All entries for June 2008

June 30, 2008

Email to a comrade

Dear Comrade D,

Thanks for your emails.

I am alright now, though the tension (plus excitement) of carrying out the preliminary study will not end until it is carried out on Thursday. After that more work to do: using NVivo and SPSS for real to analyse those collected data. I can't wait to see the results.

If the preliminary study is successful, my confidence of completing PhD study on time is high, so goes with the probability. If it is not successful, more work needs to be done along the way. By hook or by crook, I want to get myself upgraded by the end of this year--in order to start the data collection.

Although Dr S advised me not to submit the ARM paper until next year, I will continue working on it to make it a maximum 4000 words Upgrade paper. To be frank, this is very challenging. Codensing everying into this amount of words while being able to justify the research ideas, questions, aim, design and ethical issues is very hard! My writing on research ideas and questions alone already took 2500 words! Of course, more work to do.

I have to confess, I am a workaholic. I can sit infront of my laptop working for more than 24 hours without feeling mentally tired! So, please forgive me when I put other things aside. Those other things could be family, friends, money etc etc. In a sense, it is a relatively good characteristic for anyone who wants to complete PhD within 3 years. 

Meanwhile, having good and helpful friends in the journey is extremely important at certain points. Such friends direct or even pull us back on the proper track, avoiding us to repeat their mistakes in their journey. For example, your so-called wasted one term time to complete a pilot study (like some, if not most of our seniors did) actually shed light on my path for lesson learnt. Indeed, it is not entirely wasted, although I never think that is a waste--it shaped who you are now. 

One problem I see in you, is you are not putting what you've thought or spoken into words or other meaningful symbols such as diagrams, charts, or tables. Your are good in justifying and explaining, but limited to oral phase. One suggestion of mine is to ask someone to be your sounding board and then you record what you explain and justify and code whatever you said in words. Another way, which works very well to me is to use mind mapping.

Ok. Good luck to your research journey. And try not to compare to others' research, like Prof D said to you before. Your journey is unique, like every other doctoral students.

Best regards,

Wee Hoe 

June 24, 2008

Socialising days

I was very active in socialising activities these few days.

It started with a BBQ night, organised by Malaysia Students Association on 20 Jun 08. I met a lot of Malaysian students who are studying in Warwick. I was the only PhD student (I hope I am mistaken) who attended the event. A lot of students asked me: are you Malaysian? I never met you before, are you first year student? Hahahaha, yes, I am first year student, the oldest first year student, and this is actually my 3rd first year in my university study life. Perhaps, I might have some other first years of student life in the future, after I completed my PhD.

The next day, I was invited to join Alastair's 14th birthday celebration. I joined another 9 people to play paintball in Stratford-upon-Avon. That was really fantastic! Though paintful and tired, I really enjoyed the game--shooting others and being shot. It was followed by his party. I was introduced to Ian, a friendly ICT teacher and his wife and some other guests who attended the party.

On Sunday (22 Jun 08), I joined the Green Party. It was organised by Claycroft after winning the Student Switch-off Competition. I got new friends from Drama Education. Right after the party, I met Dr Ghani, Dean of Faculty of Language, Sultan Idris Educational University. I was invited to have dinner together with a Malay family who operates B&B accommodation in Canley. Mazura and Dahlia were there as well.

Today (24 Jun 08), I visited Hampton Court Palace together with other international students. Wow! I should compensate the time by studying harder... 

June 08, 2008

Attending conference in Univ of Cambridge

I move another step towards my "50 places to visit in UK" mission by printing my footsteps in Cambridge. Perhaps, my expectation towards her was too high. She is not as "best" as I thought she should be: as the best university in UK and the 2nd best universty in the world (2007 ranking).

No doubt, Cambridge is a beautiful place which worth more than one visit: the Fitzwilliam Museum which exhibits Pharoahs' coffins; punting on the River Cam; King's College & Qeen's College; bookshops, etc. Maybe, I visited her at the wrong time, when students were taking exams and almost all the oldest colleges are closed for examinations. 

I attended the 5th Kaleidoscope Conference at the Faculty of Education. I selectively, attended sessions on 'Innovative Approaches in Education' in the morning, and sessions on 'Teaching, Learning and Pedagogy' in the afternoon. To my surprise, although the computing facilities provided to research students are world class, the organising of the conference and the degree of innovativeness of the research done in this faculty are not as good as MMU in Malaysia. Although this is just a postgraduate level conference, it should be well organised, well chaired and well presented.

Prof Dianne Reay from Faculty of Education, gave her keynote address on 'Passion, Politics and Pride: The bumpy road from junior researcher to Professor of Education'. It was a very inspiring speech. She reconfirmed my speculation on the salary of academics in UK universities. Most junior lecturers and researchers with PhD earn less than 30K pounds in UK per year. After tax, it would be around 24K pounds.

The second keynote address was given by Prof Usha Goswami on 'Brain Science and Education'. This was the most valuable speech to me in the conference. It openned my eyes on the possible areas where brain science could be used in studying game-based learning. To me, her presentation saved Cambridge's face. 

Maybe those presenters from Faculty of Education are just the minority of Cambridge research students, or maybe they are still very new to the world of research, or maybe they just want to fill in the slots, or maybe those excellent research students don't bother to present in such level of conference, maybe... I still hope that I was mistaken about my perceptions on her.

June 2008

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