July 2010 Archives

Hmm... three posts in three days. What's going on here?

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I have been doing a ton of paperwork to become both a teacher and a student. This work is still on-going, and today another piece of the puzzle fell into place: my graduate school diploma arrived in the mail from North Carolina.

That's right, both the school I was applying to teach and the school I was applying to study wanted a copy of my college diploma. Needless to say, I did not include my diploma in my packing list when I moved to Thailand. In fact, I am not even sure where it is. It's somewhere in my parent's basement, I am guessing. So I sent off for a new copy more than a month ago and now three weeks after it was shipped and $40 later, it has arrived.

Getting started with the two separate schools has been confusing. I get phone calls from "the university" or Dr. So-and-So asking for some kind of paperwork and I have no idea which school or which professor it is. I also now have 2 new university ID's (one faculty and one student) and 2 new passwords to access the university network and 2 new email addresses (with 2 more passwords).

As far as the emails go, normally I sign up for everything using the "sgtowns" handle. You can find "sgtowns" @gmail @yahoo @hotmail @facebook @twitter, @amazon, etc. Sometimes for work I'll be given a stuart.towns@___ or an stowns@___. But this time I was granted a new one: stuart.gt@___. And every email I get now from my new school is addressed to Mr. Stuart Grant. I keep thinking my mother is calling me...

Oh and the fact that I now have 4 new passwords, reminds me about a new software that I have been using and really love: 1Password. It keeps all of my passwords for all of my logins in one place, and with a combination of DropBox, I can access these passwords any time anywhere. So how many password-protected Internet accounts do I have at the moment? FIFTY-EIGHT. And every password is unique. How the heck was I able to remember 58 passwords before?

And in the spirit of yesterday's video posting, here's a short clip that gave me a chuckle after a long day in the office and a two hour lecture. Enjoy...


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So who knows what might show on this website once I get back in the habit of writing. Some things are just too good not to share, like this funny video of a Japanese kid who lives in Northeastern Thailand and who makes a lot of promises...

Time for another change

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Today marks the beginning of a new life for me. This change has been coming for a while and I have been spending a lot of time to get to this point. And I am not sure where to begin to describe this change, but I will give it a try.

In short, I have jumped back into the academic world with both feet -- the right foot as a teacher and the left foot as a student.

First, the teaching part. About three weeks ago I started teaching again. I am teaching in the Thai program, but my course is in English. This means that the English skills of my students is not great, but they seem to be trying their best, and that's all that matters. Much of my lecture every week is spent explaining English vocabulary, but it is a fun challenge to try to figure out how to explain difficult concepts using as simple language as possible. It has also helped my Thai, as I have been trying to learn business words so that I can communicate with my students when I need to. I never had much reason to learn the Thai word for management, infrastructure, income and expenses, etc.

The second big change (and perhaps the more exciting) is that I have started a PhD program in "e-Learning Methodology" at Assumption University in Bangkok. This is an online program that is only made up of research and a dissertation. So I will be able to work on it at home over the next three years.

For the past few months, I have been drowning in paper work preparing to be a teacher and a student. It is unbelievable how much paper I had to produce: transcripts, diplomas, application forms, two new bank accounts, passport copies, photos, work permit paperwork, etc. I have signed my name hundreds of times over the last few weeks, but it all appears to be done now. Today I officially registered and paid my tuition fee to Assumption, and so now I am officially a student again.

My first task for the PhD is to do as much research on the existing literature in my field, so that I can learn the latest advancements. It has been over 10 years since I have done any academic research, so I have a feeling I have some catching up to do.

Over the next few months, I might try to use this website to talk about the research that I am doing and how it relates to my own dissertation topic. I need to get some practice writing again, especially for an academic audience. This is a big change from what I have written about before, so apologies to those readers who enjoy the travel, culture, and life stories. Then again, I haven't been adding much to this site lately so perhaps I don't have any more readers to disapoint!

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2010 is the previous archive.

September 2010 is the next archive.

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