(nearly) 3 months in… a short reflection

I feel like I’ve been a PhD student forever, and at the same time I know I have barely started.

The pile of reading is certainly not getting any smaller; I have to remind myself daily that it won’t for some time – and that is fine. That is the point. I have 10 years of Learning Analytic (LA) literature to catch up on, and a lifetime of learning theory work to assimilate.

On 14 May 2022 I must submit a 10,000 word report which includes a summary of my literature review as well as a plan for years 2 and 3. That deadline is going to look an awful lot closer after Christmas, so in the last couple of weeks I have become stricter on defining the work that is relevant to mine, and not just reading the literature I am interested in (all of it). I’ve found a system of sorts for reading and note taking, including the creation of an excel (sorry, I’ve spent 20 years with accountants) form to clarify my thoughts and analysis after reading each piece of literature. This is something I wish I’d done from the beginning, but of course I needed that exploratory reading to identify what was going to be important for me.

The OU research training is ongoing, I am able to do this in person on campus which makes a sociable change from the quiet reading days. Just like the reading, I’m making small steps up a sizable mountain, but I will get there.

And on the work front, in mid December I posted this on the Training-by-Eos website.

Training-by-Eos was set up by ex-ICAEW Case Study Senior Examiner Neil Russell and former ICAEW Deputy Assessment Manager Sarah Alcock in 2010.

For over 10 years they provided high quality Case Study exam tuition, both in the classroom and online. Training-by-Eos worked with over 5,000 students across 42 countries and achieved pass rates that were consistently and significantly higher than the ICAEW equivalent.

2022 and beyond
From December 2021, Training-by-Eos will no longer operate as a Case Study tuition provider.

Neil, Sarah and the rest of the Training-by-Eos team would like to thank every one of their alumni, markers, exam writers and tuition partners who made running Training-by-Eos such an enjoyable experience for so long.

As sad as it is to let go, I am incredibly proud of all that we did with Training-by-Eos, and thankful that it got me to where I am today. The reaction of alumni and partners to the news has been truly heart-warming, both on LinkedIn and in private messages / emails.

I have been in talks with another tuition company, and am confident that I will be able to complete the practical side of my PhD work with them. That relationship would not exist without the goodwill from the last ten years.

After a year of uncertainty, I am looking forward to shutting the laptop for 12 days over the Christmas break. It was only January 2021 that I dared to write a PhD proposal, June that I made the huge decision to self-fund my full time place, and October that I started work – the same day my business closed suddenly. Like everyone, I need – and most importantly, will allow myself – to rest, to reconnect with my family, and relax so that I’m ready for all that 2022 will bring.

Published by sarahjalcock

PhD researcher at the Open University with a focus on Learning Analytics, Learning Analytics Dashboards, feedback and Self Regulated Learning. Follow me on Twitter @SarahAlcock19. Author text is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

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