What is my #rhizo15 Learning Subjective?

Not all those who wander are lostWhile I recently posted about Why I am engaging in #rhizo15 and  Learning Liminality I have still somehow avoided discussing my Learning Subjectives (as learning objectives are not readily possible when we do not know where we are going).

Perhaps this is because I so often avoid personal learning objectives.

I frequently retreat into researcher mode. Specifically as a qualitative researcher, where I always want to ask questions such as, “Why?, “Tell me what you mean by that?,” and “How did you…?” I often avoid making declarative comments, statements, or proclamations as, more often than not, I am wrong in some way. I hate being wrong, and find it easier to commit to the extent I can speak to, while avoiding presenting myself or my ideas narrowly that I somehow exclude other possibilities.

This all begs the question, what are my learning subjectives for #rhizo15?

Wow, I really do not know.

It is easy to say, “To build my network,” but that somehow seems to be a bit selfish, as if … 


Video of My Research Seminar

I am happy to share the video of my recent Research Seminar presentation, where I discussed my doctoral thesis research in progress.

If you ever want to get feedback and suggestions about your own research I cannot recommend this sort of opportunity highly enough. In many ways, this came at just the right time, as it forced me to try to make sense of all my work in a way that is understandable by a larger audience (outside of my supervisors and immediate colleagues). Wonderful opportunity, especially while writing up, to help clarify the thoughts as this was the first time I have publicly discussed my work from beginning to end.

Besides looking like Mr. Potato Head in the video (which I fully expected), I am happy with the results.


Threshold Concepts Conference 2012 Paper Accepted

I am happy to share that a paper I co-authored for the 4th Biennial Threshold Concepts Conference was just accepted for presentation during the conference in Dublin, Ireland. My co-author, again Gale Parchoma, and I have it tentatively titled The Experience of Interdisciplinarity in Doctoral Research: Threshold Journeys.

This will be an especially exciting conference, as many of the researchers working in the area of Threshold Concepts will be in attendance AND many of their works have been very important in my own doctoral thesis research.

Anybody else planning to attend this?


Doctoral Thesis Data Collection, Status #1

I want to share my progress with my doctoral thesis data collection that I started in my posting on July 28 where I outlined my research and began to request participants.

I have been absolutely blown away by the support and interest I have felt from so many people who have so kindly offered to assist or otherwise help promote participation in my work. Having already completed 7 interviews lasting between 60 and 90 minutes each, I feel I am indeed learning more about the liminal experiences that occur during doctoral studies related to learning leaps, aha! moments, and passing through conceptual thresholds.

I have learned that I really do not know what sorts of initial findings I can draw from this work until I begin transcribing and analyzing the transcripts, but I have already noticed that some of my questions and frames have developed the more I learn about how current and former doctoral researchers experience and make sense of their in-between periods of meaning-making while on the path to their degrees. Each person I speak with is so different from one another, and this opportunity to hear about what at times involves personal experiences en route to the degree often leaves me in awe.

I so value how generous many people are with their time, and I look forward to engaging with the other participants I have scheduled to interview through the end of the month (when I now hope to conclude my data collection for my research).


Invitation to Participate in a Research Study

Today I begin data collection for my doctoral thesis research at Lancaster University, and I invite you to consider participating in my study. I have all this information, along with the ethical consent form, in a permanent link on my Doctoral (Thesis) Research page on my website.

There are 3 criteria for participation:

1.  Are you doctoral student or have you completed a doctoral degree (in any discipline, with any type of doctoral degree, anywhere in the world)?

2.  Have you encountered any thresholds or had any troublesome experiences while engaged in your degree that left you with a new sense of your discipline or identity of yourself as a researcher / evidence-supported expert practitioner? Perhaps you experienced an aha! along the way? How about a transformed understanding or perspective?

3.  Did you engage in any aspect of your studies from a distance, online, or using any form of technology while engaging in your doctoral degree?

If you answered yes to these 3 eligibility criteria, I invite you to consider speaking with me about it in a single 60-90 minute interview (phone or Skype, as you wish). For more information, my email and contact information are here.

I appreciate any assistance with identifying participants for my study; please share this link or information with anybody who you think may be interested. Thank you.


Threshold Concepts Conference 2012: Call for Abstracts

I know that yesterday I mentioned I do not ordinarily mention calls for abstracts, but I think this conference is somewhat different in that it is so very specific and is not widely known about beyond the specific group that often attends (do I sense a trend here?!). As a matter of fact, I have never even attended this, though I hope to do so next year.

The 4th Biennial Threshold Concepts Symposium will be held 27-29 June 2012 at Trinity College, Dublin. The Call for Abstracts may be found here. The most comprehensive online repository of links to nearly everything related to Threshold Concepts is maintained by Mick Flanagan here, and it is a great place to begin for those who want to learn more about them.

Threshold concepts are a-ha moments that are central for learners to grasp or understand when working through some discipline or academic process in order for them to be able to progress or grow in that area. These thresholds are often transformative, troublesome, irreversible, integrative, bounded, discursive, reconstitutive, and linked to a liminal experience.

Threshold concepts are one of the frames I am using in my doctoral thesis, and while it stems from the 2003 work of Jan Meyer and Ray Land that focused around undergraduate education, Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines, I am following these insights and application in the area of doctoral research and identity development itself.  

I really hope to attend this conference, as everything I have heard about it makes it seem central to my studies.