PhD Journey: the Proposal Defence
The entire process to get here has been long, a lot of work and at times stressful. After my initial submission, I met with my advisor and one committee member back in January, who gave me input - I made some revisions and submitted again - this time to the entire committee. Again, I received suggestions and comments - as I worked on changes, reflected on the input and on some other events that had occurred, and discussed ideas with colleagues, I decided to change the direction of the research a bit - in one way it would be more convenient, and would also allow for deeper & richer data collection. Finally in May I submitted the new version. I met with my entire committee. At the time, it felt like I was way of track and my thought at the meeting was that I would have to restart - yet, committee members left the meeting commenting on how good the meeting was and that the proposal was - with a few changes - ready to defend. Reflecting as I made the long drive home, I realized that these scholars were pushing me to think - to expand my views, to consider new things. Over the next few weeks, I took the advice given - I went into Winnipeg and had great conversations with individual committee members. These really helped to clarify what I needed to do. I completed these final revisions, wrote up an abstract and sent it all in. The defence came and here I am. Ethics applications are ready to go, and once approved I can get started on the research.
A bit of advice for others taking this journey. First, you have to be patient, it is a long process. Take the time, don't set unrealistic deadlines - I had to revise mine a few times - it is a powerful learning process. Something I did that helped a lot was talking with colleagues and cohort friends. Such support and input was vital, if you are going to do this, a learning network is very important. I was able to bounce ideas off of others, talk out issues I had, discuss theories and get input into writing. One thing I would do differently, though, is to include my advisor and committee in the process more than I did. I tried to do the work with little input from my advisor & committee as I went, not wanting to bother them, trying to prove that I can do it. When I finally took the time to meet and talk with them, I found they were truly there to help - to stretch my thinking, to help me grow as a scholar and researcher. So - lesson learned - as I proceed with the research and dissertation writing - I will meet and converse with these people more as I go.
Oh yea - my thesis title is Teaching Using Social Media: A Multiple Case Study Approach. I plan to examine teachers' perspectives as they use social media in their practice - how? why? barriers, supports needed, does using SM have an affect on their practice? etc. As a few of my committee put it - I want to tell their stories. Should be fun!