Blog or thesis?

I attended our School’s Yr 12 Valedictory dinner last night. A wonderful celebration of the incredible young women who attend the school I teach at. The guest speaker was a former student who had left the school 10 years ago. She spoke of time at university and post graduate studies completing her Master’s degree. It got me thinking.

I’ve never pursued post graduate study, feeling for many years that effort was beyond me. And yet I look at the body of work that is this blog and I wonder. I wonder about the intrinsic motivation that drives me to share my thoughts with others, I wonder about the hours of effort that have gone into this, I wonder about the remarkable experiences I have been privy to as a result of this space on the web. I wonder all this because no amount of effort on my part in this space is going to give me the piece of paper or credentials at the end of my name that would allow me to pursue a career beyond a secondary school setting or accrue a higher income.

This blog is the place where I am developing my thinking and testing a few theories along the way. I suppose my assessors are the audience of readers. I suppose this could be seen as the evolution of education. Blogs are spaces where self directed learners are writing their own thesis and are allowing readership and interaction to determine success or failure. 

I received an email today about a post graduate course of study in ICT education. At the moment I can’t conceive of any going anywhere near it because I just can’t imagine how I’d be able to fit it in. Some might say that is foolish on my behalf. Why not invest some time in getting qualifications doing something that you are immersed in anyway? At this stage I just don’t want to go to a place where assessment will be driving what it is I am learning. I’m happy to create my own agendas and see where this will take me.

Who knows? Maybe a technorati ranking will hold some weight in years to come.

13 Replies to “Blog or thesis?”

  1. Hi Jenny

    Thanks for the post. I think you get different things from different places. I have started my Masters in E-learning at UTS and I found that was useful because it pushed me in different ways than exploring things on the web.

    On the other hand I’m excited that other teachers are reflecting on teaching experiences, documenting what’s going on in the classroom and uploading student work. It’s becoming easier to actually see what good teaching looks like everyday – the ups and downs.

  2. I am in a similar position to you, in that I haven’t seriously considered any post graduate programmes. I have also been reflecting on my practice through my blog and consider it to be an important aspect of my role in education. If I had more time then I think further education may be an option – but currently it is not.

    Everyone will place different levels of importance on academia beyond a degree. At the moment I would choose my blog url after my name rather then any abbreviations.

  3. Jenny,
    I earned my masters in instructional tech when we learned to write web pages in html and took foundation courses in educ psych and ethics. Today is different,and what an exciting time it is to study how learning happens. Yes, I would imagine this blog is exactly the place to do that research. Reading what others are learning, what you are doing, what people in the PLP share–well, it almost makes me want to go back to school!

  4. Jenny I was sent the same email and I was wondering if it was the same Adobe course Allanah did. I am sure it would be great but I agree sometimes you have to decide how many ways you can be pulled and I also think your point about being able to make your own agendas is one of the major attractions about our immersing ourselves in Web 2.0. Hopefully change and growth and shared wisdom doesn’t always require a piece of paper to prove it. I guess we are trying to show our students something of this too- being independent self directed learners!!

  5. Whenever I have to fill in those forms that require qualifications I get embarrased. I have a basic teaching qualification that I gained so long ago I can’t remember what it was called. So this post hits home with me because now I am part of the leadership team at my school and feel that I am on the cutting edge of what is going on in the future of my school. So I have been too busy teaching
    ( and raising kids too) and been lucky that I have always loved it. So yes your blog is evidence of life long learning and is a thesis ot its own. Cool,

  6. But it *is* postgraduate work – the research, the winnowing of ideas, the reflective practice … only much more authentic.

    It’s just that this medium lets you work at your own pace, lets you be wrong, lets you correct yourself and gives you constant peer review from ‘critical friends’.

    Above all, it removes the constraints of artificial deadlines in a field that is changing form and direction at breathtaking speed. Lifelong learning for as long as you want.

    And no, there’s no PhD in it, but who knows – a Doctor of Blogging may well be conferred on you in the future by your network!

  7. I think I got the same invite. Over the years, started 3 post-grad courses, completed 1. Watching my wife do an Undergraduate Degree in Education at the moment and at times, she struggles juggling family life, social life and Uni commitments. She has the “luxury” of not working. I’ve often thought of going back to complete a Masters to move into Admin, but is it really worth it? Not yet – too much to do with my own family and friends.

  8. I waited 25 years t go back and get my Masters. I thought about it along the way, but life always seemed too crazy to add anything else. It was hard to go back after so long, but I really had it easier than most of my classmates!

    Now, however, I find myself in the position of having to publish, and I am having a hard time doing it because I am blogging. I don’t think the Faculty Evaluation Committee is going to care about my number of posts or comments or my Technorati rating (especially since ii is almost non-existent!). So I am having to find a way to learn to do both.

    When the time is right for you to go back to school, you’ll know it. And you’ll be able to blog and write a thesis!

  9. Thanks everyone for posting your comments. It’s interesting reading your viewpoints about what matters. @Tombarrett – I’m with you. At this stage in my life I’m happy to walk around with my blog url after my name rather than the abbreviations.

  10. Jenny-

    I think you may be on to something here. Why shouldn’t someone with the body of work that you have on this blog receive consideration or credit towards an advanced degree? I am not sure that our universities and accrediting institutions are ready to even think about something like this. It may be a sign that they are a bit behind the times, but unfortunately, I believe it may have as much to do with self-preserving financial considerations as anything.

    I too would like to work on an advanced degree. Professionally, I am at a point where it would really benefit me. Personally, I can’t imagine taking the time and money that it would take to pursue another degree away from my family.

  11. I am sure you could design a Masters around what you are already doing – why not give it a go? You’d have a different kind of recognition for your work and of your particular skills. I say ‘do it’ and get the piece of paper – loads of other people place a lot of importance on papers – I’m going to…as soon as I can afford it…

  12. Hi Jenny.

    Teaching is such a time consuming career that it is certainly difficult to fit in further study. I am currently studying for a Masters but the deciding factor was that I could get a reasonable amount of credit for my postgrad diploma in language teaching. Unfortunately only 1 ICT topic was available to me but I’m hoping to do a directed study for my final topic.

    Your journey with blogging and the web 2.0 world would be a great basis for any Masters. I think Jenny Luca, Master of Blogging sounds great!

  13. Thanks Jenny,
    You’ve got me thinking firstly about your enjoyment of learning for learning’s sake, without the pressure or confines of assessment. Our students surely feel the same at times? As teachers, we are, by nature, life long learners and have a passion for knowledge. It is necessary to maintain balance and ensure that we are learning for ourselves too. In turn, we can relate to the students in our class. I suppose this is where a consideration of negotiated curriculum is necessary…
    Secondly, I have always wanted to undertake some post grad study, probably in the area of English or teaching English. I am also concerned about the time and energy required. My brother has a Masters in Performance from VCA, is involved with lots of choirs, projects etc and is director of music at Braemar College. I don’t know how he really fits it all in with his family as well, but – He has a secretary!!!
    J Lu from the Blog – You have the street/web cred for now anyway!

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