Dissertation Journal #6: Year 2

So in the last post, I covered the major projects of my first year in my doctoral program.  This post covers the second year and the different research projects I tackled that eventually led me to my dissertation focus.  

HIED612: Research on Students (June 2016)

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I rather liked this paper in that it connected my work on OER and thinking about supporting faculty and students while also drawing upon the annotated bibliography that I did for HIED612 (last post).  I was able to discuss and draw upon the idea of techno-capital and the absence of consideration about how OER doesn't seem to have any constructive discussion about students with regards to OER besides savings.  That bothered me enough to write this.  It also helped that I had previously just written a guide for students in classes using OER.  

HIED624 Globalization in Higher Education  (June 2016)

Before delving too far into this paper, it's useful to realize that this was my own response to this reflection paper that I wrote within the course.  These two papers are best read together because while the reflection looks at the potential global benefits of open educational resources in terms of it creating opportunities and reducing costs, the research paper that I ultimately produced took a much more critical look at OER, picking it apart and asking if it is indeed doing significant harm or perpetuating marginalization.  I have mentioned before that in some ways, this felt like a turning point for my work and being able to be more critical of ideas and with my approach.   
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HIED620: Teaching and Learning in Urban Institutions (Fall 2016)

This was the first paper that I co-wrote with someone for this program.  I wrote it with a friend and colleague, Chris Bednar and we did a comparison between of what access and asset-based learning looks like between the institution that we worked at together and one in which we explored during the semester, College Unbound.  This proved one of the most enjoyable and easiest papers to write and it didn't have to do with the fact that there was two of us doing it and somehow lessening the work, but because the two of us worked well together and produced a solid paper together.  It gave me some key insight into the idea of working with others in research and understanding how it can enhance the work of scholars.  

HIED752: Qualitative Analysis (Spring 2017)

I started this paper, believe it would be a pilot of sorts for what I wanted to do for my dissertation.  We were to create and conducted a very small qualitative study and talk about the process of doing it.  In January, I came to a very fascinating realization that as useful as OER can be, its impact is going to be limited if faculty come to it with a deficit-based view of their students.  Over the course of working on OER projects, I would hear statements such as "now, they have the book; so they can't have excuses."   This led me to want to take a look at how faculty are trained in OER and whether the training and faculty perspectives generate the deficit-based views or even if, the move to OER encouraged more asset-based views.  It was a fun project and I am likely to come back to it in the future but I realized as I got into the June session, I found it wasn't as alluring as I initially thought.  

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HIED622 Civic Engagement in Higher Education  (Spring 2017)

This project became a bit unwieldy and I plan to return to it and hopefully publish it.  But this is the paper that drove me down the path to think about and discuss open access research.  In taking the course, it helped me square up some of my thoughts about public good, civic engagement and the problem of academic research in higher education.  When I began to look at the field of civic engagement and saw how many articles and journals were behind paywalls, it got my wheels spinning.  Like my paper for Globalization in Higher Education, I felt like this too was a turning point.  I know it needs editing and clarifying, but I feel like it has the makings of an actual article to publish.  

HIED692 - Capstone Seminar

This course was more a culmination and dialogue about where we've been and an engagement with what sense we can make of the public good in our neoliberal capitalist system.  Within that our instructor also wanted us to revisit our some of our previous reflective work.  I revisited my Educational Philosophy as well as my HIED610 Final Paper.  As can be seen with all three papers, there are questions that I come back; questions that I regularly grapple with and that make me wonder about moving forward and what that should and could look like.  

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The sixth course is missing because that's my Qualifying Paper Proposal which is really the start of Dissertation Journal blog post series.  So those were the major projects.  They each pushed (and pulled) me in different directions but have also helped me understand what it was that I should] study for my dissertation.  The idea of open was something I came into the program with but assumed I would study it in related to OER, but apparently, I was sent in another direction and am happy about that (Not because there's anything wrong with OER but because I feel like I'm in the right place to do the research that's right for me).   

Want to keep up with my PhD adventures?  Check out any of the links below:

Sub-series specifically about the dissertation:

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