Some might wonder, what happens after graduate students complete the oral defense. I will share my experience over the pas school year (2013-14) following my oral defense examination. Three stages can be used to describe the year: (1) finalizing the dissertation in preparation for graduation, (2) sharing the work, and (3) exploring research interests.
During the oral defense, the examiners provided some valuable feedback about the dissertation and areas for improvement. Prior to submitting the final version of the dissertation in digital format for sharing publicly it was necessary to make minor edits. Once all changes were complete, the final version of the dissertation was submitted to fulfil graduation requirements. There are also some administrative tasks required to apply for graduation especially if attending the convocation. In my case, the convocation took place over two months after completing the oral defense.
Second, it is important to share the study beyond the dissertation. I submitted a paper for presentation to http://www.csse-scee.ca/conference/ The Canadian Society for the Study of Education Conference held in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in St. Catherines. The paper was accepted and I attended and presented the work at the conference at Brock University in May 2014. Currently, I am preparing for another presentation in August 2014 and drafting a manuscript for publication about the research.
Last, the year has been filled with numerous teaching and collaborative learning opportunities, such as: continuing to teach online graduate courses in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, conducting research and PD with the Galileo Educational Network, co-writing a literature review about technology in higher education for the Provost’s Learning Technology Task Force, and working with a team to develop a STEM course for pre-service teachers.
I also had the opportunity to co-present conference sessions throughout the year including the following sessions:
- Ethics in academic writing and research, a session for the Graduate Students Research Seminars and Colloquia Series in February 2014
- Learning to let go: The world continues to spin when we let students take charge, a session presented at the IDEAS 2014 Conference
- Learning technologies in higher education, a session and paper presented at the IDEAS 2014 Conference
- Principals’ technology leadership, a session presented at the CSSE 2014 Conference
- Collaborative instructional design and course development, a session presented at the CSSE 2014 Conference. This session was based on an article published in 2013: Brown, B., Eaton, S., Jacobsen, M., & Roy, S. (2013). Instructional design collaboration: A professional learning and growth experience. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(3).
Other publications included two book reviews for Education Canada and one encyclopedia definition:
- Brown, B. (2013). Book review. [Review of the book Never underestimate your teachers: Instructional leadership for excellence in every classroom, by R. R. Jackson]. Education Canada.
- Brown, B. (2013). Book review. [Review of the book Culture re-boot: Reinvigorating school culture to improve student outcomes, by L. Kaplan & W. Owings]. Education Canada.
- Brown, B. (2013). Technology-enhanced learning environment. In R. C. Richey (Ed), Encyclopedia of terminology for educational communications and technology (pp. 304-305), New York, NY: Springer.
Overall, the year has been extremely rewarding! I look forward to continuing my learning and growth over the next school year and pursuing areas of interest. My current research interests include technology-enhanced learning environments, leadership, instructional design, school reform, innovation, social networks, and professional learning communities using action research, case study and design based research methodologies.