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Archive for December, 2009

Conference call with Dr. S

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

My mentor for RSH9102B, Dr. S, graciously agreed to a conference call to discuss my dissertation. I had hoped to get his insight on my topic and how I planned to develop it. This conference call was a great help to me – Dr. S provided some encouragement and insight that was greatly needed! If you will recall, Dr. S became my mentor halfway through the course, when Dr. M quit teaching at NCU. Dr. S picked right up and provided helpful comments on my papers.

During our conversation, he was able to show me a few things that I believe will really help me focus in on the subject. He recommended that I add a qualitative component to my proposed quantitative methodology. I really had not considered that, thinking it would be time consuming. Dr. S assured me that it would add an important dimension to the topic, making the results/conclusion even stronger. He also suggested that I step back and with a critical eye, look at whether I am too narrowly or too widely thinking about my subject. He reminded me that my job was to get the doctorate; not create a long and involved study, as there would be plenty of time for that later.

Dr. S complimented me on my critical thinking and writing skills. I told him that I appreciated his thoughtful comments, rather than simply commenting on a missed period or an APA violation! Those things are easily correctible, but depth and content were far more important and mentors should comment on those much more frequently.

I am very glad that Dr. S took the time for a conference call. I am looking at my paper differently now, and thinking about how to zero in and share something new. He made me very happy when, during the conversation, he actually restated my concept in his own words….HOW EXCITING TO KNOW THAT SOMEONE ELSE “GETS” MY IDEAS!

Book Review: “Gemma” by Meg Tilly

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

“Gemma” is a compelling story by author/actor Meg Tilly, who herself suffered abuse at the hands of adults she trusted. I found the story almost intoxicating and difficult to put down. At the same time I was sickened by the cruelty and descriptions of abuse, I was inspired by the small voice of a very brave girl who suffered, yet never lost her hope for a life in which someone would care.

Read the full review here.

Submitted #12 Woo Hoo

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Ahhhhh….feels REAL GOOD after submitting the final assignment in a class!!! I finally finished up the 12th assignment, “Propose a Research Method Design” and turned it in tonight. I put this one through several revisions, and I think I ended up with a good product. This assignment pulls from several of the previous assignments. I added a few more headings (a few more than the last post), here is what I used:

Statemet of the Research Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Research Design
Selection of Participants or Subjects
Strengths and Weaknesses
Reiliability and Validity
Less Desirable Designs

I also used APA 6th edition instead of 5th edition, with the major differences being header styles and types, and using two spaces after periods. I also requested the next course RSH9103QNB with a Jan 1st start date and completed the post course survey.

And so I can cross off one more course in my journey to a PhD.

Final assignment in RSH9102B…almost complete

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

It’s hard to believe that I am working on the final assignment in RSH9102B…”Propose a Research Method and Design.” This assignment is worth 20 points (20%) of the course grade. Basically, it is drawn together from parts of all the previous 11 assignments in the class. I have divided this paper up into Statement of the Research Problem, Purpose of the Study, Research Questions, Methodological Approach, Strengths and Weaknesses, and Conclusion. I am still drawing from the topic paper down as RSH9102B-8, and have not changed my dissertation topic much at all. I suppose you could say that I am “refining” it, or narrowing it down.

After a long day at work, it’s hard to focus on my papers/assignments, but I really do try. However, my neck and back hurt after sitting at a desk all day and then a desk here at home working. It seems like I have been going to school forever…and I am looking forward to choosing to write rather than writing because I have to.

I will finish this paper up tomorrow and turn it in. Between now and when the next class starts in January, I hope to catch up on some reading, both in my topic and for fun. On the fun side, I am reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

It’s almost Christmas and so we are looking forward to seeing myparents, the children, and our grandson! We’ve done all our shopping but with work and school not one thing is wrapped!!

Reading novels is good exercise

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Gavel   I just published a book review of By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer. You can read my review on Associated Content here.  Or my quick review here on Goodreads.

Even though I am knee-deep (neck-deep?) in papers and research preparing for my dissertation, I do take off time to read non-academic things. Student readers – you should, too! I think that we get so stressed with reading and writing and working under a deadline all the time, we forget to read just for the fun of reading.

Reading novels is also a great exercise in learning how to develop a story, and weave ideas and events in an orderly fashion so that they make sense. Well – isn’t that a little like a dissertation?! Literature keeps the reader reading and looking for resolution. So if you are a little rusty with plot development in your dissertation or school assignment, consider reading some pure fiction to get your mind thinking about logical development.

I have a Kindle 2 and downloaded the book for free from Amazon. I enjoyed the book because it is a thriller and while reading I DID NOT THINK ABOUT SCHOOLWORK!

Now…back to work on RSH9102B Assignment 12!

Why God Never Received a PhD

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

For all you PhD students out there, this is a fun joke that was shared recently:

Why God Never Received a PhD
1. He had only one major publication.
2. It was in Hebrew.
3. It had no references.
4. It wasn’t published in a refereed journal.
5. Some even doubt he wrote it by himself.
6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?
7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.
8. The scientific community has had a hard time replicating his results.
9. He never applied to the ethics board for permission to use human subjects.
10. When one experiment went awry he tried to cover it by drowning his subjects.
11. When subjects didn’t behave as predicted, he deleted them from the sample.
12. He rarely came to class, just told students to read the book.
13. Some say he had his son teach the class.
14. He expelled his first two students for learning.
15. Although there were only 10 requirements, most of his students failed his tests.
16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountain top.
17. No record of working well with colleagues.

100 University Libraries from Around the World that Anyone Can Access

Monday, December 7th, 2009

I stumbled upon a list of 100 University Libraries from Around the World that Anyone Can Access. This is a great list which includes Digital Libraries, Texts, Medical Libraries, Legal Libraries, National Libraries of Europe, Religious Studies, Specialized Selections, Academic Research, American Universities, and International Universities. We have a great library at NCU, but this opens up some very interesting opportunities to a librariaholic like me.

I suggest that you bookmark this page and return to it often!

Pink Glove Dance goes VIRAL

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

This is a great video – it’s so fun to watch and reminds us all about the importance of Breast Cancer Research. I have a friend recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer – thank you to all those who are taking care of my friend!


Thinking about etexts / ebooks

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Our NCU Provost Dr. Barnaby B. Barratt, PhD, DHS announced recently: 

In 2010, we will gradually change over to the use of ebooks. This not only seems appropriate to an online University (and will save countless trees), but will also be significantly less expensive for Learners.

I am very concerned about the strategic move to ebooks. Even though I have a Kindle 2 and enjoy ebooks, I often use my printed textbooks referencing several things at the same time. I might put my fingers in several places and compare. With ebooks, I can set up placemarkers, but they don’t stick out the edges for quick searching. I use sticky notes and my books have lots of them sticking out marking pages.

We use etexts at the University of Phoenix, where I am an adjunct. I found that students rarely read the texts! They pay for the “use” of the etexts (less than a paper textbook) but pay, nonetheless. They do not have eternal access to the book, either. When I buy a book at the store, it is mine forever. I can mark in it, read it multiple times, or pass it alone to someone else. Perhaps ebooks are OK for some classes but those in which the texts are used (not just purchased) we really need paper textbooks.

In addition, those of us who live in a rural area with insufficient bandwidth, struggle with downloading ebooks or large files or even watching YouTube. I have a limited amount of bandwidth before HughesNet activates their Fair Access Policy. If the etext file were kept resident on the school website, would we be able to permanently “mark” our copy for easy retrieval of information?

I have a whole bookshelf of textbooks that I have accumulated through the years, and I still refer back to these texts, especially when I prepare lesson plans or write papers or articles. Books are just a part of who I am – and even though I love the new technology of etexts / ebooks, I disagree that they are always appropriate in a classroom environment. The technology is not advanced enough to meet the needs of the serious student.

Books are an investment in learning; the use of etexts is like renting the textbook. I hope that NCU gives the students an opportunity to choose if they want to use etexts or buy the book.

Me? I will buy the book. The one made out of paper.



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