Monday, April 29, 2013

the physicality of the e-book and the PhD as a book

I need to be writing; but my procrastination took me to skype instead...where a friend reminded me of my writing... and of her lining up mentors for the post doc stage. I would like a mentor, but i have reservations. Critique i can admire...but really my skin is not that tough.
So i want a mentor softer than ones she suggested. My writing is odd...its apparently more in the genre of Yoda meets Jennifer Turner-Hospital. My phd was 'layered'. definitions evolved rather than being upfront, and findings grew organically, they werent expressed upfront either. I like the story to unfold, a genre unsuited to typical academic was looking for different approaches.
My friend introduced me to: Publishing pedagogies for the doctorate and beyond by Aitchison, Claire; Kamler, Barbara; Lee, Alison

So I go looking for it... I locate it online in my uni library online.
I download the ebook, forgetting i have choices for how long, so am limited to one days reading...
except when i try to open the download ebook i get

So back through the library - I'm told i have it for 23 hours and 5 mins...but i cant use try to download as a pdf, but it tells me "waiting"...not sure who for or why....close it down come back in another browser...nope...still waiting....have a shower come back, and decide to sneak up on the beast differently... A successful capture!
I had not envisaged going on a bear hunt.
I open it to read online, cool... read four pages, looking interesting, seems to have tolerance being expressed for the post doc experience, and perhaps, I hope of different ways to i made a cup of tea, came back and nooooooo
Im back to it being unavailable.

Bring on the physicality of the book.
One I can stub my toe on, hold, know where it is when I put it down...

Nonetheless the promise of immediacy, anywhere anytime without driving to uni...

So back online...and it opened again, now where was I up to ...searching...this sucks...try the download again, this time as pdf..yes download done...
dumb...forgot to change the 24 hr default...still...
and still cant open it. sigh.

And with my PhD submission, a page the library required needed to be included. But in the fear of the Mac to PC and from word to pdf my option seems to be tears or outsourcing. So outsourcing it is.
It stuffs up the TOC, fortunately not the figures as they began after the section break for the first pages in Roman Numerals, but yes, a gremlin in the system does mean the pdf conversion stuffs up all formatting of tables with photos embedded with writing superimposed on the photos.... well worth the time to have the formatting guy fix this....but then another formatting stuff up as inexplicably two other pictures jump out of alignment. I am so over this, but eventually, it is done. Nothing is as easy as the University librarian would have me believe in just inserting a page.

And then just when i thought it was safe to go back into the water, metaphorically...i attempt to download a trashy fiction novel. But then there's the recall of a password that I cannot manage, and the resetting of the digital password, followed by the reset required of the Visa card details, and then the ipad refusing to know it has been associated with until it is powered down and restarted.

Am seriously beginning to appreciate the ease of scrolls and wondering why humankind ever moved away from such functionality!

An hour later, too tired to read, i have my kindle hour please note that i might have spent reading....guess i didnt have to drive to the shop or to the library, so an hour that would nonetheless not have been any more productive had i made my choices otherwise.
At least now i can read it in bed with its backlighting turned up, and its font size on large :)

Friday, April 05, 2013

out of the blue and into the black. Another surreal phd moment

In the life of Pi there is a sadness when the externalized aspect of Pi leaves without so much as a goodbye.
The end of a PhD feels like this. There are so many anticlimactic points that celebrating anyone of them always feels odd, always there is another slightly higher bar to jump over.

A very very long time ago, near the start of this i did an oxfam trailblazer walk....i recall the number of fences that would still need climbing despte seeing an end in sight. These extra effort hurdles feel like killers. None alone would be problematic, the killer is having done what feels like walking through the night for forever to reach such a point.
I did not finish the oxfam 100km walk. i decided the challenge was about completion and knowing when was enough. i am pleased i projected this onto the walk and not the thesis.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

What the Phd studied in 50 words; Choosing phewer shades of grey

I cant believe the difficulty i have with this.
A day I will never get back; tangled in words.
I am trying to choose from the many words written into this doctoral thesis (97986) which 50 words might be used to sum it up?
And I am floundering.
How to separate black from white when i have learned to see so many shades of grey?
And how might 50 words/shades of grey/capture an audience?

Bottom line appears to be: What would be the takeaway I would want others to know of?

Having tried the autoword summary and got something ridiculous, I reread my abstract, but it was filled with promise rather than with I looked at my conclusions. Yes conclusions. Multiple. Any one of which performs partially.
So am back to wondering "But which one?"
Unable to resolve this, I then attempt other approaches.I locate key words: what has to be included in there somewhere?

Text-counselling; Youthline (NZ); telephone helpline
so that's at least 5 words, 45 to go.

On twitter I seek help for the equivalence of putting it through a hot wash cycle and then the dryer; I'm given advice: start with why; people need a problem they can relate to.
Through skype, my 100th draft, but first to anyone outside of my own headspace, advises me this is read out at graduation, and big words are lost in an auditorium. So much for those clever long words i had put in there to make it/me seem intelligent.

So, a more punchy 50 words.

Enactments of change: On becoming textually active at Youthline (NZ)

The phones at Youthline (NZ) hardly ring anymore. Young people still have problems, and are still helped, but this happens silently. This thesis addresses how counselling changes when mediated by technology; specifically text messaging. With emphasis on ‘moral purposing’, what it is to do good in contemporary counselling is explored.

phew :) phewer words
Not quite black and white, but its succinct, and is a version I am happy with.
It entices interest, politely seductive, positioning the need for the study, and emphasizes or at least points to, what's important.
*Lets out a huge sigh*
It's an end.

What universities say about this 50 word grad ceremony summary:
Other universities do this in a variety of ways, mine asks me to write my own summary stating only that:
This summary will appear in the Graduation Ceremonies Program. It should focus on the outcomes of the research, be in plain English and contain a maximum of fifty words.

At Melbourne University it is written by the examination's chair attending to the following:
the citation should be restricted to 50 words.
the citation should indicate what the research was about and commence with the words [name of candidate] who investigated.../ who studied.../ who examined.../ who found.../ who argues.../ work will benefit... .
it should contain a brief description about what the research achieved or “found”
it should give an indication about the impact of the research or its potential application
it should be grammatically correct and written in language which can be understood by a lay audience at the conferring ceremony
present or future tense should be used when describing findings, impact or potential application
only those technical or specialised terms which are in general use should be used, otherwise a plain language explanation should be added
it should refer back to the candidate by using "his findings" or "her study" (the candidate's name should not be used within the text of the citation).