Reflective Journal for My Doctoral Studies – Do It Online?

We just began our Module 2 in my Lancaster University PhD Programme in E-Research & Technology Enhanced Learning, and one of our assignments is to keep a daily reflective journal, perhaps one that is a 5-10 minute entry around the issue “What really matters in my professional practice?”

As an advocate of reflective practice and writing as a practice of processing experiences and making meaning, I like this assignment (and have even used it myself with my own students numerous times over the years), though am considering doing this here on my blog as opposed to in a notebook or someplace privately on my computer.

Has anybody ever tried this or seen this done, perhaps to offer some pointers, suggestions, warnings, or the like?


3 Visits to the Art Institute of Chicago

Between attending the sessions at last week’s Adult Education Research Conference and presenting my paper The Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ): From Research to Practice and Back Again, I was also able to visit the Art Institute of Chicago (3 times!).

The new Modern Wing is amazing, and the entire collection somehow seems infused with life, vitality, and reflection (the final being my need to spend time with art when I am especially filled with stress and work). I find art a spiritual encounter that often initiates reflective practice on many levels. I enjoyed my visits so much I even joined as a member!

I uploaded my pictures from the museum to Flickr.

Travel Reading, Take 1

I am planning some travel to the UK and Ireland in another week, and while that means I tend to buy new clothes and supplies for the trip, it also means I look forward to getting and bringing some new books with me.

What to read? Always an exciting question to consider.

Recently, a number of colleagues, especially Sarah Stewart, Britta Bohlinger, and  Ailsa Haxell, have recommended various books (and have helped Amazon meet payroll this week, undoubtedly), and I have a lot to choose from among the daily boxes that are arriving (mostly in the area of autoethnography, reflective practice, critical theory, and techno-cultural analysis).

Normally, I bring about 4 books, usually heavy research or cultural analysis texts, and about 2 dozen magazines. This time, I am intentionally packing lightly (I live for carry-on), so will choose with great care.

Thus far, one novel:


I have another week to choose the other 2 (I decided 3 will be the max), so let’ see . . . . Suggestions?

Multitasking, Meet the Flu

My multitasking met its match this week, when I finally left work a bit early on Friday with a case of the flu. I could not keep anything down, had a temperature of over 100, and with weakness so quick and intense that it took me nearly 20 minutes to struggle walking the 3 blocks from the train, it had all the symptoms of the flu. All the symptoms except it did not last the 3 to 5 days I remember.

I got the flu shot, and believe that is the reason why it was not as severe as it was in my early 20’s, when I lived alone and was unable to get out of bed for 5 days.

What is the lesson for multitasking? Well, quite frankly, it stops. All the plans I had for replying to my students’ blogs and forum posts? Stopped. Working with the class I am taking? Halted. Preparing to turn a peer-reviewed abstract into a full paper? No chance. Consulting? Forget it. Work, play, walking the dogs, reading? None of them. The flu, and anything unforeseen, ruins all of the overplanning we do. Multitasking stops completely. Even this posting itself is being done from my BlackBerry while recovering upstate by the fire with the snow gently falling outside.

The lesson? In finally being able to think a bit more clearly after being in a fog for days, I am wondering if multitasking and planning every last moment of available time leaves no time and energy for the unplanned.

Perhaps this is something I should, ironically, begin to plan for?

New Year’s Resolution—I Am Enough

Year after year I make New Year’s Resolutions for change. I have numbered them, listed them on paper, entered them into Outlook pop-ups, carried them in my pockets, put them around on Post-Its, told people about them, kept them close if they were personal, repeated them as a mantra, and other methods that have been forgotten just as the resolutions themselves have.

This year, I am planning something different. Rather than try for change, I am going to do just the opposite—accept what already is.

With my appreciation for Reflective Practice as a disciplinary methodology and my need to blog to help realize the results and the process itself, I am sharing my thinking on this resolution this year.

My resolution is a mantra I have tried out for the past few days and it feels right for me. It seems to fit in a way that I can understand and will try to incorporate into my life. In this regard, I understand I Am Enough as meaning that I will focus on appreciating what I have, already am, have accomplished, think, and feel. For some background, I at times think about what I am not or have not done or thought or felt, more than what I am, have done, thought, or felt. I tend to apologize (at least to myself) for my omissions and lack of, rather than appreciating and accepting what I already am all about.  I tend to think I am not smart enough, not in shape enough, have not written enough, have not worked enough, relaxed enough, socialized enough, taught enough, traveled enough, and on and on.

I am resolving to accept what I have done, not perhaps as being the best or most or highest or grandest or what have you, but in a much simpler way:  they are enough. This recalls a colleague years ago who was told by a professor, after slaving away on a paper that seemed to be going nowhere, that “sometimes good enough is good enough.” This is what I mean by I Am Enough.

Yes, this is a resolution that does involve some change I suppose, and changes in perspective can be as challenging as changing behaviors. However, I think this perspective is one that just feels like it may be the one that will help me move forward with my life by grounding me in my own very real experiences.

I hope my explanation does not appear as an apology, as it is not. I am explaining this to try to put words to what I have already decided. This is my resolution, and it is a good enough one as any.