Creating a Support System

Create your support teamToday's Episode:

  • My progress
  • Creating a support system
  • Collaboration in e-Learning
  • Review of Skype and The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick

Weekly progress:

Date: Feb. 18 - 24, 2013

Name: Dissertation Writing

Topic: Chapter 1

Milestones: Writing chapter 1

Summary: Worked on collecting the ingredients needed to finish up my Theoretical Framework, Assumptions, Introduction, and Summary.

Risk: Finding all the materials for my theoretical framework may set me back a bit.

Risk Mitigation Strategy: Not to stress out and just keep writing.

Project timeline: On Time

Committee Members: Dr. Walter McCollum & Dr. Anthony Lolas


Creating a support system:

The first form of support, if not most important, you'll need is your family, friends, and co-workers. These are the folks who might not understand why you can't go to the family party, hang out, or have a drink after because you have a deadline. I have also created bonds with family and co-workers that have been on the journey.

The next form of support you'll want to create is with other students in your class or colleagues with a similar understanding of the process you are undertaking. I have the good fortune of having a mentor that believes in peer mentoring and cohort groups, which is the focus of my dissertation research. Peer mentoring and Cohort groups are just another name for students helping students. I also have friends who have gone through the dissertation process that I can brainstorm or seek advice from.

The last form of support is the University itself which can be a great support system because it gives you the tools you need to succeed, like the library where you'll gather your information from and probably spend a lot of time at. My best friends are the librarians who are a well of knowledge that you should tap into when you can. If there is a writing center I recommend getting to use and know these folks because they are there to make sure your work is correct and meets the proper format or style, APA in my case. Finally, the research center which should be a resource when designing and implementing your study.

Collaboration in e-Learning or connecting with your support system:

This is one of the main topics covered in my research because feeling connected to instructors and other students helps achieve the feeling of connectedness and increase success in online learning. E-learning is predominantly asynchronous, which means that communication is not simultaneous, this means that feedback or responses to questions may take a while. I have found that connecting to instructors and other students using collaborative tools like Skype, Free Conference Call, or even Twitter can reduce that response time because those environments are synchronous, well Twitter not so much but if you find a colleague on at the same time, it can be.

Walden University has Live Chat which works like Skype and is synchronous. DeVry, when I went there, had a whiteboard system built into the content management system (CMS) which was like being in a virtual classroom complete with Whiteboard for notes, life text based chat, audio interface, and a raise your hand feature where the instructor can see classmates laterally raise their hand and respond.


Skype is my favorite collaborative tool, primarily, because it's free and I can use it on all my computers, iPad, and iPhone (available for Androids). I like that I can call into Walden's Live Chat, Free Conference Call, and other students on Skype for free. I can also make calls to non-skype numbers or other countries for just pennies, I paid for Skype credits but never used them in the 15 years that I've used it.

The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life): If you want to reach the next level in your life whether it's a new career, relationship, or getting in shape this book is for you. This book is what lead me to doing this podcast and is kind of my bible for getting through my dissertation and graduating in 2013. It has also helped me take stock on what really matters... Me. Chris is a guy like myself, all-be-it a much younger version, who grew up a nerd or geek and learned to take that game winning compulsion and created a great career to become one of my heros. Where was this book and computer games when I was younger. Oh yea, they weren't around when I was a teenager but where when my son was a teenager. Yep, I'm that old. Fortunately, I found refuge in books, helping in the Audio/Visual (AV) department in high school, found the chess club, and read all the time (for fun).

There are free apps that enable screen sharing and whiteboarding which I'll be checking them out in the future.

Skype - Free Internet calls and cheap calls to phones online

Skype App Directory - Desktop & whiteboard sharing - Free Telephone Conference Call Service

Audible Recommendation:

Hardwick, C. (2012). The nerdist way: How to reach the next level (in real life). USA:

Recommended Books for your Scholarly Journey:

Bolker, J. (1998). Writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day: A guide to starting, revising, and finishing your doctoral thesis. USA: New York, NY.

Simon, M. K. (2013). Dissertation and scholarly research: Recipes for success: (2013 Ed.). USA: Dissertation Success, LLC.

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