A Homebrew Method of Collaborative Qualitative Research

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During the prior spring semester, I took a graduate course in qualitative research methods that focused on “action research.” That’s nothing unusual as far as graduate programs go — but what made this course truly unusual was that the entire sixteen-member class worked on a single, monolithic research project examining factors contributing to successful completion […]

The Whats Whys and Hows of Infographic Assignments

You’ve seen them in your inboxes and your social media feeds — the ubiquitous infographic. This post will outline how you can include a fun infographic assignment as an alternative to a traditional reading or writing assignment in your course. What Is an Infographic? Infographics are visual representations of information. They can include numbers, text, […]

Sorting out Your Dissertation’s Electronic Publishing Options

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Not so long ago I defended my doctoral dissertation (hooray!) and readied copies of my manuscript for the College. I had reviewed the requirements the few weeks prior to preparing my manuscript so that I could be ready to turn it in soon after I defended. I went to turn in my copies the morning […]

Gardens of Discussion: What Makes Online Communities Work?

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I’ve been contemplating online communities lately — specifically, that I don’t know what comprises the magic that makes one community tick and another one fail, despite the fact that I’ve participated in many different communities online over the last twenty years. I can tell you that the magic of a successful, vibrant community comes from […]

The One-Minute Dissertation

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While most of the media attention has focused on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and their impact on teaching, it seems to me that our current approach to research is likely to change even more dramatically — particularly the doctoral dissertation in education. The dissertation in the social sciences is a relatively predictable document that has been developed according to the expectations over the last 50 years or so. The chapters cover the same topics and follow the same logic, even though we no longer hand-calculate our statistical tests or tediously calculate the amount of space needed to accommodate our footnotes at the bottom of a typewriter page. But the dissertation still takes a year to produce, and the first couple of drafts are painful for the writer and for the advisor. What would happen if the dissertation could be written in one minute?

Paperless Grading: Getting Electronic Feedback on Your Work

Here's where I put all my dissertation documents in Dropbox for my committee to read.  This means that we all share the most updated versions of these documents, which is really handy.

With increasing numbers of faculty using forms of paperless commenting on student work, we’ve published several posts here on the Academic Technology Blog about doing electronic grading. I’ve used PDF editors and MS Word comments to paperlessly grade student work before, and would never go back to grading hard copies of papers. But, now that […]

Three Tips for Using Ebrary E-Books

Here's an example of a note I added to a page of Lisa Gitelman's Always Already New, and a highlight on the same page.

I recently started using more of Swem Library’s electronic books available via ebrary. Before this week, when I’d seen that a book was only available electronically, I rolled my eyes and would ILL a copy. I just didn’t want to have to read the book on my computer screen.  Fast forward to this week.  I […]

Using Scrivener to Revise Your Dissertation (or Other Project) in Fifteen Minutes a Day

The commenting feature on Scrivener helps me work through my "zero draft."

This is the second post of two about using Scrivener to write your dissertation (or other writing project) while following Joan Bolker’s advice in her book Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Check out the first post, on getting started writing here.

In my last post, I talked about Bolker’s idea of developing an addiction to writing, and her advice on setting daily writing goals. When I did these things, they really worked, and since I was using word processing application Scrivener (which I talk about in more detail in this post), it was that much easier to get a good word momentum built up. Since starting, I’ve gotten two of four dissertation chapters drafted, and am well into the third. Speaking of that third chapter, I’ve reached what is always a very difficult stage for me: revising that bulk of words I’ve already written.

Using Scrivener to Get Started Writing Your Dissertation (or Other Project) in Fifteen Minutes a Day

This no-nonsense message lets you know when you can stop writing and start watching YouTube videos again.

Getting a started writing a dissertation or other similarly large writing projects can be a huge challenge. I’ve found that the advice in Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day to be some of the most helpful that I’ve come across while writing my own dissertation. Using her advice on getting started writing, along with word processing application Scrivener makes for a pretty good combination for success. In this post I talk about writing every single day to create what Bolker calls a “writing addiction” as well as daily writing goals and Scrivener’s “target goals” feature. So read on if you’re struggling to get words down on the page.

Using Images with WordPress

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I realized the other day that I’ve been a contributor and the editor for this blog for over a year now, and I’ve learned a lot about writing for the Web in that time. Since I know that many faculty who end up having students do blogging assignments haven’t blogged regularly themselves, I thought I’d put together some of the things I’ve learned in my time blogging for this site. This post is about how to think through using images in WordPress sites and blogs.