I feel as giddy as a school girl. Next week, I will be traveling to Vancouver, BC to attend the Brain Development and Learning Conference. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi will be there to present his theories on flow, and I paid an additional amount so that I could have lunch with him.
Considering the fact that I am building my dissertation study around this theory of flow, I am excited to speak to him, gain his insight on my study, and ask him to direct me to his articles on his field studies of his Experience Sampling Method.
Here is a description of my study and my current status:
•My approved topic is “Optimal Learning Experiences in Literacy of Adolescents Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School”.
•I have completed the first five sections of my proposal or Methodology Review as it is called at Capella. The next section deals specifically with measures, field tests, data collection, and analysis. And finally, I need to discuss a critical analysis of my design including IRB concerns.
•Before the last quarter concluded, I was informed that my mentor was resigning and I needed to find a new mentor. I was told only a week before his sudden departure, and I was not given any explanation, not that I deserved one. I was advised by the dissertation support team that while I did have some time to find a new mentor, I needed to start the search immediately and hopefully find a new one before the start of the next quarter. This process was further complicated by the list of mentors being changed on a weekly basis. Needless to say, I finally found my new mentor after multiple rejections. I was initially skeptical. The mentor I had from the beginning of my comprehensive exams was difficult to understand, responded with one word answers and was extremely unhelpful to me. Would I have the same problems with this new mentor? I was pleasantly surprised when she sent me an email after reading my current progress. It was informal and conversational. I was cautiously optimistic that I had finally found the right fit. Since that initial email, we have communicated on a weekly basis, and she has continued to be not only helpful but also extremely easy to work with.
•I have worked out a timeline for the completion of my dissertation, and thanks to the change of mentors and a new found interest in actually graduating, I have found a great degree of motivation.
•Timeline: 1) My deadline for submitting my completed proposal is the end of this month. As I only have two sections to complete, I am confident I will meet this deadline and possibly even be prepared to submit my proposal before this deadline. I have advised my mentor that I wish to discuss my study with Mihalyi Csikszentmihaly before I complete section 6, and she is in agreement. 2) While I wait for approval on my proposal I intend to begin writing my first three chapters. I anticipate my proposal being accepted with a minor need of corrections, so I feel confident that I shouldn’t need to make too many changes once I begin the first three chapters of my dissertation. 3) By August 13, I hope to submit chapter 1; by August 30, I hope to submit chapter 2; and by September 13, I hope to submit chapter 3. This is a very ambitious schedule, and I have allowed for some adjustment to the schedule if needed. 4) By the end of October, I hope to complete all IRB requirements with my school and submit a completed proposal to the Peninsula School District for their permission to conduct my study. I will have some conference calls with my mentor and committee toward the end of my fall quarter, but because everything should be completed minus the actual study and summation of results by the end of December, I feel I have given myself ample room to adjust my deadlines as needed. 5) I will begin my study in mid-January and conclude it by the students’ Christmas break. This is critical. Therefore, if I am not able to meet the deadline for approval of all preliminary work, I will have to wait until January 2012 to begin my study, and I refuse to do so! I have already been trying to complete my dissertation since July 2008!
I know this has been a lengthy blog, but I hope I have accomplished expressing my excitement and my need to meet with Dr. Csikszentmihalyi. I can only hope that he is proud of my intended study and interest in his theories.