Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Eighty percent of success is showing up

Eighty percent of success is showing up
That's what a Recently Successful Doctoral Student said to me when talking about research, citing Woody Allen. So I looked it up and found this blog, Persistence Unlimited that quotes Woody Allen. Showing up is what gets you going. I've shown up at:
  • doctoral training workshops, even when they seemed a waste of time. They gave pointers to research issues I was likely to face.
  • the Professional and Academic Communication in English (PACE) sessions, which trained me reading and writing for social science and business.
  • OUBS seminars
  • an NVivo workshop
  • a BAM conference
  • a systematic review of the literature workshop
  • participative videoing workshops
  • OU clubs - how do they help? I've met people who've heard me mention some of the issues OU post grads face and put me in touch with people who can help sort those issues.
  • Teaching and learning conferences like the CETL conference this December
  • Associate lecturer development days
  • Landscapes of practice workshop with Etienne Wenger
  • an Elluminate tutorial
  • meetings of the Institute of Chartered Managers
  • events run by the Institute of Business Consultants
  • AIM workshop
  • seminar with Derek Pugh on writing
  • career development workshop
  • a BAM template analysis course
  • OUBS round table sessions once a year
  • presentions to fellow OUBS post grads
  • EPSRC introductory seven-week taught course on Mathematics for the Science of Complex Systems.
Recently Successful Doctoral Student used to come into the office often during her masters course and discussed assignments with colleagues. Being sat near them in first and second year of the doctorate, they'd supported each other, coming in, talking, but in the third year they sat in separate rooms and floors to be with their supervisor's section, with no fellow post grad to talk to. She missed that stimulus: "Talk to people", she advised.

The practice of moving third year students to different places has now changed. Third year students sit together. We can see each other when we come in and arrange to talk when we stop working. That's how we learn, said Lave and Wenger: we talk to learn. I can't talk to learn about my research at home; I have to show up and talk with post grads in the same situation.

Does that mean I'm 80% on my way to success? Watch this blog. My funding stops in September and I'd like to submit by then.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. 1991. Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press #1131.

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