While I had mixed results with my 2014 Goals and Intentions, I want to focus on moving forward rather than looking back. After all, measuring my previous personal success won’t get me very far now that we are into the new year. Onward and upward!
Having thought about these for some time now, these are my Personal 2015 Goals:
1. Engage in Timely Communication
I want to maintain Inbox ZERO (delete, delegate, respond, defer, or do) for Email and Social Media (Twitter replies, Facebook replies, etc.). Remaining current enables a discipline that I have long struggled to maintain, with the side effect of more strongly connecting me with my networks.
2. Communicate the Connections between my Learning and Teaching
I am always learning something or another, yet I do not always share this with my networks at the time. I want to more intentionally do this through social media, my blog, and other channels.
3. Attain Financial Balance
A fool and his (her) money is soon parted, and I am tired of playing the fool.
I have taught as an adjunct faculty member at New York University and Pace University since 2005 and 2009 respectively, and while I do it for the love of teaching and academic discourse, I also realize that my commitment to the universities is only for that semester in which I am hired to teach. There is little ongoing support or communication outside of my ongoing teaching appointments. While I do not expect anything more from the institutions–after all, adjunct faculty are effectively (highly educated) contract workers–I do have some needs for support and communication and sharing and discussing these experiences with others who may also be in the same or similar situations.
After so much personal success and academic fulfillment while completing my PhD through the wonderfully supportive community that is #phdchat, I felt my needs begin to shift, leading to my thoughts about a similar chat for adjuncts, or those who generally teach less than full-time and are not on the tenure track. That is the initial idea behind #adjunctchat.
While I know others seem to find this idea useful, I am not sure what it may mean in practice, so with that I am looking forward to a first synchronous #AdjunctChat on Twitter on Tues, May 14, 4:00pm EDT.
All that remains now is to brainstorm what to chat about!
As I mentioned in my Tweet on March 25, 2013, I successfully passed my Viva Voce exam at Lancaster University and was awarded my PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning (Educational Research) forthwith. In the British system, passing a viva forthwith means I passed without corrections and was thus awarded the degree.
As a result, my doctoral thesis, entitled Navigating Liminality: The Experience of Troublesome Periods and Distance During Doctoral Study, is being printed and bound at the university.
I especially want to thank my supervisor, Professor Malcolm Tight, (standing next to me in the image below), and my examiners Professor Paul Trowler (in the left on the picture) and Dr. Margaret Kiley (who attended remotely from Australia). Alice Jesmont (also in the picture below) has been invaluable in her assistance while I attended Lancaster University, along with Dr. Gale Parchoma, who started off as part of my supervisory team before moving on to the University of Calgary.
I am now working at publishing some of the results of my work, so hope to have lots more to share. Thanks goes to all who have supported, guided, and helped me along the way, about which I will also speak more in the near future.
This is how I use Twitter and find it to be a rewarding experience for developing my personal learning network. It is like Karma — give so you can get. The best way I have found to get suggestions, answers, resources, help, and support is to offer the same first. Why should somebody spend any time replying to my Tweets if I have not shown myself willing to share and give the same? Give encouragement and answers and offers of whatever is needed, and that initial discussion and trust and acknowledgement that I exist online and want to be a member of a community of sharing will then build online credibility and a sense of presence. Share first and it is more likely somebody will then want to share back, at least in the world where I find most of my support, namely via Twitter.
While I am especially considering this use of Karma on Twitter as a guide for a personal learning network, i comes from my experiences “offline” as well–the time to ask for help or a job or resources is not when nobody knows who I am, being an unknown quantity, but only after I have developed a reason for people to want to help. Think of when you are moving; that is not the time to make friends who will help–that all has to come first before you need anything. Give so you can get.
This means, in effect, that conversations do not simply happen–they require effort. If I create a profile and follow a few people and then nothing more, it is unlikely that anything will come of it. I have to first give people a reason to want to talk. That is why a personal learning network is not magic, and indeed does not come without a price–I have to work on it and constantly develop it, otherwise I will not be able to rely on it when needed. This may be easier for some people than others, but for those of us who love process issues, few things beat the experience of sharing and helping others as its own reward while engaging in social media. Let the discussions and ultimate learning then follow.
Last week I did a workshop for my organization’s Learning and Development Forum, where I discussed Using Twitter for Personal & Professional Development. I posited Twitter usage as a Personal Learning Network (PLN) , where it works best for you to “get” something from it only after you “give” something to it. While many of my slide presentations are not fully intelligible without attending the presentation itself, I hope these may be useful.