Since January 2013 I have been a part-time PhD student at Edinburgh Napier University. A lot have happened since then and my previously started and incomplete PhD in translation many years ago and 80,000 words later that didn’t lead to anything are not helpful to put me in a positive mindset. Can I do this? Will I do this?
I am currently reworking part of the literature review linked to open education responding to feedback I received. “Radical editing” are the words I remember… The truth is that I have been struggling to make progress and actually often feel stuck but also guilty… guilty for not spending enough time with my family… guilty for not spending enough time on my PhD… and guilty of working on too many projects… as I was reminded by Keith in September. Often I feel like being pregnant again but without knowing when and how I will be able to give birth without producing a monster… and the pain is growing…
I am now in Greece and the plan is to rework the above section. I made a start on the plane on a very bumpy ride down south from rainy England. I decided to keep a short visual diary while I work on this and hopefully this will help me out some of my thoughts in some kind of order. Maybe somebody will access it and provide some help and advice.
My visual diary is below.
It hasn’t been an easy day. I haven’t managed to cut that much, I am down to 12-13 pages, and will continue working on this tomorrow. I understand that I need to be more focused but so much seems relevant! Thank you to David Hopkins who volunteered to read through the collaborative learning section and Frances Bell for her suggestion to create a visual representation of all the important concepts. I will see how I do tomorrow.
Some sense of achievement today, a tiny one. MOOC pages are now under half the original length of what I had and there is some sort of order there now. I have now shared this with Carol Yeager who kindly offered to read through this and comment. I hope this makes sense to her. Over the weekend, I plan to continue working on the open ed section, the non-MOOC stuff.
Ok, I have done some further work linked to the open learning section and it somehow feels a bit better. Still not happy with it and I have loads of questions but feel that I would benefit from some feedback before doing more on this.
Tomorrow, I will continue working on this again…. I need a small break to get fresh energy to continue. It all feels very messy at the moment. I have created a framework table, thank you for suggesting this Keith. This indeed does help me see similarities… There are so many! But very interesting things do emerge which seems to provide a strong evidence-base for my work, I think. I hope to have a clearer picture of this section in my head and on file early next week.
Late last night, I felt the need to visualise what I have leant through looking at the different frameworks and what I discovered. Here it comes… thank you Frances Bell for this suggestion. I will also add the frameworks I looked at.
When Ody saw what I was doing he had the idea to call the doors at the top and the bottom of the hill, the door of success, and somehow it does make sense so this is a little but important addition made by Ody (11).
What follows is my MOOC summary…
Carol Yeager kindly read my open learning section. It was the first time somebody outside the supervisory team read any of my work for this thesis. In the past I was never sure if this is something I should be doing… I have to say, that I found this really useful and hope that further colleagues will be willing to read smaller sections and comment. Thank you so much Carol and also for making yourself available to read the technology section as well.
I have now (16 August) prepared a visualisation linked to the cooperative, collaborative learning section and am adding this below. Any comments on all three visualisations are very welcome.
The following shows were I am at the moment, I have to admit that it does seem that I have made some progress over the last few weeks looking back at were I started. More is of course needed, Carol Yeager is reading the frameworks section. I know I need some more specific details linked to this, such as when the SOL framework was developed/used for the first time. If you are reading this and have any idea and can point me towards a related paper, please leave a comment below.
What I wrote when I started this most: more to follow… I really hope I can make some progress while here in between jumping in the deep blue sea, eating souvlaki and visiting magical places with my family.
Now, beginning of September, we are back in the UK and I do feel a tiny sense of achievement. It was worth spending that time on this section and reworking it while away. I would like to thank especially dear colleagues who read the drafts, Carol Yeager, Charles Neame and David Hopkins as well as others who have commented on this post while it was developing. Their comments have been valuable for further changes.
I know that I do need to do a lot more work on this but this tiny step over the summer has helped me a lot to look into the future with a bit more positivity… I do, however need to find a way to keep going. It has really helped me sharing my journey with others and for a while the loneliness disappeared… I will be in Edinburgh later this month to see Keith and Sandra, my supervisory team and just hope that the changes I made are an improvement.
Note: Dr Bea de los Arcos from the OU contacted me on the 10th of September and was interested in including this post as a resource in an open course around Open Research which I have done in 2014 and found really useful (see my reflections linked to this here). If you are reading this and are involved in this course, feel free to leave a note here. It would be great to hear from other open practitioners.
Supervisory meeting and what followed
I went to Edinburgh on the 18th of September to see Sandra and Keith. I feel very positive about our meeting and am pleased that they both think that I am making progress and that I can do this. Just need to believe in myself and work hard to get there.
In the train back, I started writing and I have now almost completed the latest changes to the three sections sections. Frances Bell kindly offered to read the latest open learning section and I am really looking forward to her thoughts.
When this is done, I will be focusing on Chapter 3: Methods and Data… at the moment this is 17,000 words long… yes, far too long and too much detail I have been told. So the big scissors will be out soon and a new post about this will follow. I know that I will find this hard as it is probably the most theoretical part and I am a very practical person… How will I get over this? By immersing myself into it, loosing and finding myself… hopefully… more linked to this as soon as work on Chapter 3 begins. I estimate that this will be in a week, the latest. Just feel that I need to finish the edits on Chapter 2 before starting anything new.
Thank you everybody who has kept me company over the summer and more recently but also my supervisors for their valuable help and guidance and for believing that I will get there… one day.