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What’s next on Aetherbunny?


Seasonal! Kinda! Also appropriate considering there is a LOT of new stuff! Starting with dusting off the cobwebs on WordPress and getting everything shiny and updated for 2013.

So. Here are my big scary awesome projects for the new year:

  • Big Scary Awesome Research Paper– I’m doing a research project! It’s about online learning and possibly my experiences with ds106! I need to have a proposal drafted in about a week and I don’t even have a proper thesis! This is where the “scary” part comes in! I will be flailing about it on a weekly basis RIGHT HERE!
  • RossRoads 2013: The Tour – My cousin is working on a music and art label based out of DC called Foreign Substances and he’s planning a road trip this year to promote it. I’m going to be helping him manage the content he wants to distribute across various platforms, including (we think) WordPress, Twitter, Tumblr, and Soundcloud. The best part? I have no idea what I’m doing!
  • Lewinsville Presbyterian Church online education – My home church is trying to sort out online Christian ed, and I’m going to lob some ideas at them to make their next class more effective than their first attempt. If they want me to, I might even be able to help them set up and manage the tools they could use to create a compelling online classroom. Exciting!
  • New Twitter Handle – Since my old handle is tied pretty closely with a bunch of personal stuff and I want to start using Twitter as a way to forge professional connections, I’ve got to come up with a new Twitter account and shut down my old one. Suggestions welcome!
  • New theme for – I like this theme, but it’s pretty cramped. I’ll be experimenting with new themes and widgets in my ongoing quest for BLOG PERFECTION.

My issue is, of course, that I always dream WAY way bigger than what I can realistically accomplish. To make all of this come together in a meaningful way, I’m going to need a LOT of help, especially with the research project…

This research project. Oh man. What have I even signed myself up for with this thing? At what point did I get selective amnesia about the fact that I HATE LONG PAPERS, and in fact I rarely succeed in writing them because of that? Did some part of my brain just go, “No no it’s fine, if it’s a REALLY SUPER LONG paper all that fail will just come right back around again and become awesome! LET’S GO FOR 15 PAGES.”

Man. Me and my brain need to have a little talk.

Regardless, I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out what I actually want to write about, mostly because the paper I want to write is the sort of paper you can only write when you’ve been working in ed tech for a couple of years, comparing and contrasting ds106 to the other types of online education currently available, looking at the flaws and advantages of each model and drawing conclusions about how the best of it could be implemented in the future to update and enhance the way we educate.

The issue isn’t my ability to synthesize all that information into a cohesive paper, it’s the dearth of info I currently have, the utterly massive amount of stuff I’d have to trawl through and learn in order to write this thing. Even then, I can’t propose a coherent thesis without doing all that research first, and since I have to turn in said proposal by the end of the first week of classes I seriously doubt I have the time.

So what can I write about? Part of me is so focused on my Big Dream Paper that I’m having trouble coming up with anything else. I’m also not sure what exactly I can write about that would work as a long research paper that I actually have enough general knowledge of to really succeed with.

I guess I could talk about what ds106 does to prepare students for other fields, or why it’s perhaps one of the best general interdisciplinary classes I’ve come across in terms of the way it combines creative writing, computer science, social media and critical thinking skills. But a glowing review does not a research paper make. I could talk about how  the student-driven learning, creativity and tech that ds106 boasts into more classes at UMW, but I feel like that would require an understanding of education as a discipline which, again, I simply don’t have.

I’m genuinely not sure what direction would be best to take, or even which I want to take. I don’t know which line of questioning will keep me motivated enough that when I’m four pages into this thing and starting to feel like it will never end and I am the biggest shmuck on the planet for ever signing myself up for this, I can find a way to keep going.

I think I need to do some hardcore networking, a TON more reading, and a bit of serious outlining before I can answer any of those questions. We’ll see where I go with this, but  hopefully it’s somewhere cool.




  1. Well the networking thing should be easy enough since you’ve got DTLT and the awesome online #ds106 folks to help you out. I get what you mean by needing a lot of prior history and information to form a thesis so my suggestion would be to focus on your role as a student. That’s where you have way more information than any instructor of an online course. You’ve gone through an open online course as a student and bring things to the table that I think you can write about that resonate and inform what the rest of us are doing. All the theoretically knowledge of educational technology is useless if it doesn’t culiminate in a practical and engaging course for you. Assuming you did experience something like that, work backwards from your thesis to find how your experiences do (or don’t) resonate with the large goals of current edtech initiatives and popular thinking. I would love to read something like that.

    • aetherbunny aetherbunny

      This is very true! I guess I even feel underqualified writing as a student because I’ve only gone through ONE online course, though I have dealt with classroom-based courses with a heavy reliance on online components… so there’s that! It’s the stuff about “the large goals of current edtech initiatives and popular thinking” that I’m struggling with; I’m having trouble working out which lines of thought to follow, which threads to pick up. But I’ll get there! That’s part of what the “research” part of this semester is for, and the material you’ve already given me to look into will be incredibly helpful for that.

      I was actually thinking that part of my research, if I choose the whole “let’s write about the student experience!” thing, would be to look into the ways in which current and past ds106 students reflect on their experiences in their blogs and connect what they create to larger concepts or other disciplines. That was one of the coolest and most valuable things about ds106 to me, and I think it might be neat to pull from that and theorize about how other courses could encourage that kind of interdisciplinary thinking.

      You can bet I’ll be bothering the DTLT folks about this whole thing. 🙂 SO SO EXCITED about working with everybody this coming semester.

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