Educational Journey

May 26, 2009

Computers!

Filed under: Personal challenges — Cyndy @ 12:59 pm

Trying to write a paper yesterday and all was going smoothly. It looked like I would be finished and still have time to soak up some sunshine. Then it happened. My MacBook Pro, that never locks up, decided it would crash everytime I tried to do something in a Word file. I did everything I could. Luckily it’s still under warranty, but I really don’t have time to take it in. So, when all else fails just stop stressing and go shopping. When I got home, my genius husband suggested that it might be just one file in Word that’s causing the problem. Sure enough, I had copied some text off of eCompanion website into my file and it was the culprit. No problems since. Love living with a techie!

May 21, 2009

Insights

Filed under: Dissertation Topic Exploration — Cyndy @ 2:07 pm

I interviewed Susan yesterday to gain insights into her dissertation journey. She noted that her dissertation topic involved a potential career purpose. Knowing that she would finish her doctoral degree in a career field that sometimes values youth, she wanted to make sure she had a specialty where she would not be considered “too old.”  She studied the older returning graduate student. 

With these two things in mind, age and long-term career opportunities, I think it might be wise to consider a dissertation topic that focuses on learning in the online environment. I have always been interested in that topic. Since it is a realatively new environment there is not likely to be a lot of research already done on the topic, and an individual teaching in an online environment can be any age.

May 20, 2009

Contemplation

Filed under: Dissertation Topic Exploration — Cyndy @ 6:18 am

Considered another possible dissertation topic: Using student teams to enhance the learning experience. Of course this is still a broad subject area that would need to be narrowed. From my experiences using student teams, both good and bad, I think the subject could add value to the way teachers use team environments. My instructor reminded me that whatever I choose it will have to hold my interest for a few years. I am wondering if anything will hold my attention for that long?

Speaking in third person

Filed under: Personal challenges — Cyndy @ 6:12 am

Oh what a challenge it is for this author to learn to write in the third person. APA style requires Roberts to write in a non-personal manner. It is quite difficult. In fact this author has given up trying to eliminate passive voice as she is too busy trying to eliminate personal reference pronouns such as I, me or my even while writing about personal preferences and such.

May 15, 2009

Broadening and narrowing the ideas

Filed under: General — Cyndy @ 4:07 pm

In my reading this week, I have learned that it is best to begin your research idea with a broad area of interest and then narrow the topic through various activities such as brainstorming, writing, and literature review. I begin with identification of three broad areas for research:

  1. Learning styles
  2. The first-generation college student
  3. Classroom motivation

The topic must be interesting enough to keep me motivated for a couple of years; however, the textbook (Cone & Foster, 2006) advises against choosing a topic that is too personal. A very personal topic will make it difficult to conduct research that is unbiased. Additionally, it might be difficult to overcome a block if the findings of the research become contradictory to personal experiences. After much reflection, I have eliminated the latter choices and decided to focus on the broad area of learning styles. This topic is interesting enough to keep me intrigued, yet it is not terribly  personal. It has the potential to provide valuable information to myself the educational community at large. My current challenge is to begin narrowing the subject into an orignal researchable subject. 

Cone, J. D. & Foster, S. L. (2006). Dissertations and theses from start to finish: Psychology and related fields. (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

May 13, 2009

New word & more

Filed under: What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 3:49 pm

Today I learned a new word, and I learned to be more careful with my papers.

New word: Dissertator – a form of the word dissertation, someone who disserts. A dissertation is a lengthy discussion of some subject.

Used in a sentence: When I begin my dissertation, I will be a dissertator. 

Reference

dissertate. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissertate

Also learned to more carefully edit my papers and double check all of the grammar and spelling settings in Microsoft Word. Feedback from instructor was very helpful, but I have much to learn about APA style. It seems so awkward to mention an author only by last name within the body of the paper. It also seems awkward and repetitive to refer to certain things so specifically over and over again. I’m sure I will get used to it, and begin to look for those common mistakes.

Cats

Filed under: Personal challenges — Cyndy @ 12:41 am

Cats sleep all day so they can bother their owners all night.

More ideas on the dissertation

Filed under: Dissertation Topic Exploration — Cyndy @ 12:20 am

I could examine programs that have been developed to promote the retention of first-year college students. I am thinking specifically of looking first and Western Oregon University. I would also like to compare to some of the foreign college systems. The research that I did in the last course will be a starting point. I’m afraid, I will have to narrow even further though.

May 10, 2009

Beginnings

Filed under: Dissertation Topic Exploration — Cyndy @ 3:53 pm

I begin my exploration of dissertation topics. I have a couple of general ideas that are still very broad. My Writing 7000 class is “giving me an opportunity to explore these ideas.” Following are the first ramblings of my initial thoughts:

#1: I could study how learning styles affect career choices. It is generally assumed that most visual learners go into artistic careers. In my initial testing of design management students, I found that many students are kinesthetic learners. Why? Does this have to do with the liklihood of success in the courses related to the career choice or the career choice itself? For example, a student that is an art history major will have many classes that involve lectures and images. The most succesful students will likely be auditory, visual learners. But will this make good art historians who are predominately involved in research, requiring a different style of learning. Can understanding ones learning style help a person make better career choices? Can colleges gear learning delivery styles that better meet the needs of the careers related to that course?

#2: A study of the motivation required for students to stay in college to completion of their goals. This could go in a couple different directions. First, I wonder what influence grades and/or teaching study habits will do for student motivation. Certainly it seems plausible that if challenges come up and a student does not have confidence in their ability to get through the tough times, they may lose motivation and stop.  My personal experiences in early education left me without the confidence or study skills to think that I could make it in college. The other angle that I could take with this issue is the need for short-term goals. As I learned in my last class, when students attend college only part-time they tend to drop out. This may be due to the fact that they cannot see the end goal and become discouraged. I certainly would never have gotten this far in college if I looked at a Doctorate degree as my end goal. Instead, I began by taking 5 courses to earn a wage increase. I then worked toward my associate degree, then my bachelor’s and finally my master’s. I took on each challenge individually. Certainly there are students that take on bigger challenges and are able to stay the course. What is different about those students? Could it be that they are not firs-generation students. Maybe they have better family support to achieve those goals. Maybe they just have more confidence?

Both of these topic choices are still very vague and broad. They both need more work, and this class will encourage me to quickly work through these issues.

May 9, 2009

Hello world!

Filed under: General — Cyndy @ 6:54 am

Welcome to my educational journey. Several weeks ago, I began working toward my doctorate degree and have now finished one class. This blog will document my challenges and progress throughout the process. Let me begin with an autobiography that I wrote for my writing class.

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