Saturday, 11 April 2015

A reflection on my confirmation panel

Because I teach reflection, I've been trying to consciously practise it myself. Before today, I'd only managed to write one for my PhD ePortfolio (which would make it by my own standards a very poor Learning ePortfolio). But after my confirmation panel, I was determined to write another one, since it was such a critical event.

As usual I was more long-winded than I had planned to be. I could have written even more (there are just so many ISSUES), but thankfully I managed to stop myself after 1200+ words. If you'd like to read it, it's here.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Levelled up (but the joy is fleeting)

Wow last entry dated end September 2014! Quite horrifying how slow my progress has been. Since then I've finished my confirmation document, which entailed transcribing and analysing 2 interviews. 12000 words in 5 months is not great. I passed my confirmation (yay) but I'm really going to have to move faster if I don't want to lose momentum and motivation.

My plan is to do data analysis (which includes transcribing) for a couple of months before I start writing in earnest. I know that my plan to finish the first draft this December is rather too ambitious. While the panel was very encouraging, this has been a beast of a project and I have no doubt it will continue to be this way. Conventional wisdom seems to be that qualitative studies are easier but I am absolutely convinced now that this is not true at all. Data collection was hard, and now data analysis seems even harder. By the time I try to write about it all in earnest no doubt I'll be tearing my hair out!

In the meantime, I will be presenting on this study for the first time at the 2nd ALAA conference on 2 May. I should also try to get an article written and submitted this year. I need a topic and a target journal, preferably open access, but I have absolutely no ideas right now.

I'm teaching even less this semester, and I hope to make up for the shortfall in income by conducting workshops etc. This way I hope less time gets sucked up by marking (worst use of time) and I get to develop myself in new and frankly more lucrative ways. I hate to be so pragmatic but every hour is precious. The goal is to rely increasingly less on teaching university courses as I move closer to graduation. Even though the 'adjunct' situation doesn't seem as bad here as in the US and some other countries, I don't want it to define my career. I'm dubious about being a full-time academic in Singapore, and positions elsewhere are scarce. Wanting to specialise in assessment makes it harder, not easier, no matter what colleagues tell me. I'll be missing out on the privilege of conducting research under the aegis of a university, but the 'independent academic' route seems to be the best for now. There is, of course, NO tried-and-tested formula to doing this. (I'm obviously a masochist, I know.)