Monday, January 24, 2011

Starting an EdD at the University of Otago

As some of you may know, I withdrew from a PhD last year and just now have started an EdD at the University of Otago in Dunedin.

Program structure
The program has been developed with working students in mind. Most students appear to do it part time, although there is the opportunity to go full time in the second year if you wish, which may be an option for me.

The first year is spent looking at research as a class. There are a number of assignments including a literature search and exploration of methodology. These essays will hopefully contribute to my thesis. Current students have told me that this year is full on and the most difficult year of the course. However, one of the reasons I did not complete my PhD was that I lacked structure, so hopefully the way this EdD is structured will support me and keep my motivation going...even if it is a 'stick' approach as opposed to 'carrot'.

The second year is developing a proposal, getting confirmed and submitting an ethics proposal. The following years are spent doing and writing up the research.

Along with the thesis, we have to submit a portfolio that will provide evidence about how our research connects to our work as a practitioner.

Community of learning
The other thing I really like about this program is that it relies heavily on the concept of a community of learning. When I did my PhD, I was a distance student and felt very isolated. In this EdD program, there are six of us, and it has been heavily stressed that we all support each other along with the teachers on the course. I am hoping we do this well because I think it will be peer support that gets me through the EdD.

Face-to-face vs distance
One of the other things I am enjoying already is being a student on campus. I realised the other day that whilst I have been studying since 1992, this is the first time I have been living in the same town as my educational institution. It feels like such a luxury to be able to nip into the library or take five minutes to sort out an administration problem, or even be able to have regular face-to-face meetings with staff. So despite my great passion for distance education, I must admit to secretly loving being to access teachers and resources face-to-face.

Are you doing a higher degree? What tips would you pass on to me as I start this research journey?

Image: 'ou 019'


Leigh Blackall said...

Maybe add yourself there as well

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks Leigh...I'll do that.

BTW, am finding the #phdchat Twitter chat interesting. That runs 8.30 am Thursday NZ...might be a tad early for you :)

Anne Marie Cunningham said...

Exciting! I hope you enjoy:)

Sarah Stewart said...

Feeling very over-whelmed at the moment, Anne Marie but I'm sure that will settle as I get into things