I had been trying to think of a clever title for this post, but failed. 2016 has, to put it generously, been ‘a mixed bag’.
I won’t recap on the all too palpable sense of melancholy about the rise of the far-right and so many deaths of cultural icons. On a personal level, writing up a PhD was likely one of the biggest challenges I will face in my life, combined with my Mum suddenly leaving my Dad (they were approaching their 40th wedding anniversary). This was difficult to deal with and my response was to find refuge in my PhD and focus exclusively on getting it finished on time. It was a bleak few months earlier in the year, for a while I hardly left the house or talked to anyone much, but it worked.
I am still catching up on some of the ‘side project’ requests from last year though as everything else took a lower priority compared to finishing my PhD – apologies to anyone who is expecting something from me. I haven’t forgotten and will catch up again soon.
But – some very good things happened in 2016, too. My personal highlights (in chronological order):
- I was honoured to be invited to Sweden in May to keynote at a conference about MOOCs, organised by Anders Norberg. I gave a seminar about my PhD work at the Department of Applied Educational Science, Umeå University, and presented on ‘Learning in MOOCs and learning about MOOCs: Reflections on investigating completion rates’ at presentation at MOOC: Lokala möjligheter till globalt lärande’ at Campus Skellefteå the following day. I’ve made a transcript of my talk available online here, if you’re interested.
- June included a trip to Swansea to see both the Super Furry Animals and Manic Street Preachers perform at the Liberty Stadium, as part of their ‘Everything Must Go’ anniversary tour. I know it’s not a work thing 🙂
- In July I attended the Summer Doctoral Programme at the Oxford Internet Institute, and I can confirm that it does live up to its awesome reputation. I had a great time and came away with lots of inspiration for ways to build on my PhD or develop new projects, and met a wonderful network of folks. The call for applications for this year is currently open – if anyone has any questions about what it was like or anything about the experience, I’d be happy to help.
- In October, I went to Berlin for the Association of Internet Researchers conference. It was my first trip to Germany and I quickly realised that the few German lessons I’d had at my school were useless! I very much enjoyed the conference, and exploring the city in between (with Berlin-period Bowie on my iPod of course).
- November 4th saw my PhD viva, which I’ve blogged about already. I submitted my corrections for approval just before Christmas – finishing a PhD does take a lot longer than you think – but I am getting very close to being able to say “it’s DR Jordan actually”. 😉
At the start of 2016, I tweeted that my ambitions for the year were to finish my PhD and get a job. It’s still a case of fingers crossed for the latter – but more about that in my next blog post.