Last week's assignment required a detailed literature synthesis around a specific topic. The literature research performed for this assignment required that the issues surrounding the topic be examined fully. Simply stated, the literature was to be located, executed, and reduced to an easy-to-follow format for the reader.

In three pages of double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt text, I detailed the topic, crystallized the inherent problems on the topic, and proceeded to summarize several key arguments found in the peer-reviewed journal articles I collected. A few days later, I received the following from feedback from my professor:

Your have selected to study an issue of great importance, an issue that will get more complex with time. What's your hypothesis (thesis statement) regarding this topic?

The answer is: I do not quite know. I mean...I have a pretty good idea. But, I am having a difficult time putting it into words.  

This week's assignment requires that I go deeper with the articles. And, that has me feeling some kind of way... 

Research 12-18 articles from peer-reviewed journals. Synthesize the data, main arguments, claims, and conclusions for each one.  Place the information into a matrix (spreadsheet).  

I have found 16 articles. As of Wednesday, I have read and highlighted half of them, comprising approximately 100 pages of PDF text. The complete matrix is due Saturday (January 25th). Looks like I have some reading, annotating, and contemplating to do.

I'll be right here if you need me.

*photo sources: unknown


Data mining. Data harvesting. Data profiling. 

This, coupled with student privacy in a digital world, is the focus of my research. 

If you would like to read more about the ways social media impacts education, start here. If you are using Google Suite for Education, check out this research article [PDF] from 2016.

I am not opposed to digital learning, but I am concerned about the data that is collected. Who controls that data? Who makes decisions based on that data? And where is the line between enhancing collaboration (enhancing the user experience) and improving student learning? What is the real cost of all the data we surrender in the name of instructional technology?

The answers to these questions are not limited to one company. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and a host of other companies are all competing for a share of the education market. Corporate strategy in the education sector is nothing new (see below), but the speed and scale of the market has shifted...and the outcomes of these strategies run far deeper.

*image:18pt Century Schoolbook typeface | mirror image for legibility

Another immensely popular face for A.T.F. [American Type Founders] and [Morris Fuller] Benton, Century Schoolbook was either licensed or copied by all the makers of mechanical composition machines, including Linotype, Intertype, Monotype, and Ludlow. Linotype also commissioned Rudolph Ruzicka to design Primer, which was intended to compete directly with Century Schoolbook for the textbook market. -Wikipedia


Now knee-deep into Week 2 of Spring 2020 semester of my doctoral studies. And, I’m anxious. Not because of the work, the reading, the research, or the writing. 

My anxiety is because of all the questions. Questions surrounding my studies and my pursuit of a degree. Why? What do I hope to achieve by accomplishing it? Will I return to the private sector once I’ve earned my degree? 

Upside: the anxiety fades pretty quickly. I remind myself that I am doing this for me. And, that I don’t have the answers to everyone’s questions. I’m still learning.