Education — learning or teaching — related resources.

What are your doctoral hopes and dreams?

As part of the University of Leicester‘s online “Discovering Your PhD Potential” course I was asked to describe my doctoral hopes and dreams in a community of practice using a unique tool called Padlet, a free application to create an online bulletin board you can use to display and share information for any topic.

I was instructed to share a photo summing up my feelings, a short video or audio clip describing my thoughts, a short paragraph of text or even just one word. I decided to record a video, shared below, in which I share three adjectives describing my current mood and elaborate on the impact and importance of each: academic, energetic, and pragmatic.

What happens to a dream deferred?

This was a question posed by American poet Langston Hughes in his 1951 poem “Harlem” which portrays the plight of African-Americans attempting to achieve the “American Dream.” Personally, this poem speaks to me due to several setbacks I first experienced more than a decade ago that pushed the American Dream out of reach for me, encouraged me to explore being an expat, and deferred my dream to complete a PhD.

I have managed to advance in academia without a doctorate up to this point due to sheer determination; just this past June I celebrated ten years of teaching! However, as I begin my third full-time year at the American University in the Emirates (AUE), a PhD is increasingly necessary professionally and, quite frankly, remains a calling personally.

Fortunately, AUE is willing to help me earn my PhD. While the details need to be determined, finally having a realistic opportunity to pursue a PhD (a decade after I last attempted to do so) means the world to me. I am exceptionally motivated knowing that AUE President and CEO Prof. Muthanna G. Abdul Razzaq, PhD, is willing to help me achieve this previously elusive goal. I am also grateful for the efforts of Prof. Miroslav Mateev, Vice President for Research and Advancement at AUE, who is working to ensure my dream becomes a reality.

I have found a PhD program that will allow me to continue working while conducting my doctoral research: a Management Distance Learning PhD from the University of Leicester School of Business. With more than 90 years of experience and a global alumni network of over 30,000, the University of Leicester School of Business offers an interdisciplinary community of over 150 academics internationally renowned for its accounting and finance, management, marketing, and economics courses.

It is highly ranked for research power reflecting the pioneering work they conduct in partnership with leaders, managers, and organizations to promote and strengthen responsible business practices. Research conducted at the University of Leicester School of Business challenges accepted thinking, norms and perceptions in management, economics, finance, accounting, and marketing.

The school’s goal is simple: enhance the way we think about business and to work in partnership with leaders and managers to promote and strengthen sustainable business in all of its forms. My journey towards enhancing the way people think about business starts with preparing a research proposal of 3,000 to 4,000 words. According to the University of Leicester, “A research proposal is a statement that tells us what you want to research, how you will do it, and why it is important.” The research proposal is the foundation upon which I will build my thesis of at least 80,000 words.

My plan is to prepare my research proposal for submission in February 2018 with an anticipated start date of May 2018. However, starting the research proposal is a big step that will take a great deal of focus and fortitude. As luck would have it, I found on Facebook and enrolled in an online course from the University of Leicester designed to help me achieve this task!

Titled “Discovering your PhD Potential” this five-week course is taught by Professor Neil Christie, Professor of Archaeology, and formerly the Director of Postgraduate Research in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at the University of Leicester; he is joined by Dr. Vanessa Beck, also a recent Director of Postgraduate Research at the University of Leicester and currently a Senior Lecturer in Work and Organisation in the School of Economics, Finance and Management at the University of Bristol.

The course is designed to give me the awareness, skills, and tools to write a well thought-out and achievable research proposal, thereby improving the quality of my application in the process. It will also give me a sense of the self-study required by postgraduate doctoral research. Topcis covered include the following:

  • Introduction to doctoral research.
  • Funding your study.
  • Defining the problem and writing a research question.
  • Writing a literature review.
  • Research design and methodology.
  • How to construct your proposal.

The class, which started Monday, September 4, is offered at no cost online via the FutureLearn platform. However, I opted to upgrade for $39 (+ shipping) which provides me with unlimited access to the course and entitles me to a Certificate of Achievement when I complete it. The course focuses on a different theme each week as follows:

  • Week 1: Introduction and research problem definition.
  • Week 2: Literature review and context.
  • Week 3: Research question.
  • Week 4: Design and methods.
  • Week 5: Bringing the proposal together.

After completing the course I should be able to:

  • Identify why I want to complete a PhD and whether my expectations are realistic.
  • Demonstrate how to set a realistic, manageable, and impactful research question.
  • Describe and implement the steps required to writing a literature review, including: a literature search, planning, organizing, and writing the literature review.
  • Compare the differences between ontology, epistemology, different research designs, and methodology.
  • Explore the main requirements, structures, and problems with undertaking a PhD.
  • Compare deductive and inductive research questions.
  • Discuss what kind of theoretical approach would be useful for my research proposal.
  • Summarize what I learned from the course into a first draft of a research proposal.

I am excited to embark on this academic adventure: completing this course is a first step towards making my PhD dream a reality; once I do that the name of this blog will certainly make more sense (doctorate + victorious + generous + notorious = doctorious) as well! To learn more about the course you can watch a promotional video below or view it directly on YouTube.

It is with great pride I announce that I am joining the Peer Review Board of the Journal of Educators Online (JEO). I was selected by the Editor and Editorial Board according to the needs of the journal. I am excited about this opportunity to contribute to the academic community and appreciate the chance to make a difference.

According to the JEO website:

The Journal of Educators Online (JEO) is a biannual publication by the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University that highlights research in the broad area of Computer Mediated Learning (CML) which includes distance, online, electronic, virtual, distributed, blended and mobile learning. Computer-mediated learning occurs when an individual interactively learns (formally or informally, synchronously or asynchronously) about material via computer means where the learning materials and pedagogy are developed to take advantage of the available technologies.

The goals of JEO are to:

  • Promote a scholarly approach to the practice and profession of teaching in computer-mediated environments.
  • Foster dialogue concerning innovative computer-mediated teaching, learning and assessment strategies.
  • Enhance understanding and application of best practices in online teaching and learning.

JEO is published in January and July of each year. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

In my role as a member of the Peer Review Board I will review two to four manuscripts per year and for provide feedback according to a pre-established set of criteria.  I am expected to evaluate manuscripts in a timely and thorough manner with constructive comments to enhance the quality of the manuscript.

Additionally, if I believe a manuscript is not publishable, I must make every attempt to provide extensive comments/feedback with regard to why the paper is not acceptable and provide the authors with constructive directions.

To learn more about the JEO please review the publication’s overview; you can also review the current issue or review past issues. If you are interested in applying to be a member of the JEO Peer Review Board you can do so here.

Looking forward to contributing to future issues of the Journal of Educators Online (JEO)!