Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Pause for Summer Camp

Hello to all my loyal followers!

There will be a pause in postings as I take my son off to summer camp.  We're headed to Camp Daniel Boone where there will be NO CELL SERVICE.  Yes!

But don't worry.  I am not taking a break from my studies.  I printed out all the reading material for my summer doctoral course (ITEC-7000) and have it in a zip-lock bag to read while laying in a hammock.

I look forward to being back online around July 13th... just in time for our first of two face-to-face synchronous meet-ups online.  This will be a chance to see the faces of the other cohort as well as the other professors in the course.

"On the road again..."

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Journal Entry 3

Today's entry is a reflection on the statement "success is the result of prioritizing long-term desire over short-term gratification" and to come up with ways to combine immediate rewards with long-term rewards.

I don't feel the statement is valid.  I believe that success is whenever you meet any goals.  The value of that success is often linked to the effort and duration required to obtain it.  So the best way to make this happen is to break up the long-term desire into a collection of short-term goals.  Then give yourself permission to celebrate each and every one of those small wins.  I think this lines up nicely with the intention of Atomic Habits.  You give yourself a small win and use it to give you your next win.  Each win builds on the prior until your finding it easier and easier to make that longer-term goal.

For now, I personally enjoy the positive feedback I get from my wife when she reads these entries.  This has done a lot to help me actually enjoy writing every day or two for class.  As these entries build up, eventually I may have something as a source for a future paper of my own and not just as completion of an assignment.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Discussion 1

Due to the "Incident Response Escape Room" not happening until June 21st, Discussion 1 was delayed until now.

The online team building simulation was a very novel way to break the ice and get to meet my fellow cohorts.  Interestingly, most of us already had a background in incident response for technical issues.  This meant there was little worry of not finding the right skills in the group for each role and task.

Hobbs became the default leader of the group.  He had helped to organize the best time we'd perform the task.  Once we all arrived in our assigned Teams chatroom, we gave brief introductions of ourselves.  I believe only one person felt they were not well suited for the task.  However, as none of us thought the scenario would truly be technical, we talked down that aspect and just made sure we all knew to "look and talk" a lot.

Once the scenario began, it was strangely quiet.  Everyone scattered to all the areas of the simulation.  Only when someone had a lead on what to do next did they speak up.  It was almost as if we had done this before as a group.  Kudos to industry-standard team norms!

If there was a shortfall, it was in how we presented our findings to each other.  None of us used screen sharing, so we were either just trying to verbalize the information or copy-paste them into the chat window.

In the end, we didn't make it by the deadline given, but it wasn't an issue of complaint by any of us. Instead, we were all focused on trying to correctly solve the puzzle.  I think that says a lot about this group.  They are interested in doing things right first... speed second.  For academics, I think this is perfect.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Journal Entry 2

The expectation for Week 4's first journal entry is to highlight ways the student can avoid the "imposter phenomenon/syndrome" and identify strategies to grow their mindset during and after the doctoral program.

The first part is directly referencing the reading from Parkman.  Which, after reading, makes me now wonder if I experience this in just a bit shorter timeframe than others?  I know I commonly feel like I am stretching myself / my skills at work and at the university.  However, I generally try to take the feedback I get as an accurate assessment of my performance and not that I was just really good at presenting my material. So, to address this point, I would encourage students to accept the responses they get from peers and others as honest measurements.  If you do poorly later, you will again get honest feedback and can use it to shore up whatever shortcoming you may have had the second time.  Second-guessing your own worth/skills does little to help with that "personal identity" I wrote about in earlier journal entries.

The second part is referencing the reading from Posselt.  In the article, it says that educators have a role in facilitating the growth mindset by promoting the idea that intelligence is malleable with work.  This is done by continuing to stretch our knowledge through experiences and academic work.  When we see our own growth, we can identify that we are indeed learning and knowing.  This helps to dispel the imposter syndrome.  So a strong takeaway here is to go forward and put out academic work.  It will get peer-reviewed and you will feel both validated as well as recognized for your true self.

Parkman, A. (2016). The Imposter Phenomenon in Higher Education: Incidence and Impact. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 16(1), 51–60.

Posselt, J. (2018). Normalizing Struggle: Dimensions of Faculty Support for Doctoral Students and Implications for Persistence and Well-Being. The Journal of Higher Education, 89(6), 988–1013.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Journal Entry 1

I must have misread the intentions of the professor.  Up to now, I thought we were supposed to create journal entries on our choice of readings (I decided on them all).  It appears that THIS is supposed to be the first real journal entry.  The requirement is to identify and share specific new habits we think could benefit a doctoral student in the DScIT program.  We can use Chapters 4-8 of the Atomic Habits book and other readings to help.

Having already posted my own reflections on the readings to date, I'll focus on the book and point out a couple of habits I think would apply to the program.

In Chapter 4, the author discusses how habits can be subconscious.  This is both good and bad.  The good is that we can benefit from good habits without expending mental effort.  Examples in the book included how people were able to identify things such as a heart problem or incoming rockets by mere sight.  In those cases, lives were saved.  However, it can mean that things get missed when a habit goes bad.  The Japanese train system was identified as an example of how they brought safety to the front / conscious level by forcing employees to point and speak out the steps of their activity to ensure everything was done right.  As a pilot, I know this very well.  We train to handle emergencies by habit, yet at the same time religiously use checklists and call out the steps to ensure we don't miss anything.  For this assignment, a Habits Scorecard of daily studying routine may be a good idea to try.

  • Read syllabus =
  • Consume an energy drink +
  • Read required material +
  • Check emails -
  • Check instant messages -
  • Draft response outline =
  • Complete assignment writing +

In Chapter 5, the author makes two points.  First, habits are best done with a plan.  As my father-in-law would say: "Plan your work. Then work your plan."  I'm sure others have heard the famous "Failure to plan is planning for failure." Similar concepts.  The second point is to identify things you already do in a day as matter of course. Then, attach your new habits to those activities.  This helps to ensure you actually perform the task you wish to be a habit on a regular schedule.  As a bonus, you can "stack" the habits by making the conclusion of one activity be the trigger for another.

  • After eating dinner, read the syllabus
  • After putting the kids to bed, read the material
  • Before wife goes to sleep, read your writing to her for feedback
In Chapter 6, the author points out the importance of setting up your environment for success.  By increasing the number of cues to perform an activity (habit), the more you will naturally want to do it.  I really did like the cafeteria example in the book. To encourage more water intake, they placed water in more areas of the cafeteria.  I don't know if placing my reading all over the home will help... but guess it can't hurt :-)

Chapter 7 is the counterpart to Chapter 6.  Here, the topic is how to prevent triggering negative habits by removing the cues that as associated with them.  So my bag of Oreos on the corner of my desk is a bad idea if I want to lose weight.  And here I was using it as motivation to complete this assignment.

While Chapters 6 and 7 revolve around the first step in habits (see my prior journal entry on Chapter 3), Chapter 8 works on the second: attractiveness.  First comment: I died laughing reading about how the greylag goose would try to roll anything round back into their nest - including a volleyball! Second comment: This section was full of what ails me in regards to food... I love food!  It is because companies have done their best to trigger our built-in habits.  So, the takeaway here is to combine something we need to do with something we want to do.  This way we are piggybacking our dopamine response from the thing we wanted to do atop what we need to do.  So perhaps combine writing assignments with listening to our favorite music (within reason)?

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (34th ed.). Avery an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Discussion 2

We have not had our 1st discussion yet.  That will occur after our cohort does its escape room exercise next week.  The 2nd assigned discussion is to reflect on the first 3 chapters of the book Atomic Habits.

When I learned that we needed to read a book on habits for this course, I cringed.  I'm not against self-help books, but I do find they tend to do two things: First, they expound on the material to a nauseating level...  I presume for the added pages it creates - to either make the book look more impressive or to give more opportunity to cite their other works for you to buy.  Second, they aren't well-vetted and often conflict with other experts and/or practices. Then again, it wouldn't be worth buying the book if they just repeated what everyone else already wrote.  But it causes more FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) in my eye.

Alright, so I began reading and found myself enticed to pay attention to the good example story of how the British cycling team went from poor-performing to powerhouses.  They did it by not trying to become the best "right now", but rather just by making microscopic improvements and letting those improvements compound into huge successes.  It did go on to deal with the known "plateau" that most of us experience when trying to make changes.  Not sure the ice turning to water example was an accurate one, but if it works for some - okay.  I do agree with the Plateau of Latent Potential graph.  I find it important enough to copy here.

The second chapter speaks to changes themselves.  Most look for specific outcomes (lose weight for example is one of mine), but a more important change is to your actual identity.  If you change who you are, then you in turn have changed your habits (process change), and in turn, can end up with the outcomes you desired.  I guess for me, if I want to be a doctor (non-medical of course - LOL), then I need to "BE" a doctor.  It isn't just an accomplishment signified by a piece of parchment.

The third chapter seems to be the "secret sauce" so far.  I know I need to create good habits and break bad ones.  I guess I just figured willpower is the best and longest-lasting option.  However, the author takes habits and breaks them into four steps.  Withing each of those four steps you can encourage or discourage a habit.  The author calls them the Four Laws of Behavior Change.  I'll repeat them here for quick reference for myself in the future:

How to Create a Good Habit

  1. Make it obvious
  2. Make it attractive
  3. Make it easy
  4. Make it satisfying

How to Break a Bad Habit

  1. Make it invisible
  2. Make it unattractive
  3. Make it difficult
  4. Make it unsatisfying
By repeatedly applying these principles, the goal is to make choices into unconscious habits.  I'll have to give them a whirl.

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (34th ed.). Avery an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Reading 7

I did not think that I would read an Estonian article and believe it would apply to me.  However, it did read well and gave me some points to reflect upon.  The article relates several factors to the success/failure of doctoral students.

The first section dives into the student.  What motivates the student?  What is their goal for the degree?  Do they see themselves positively?  And do they feel well in their studies?  I placed myself (mentally) into their research group and wondered how I would answer these questions.  Thinking it over, I feel pretty confident in my motivations and goals.  And thankfully, all the encouragement from the faculty at MGA has given me a very positive self-image and sense of well-being.

Supervisor (which I take as a professor?) interaction is certainly a key element in the process.  See prior readings to confirm that.  The one strong point I wanted to take away here was how the supervisor needs to be aware of the students' possible difficulty of correctly/completely understanding the research process.  However, I feel that will likely not be an issue in this program.  It seems extra focused on this subject with plenty of assistance from the embedded librarian and other sources.

Lastly, I see the responses from their sampling definitely pointed out a concern I have: the ability to complete the research without interruption.  Only 1 participant in their study was able to do this.  The rest had external life events providing short-term interruptions.  With Scouting, baseball, hockey, flying, mother-in-law to assist, and who knows what else, I do see this as a risk to mitigate.

Leijen, Ä., Lepp, L., & Remmik, M. (2015). Why did I drop out? Former students’ recollections about their study process and factors related to leaving the doctoral studies. Studies in Continuing Education, 38(2), 129–144. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Reading 6

Tonight's reading was about students who experienced childhood trauma (mostly physical and emotional abuse) going through a doctoral program.  The research involved a very small sampling with limited diversity.  However, I do agree with its general conclusions and believe it would hold well in a larger sampling.

I can see where prior studies show a relationship between those with hardships during youth and a higher success rate.  But I think it may be skewed because of the availability of support in developed countries and especially in academic institutions.  I don't know if the same success would be found in impoverished agricultural societies?  To that point, I see the value in the authors' recommendation that faculty/staff have a key role in making positive contact with students so they can succeed.

My takeaway here is to accept assistance from the faculty/staff if we need it... and to provide it to other students if they need it.  It is part of what makes anyone (not just at-risk students) successful - support.

Bessey, R., & González, J.-C. (2018). Resilient Doctoral Students in California: A Reflective Study of the Relation Between Childhood Challenges and Academic Success. Journal of At-Risk Issues, 21(2), 30–36.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Reading 5

Tonight's reading is a journal article that speaks about the doctoral program "transforming" you into a researcher/scholar.  After reading the first few pages of the article, I began to think about what I should be expecting as the outcome of this doctoral program.  I was anticipating gaining knowledge of new tools that serve to explore limits of current knowledge or could be used to help aspiring students I teach to step up to a higher level of understanding.

Reading on...

The article discusses a doctoral candidate as a summation of both the student and the student's human and knowledge network.  This I can understand.  Many bright people are only so because of how they can tap the knowledge of others and merge them into a new product.  Think Bill Gates.  If I may be so bold, this also sounds a bit like how a Jedi (Star Wars) is only a Jedi because of the Force - the essence of life and its interactions with everything.

Then I became lost...

I re-read "Inger's story" three times.  However, I believe it tried to make comparisons of doctoral (both as an entity and as skills) to ethereal, nearly spiritual, subjects.  I suppose the intent is to show how things like her book aren't just the printed knowledge, but also how the book is protected/treated is an aspect of what defines her. It also seems to include daily routines as a defining aspect.  This was proven when things didn't go right.

My takeaway from this reading is that I should consider more of my surroundings and routines as part of my doctoral program.  It needs attention as well while I spend the next few years "transforming."

Barnacle, R., & Mewburn, I. (2010). Learning networks and the journey of ‘becoming doctor.’ Studies in Higher Education, 35(4), 433–444. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

PIE 7-9

7. What would be the worst thing for you if you failed to live up to what society expects of individuals with PROFESSIONAL doctorate degrees? How did you come to this understanding?

This is one of the more worrying aspects of society.  I am seeing more often than is comfortable where professionals are making statements outside their field, outside their skills, or worse outside of ethical limits.  Failing in these ways creates distrust of professionals and can set society backward.  At one time you could dismiss “quacks” with fake degrees and not hurt the profession.  But now some “quacks” are graduates of distinguished universities.

8. Think of an IT professional you consider an exemplar of professionalism. Describe why you chose this person, illustrating with an incident or pattern of decisions or actions that supports your choice.

I find Peter Higgs a great example of professionalism.  He spent decades of his life in the pursuit of defining the relationship between particle energy and mass.  His theory was not provable in 1964 when he co-authored a paper on the subject.  He always maintained focus on the search for truth and was always open to experimentation to disprove.  In the face of ridicule for trying to define the “God particle,” he eventually was proven right 50 years later.

9. Reflect on your experiences in college, the workforce, or in the community that have been critical in fostering change in your understanding of what it means to be a professional with a doctorate degree.

It is a responsibility, an honor, an achievement, and a point of pride.  In the past, I looked up to my professors over the years and through subjugate eyes saw them as all equally high on a pedestal that I dared not look too closely at – for I was not worthy.  I took them as “this is the way” – that they were the standard in every way.  Now, I see them as the best of what is a very diverse society.  Having a terminal degree in a field does not mean you need to be passionate, professional, an expert, and charismatic all at the same time.  It means you know your field at a level that with a combination of passion, professionalism, expertise, and charisma, can create new knowledge or lead others to new limits in the field.

(edited June 30, 2021)

Saturday, June 5, 2021

PIE 4-6

4. What conflicts do you experience or expect to experience between your responsibility to yourself and others—colleagues, employees, family, and profession? How do you resolve them?

5. What would be the worst thing for you if you failed to live up to the expectations you have set for yourself?

6. What would be the worst thing for you if you failed to live up to the expectations of your family, colleagues and/or employees/employer?

(retracted June 30, 2021)

Friday, June 4, 2021

PIE 1-3

1. What does being a member of the IT profession mean to you? How did you come to this understanding?

Being a member of the IT profession means that I have chosen a career path that uses talents and learned skills in the electronic, logic, and abstract areas.  I came to realize that I was going to contribute those talents and skills to the next revolution in productivity when I was gifted a computer for my 14th birthday.  I saw how I could use it to improve my grade school assignments – especially in accuracy.

2. What do you expect of yourself as you work towards becoming a full-fledged Doctor of Science in IT?

I expect to put forth my best efforts.  I am a leader in a Scouting troop.  This is what I tell them to do.  I should do no less.  However, I do expect I will periodically overcommit myself as I find a balance between perfectionism and practicality.  I also am trying hard to limit my preconceived expectations of what I should do and learn in this program.  Is that ironic?

3. What will the profession expect of you?

The profession will expect me to be a positive example of both what Information Technology can do to benefit society/business as well how it can be trusted.  There has been much effort in automation and accessibility over the last several decades.  Now a large effort is being put into security and accuracy.

(edited June 30, 2021)

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Reading 4

Tonight's reading was an excerpt from a book. The chapter read was focused on the "Professional Identity."

Before reading, I thought it would be just how to organize your thoughts and present them to others - as a reflection of your intellectual processing and identity.  However, I see that it was much different.  It was more about how you interact with others in the scope of your profession.

I also was reminded that as a graduate student - and future doctoral graduate - attending conferences won't always be about gathering information, but also about possibly disseminating information. Of interest was the descriptive difference between papers and posters.

The chapter was great reading. It was a practical guide of suggestions to maximize your exposure to others and to make the contacts both easy to begin and to maintain.  For example, it gave several topics that I should think about in advance so I can respond without adding undue stress on myself.  Think of the ever obvious "what are you working on" question as a prime example.  It is a question that may have different answers depending on the circumstances.  Think of what they may be and have prepared answers.

Publishing recommendations are also provided in the book.  I may review this section as the doctoral course progresses and I am in the position of writing something worthwhile to publish.  For now, my only experience in this area has been as a researcher - not the main writer.

The notion of using "consulting" as a tactic to gain assistance in research is excellent.  I really liked how this plays to the need most people have for validation and self-worth. Would this be interpreted as a passive-aggressive way to get yourself ahead in the profession or to announce an "emerging theme" you've discovered?

Lastly, I appreciate the author making specific mentions of including those views or areas of expertise that are different from your own.  As we are reminded again and again, that a doctor lives at the boundary of knowledge and is obligated to push that boundary further.  Having more viewpoints to work with will provide more opportunities to do just that.

Agre, P. (2005). Networking on the Network: A Guide to Professional Skills for PhD Students.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Reading 3

The third reading for Weeks 1-2 was an interesting journal that read almost like a story.  It began with a preview of common hurdles and structures found in doctoral programs.  A good description of the difference in doctoral goals vs previous academic goals was perhaps the highlight for me.  It then went on to provide what read like anecdotal experience in their group.

The article does a good job of providing scholarly sources on doctoral group dynamics and support mechanisms.  If I find myself with time, I might follow up on some of the citations.  It seems the writers were trying to show how their group followed these identified systems.  But it sure read like a lot of conflict and frustration were the most common items between the members.

The takeaway I had from this reading was that a lot of what made the group function was the guidance from Danling (the group's professor).  This professor reorganized the group into one that required the students to interact more with each other than with her.  As the participants were all language arts instructors themselves, they did find commonality there and used it as a starting point until new territory needed to be covered.  I'll be interested to see if this is a tactic that our doctoral professors will employ: set the conversational framework and force the students to do the learning together rather than as a professor-to-student setting.

Hadjioannou, X., Shelton, N.R., Fu, D., & Dhanarattigannon, J. (2007). The Road to a Doctoral Degree: Co-Travelers Through a Perilous Passage. College Student Journal, 41, 160-177.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Reading 2

My second reading for Weeks 1-2 is a paper that looks to see where adult learners go to find or provide support for each other.

This paper took a couple of reads to grasp.  It seemed to suggest there were three methods of support used by learners, but also that learners tend to transition (in sequence) to later methods.  The first method of support was called "zone of proximal development" and basically covers the fact that since we're all in this together, we'll work together to accomplish the goal.  I hope I got this point correct.  The second method called "Community of Practice" (CoP) puts more structure into the group.  Organizing discussions and identifying strengths/leadership allows for a more effective experience.  The third support was "Peer Mentoring."  This model is in itself support for the CoP method.  Peer mentoring is something I've seen commonly used in larger companies to help bring up the next generation of leadership.

For me, I didn't feel more informed from this paper.  Perhaps I've always identified that difficult tasks are best done as a team?  Completing a doctorate program is no small task.  What will be interesting is seeing if my cohort naturally begins to form these support structures.  With the very diverse group we have, I could see some informal peer mentoring even happening among students.

Cherrstrom, C. A., Zarestky, J., & Deer, S. (2017). “This Group Is Vital”: Adult Peers in Community for Support and Learning. Adult Learning, 29(2), 43–52.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Reading 1

My first reading assignment for Weeks 1-2 is a published article that focuses on the two key areas to see if there is a relationship between a student's learning (specifically the perceived success by the student) and both/either the technological offering from the institution and/or the relationships formed by the student.

As I'm not looking to write an abstract here, I'll just cover my observations/opinions on the research points and results.

When looking at the technological aspect, I think it is fair to look at flexibility, usefulness, and ease of use as factors in student success.  It seems obvious that if courses are not available to fit around a busy, working student's schedule that there is little hope of completing a course, no less an entire doctoral degree program.  The same can be said of the difficulty in the tools provided to students.  If they can't figure out how to retrieve assignments, perform collaboratively, or submit the results, they will fail.  As for usefulness (the technology used perceived useful/valuable), I think it is more individualistic in the effect.  Some can simply use the tool given and give little concern for whether it was the right tool.  Others get tripped up seeing it as a practice in shoving square pegs through round holes and possibly become overstressed.

Relationships during learning are in my personal experience a much higher driving force than the latter two technological factors.  I've been on both the student and the instructor sides.  As a student, I know that I had a great impact on helping other students understand the material being taught as well as how to overcome some of the technological hurdles in monitoring and submitting work.  I too benefitted during several courses from the differing viewpoints offered by my fellow students. This was especially true during team contract writing.  The student-faculty relationship is a no-brainer for me.  There is little doubt in my mind that if I didn't have certain instructors during my academic journey, I would never have bothered to reach my Masters, no less attempt for a Doctorate.  And lastly, interaction with non-teaching staff has not had an impact on my journey.  Perhaps I did not experience significant enough issues at MGA, but I can't imagine a student would allow issues with registration, bursar, or another department to derail their goal.

Okay, so the paper's conclusion matched my expectations fairly closely.  It did place more emphasis on the relationships to success than I did.  Perhaps my take-away will be to attempt more frequent contact with the other students and instructors than I normally would?  As a busy person, communication takes time. But perhaps the return on that time will be worth more than I expected.

Lee, H. K., Chang, H., & Bryan, L. (2020). Doctoral Students’ Learning Success in Online-Based Leadership Programs: Intersection With Technological and Relational Factors. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 21(1), 61–81.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


    Our first task is to create a video introduction about ourselves.  Hmm... maybe I can just reuse my intro video from last year for my online students?  No.  Can't do that.  It doesn't exactly cover the requirements given.  Dr. Rigole wants us to not only say who we are but also include something about our summer plans.  Alight, I'll start putting ideas together on what I want to cover in the video.

    The next challenge is to re-install my video recording software.  I bought a new laptop.  It is always a pain to move to a new computer.  Software, data files, preferences, etc...  I know, first-world problem.

    Okay, the software is loaded, ideas are laid out, and it's showtime!

    3... 2... 1...  Hello fellow students!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Step 1...

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
~ Lao Tzu

    Today is day one in my journey through the Doctor of Science in Information Technology (DScIT) program at Middle Georgia State University (MGA).

    I received a nice reminder email from Dr. Rigole yesterday to log into the University's learning system "Brightspace" (an online system by D2L used by many educational organizations). So, the first thing I did when I got up this morning was to dutifully log in and download the reading material and published syllabus.  Having attended MGA for my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees certainly helps to make navigating the system easier.  Every school uses it a little differently.  I know because my kids use it for some of their online grade school courses and it is organized completely differently.  I also have the advantage of having used the Brightspace system from the instructor's side.  I taught both online and in-person undergraduate programming courses for MGA last year (Jan-Dec 2020).

    With materials downloaded, I read over the upcoming required submissions for my first course, ITEC-7000: Doctoral Seminar I.  It looks like a couple of discussion entries and multiple journal entries in response to readings and presentations.  Sounds like a chance to relaunch my Blogger site and repurpose it for my coursework.  So here we are.