It is quite difficult to find time to write a dissertation. In fact, “finding time” is impossible. “Making time” seems to be the only viable path to move from ABD to professor, particularly when working full time.
Until this past Saturday, I had worked exactly ZERO minutes on my doctoral dissertation since the spring of 2006. When I left my last position working for the College of Education at Texas Tech University, I had completed all my coursework for my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction and drafted an initial three chapters of my dissertation as “concept papers” to be admitted to candidacy for my doctorate. I had vaguely wanted to work on my dissertation last year, as I started a completely different job (with much more travel than I was previously accustomed to) but that did not happen.
One of the very tangible outcomes of my Learning 2.0 conference experience and Shanghai visit was a conversation I had with Sheryl Nussbuam-Beach (who is also working on her dissertation) regarding different schedules people follow to get their research completed while working full time. Sheryl mentioned some people she’s known who have dedicated every Saturday to writing their dissertation until it’s finished. That struck me as a workable idea, so I started a new routine this past Saturday at our local Panera restaurant.
I have created a dissertation wiki on wetpaint to document and share my work and process in writing this expected tome. Although I will be primarily working with members of my doctoral committee back at Texas Tech, there are several people who I have already contacted about potentially providing me with input and support in this writing endeavor. The transparency now available for writing a dissertation and sharing that writing process online is certainly novel to me, but I have a strong sense it will be beneficial to share this learning journey rather than keeping it strictly private until I’ve written “the final draft.”
I decided to share my work on a wetpaint wiki because it permits commenting on different pages in readily accessible ways, and will email me if/when others comment on any of the pages or content there. If you do have input on any of my ideas shared there I would welcome them. Currently the wiki just includes my “draft” initial three chapters of my dissertation (68 pages I think) which I finished in spring 2006. I’ve titled this post “dissertation 2.0” because I am essentially starting over in the writing process with a more narrowly defined focus. In the 11 page prospectus I wrote on Saturday and added a few edits to this evening, I attempt to explain the research focus I’m proposing to take. My basic research question is:
I want to research the impact ubiquitous and sustained access to wireless computing devices (laptop computers) and digitial reading and writing curricula can have on middle school student reading and writing skills. Specifically, I want to statistically analyze Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) reading and writing scores, along with reported district “benchmark scores,” of the Class of 2011 at Floydada Junior High School (JHS) in Floydada ISD, Texas.
The next chapter of my formal educational journey begins…..
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