Monday, February 14, 2011

A new area of knowing

So I continue on my path toward an Open and Networked PhD and in my last post I was musing about what am I doing and what is the point and all that navel gazing type of activity. I believe this navel gaze is an important step; for it will confirm my commitment to this journey and remove the doubt that I have chosen the correct subject area that will engage me enough to completion. Completion is very important. The first two questions from my previous post are about mastery and my chosen area of study. These two questions are;

1. A PhD is about mastery and do I want to further master something I am already a master?

I'd like to think I have a mastery of pedagogy, technology and life long learning. Now this isn't saying there isn't more I could learn in these areas, but I do have the following education and experience in these areas;
  • An undergrad degree (with honours) in Technology; a Bachelor of Technologies with specialty in database management.
  • 20 years professional experience working on and building information technologies. My responsibilities in this profession are broad, best to look at my linkedin profile.
  • Masters of Education with specialty in Information Technology. 
  • Eight years teaching adults at the College and University level; an additional three years teaching online and being deeply involved with the early stages of WikiEducator.
  • Involvement in the release of eight software initiatives during this year alone. My involvement has been architect / project manager / database administrator / even programmer over all or some of these initiatives. Each of these initiative shows a mastery of pedagogy, technology and life long learning.
    1. Progressive video assessment; AIM language professional
    2. Content level single sign-on; a RESTful API enforcing authorization to learning content
    3. Legal Search; a federated and faceted search over seven information silos
    4. Taxonomy cleanup; once federated the taxonomies required alignment
    5. Online TV; an episodic online streaming of talking heads with focus on a specific legal subject
    6. Practice Manuals
    7. Engagement Questions; encouraging a depth of learning using existing video recourses
    8. Online community; CLEOnline & AIM language professional

2. I'd rather master something new (and therefore, fun), as I would otherwise become bored (see item 1). Should my Open and Networked PhD build on what I already know or should I develop a completely new area of knowing?
    I must choose personal areas of study that will sustain me for the next 30 years. And that's not sustain me financially, but sustain me spiritually, creatively and emotionally. For me that is not doing an Open PhD on pedagogy, technology and life long learning; its doing an Open PhD in either folk music and dance or traditional wooden boat building. I am absolutely enamored by both these subjects and I would like to develop a mastery of both. This would sustain me, and I am internally motivated to master both these subject areas. This is the carrot I require to complete.

    If you were to follow someone online who is going to invest in documenting the process of developing a new area of knowing for themselves would you rather watch them in the area of pedagogy, technology and life long learning or watch them develop a mastery of folk music and dance or building wooden boats? Keep in mind I will document my experience by using all I know in pedagogical approaches and technology. I will also engage experts in my chosen area whenever they make themselves available.

    Would you rather follow me doing an Open PhD on

    Yes, it all sounds like a lot of work, but what else am I going to do over the next 30 years?