Happy New Year. I start the New Year by starting my PhD with Lancaster University on e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning after it being introduced to me by Sheila McNeill, fellow ALT trustee and all round techy superstar. It’s a totally online programme with residential’s in the first and second years. I am really looking forward to it, I am pleased to see that they use ePortfolios as a reflective tool and I am using tools I haven’t played around with before like Moodle and Mahara.
I’m feeling a little nervous about the huge undertaking that I have embarked on but I am really excited as I am sure I will be able to explore in depth somethings that I have been interested in for a while, like Open Badges, digital literacies and eportfolios (for assessment). I am also looking forward to finding out who the others are on the programme as some of them have put up details in their profiles and they are a varied bunch.
There are a couple of the papers as pre-reading and it was interesting to read about perceptions of what a PhD is. For most of the interactions I have had with PhD students, their PhD’s have been about learning how to research for the sake of those skills. They will then go on and do something completely different or they will become Faculty members. In “Learning to Become Researching Professionals: The Case of the Doctorate of Education” by Alexis Taylor from Brunel University she talks about PhD’s as a tool for ‘researchers to become professional’ and then Professional Doctorate for ‘researching professionals’. I like that, I can see exactly where she is coming from, but had never thought about this difference. The other paper is a rather longer paper (32 pages) is a much more personal account from Justine Mercer “The Challenges of Insider Research in Educational Institutions: Wielding a double-edged sword and resolving delicate dilemmas” who writes about her perspective of two different areas of investigation into researchers where she works. I’m halfway through, but I can relate to her views and have some questions about bias.
This is also a good opportunity to try out apps that I have read about and played with so I am using Liquid Text to read the PDFs on my iPad. So far so good, I really like how I can link the notes and highlights together.
Raring to go and very excited about what I will bring into my work with this, so the ‘real thing’ starts Monday, working full time and doing this PhD will be fun (yikes) but I know it has to happen.