For tonight, I want to remember that there are a few “announcements” to share regarding pragmatic issues and planning, so I want to spend the first part of our gathering covering those updates and squaring away some concerns.
I look forward to continuing with the conferencing as we have been conducting for the past several weeks. There seems to be more momentum now to your writing. You are in a key phase in your timeline and the trick now is to keep things moving steadily and consistently while attending to the overall process as it unfolds. We are in now in mid February…this is the time to be cranking it. 🙂
See you soon,
I am so glad your thesis blogs have been revived! Such great work manifesting there. Excellent. I sense the momentum, and I am so pleased the writing meanderings/process in being documented more closely.
Some things I want to discuss tonight:
-Spring Symposium plan (April 21)
-Research Days panel (April 27 Deadline – Feb. 21)
–Computers & Writing & my CL TV Series for May/June
-IS w/Dr. Balakian
-Digital design work embedded in the #NewMediaStudies Course.
See you soon,
So here we are, at the second half of your thesis journey. Last semester was filled with exploration, doubts, discovery, false starts, reading and vetting, and writing. This semester you will gain the momentum necessary to complete a meaningful project by April 15th. That is the formal date set for your final thesis submission.
Also, please mark the date of April 21st. We will be hosting the 1st annual Writing Studies Spring Symposium from 5-7pm, which will be a social gathering as much as a showcase of your culminating work. In addition, I hope we can discuss a possible panel plan for Kean’s “Research Days” set for April 27th. This presentation would be very similar to your short presentations for our Spring Symposium.
We have used our weekly meeting on Thursday nights to conference, so that each of you might have a chance to speak about your process individually. Together, we have built an instinctive protocol that has offered a sense of accountability, feedback, and of course, support. Tonight I want to check in with each of you to make sure that this process still makes sense, as I am open to new forms/structures for our designated time together. Personally, I have been happy with the conferencing protocol, but I am also open to new ideas. My main interest is in supporting you all effectively in getting to the proverbial finish line.
Looking forward to digging back in tonight!
After having read your recent blogs, I have an updated sense of where each of you are in your own thesis process. I also have varying questions and suggestions for each of you.
Some updates on scheduling: Next Thursday 11/19, I will be attending and presenting some of my current scholarship at the National Writing Project annual meeting. There will be no meet up due to my conference engagement. The Thursday thereafter is Thanksgiving (11/26). We are coming up on a long stretch of time that will be jam packed with many personal activities (I know how busy you all are). I fear that a lack of a formal thesis “check-in” at this crucial time will result in the lack of progress with your projects.
Therefore, I would like to design an explicit “action item list” for each of you with a deadline set for December 3rd. I know if you have some concrete benchmarks for progress (rather than a vast stretch of undefined thesis time in the midst of holiday time) you will keep on better track. For Andre, Matt, & Christina, we will set those individualized action items this evening. For Melissa & Larissa, I would like to have an email exchange with both of you that explicitly pins down this stretch of time with self-determined thesis goals. I will expect to hear from both of you via email by Monday Nov. 16th regarding your specific outline for the next three weeks. I will respond and we will confirm each of your plans.
Next date to work towards: Dec. 3, 2015
I am looking forward to connecting with each of you soon. At this stage each of you has branched off and made progress in different creative ways, each of you finding a version of research & writing process that best suits your own rhythms and mindscape. Tomorrow we will be connecting first with Larissa. We will discuss her developing Lit Review and how her ideas are shaping up based on that process. Andre has formally embarked on the writing of his first chapter as his project starts to take shape and form. And Stina & Matt are in the midst of their invention & discovery phases as they explore the contours of their topics through writing. Check the blog posts here to get your update.
It is fascinating for me to see how each writer has their own way, and I am genuinely impressed and excited about each one of your projects. I sense that the discussion tomorrow night will be an important benchmark in the journey.
See you soon,
I have enjoyed speaking with each of you weekly regarding the ebb and flow of your early project ideas. I have also enjoyed reading the blog posts that have been coming in regarding what your are working on, struggling with, wondering about, or mulling over. By now you have realized first hand that a big writing project (like an MA Thesis) is truly a journey with various twists and turns. That is the nature of the beast 😉 As you experience your fits and starts, please remember to sustain your own blogs about your research process. Reflection is a powerful gateway to learning.
When I see you tomorrow night, I hope to continue with our conversations. We are now moving into a new phase of your progress, as we address the development of an initial literature review. Please see the Literature Review document which I have written for all of you. I have added the document here to our course website under “course materials” as well. In addition, you are welcome to look up further resources online. Please take note that we have already set a course deadline for the early Lit Review (10/22) although I think it will be prudent to add one more week and adjust the deadline for 10/29. In the meanwhile, there is much reading and synthesizing of material to undertake. I hope to guide you and converse with you along your way.
See you soon,
You are on your way now.
Protocol for early proposal feedback:
Please open each proposal doc in the MA early proposal folder and add a paragraph or so of feedback/thoughts for each of the authors. You can add your name at the bottom of the author’s proposal. After your name, add your feedback. I would also suggest color coding your response so each of our comments is distinct and easier to digest for the proposal writer. If you have not done so already, please make sure each of us (in this MA Thesis group) have access to EDIT your early proposal doc so that we can place our commentary directly in the doc.
Please respond as a fellow writer and as a reader, in a spirit of helpfulness and respect. Share observations of what you notice in your colleagues early proposal, but also share observations of what you notice occurs inside of you as you read the writer’s text. What questions emerge? What connections do you make as a result of the writer’s inquiry? I believe this approach to feedback will be helpful to each of you.
Deadline for proposal feedback: Thursday 10/2.
There should be five colored paragraphs after each proposal by Thursday afternoon (actually six, since I will add my comments there too). When we meet on Thursday, we will review what has been covered thus far and make plans for “next steps”. I will also post some new guidelines material for all of you soon regarding the development of an effective literature review. We will devote the next few weeks to the next phase (active research and developing a lit review). In other words, we will focus on the collection of materials which will inform the development of your project. Many of you are well on your way with this part of the process already, but I think this “stage” in our work together will be a worthwhile exercise for all of you to participate in as we proceed with our benchmarks for thesis progress.
Please remember that the writing and research process for a project like this is inherently more intuitive and unscripted than the mere adherence to such benchmarks, but they are in place (for now) in order to GENERATE the foundation for the work.
A note regarding blogging: Some of you are doing a fabulous job of keeping up with your weekly reflections about your process. I would like to remind the rest of you that a weekly post on “how it is going” will keep you faithful to your own journey. Props to Dre for embracing the medium in a most writerly fashion, and to Larissa for her insightful layout of her work thus far. It helps to do this, trust me. So keep up the blogging! Make it a weekly habit (even if it is a just a quick entry).
Looking forward to connecting both virtually in the docs, and f2f on Thursday evening.
By now you should be in the midst of the development of your “Early MA Proposal Document”. I have spoken with each of you about your early ideas, and that should serve as the basis for this first attempt at a formal articulation of your project. Please follow the guidelines posted in the Early MA Thesis Proposal Document in order to get the most out of this step in your overall thesis journey.
Your document is due by Thursday Sept. 24th. Please send me that document in google doc form, and please also share the document with your thesis co-hort (Larissa, Christina, Andre, Melissa, and Matt). On 9/25, I will be sending you a collaborative google doc which will serve as a shared feedback document which we will all work on together.
Please read the four early proposals from your colleagues, and submit some initial feedback in our shared document. Include any questions that come up as a peer reader. There will be a section in this document dedicated for each writer’s proposal. Please write to/for each author, sharing aspects of the proposal that seem to lead to productive points of inquiry, and which aspects of the proposal could use further articulation or clarification. Is there a clear argument or goal for this project? What questions come to mind as you read your colleagues early thoughts? This exercise/document is meant to help each of you. It is a powerful source of learning to consider peer work (not only for the writer receiving the feedback, but for the reader as well). It will help in honing your own editorial/analytical lens.
Please note that although your early proposal document is due on 9/24, we will not be meeting in person that evening. Your next step is take the time to read and offer your feedback to your colleagues in the collaborative feedback document. This work will be due for the night of 10/1. We will be meeting on the evening of 10/1. On 10/1 we will discuss the feedback offered each thesis writer, and then we will cover “next steps” as we consider the literature review portion of your research.
Deadlines for now:
If you haven’t already, please send me your thesis blog url and be sure to post about how it is going thus far. I will be syndicating your blogs in to this site shortly.
9/24 – Early proposal document sent to Dr. Zamora and fellow MA thesis colleagues. No meeting.
10/1 – Feedback on each early MA thesis proposal in the shared collaborative document (to be sent to all of you by Dr. Zamora on 9/25). Meeting to discuss feedback and literature review phase.
As always, if you need to connect to discuss your unfolding work, please contact me so we can keep you on track.
You have now officially embarked on the journey of your MA Thesis. Last week we mapped out a tentative schedule for the semester together which is reflected in the course schedule. Please refer to this schedule (as an in-built measure of accountability) as you progress through your project.
-Please forward me your Thesis In-Process Blog address so that I may syndicate it here. Also, please remember to blog regularly about your thesis process. Think of each blog post as a reflection piece or snapshot of your experience with this project as it unfolds. I will look for your first post by next week.
-Tonight we will discuss the foundations of your early proposal ideas and share thoughts about getting the process started. We will be referring to the early MA thesis proposal guidelines document which is also available under the “Course Materials and Assignments” section of this website. Remember that each of you will be developing an early thesis proposal document to be shared and presented on 9/24.
I look forward to discussing your initial ideas tonight!
Writing a thesis is not easy. There are many twists and turns in the road, roadblocks do come up, and there are unforeseen landscapes that cannot be imagined until you cover ground and truly travel. That said, the more time you have on the road, the more of chance you will have to discover. I have no doubt that each of you will eventually “arrive” at the place of your own design. A place of insight and learning. A place where perhaps the outcomes were not the ones you originally anticipated.
I look forward to working with each of you as you set a course and cover some significant ground on your own terms as you develop your culminating project for your Masters of Arts degree. I am here to provide feedback, resources, and insight. Sometimes you get further along the road due to insightful feedback during a conversation, and sometimes you surge forth due to a long session of engaged reading & research. And sometimes inspiration hits at the most unlikely times ;). I hope you will experience all of this.
The MA in Writing Studies @KeanUniversity is inherently a “customizable” degree, and I encourage each of you to follow a course for which you feel a spark of commitment and passion. I also encourage you to take risks in pursing forms of learning that matter to you personally. In my own experience, this is the place from which meaningful transformation is born. And if you are going to work hard at something, why not make it both meaningful and transformative on your own terms?
The site will serve to organize some shared resources for supporting your writing process while connecting our learning. It is also a showcase of your work this year (in progress).