I already knew, which was also part of the residential.

Day one came and I immediately felt like I had known some of them forever.  Such a lovely, funny and very clever bunch of people. I learnt so much from them all.   The week was set up to include social and academic activities, so after the first day of orientation and presentations in the pm, each morning we had a lecture with a member of staff or previous students on the programme.  We would then look at various academic skills necessary for the programme and we had feedback on our research proposals.  After listening to the speakers I found myself questioning what they were saying and applying perspectives that I hadn’t really thought much about before. I guess in my world, I’m just getting on with everything, but I now realise I can change things. I have an opportunity now to put some meat on the bones of the ideas that I had half formed in my mind and really push forward with digital literacies practices and challenge existing practice and beliefs.

It was only when I was on the train home and looking at the literature that I needed for my research project that I realised how much I had learned.  When I read one of the papers again, it made so much more sense and I think it was because of the jargon. Every community has their own jargon, whether you are in an institution or not, organisations, disciplines, etc all have a language that you use, that becomes familiar and it is not a barrier to learning.  After the residential, reading a paper I was looking for certain things, structure, chains of evidence, theoretical frameworks, all of these things I had read about before but not really deep enough to sink in.  But yesterday, on the train home, they did.   I have been inspired to explore and challenge, and I am excited to be on this journey with everyone (<– that was soppy, sorry).

As a student, I think Digital literacies skills are now more important for ever.  Notably, I practice what I preach and this morning I have already been adding and responding to our Deep Space 9 (Cohort 9, see what we did there?) Group on Facebook, chatted via What’s App to Margaret (fellow member of Cohort 9) and now writing this post, whilst doing a Mooc with Udemy on Leadership.  I’ve created a list via my Momentum chrome extension and am preparing further blog posts and a Keynote for next week, all of this will be recorded in my portfolio.

So, onwards and upwards.  Cohort 9, you are awesome and we’ve only just begun (cue The Carpenters here).