Holy plugins, Project Manager Batman.
I had no idea WordPress had project management plugins. Zero. Nada.
Remember the previous post in which I mentioned we had to create some type of dissertation project map, and I used Excel to create a Gantt chart? Well, now I can use my blog/website to track my progress. I’m so excited!
Now I have to transfer milestones/tasks to the project. I’m using UpStream in a very minimal capacity, as I’m the only person working on this project, but it will help keep me on track. And, honestly, playing around with this website and WordPress is relaxing for me. (And I lose track of time!)
(They also have a little fishy as their logo. How fun is that?)
Yesterday, a former high-school classmate asked me how I manage to work full-time and attend school full-time — and get everything done. I think he just started work on his master’s degree, and he also has a family to be involved with. He has even less time than I do, most likely, for school. Regardless, I did share some of my tips. They may or may not work for him (or for others), but they work for me. (At least so far, they have).
- Monday-Friday, I get home from work and focus on school until 7:00 PM. No earlier. No later.
- I try to get at least one full assignment completed daily. That could be a paper, a discussion forum post, or discussion forum replies.
- I take at least one day off each week.
- Saturday is my “catch-up” if behind day, though I try to not work more than 3 hours on school.
- Sunday? Prep for the next week. Download or print journal articles/readings, print out an assignment list.
- I use Zotero to organize my library (which reminds me, I need to purge stuff and reorganize). He does, too. (Bonus points!)
So. In the first (of many) doctoral seminar classes, we were tasked with creating some sort of dissertation timeline. A map, if you will, of where we are, where we are going, how we will get there, and roadblocks we may encounter.
The class resources page online suggested a PERT chart. Not really my style. Or using an infographic at Canva (online design-type software). I don’t have time to learn new software.
I decided to do somewhat of a Gantt chart using Excel. Why? I already own the software (well, rent it, technically), and I refuse to spend money on additional software I would only use once. I did find a template online; thanks for that, Vertex42. Now I have an actual timeline/map that is functional and usable.
I kind of like it. And this is one assignment that is extremely worthwhile!
This week, we had to analyze part of an actual dissertation (that of the class instructor, which I found a tad egotistical) for exemplaires of leadership, passion, and tenacity. This assignment was for the first of many doctoral seminar classes. A better word somewhat encapsulating all three of those traits is grit. According to Duckworth et al. (2007) — a group that came up with the most-often used definition in the literature, grit is a “perseverance and passion for long-term goals. . . [it entails] working strenuously towards challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress” (p. 1087). I like the word grit. And may start using it more, both in a scholarly and professional sense.
Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101. doi: 10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.527
ACE is where I go to school. Their EdD program was extremely affordable, and they are accredited. The October term starts tomorrow. This will be a busy term, as I am not only signed up for three classes, but I am also a graduate assistant for a quantitative research methods class. I’m excited about being a GA, and I get to work with the professor who recommended me. It will be a learning opportunity. Not only will I be able to provide guidance to other students, I will also practice skills I am learning as part of the EdD program (Educational Leadership).
What classes am I taking this term?
LEAD 6021: Doctoral Leadership Seminar 1 (1 cred)
LEAD 6143: Strategic Operations Planning & Innovation (3 cred)
RES 6033: Qualitative Research Methods (3 cred)
No, this is not a fashion blog. It’s not a photo gallery. It’s not collection of beautiful blogs discovered within the interwebs.
It’s my personal journey through the doctoral/dissertation/research process. I started my terminal degree program one year ago through American College of Education. They have an EdD in Educational Leadership; they are accredited. Do I need to be Dr. Matt for my job? No, not at all. (In fact, I love the job I currently have). This has been a personal goal since I started college way, way (way) back in 1990.
I missed documenting year one, and I will make more of an effort to document years two, three and, perhaps, four (depending on how long I take on the dissertation).
I will try to NOT be boring. (But I can’t promise). In addition to scholarly posts — I feel those are required given the overall focus — I will post about other journey-related things. Like movies I watch and books I read to “de-stress.” I will share resources I have discovered online that make the journey easier. I will self-reflect and share personal thoughts and opinions.
In three years? I can look back and (hopefully) see personal growth. And intellectual development.