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Archive for January, 2010

Snow in VA

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Well, it’s been snowing since about midnight and we now have about 5″ on the ground.
Here’s a snow pic for you…Snow 01-30-10

I worked about 4 hours yesterday on an assignment in RSH9103QNB and am still not finished. Right now, I am taking a blogging break, then will fill up my trusty coffee cup and get started once more. I use my Saturdays to get some work done – especially in the mornings when it is very quiet. Husband and our two dogs are still in bed and I don’t have to use the ear plugs to keep myself focused on my school work. This week I teach a COM/285 class at the University of Phoenix, Richmond. My plans today are to work on the assignment mentioned above and post the syllabus for COM/285.

I have been writing this morning and just published an article on Associated Content:

Send Local Severe Weather Reports to the National Weather Service via Twitter

Be sure to read the article and tweet about your severe weather, too!

Northcentral University unveils new brand

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Northcentral University sent out an email today introducing its new logo. Here’s a sneak peak….


The school is rebranding itself! The new logo colors are blue for learning and knowledge, and burnt orange reminds us of Arizona (where the school is located). The two overlapping strips represent the student and faculty relationship. The promo mentions a flame, but I did not see one. The flame would stand for the “fire of enlightenment that education produces.”

The new branding will be introduced in February.

Click the link (http://lp.ncu.edu/newbrand/) and tell me what you think about our new brand….!

NCU Logo

New APA 6.0 templates

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

I see that NCU has posted new APA 6.0 templates in the Dissertation Center. I see the Concept Paper, Dissertation Manuscript, Dissertation Proposal, and Topic Paper Templates. I haven’t had an opportunity to print these out, and will not until much later. It will be a while until I need those templates. NCU is requiring APA 6.0 for dissertations accepted after Jan 1st, 2010. I am trying to learn the revised APA guidelines, and still puzzle a bit over why some of the changes were made. When I received my first 6.0 manual, I read it through, but have not had a chance to do the same for the revised/replaced 6.0 (I have the corrected 2nd printing).

Today I have been working on RSH9103QNB-5, Applying Univariate Statistics. I had to review statistics a bit to answer some of the questions, and admit that it took me longer to work up this paper than I had thought it would. I’m all finished now, and plan to work on assignment 2 tomorrow. That is – either before or after husband and I go see AVATAR!

Statistics reviewed in RSH9103QNB

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

I am still avoiding turning in assignment 2 in RSH9103NB. This assignment is a first pass at my dissertation questionnaire design. I am still not 100% convinced that my ideas for a questionnaire will work – my biggest concern is the sample. I think it will be very difficult to pull the sample together. Essentially, I had thought to send out questionnaires, but after talking with several people, I have discovered that most of the time the questionnaires are not returned. The best way to do it (it seems) is through an internet survey. My second concern is the breadth of the study design. I am afraid that I need to actually broaden the topic so that the research is applicable to more than just a small group. My topic is very specific, so that if people do not respond to a survey, the design is shot.

So, I am continuing to work on assignments in RSH9103QNB without turning them in. NCU does not allow turning in assignments out of sequence so I have to turn in assignment 2 next. I am working on assignment 5 now, “Applying and Interpreting Univariate Statistics.”

Here are all the assignments, so that you can get an idea of the statistics reviewed in this course:

1: Considering Questionnaire Design
2: Hypothetical Questionnaire Design
3: Application of Editing and Coding Techniques
4: Application of Descriptive Statistics
5: Applying and Interpreting Univariate Statistics
6: Applying and Interpreting Bivariate Statistics
7: Applying and Interpreting Bivariate Measures of Association
8: Multivariate Data Analysis
9: Secure a Chair for Your Dissertation Committee
10: Probability and Non-probability Samples
11: Sampling Procedures
12: Power Analysis
13: Envisioned Research Plan

Clearly, assignments 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 are statistics reviews (you could consider 11 as well). So for all those who are thinking about this course but t-r-e-m-b-l-e at the thought of STATISTICS, make sure you hand onto your statistics books for review!

NCU Dissertation Sequence

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

The course I am in right now is RSH9103QNB, Quantitative Methods. You can see from this Sequence chart that this is the third of four RSH (Research) classes at NCU. The student chooses either a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods class for this third course. In this course, not only do I complete assignments, I also secure a chair for my dissertation committee. My chair will be the instructor for the next RSH course, RSH9104B. During RSHI9104B, I select my committee members. After these four RSH courses, I take Comps (CMP9200), which is a course in which I will have to right four scholarly papers. Right now in our nculearner Yahoo group, we have been discussing some of the changes to the Comps. I had heard that NCU was going to move this course before RSH courses (which makes a lot of sense to me) but then I was told that they are considering it, but that has not been finalized. Once I complete CMP9200, I will be considered ABD (all but dissertation).

All of that seems so far away right now, but in reality, I will be at that point within the year!

NCU Dissertation Sequence

RSH9103QNB Quantitative Methods

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

I turned in the first assignment today for RSH9103QNB, “Considering Questionnaire Design.” My mentor for this course is Dr M, and the course dates are Jan 1 through Mar 26. This first assignment was a book-question-and-answer set from Zikmund’s chapter 15.

The second assignment is “Hypothetical Questionnaire Design” in which I am to create a questionnaire based on my chosen dissertation topic. So I skipped this one (temporarily) and moved on to assignment 3, “Application of Editing and Coding Techniques.” This one is also a book-question-and-answer set, this time from Zikmund’s Chapter 19.

I won’t be able to turn in assignment 3 before doing and receiving back graded 1 and 2, but I am on a roll with those book questions. I want to re-research my topic some before I work on a survey for it.

I receive blog reader questions from time to time asking me how I set up for these book-question-and-answer sets. First, I type out every question in my paper so that when I refer back to the papers I know what the assignment was about. This has been very helpful as the assignments build on one another. It is simply of way of assisting with categorizing my responses. I use page break in MS Word between questions. By typing out the questions first, when I read I know what to focus on. Then, I read the entire chapter and any other links provided in the syllabus.

Most of the time, the questions are little essays, about a page, maybe two pages in length. I always use a lot of references, and follow APA rules, including voice. Of the 13 assignments in this class, 9 are book-question-and-answer type.

Homeland Security Essay Contest

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Happy New Year!

I am a member of a writers’ group and found out about a Homeland Security Essay Contest offered by the Navy Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Security Defense and Security. If you are enrolled in NCU’s HS coursework, this may be an opportunity to share some of your work. However, the competition is open to everyone – you do not have to work in the field. There is no entry fee, the award is $1500, and the winning essay will be considered for online journal publication. Submission deadline is January 31.

Here is the link: Homeland Security Essay Contest.

You can also read previous winning entries at that link. Good luck!

eLearn Magazine: 10 Ways to Ensure Distance Learning Success

Friday, January 1st, 2010

My essay, “10 Ways to Ensure Distance Learning Success” was published December 17 by eLearn Magazine.

Here is the direct link to that article:


In this article, I review some of the basic principles for online learners. The idea for the essay was an adaptation of a slide that I use for every class including campus-based. The slide has the 10 items, which I reveal one at at time, from the last to the first (#10, #9, #8, etc.), in the same way that David Letterman does his Top Ten Lists. By bringing humor into the classroom, students seem to remember the slide and these points much easier. If you would like a copy of the slide, please contact me at thinkphd at yahoo dot com and I will send you one.

Just like David Letterman, a little drum roll please before reading #1: Read the syllabus and use it as a roadmap!