TTU May Workshop: Week Two

Whoa? Wait? What happened? Last update was Day Two, now it’s on to the second week of this thing already? We joke that Sunday, our only “day off” is Spring Break–that sounds great, though I didn’t get any keg stands in…

There’s far, far too much to say in a short, procrastinatory blog entry like this (I’m taking a 20-minute break from tacking together ideas for my presentation on CSS and Rhetoric). There’s been lots of talk today (especially during a professional development session on invention, creativity, and research management) about how these two weeks are like an incredibly intense brainstorming session. Ideas are flying, bouncing off of one another and careening through the air with reckless abandon. It’s a great–though intensely exhausting–experience. Presentations, conversations at breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and at Cricket’s, occasionally, over a pitcher or two of Shiner), along with more casual conversations around the apartments we’re staying in make for a furious ecstasy of academe. (Including cool new coinages, like “sourcegasm,” which will remain a personal favorite for a while.)

And then there’s the coursework–I’m taking Usability Testing, where we’ve undertaken a major lab project between our three groups–we finished testing today and go into analysis and coding tomorrow. The result of this project will be a publishable paper by the end of the seminar. That’s two weeks, folks, from start to finish: learning content and methods (with some prereading), planning and enacting our test plan, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, and then composing the entire article. Breathless…

Laid over the top of all of that is learning people: seeing real, undigitized personalities of students and faculty; figuring out group dynamics within the “newbie” cohort (again, quickly and madly) and among the other cohorts; and of course, picking up on the oral history, inside jokes, and tacit knowledge of the program as it’s grown and changed over the last few years.

And we’ve got to sleep sometime, too.

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4 thoughts on “TTU May Workshop: Week Two

  1. I don’t think you get keg stands in PhD version of Spring Break. Mostly, just an opportunity to “catch up” on what you put off because you knew you’d have a couple days (in your case, hours) of “free time” to work. I look forward to my first Thanksgiving next year in which I don’t have some paper to work on.

    I say that and I’m looking into the Disability and Diversity Studies certificate program at University of Hawaii (it’s online). So, who knows. I might have a paper next to work on next fall, yet.

    What are you taking in the Fall, btw? (For me, the funniest part of your journey is hearing about your different courses and such.)

    1. Ah, the masochism of academia, right?

      This summer I’m taking “Discourse and Technology: The Rhetoric of Personal Agency,” which is a new course they’re trying out–should be interesting, and I’m looking forward to it a lot (I just added the texts we’ll be reading on to my FB bookshelf, so you can check there if you’re curious).

      In the fall I’m taking a methods course, which should be fun as well–and a lot of work, of course. Still kind of wish I was taking 20th century rhetoric, but I’ll get around to it soon enough, I suppose.

  2. Your textbooks look really cool. I might have to check them out myself. I’m doing something a bit similar in my dissertation in my conclusion (I think that’s where it’s at) on agency and the interwebs for Autism advocates. I’m mostly just gesturing toward the topic, not really going into much detail. Another PhD candidate at TCU is doing his dissertation on agency and autism advocacy in online environments. Pretty, pretty cool.

    I would hate a methods course. I counted Dr. R’s course as my methods course at TWU and skipped the one here. Ugh. Soooo not my thing.

    1. I have to take FOUR methods courses (three, perhaps, in my case–it depends on how Dr. R’s course transfers…)

      I think one of the folks in my cohort may be doing something with autism as well–I may end up sending her your way!

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