I was hoping to post here the dissemintations of an online chat with later PhD cohorts, those that started the PhD programme after me. We are affectionately (OK, more administratively) known as Cohort ‘3’, and Cohorts ‘5’ and ‘6’ are currently at Lancaster for their residential.
Unfortunately, though I was sat in the virtual chat room for an hour, no one else turned up. I’m awaiting responses to email from the organiser to explain what happened, or most likely what didn’t. The only two alternatives that I can think about at the moment offer an interesting insight into a little bit of what my PhD is about.
- There could have been insurmountable technical problems which prevented others gaining access to the chat room. This is possible, though the technology (Big Blue Button) works ‘OK’ in our own institution.
- The previous conference sessions could have over-run. This is highly likely, and a real shame if the opportunity to talk to the later cohorts was missed because of a late speaker. I was asked to be in the room from 4:15: – 4:45, I was actually there from 4:00 until about 5:00, so feel that I gave a reasonable accommodation for the talk.
My PhD is to do with a ‘tool’, and how people use the ‘tool’… at a certain level it doesn’t really matter what the ‘tool’ is – my title could be ‘Developing paper-clip usage within a not-for-profit organisation….’ and whilst it may win marks for originality I don’t think even I could spent two years studying paper-clips. People don’t use the ‘tool’ I’m focusing on for various reasons, some of them may be technical (see 1. above), which can eventually be overcome, but the more interesting reasons that a ‘tool’ isn’t used are the people issues (see 2. above)… lack of time, motivation, understanding of what the ‘tool’ can do for them or other reasons.
So, like today, I’m trying not to get too concerned about those in my study who haven’t used the ‘tool’ as I hoped or expected. We can all learn something from the experience.