The Design Process

Dissertations are a discovery and learning process as much as they are a product. The work found on this website is the culmination of 18 months of intense study, writing, and sharing. This work left a digital trail in the form of blog posts, a prospectus document and hearing, conference presentations, and informal panel discussions. I have curated these works here, for those who are curious about the history and design process of this project.

  • The Case for Connected Learning. In the summer of 2014, under the leadership of Dr. Gardner Campbell and Dr. Jon Becker, the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Teaching Excellence was re-tasked and re-branded as the VCU Academic Learning Transformation Lab.  As the graduate fellow for the unit, I was tasked with creating an aspirational document that blended the concepts of mission and vision in something longer than a statement. This was the beginning.
  • The Blog Posts.  I blogged pieces of my dissertation, first on Laura’s Coloring Book (now closed) and then on Messy Thinking, for a variety of reasons.  In the beginning, my blog was like a bulletin board: a place to stick information so that  I wouldn’t forget it.  Later, it became a place to organize my thoughts, receive feedback, and show the world what I was working towards.  What you see here is a selection of re-blogged pieces (now all housed on Messy Thinking) that show the path of my thinking for this project. For outside influences and additional context (most notably Twitter Journal Club, Connected Courses, Black Twitter, and a year-long writing collaboration with Catherine Cronin and Frances Bell), see Messy Thinking.
  • The Prospectus. In the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, doctoral students are required to turn in a brief proposal and annotated bibliography around the time of their comprehensive exams, but the true proposing happens at the time of the prospectus hearing.  Students must write, present, and defend a draft of their first three chapters (Overview, Literature Review, and Methodology) for their committee prior to moving forward with IRB approval and the research, itself.  I defended my prospectus successfully on August 8, 2015.
  • The Conference Presentations.