In autumn 2005, I moved from the masters programme on to the PhD programme at The Open University.
I also took up blogging. This was partly in response to the university prompting me to start a research journal, and partly because Gill and Anesa, with whom I shared an office, were already blogging.
Soon after that, Anesa, Gill and I started researching our blogging practice. We analysed our individual blogs but also, for a year, ran a joint blog at the university conclave.open.ac.uk/iet-students (now deleted). We even had a mirror blog for a while, in which we used tags and categories to analyse our blog posts.
My blog tracked the process of my research, and the constantly evolving nature of my research questions, which changed so often they had to be allocated their own category. Here’s their first(ish) iteration:
OK, here is the first ever formulation of my PhD research question (after I ditched the original idea about international communities in primary schools).
How do people successfully become members of an online learning community?
And the sub-quesion: ‘What problems and limitations stand in the way of successful membership?
Dave Wield suggested formulating the question in different ways, so here goes:
Why… do people have problems when forming online learning communities?
Where… are the most successful online learning communites found?
When… does a successful online learning community form?
How… do people become successful members of online learning communities?
What if… I had to design an ideal online learning community?