Academia, Education, Higher Education, life, scholarship, Teaching

When a Scholar Dies

Several weeks ago I was lurking around Twitter and came across tweets that mentioned a scholar. Someone had created a hashtag and asked others to share their memories related to this scholar (and to include the hashtag in the tweets). I was curious to know who this person was and why people in Twitter were sharing these stories. I quickly learned that the name of the scholar was Dr. Erik Olin Wright. After following a few twitter threads, I found out that he was very ill and the tweets from others were a way to honor what he had done as a scholar, advisor, and as a person. In the mist of the different Twitter posts, I came across a link to his online journal (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/erikolinwright/journal). In it, Dr. Wright was documenting his illness  and life after his cancer diagnosis. The very first post that I read, in his journal, was titled “Strange State of Existence” posted on Jan 5th in which he discussed having three weeks to live. This is a portion of Dr. Wright’s post on Jan 5th:

Screenshot 2019-02-02 21.44.59After reading his initial post, I continued to silently follow his journey. Every couple of days, I would click on the link and read his new entries. One of the most emotional and wonderful parts of the journal were the comments left by hundred of individuals who had been touched by Dr. Wright in one way or another. This is just one of hundreds of comments shared in his journal:

Screenshot 2019-02-02 21.53.37

If you did not clicked on the link to the online journal, I am sad to share that Dr. Wright passed away on Jan. 23. Reading his journal and the comments made by others has made me reflect tremendously.

  • The reality that we have a limited time in this planet.
  • The reality that as scholars the impact of our work goes far beyond metrics that are often used to rank, classify us, or give us “status.”
  • The beauty of Dr. Wright’s thoughts and humanness in his journal, as well as, the comments by others reminded me that there are still individuals who are genuine, sincere, and candid.

I hope that others find his online journal and continue to read it.

 

Academia, Education, Higher Education, Job, Professional Development, Self-care

Failure

I really enjoy celebrating accomplishments but I also like normalizing failure. We do not always achieve what we want or it make take several tries before we accomplish a goal. If we are mentally prepared to understand that failure is a possibility, we are more likely to build strength to pick up the pieces and try again. So here are some things that I have failed at in the past, yet they did not stop me from continuing to pursue what I wanted to accomplish in the long run.

When I graduated high school, I decided to study computer systems engineering. That did not go too well! At that time (and still today), I was a social butterfly. College was a great place to hangout with my friends. Becoming an engineer was not really a priority. After the three semesters studying engineering and failing many courses, I decided that it was best to throw in the towel. I took a year off from college level courses to work and save to pay for my education. I eventually when back to college and started with an associates degree in Computer Programming which I completed with honors. I went on to successfully complete an undergraduate, master, and doctoral degree.

Another moment of failure in my life was when I applied to doctoral degrees. You see, I was determined to move back to Canada and in particular to Montreal. I had fallen in love with the educational technology program at Concordia University. After spending 5 full years studying in Emporia (Kansas), I was ready to complete my application, get accepted, and start a new chapter of my life as a doctoral student at Concordia University. That did not happened! I applied to three universities: Concordia University, Boston University, and Old Dominion University. A few days after doing my doctoral interview (a phone interview with all faculty members of the educational technology program), I received a letter from Concordia University letting me know that I was not accepted. I cried so much!

However, I was accepted to Boston University (with a graduate assistantship but no tuition reimbursement) and to Old Dominion University (with a graduate assistantship with full tuition reimbursement). Eventually, I decided to attend Old Dominion University and that let to so many wonderful opportunities that have shaped my personal life and career. I decided that although I was not at my number one choice, I was still going to earn a doctoral degree and make the most out of it!

Of course, there are many instances of failure in every day life: the article that gets rejected, the class activity that does not go as planned, the award that I do not get, etc.

Why am I sharing this? In academic circles, it gets really competitive. Heck, in life people get really competitive. We start looking at what others are doing and assuming that everyone is “doing things,” “going places,” and basically just “living the dream.” But the reality is that we are all working towards our goals and we all have moments of failures. That is just life.

Academia, Higher Education

Thank you, 2018. Looking forward to meeting you 2019!

I’ve been wanting to write a few sentences in my blog for a while, but it has been a “busy” end-of-the-year and also I have been choosing to stay away from my computer. So, while everyone at home is taking a minute to rest, I am writing this blog post.

When I think of 2018, so much comes to mind. It was a year of writing, data collection, and leading. I wrote grants, manuscripts, a book proposal, award applications, conference presentations, and my T&P narrative. I collected data on four different projects. All of this projects are now manuscripts in progress. Last, but not least, thanks to the grants I was awarded I was able to hire and mentor three research assistant this year (Spring and Fall). Of course, in addition to these research related tasks, I also served and taught several courses. I also do not want to forget the study abroad program to Switzerland (hopefully my Swiss friends already received the “Christmas cheer” I sent them in the mail)!

There were moments in which I wondered how I was going to do everything I wanted to do. At the end of the day, I tried my best to never look back, instead I just kept looking forward. One lesson that I believe is extremely important as part of your career (even if you are not an academic) and personal life is to surround yourself with people that have the same vision you have and that share similar values. I know “values” is such a loaded word. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is important to surround yourself with others who will cheer you during the good and bad times. These individuals will keep you grounded when you need to eat a bit of humble pie and will listen when you just want to vent. As Dr. Becca Kennedy mentioned: “it is important to find your people.”

Anyways, 2018 was overall good to me. I guess a better way of saying this is: there were many hours of hard work, emails, meetings, and basically moments of “making magic happen,” BUT in the end I feel good about the outcome(s). Also, this year serve as seed for many more “outcomes” to come.

Wishing you and yours a 2019 full of health, prosperity, and love!

 

Academia, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Research, scholarship, Teaching, Writing

Latest Publication: #SocialMedia Use by #InstructionalDesign Departments

Our publication titled “Social Media Use by Instructional Design Departments” was recently published under ‘early release’ by the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology #openaccess

Romero-Hall, E., Kimmons, R., & Veletsianos, G. (2018). Social media use by instructional design departments. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34(5), 86-98. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.3817

Academia, Grant, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Professional Development, Research, scholarship

Graduate & Undergraduate Mentee Contract

Hello! Happy New Year (sorry it is that awkward time of the year in which I am not sure if I should or should not say “Happy New Year”)!

I recently started a small research group with graduate and undergraduate students at my institution. Early in the Fall semester, a few students reached out to me (looking for research experience, mentorship, and collaboration) and I thought it would be a good idea. All of this students want to further their education and go on to doctoral programs. We are currently working on three to four projects together. Last semester was sort of my first time giving this “research group” thing a trial. I learned so much from the experience!

  • Consistent meetings are good
  • Have a meeting agenda
  • Set realistic deadlines
  • Understand each other’s skills
  • Understand each other’s expectations

Yesterday was our first meeting after the Winter Break. We talked about the upcoming data collections, IRB applications, conference proposals, conference presentations, and manuscripts we are planning to work on this semester (we are busy!). I also took time during our meeting to talk about this mentoring experience and what we should all expect. I shared the “Graduate Mentee Contract” to guide the discussion. It was passed on to me by an academic mama who works at a different institution. So I am paying it forward and sharing it in my blog just in case anyone else is looking for something similar.

 

Academia, Distance Education, Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Research, scholarship, Teaching

Latest publication: “Examining Distance Learners in #Hybrid #Synchronous #Instruction: Successes and Challenges” #OpenAccess

Our latest publication titled “Examining Distance Learners in Hybrid Synchronous Instruction: Successes and Challenges” in now available #openaccess as part of the latest issues of Online Learning Journal (Special Issues of the AERA SIG Online Teaching and Learning):

Romero-Hall, E. & Vicentini, C. (2017). Examining distance learners in hybrid synchronous instruction: Successes and challenges. Online Learning, 21(4). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v21i4.1258.

Academia, Distance Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Instructional Design, Professional Development, Research, Writing

Link to full-text: “Posting, Sharing, Networking, and Connecting: Use of Social Media Content by Graduate Students”

Here is a link to my latest publication: http://rdcu.be/qiVq

[This is a view only version. Unless you have a personal or institutional subscription to the journal]

Abstract:

The purpose of the present investigation was to better understand graduate students’ use of the content shared in the social media channels of their programs and the perceived impact that their participation in these social media spaces has on the graduate students’ transformation as professionals. Seventy-seven instructional design and technology (ID&T) graduate students completed an electronic questionnaire. The results revealed that although graduate students use social media for personal purposes, they are not always followers or members of the social media spaces of their ID&Tprogram. However, those who follow the social media of theirID&T program found tremendous benefits from the experience. These benefits range from feelings of belonging to acommunity of ID&T professionals, to career opportunitiesfor networking, and cross country interactions.