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.