November’s Research Reflection in ILT6720

I’m not usually one to savor when something is over or completed.  I absolutely love the adventure of experiencing the unknown, trying new ventures, tasting new flavors, learning new things.

But by golly…the end is in sight!

I think I feel so relieved because this semester has been not only more work than any other semester, but I’ve actually learned more than I have in any of my other semesters.  My brain is ready to relax!

  • How would you describe your learning in this course so far?

When I first read this question, my mind automatically conjured the image of a roller coaster.  I started to think about all of the ups and downs I’ve encountered throughout the course until I realized that my actual learning has not been on a roller coaster ride, my emotions have been (which is a little funny since my main research topic for the semester was largely based on emotional intelligence!). My learning within this course has been on a steady incline since day one.  Well I don’t know if steady is really the right word since I feel like I’ve been drinking water from a fire hose.  But my learning has definitely only been going “up” since the semester began.

Roller coaster of emotion

My emotions however, have been all over the place.  Winding up and down and over and under, all depending on what new aspect of action research had me in a tizzy.  I wish so much that this course could have been split into two classes so that I could have spent more time learning about research, how to conduct it, and how to write it.  Then I could have dedicated an entire semester solely to the actual action research project instead of fumbling through it, constantly worrying if it was going turn out well for myself and for my research partner, Jason.  (I must admit, I am very glad to have had a partner in crime for all of this!)

In reflection, I realize now that my emotions were purely a product of my resistance to research.  I was resisting what I truly felt I could not and would not understand.  One of the best things I’ve read this semester was actually the first two chapters of  The Craft of Research, a book by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams.  It was in these chapters that I received answers to questions about research that I didn’t even know I had.  I wrote a reflection of sorts on these chapters here.  Something clicked for me after reading these chapters and I began to get excited about what I could learn and accomplish.

So if I had to get serious and truly describe my learning in this course with one word, it would have to be “great”.  And I don’t mean great as in “fun,” but more as like, grand. Like…large, immense, considerable, tremendous.  Oooo, tremendous is the best one.  My learning in this course has been absolutely tremendous.  I went from knowing nothing about research (even though I thought I had research pegged – Google something, read about it, bam DONE) to conducting an actual research study.  My oh my, did I just breathe a great sigh after typing the end of that last sentence.

My learning has been tremendous to the point where I want to tell to anyone who will listen, all about my efforts in this course and everything I’ve learned how to do.  From proposing an action research project, searching and locating scholarly articles and then writing critiques on them, drafting and revising a literature review, to conducting actual research via various data collection and analysis methods and documenting those efforts in a 40+ page final paper.  It’s just tremendous!  🙂

  • How has your learning been meaningful and impactful either professionally or personally?

My learning has been meaningful and impactful for me personally and professionally in that I feel very proud of everything I’ve accomplished within the course this semester.  I’ve never written a scholarly critique before, nor have I ever taken the time to locate and read a research or peer reviewed article.  I’m still working on my academic writing voice (this post is not a good representation of it by far) but I think I’ve come a long way.  I even wrote an entire critique without one iota of personalization.

I’ve engaged with my fellow classmates more in this course than in any other and I’ve made some great connections that I hope to carry with me throughout my professional career (or at least my academic career).  My professional blog (this one you’re reading) is currently bursting with content and I’ve added several technology resources to my tool belt (I love you Mendeley!). I’ve also very much enjoyed working with my coworkers in a different way and seeking their help with something non-work related.  I’ve just learned so much and 90% of what I have actually learned was quite unexpected.  This course was certainly quite a lot more than simply researching an Information and Learning Technologies topic and writing a 10 page paper on it (oh how naive I was 14 weeks ago!).

It’s been a tremendous experience.  I love roller coasters!

Header image from here.
Roller coaster image from here.