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Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Thesis, in it's Evolution

When I started this blog and my @moocresearch twitter account back in 2013, I was under the impression, assumption and anticipation that I will be focusing my masteral thesis by researching in the context of Massive Open Online Courses (i.e. MOOCs).

To date, it is already 2015, and my thesis topic has nothing to do with MOOCs.

Because you know... plans change and we just have to deal with those kind of changes.

As part of documenting my journey towards a masteral degree (actually, the original blog I created when I started my masteral program in 2009 has already been shut down, by me, due to inactivity of anything related to the academe at some point of my life in 2010 & 2011), I would like to lay down the evolution of my thesis as it was.

September 2013 - I decided to do a research on MOOCs and started reading more about it.

December 2013 - I started writing my MOOC thesis introduction on New Year's eve. I can still remember the adrenalin rush. It felt like all the ideas just started pouring out and transformed into writing. But since I have to conquer passing the comprehensive exams first, the following months was focused on reviewing for it.

January 2014 - Comprehensive Examination (But I so wanted to skip this and jump to Thesis Writing - because MOOCs is just so interesting)

February 2014 - Comprehensive Exam

March 2014 - Results of the Exam (3.91 out of 4.0)

April 2014 - Started to go back to my MOOC research and writing so I can submit a concept paper to my department.

May 2014 - Submitted my 1st Concept Paper (Study about how we can maximize the existence of MOOCs in our teaching practices).

June 2014 -1st Rejection. - At this point I realized I should have submitted my initial paper as soon as I passed the Comprehensive Exam in March. So that as early as March, I would have known that MOOCs would be completely out of the question when it comes to my thesis. And I could have prepared in advance an alternative topic, which was very hard to do considering that I have anticipated working on MOOC research since 2013.

I shouldn't have focused so much on reading up on related literature because the whole MOOC topic was completely just out of the question. So I stopped thinking about thesis for a while. I had to start from scratch. What topic? What theory? What concept?

July 2014 - I finally figured out that I had to work on my resources. My new job was being a scholarships coordinator and my resources was that I handled the scholars in our university. So I tried researching on Financial Aid. This time, I did not focus to much on related literature but I just simply wanted to submit something so that I could know the feedback or improvements immediately.

July 2014 - Submitted 2nd Concept Paper (Study about the academic motivation of students benefiting from financial aid)

I was also prepared for rejection. While my paper was under evaluation and review, I prepared another concept paper which I patterned from our comprehensive exams. The comment I had in my first concept paper was that I was moving away from my masteral program. My masteral program focused on student learning experiences and not on policy reformation.

July 2014 - Submitted 3rd Concept Paper (Study on Learning Strategies)

When I submitted the 3rd Concept Paper, even before I got the results of the 2nd, my department suggested that I get my 2nd paper. I was expecting another disapproved paper so I wasn't too eager to get the results. I told myself I will just get both of my paper at the same time so that if I got rejected for both then I would only have to feel it once at the same time.

But they told me to get the 2nd paper.

Results? DISAPPROVED of course! LOL But wait.. there was a note... "OR You may choose to work on the comments/suggestions of the reviewers".

Suddenly there is light at the end of the thesis.

I never got my 3rd Concept Paper back because they wanted me to focus on my 2nd Concept paper.

My 2nd Concept Paper, focused on the "Academic Motivation of Students Benefiting from Financial Aid" and since I had the option to stay in that topic, I grabbed that option instead of finding a new one. My 2nd Concept Paper involved comparing those who benefit from financial aid and those who do not. One of the suggestions said in my paper was to just focus on one cohort, those benefiting from financial aid.

August 2014 - Revisions made.

Technically, this was already my 4th Concept Paper (Study on academic motivation of students benefiting from financial aid - w/o comparing it with those who do not benefit from financial aid). Before submitting the revised paper, I went to one of my reviewers to ask for clarification with regards to his comments. He gave his immediate feedback which resulted for me to create a new paper, this is the 5th Paper.

August 2014 -  I submitted my 5th Concept Paper (Study on exploring the student experiences of those who are benefiting from financial aid and why they are succeeding academically despite being socioeconomically disadvantaged). *Fourth Submission*

September 2014 - My department chair told me that he wanted to talk to me personally and give some advice with regards to my concept paper. He advised me to narrow down my paper and identify what literature says on why socioeconomically disadvantaged students succeed academically. One example was family and I ended up writing my 6th Concept Paper (Study on perception on parents & basic needs satisfaction of students benefiting from financial aid)

October 2014 - I went to seek an appointment with my undergraduate thesis mentor, who was also one of my reviewers. She was actually the one who strongly advised me to NOT get my 3rd Concept Paper (on Learning Strategies) and to get the results of my 2nd Concept Paper (Academic Motivation). She gave me a high review on that paper. I went to seek her advice to know, why? What good did you find in my paper? Little did she know, she was the one who gave the light at the end of the thesis.

I showed her my 6th Concept Paper, and she reminded me that my paper was only a thesis and not a dissertation. She helped me simplify my thoughts and I ended up working on my 7th Concept paper.

November 2014 - I submitted my 7th Concept Paper (Effect of institutional integration on basic needs satisfaction of students benefiting from financial aid) *Fifth Submission*

December 2014 - Finally. Approved Thesis Topic.

7 completely different research proposals.
5 officially submitted concept papers.

January 2015 - Enroll in Thesis Writing 1.

And so it begins... OFFICIALLY

*To be fair to myself, I know I can accomplish so much in one month. When I got my feedback on my 2nd concept paper in August I was able to make 2 revisions. When I sought advice in September, I was able to revise it and show it to my other professor by October. By November I was able to give the revision. 

*Hi. This is just me. Trying to analyze what happened to my 2014 and why I am only enrolling in Thesis this year. 

P.S. Thank you PHD comics for finding humor amidst this agony. 

1 comment:

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