A shovel, not tweezers

It’s very easy to do research if you think research is just finding out what nobody knows.  Well, that’s not good enough; if you want to do research, you want to do research that would have some influence. A lot of research is done which sure adds to our knowledge, but it adds to our knowledge in ways that we didn’t find very useful. The best research is done with a shovel, not tweezers.  Roger Needham, distinguished computer scientist, UK Microsoft research lab director, inventor of the computer password and Cambridge academic.

With my research, I’d like to influence assessment practices in higher education in online programs in ed tech, learning tech, or distance ed.

To reach other doctoral students, I’ll network via #phdchat and this blog.

I hope to link my yet to be created surveys in tweets and drive some traffic to the blog to create demand for more transparency and attention in assessment.

I’ll probably have to figure out the ethics of doing this with my doctoral committee. 



Trying to get the alignment between research method and problem feels like lining up a kaleidoscope.  Change the question, change the research method, change the colours of the entire project.

Not surprisingly, I find myself leaning toward a positivist, quantitative question and problem.

I’d like to show the nul hypthesis for differences in the assessment processes.  As far as I can tell the same ineffective assessment approach is used in doctoral programs, whether online or face-to-face.

Let the games begin.


Fabrication Nation

The problem is that the facts don’t speak for themselves.
That is why I went into doctoral studies. I wanted to learn how to cohere those facts.

So now I’m in the problem finding stage of the research proposal.  So many problems to research in the wonderland of educational technology.   In fact, I walk the wonderland talk.  My doctoral program is online. I’m an online doctoral student. I think we are a rare breed cause not only do we assume to steal the sorcerer’s magic, we deign to do it where and when we like.

Today my research proposal concerns  three questions about online doctoral programs:

1. How does the online doctoral student catch on to the tricky tacit nuances of conducting research to discern knowledge about original problems without spending face time with a mentor in a research assistantship or teaching assistantship or with other doctoral students? Isn’t so much of the learning in a doctoral program informal by osmosis?

2. Would there be a co-relation between shorter time to completion and greater completion rates of the doctorate if peer-assessment, cohorts, rough draft feedback, study of task compliance criteria,  portfolios, article publication were found in the online doctoral program?

3. To what extent do the present assessment instruments/processes of the doctoral programs reflect the growth, attitudes and learning sought by students and doctoral programs? What changes would the critics of the dissertation format allow to better showcase and assess the learning from doctoral study?

Let this blog, fabrication nation highlight my thoughts, experiences, and insights on my doctoral journey to learn about my doctoral journey.