10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . . It’s Coming

April 16, 2008

Within the next 10 days my last class will be over, and I will officially be done with the program. I’m surprised by how excited I am. Although, why this surprises me is mystery. Overall, I somewhat feel as if I am coming out of a two and a half year hibernation – everything seems bright, shiny and new. The fact that spring seems to have arrived is definitely adding my lighthearted and happy mood. Today, the sky was blue, the grass was green and the temperature was quite nice.

While I certainly have done non-school-related things since I started the program back in the fall of 2005, I do feel as if I have put a good portion of my life on hold. My husband has long grown tired of hearing my stock responses to almost every major question – “Let’s wait until I finish school,” “Please, just let me finish school,” “No, I can’t because I have homework that I need to do.” I have lost count of how many things I have put off because of school. Partly, this is because of money. Paying for tuition has had a huge impact on our lives. I actually just finished paying off the credit card bill for this last semester. Yeah, no more tuition!!!!!

So, I’m starting to feel human again. I wasn’t entirely aware of how much of myself I was repressing. But, I’m ready to feel less constrained and less constricted. I’m willing to bet that I will probably have some adjusting to do and will probably feel like I am at loose ends for a while. But, it will be good. I will have my life back – maybe I can get back to gym, maybe I can clean my house, maybe I can detach this laptop from my hip. Wow, it all sounds incredibly wonderful!

Wow! This Might Be Real

April 7, 2008

I am deeply engrossed in writing the first draft of my paper for ILS680-Evaluation & Research. While I don’t necessarily feel terribly good about my project in its entirety, I am starting to believe that I will actually be able to finish sometime this month. Due to the fact that I was recently very sick with the nastiest sore throat/swollen glands ever, I got seriously behind in my project. Fortunately, I have recovered, but have been incredibly worried/nervous/petrified that I would not be able to finish this class – and as such, complete the graduation requirements this semester. But now, I am making progress. I should have an entire first draft ready to post to the course site sometime tomorrow. Once I have done that, I need to work on two critques of classmates’ papers, do extensive rewrites of my own, finish my capstone portfolio and do a self-critique of my own finished paper. All of this needs to be done by April 26th.

Despite this all, tonight I have made enough progress on my paper to actually believe that within a couple of weeks I will be done with school. How exciting is that?? I find it very difficult to believe – especially since I am not going to Connecticut for graduation. I’m pretty sure that finishing won’t seem very real. However, I am looking for to be done – very much so. Anyway, it all seems to be happening. Yeah!

I Have An Excel-Strength Headache

March 26, 2008

I am currently knee deep in data analysis for my research project  – and feel as if I am drowning in a sea of data. With 167 complete responses to my survey and, essentially 16 different points to which I could compare results, I am having a difficult time making sense of it all. I have about 100 different spreadsheets  – many that I have abandoned because something wasn’t quite right. I do feel as if I might be starting to see some patterns, but am still a long way from where I need to be. I’ve never been very good at dealing with statistics and probably won’t be in a hurry to do this type of research again.

Beyond my Excel-strength headache, I’m starting to realize that the end of the semester is approaching. I have HUGE amounts of work left to do for my paper and am starting to slip into full-blown panic mode, the likes of which I haven’t experienced in many, many years. I have to keep reminding myself that students pass this course all of the time and that it is doable. And now, I need to get back to work. It might be a good, long while before I actually see the light of day again.

The Survey – An Update

March 6, 2008

So far, I’ve had about 140 responses to my survey. How cool is that? Honestly, I am so, so surprised – and very pleased – with the response. I was hoping for 50 responses. So, I have to say thanks to all of you who were generous enough with your time to take the survey. I really, really appreciate your help – and your comments. I also want to make sure that I give HUGE thanks to Meredith Farkas for linking (without being asked) to my survey on her blog. I have no doubt that this mention helped to increase the number of respondents.

Now comes the question about how long to make the survey available. I definitely don’t expect that I will receive the roughly 40 responses per day that I got earlier this week. However, I definitely want to leave it up for a couple of weeks at least. I have started to look at the data, but haven’t really analyzed it in any depth yet. I think that I need to get an in depth sense of the results this weekend. Hopefully, this will give me a sense of how much longer I should allow people to take the survey.

Now, I Will Beg You!

March 1, 2008

A big thank you to those of you who helped my complete the pilot of my survey on computer self-efficacy among academic library employees. I had several people review the survey – and so far, 9 people have completed it. I did not get any comments about problems or issues, so I am now ready to move out of pilot mode. So, now I will beg. If you work in an academic library and have some time to spare, please think about taking the my survey.

The main portion of the survey contains questions that are intended to calculate people’s level of computer self-efficacy. There have been several studies which look at worker’s attitudes towards computers and technologies, but none have been done on library workers. In order to limit the scope of the survey, I chose to limit my research to academic library workers. I work in an academic library, so it made the most sense to me to study this group of people. I’m hoping to see if there is a difference in the mean level of self-efficacy dependent on the type of technical support offered to the respondents.

Anyway, I will apologize in advance for the fact that readers will probably be bombarded with my pleas over the next several weeks.

Thank you!

Want To Participate?

February 27, 2008

Do you work in an academic library? Would you be willing to take a look at the survey I am putting together for my research project (for ILS680-Evaluation & Research)? I am piloting my survey about computer self-efficacy levels among academic library employees and am looking for feedback – comments or questions. If you have 15-20 minutes and are willing, please click here to take the survey. There is a comment box at the end of the survey – emails to either macaulayj1@southernct.edu or macaulay.jennifer@gmail.comare welcome, as are comments to this blog post. To anyone willing, thank you very much for your help!

The Trials and Tribulations of ILS680 – Evaluation & Research

February 19, 2008

Today, I received formal IRB approval to start research/data collection for my ILS680 – Evaluation & Research project. This is a huge weight off of my shoulders. Last week, I was scrambling to get my application completed and get all accompanying material to my professor before she was off to give a presentation out of the country. I had forgotten to mail one critical piece of information to the professor and was getting stressed trying to mail/fax/email/upload/etc. the document to her before she was leaving. She ended up doing most of the running around to get the applications submitted – a big plus for students, especially distance students.

So far, this class has periods of intense activity followed by seemingly endless periods of inactivity where one has to wait for the next step. It takes a bit to get used to. But overall, I think the class is going much better than I had anticipated. This, of course, could be because I have a tendency to always fear the worst. But, I feel good about my research project. I’m excited about being able to start my research (although I admit I’m not looking forward to actually writing the paper).

My current working title is “Impact of Technical Support Models on Computer Self-Efficacy in Academic Library Employees.” Now, I can start thinking about the details. I have so much work to do, but I feel confident that I will be able to do it (Okay, maybe I’m trying to convince myself).