morsla: (mantis04)
It sometimes feels like all of the last week has been eaten up by computer-related issues. My Macbook finally arrived, and has been set up for the RMIT and home wireless networks. That last one took a while, requiring half an hour on the phone to Belkin in order to successfully diagnose problems with the new wireless modem router... but now I can use a computer out where it's warm, instead of freezing in the study.

Using the same computer at home, work, and those lost hours betwixt the two has been great. I no longer need to set up a desktop every time I get to work, so I can actually work instead. Given how much work needs doing at the moment, that's a Good Thing.

I still haven't printed anything for my project (partly aided in this by RMIT, where I haven't set up have printer access yet). If I need to refer to emails during a meeting, Gmail works fine on my iPod. When I need to keep copies of websites for research, I've been printing them to PDF. A lot of the interesting stuff on web2.0 tools for small business promotion tends to appear in blogs, so I'm building up a bit of a collection.

I've also resurrected an old(ish) livejournal to post PhD-related stuff in: [ profile] lineofthought. The next bit of the project will involve interviewing some small business managers/owners about how they use the internet - particularly in regards to marketing and promotion. If you run a small business, or know someone who does, let me know... we're looking to do about 20 interviews over the next month.
morsla: (lookin)
I'm playing around with different ways of managing references at the moment.

Today's experiment is CiteULike. I'm sure plenty of you have been using it for years, but I hadn't really looked into it before. It's a social bookmarking site, broadly similar to but with an academic focus. The usual features (tagging articles, seeing who else is reading them, following up on what other people are reading) are all present.

It has a few nifty features. You can rate papers in order of reading priority (ranging from "Top Priority!" to "I've already read it!"), letting it function as a to-do list (sort by tag, and then by unread articles in order of importance). You can also store PDF copies of journal articles on the site, which helps if you're working from several computers like I am.

The Neighbours feature looks like it will be handy for tracking down other people with similar research interests...

It's currently being a bit buggy on this computer (profile and library haven't updated after I posted the first article, and I can't manage to stay logged out - any link to my profile automatically logs me back in to the old, cached page). I'll try it when I get home, to see whether I can find out what's causing the problems.

I'm working from RMIT today, borrowing someone else's password to log in to "my" computer. Still not enrolled, though letters of offer (for other students) have been sighted in the past week. If I'm still not in the system by next Tuesday, I'll have missed the census date to enrol in my coursework...
morsla: (lookin)
I just got a PhD scholarship offer! Actual paperwork will show up at a later date, but the electronic version is still reason enough to celebrate :)

Now I can start making some more solid plans about what I'll be doing next year. Hell, with a three year contract this is more job security than I've ever had...
morsla: (Default)
Today I recieved a flyer and application form for the Smart Services CRC PhD scholarships.

The two documents do part of their job well: saying "so, how sure are you that this is a good idea?" In terms of project or PhD information, they aren't so great. The CRC is quite new, broad in focus, and all the project information is much like you can see on the website above: nebulous statements about eleven research areas. All of them sound fascinating, but there's precious little information on exactly what is being done, and which locations (VIC, NSW, QLD) are doing each part.

Given the nature of the research, it seems only fair to look for some other ideas and perspectives via this journal... I'm particularly interested in hearing from those of you who are doing, have done, or have lived with people doing PhDs, but any and all feedback is welcomed.

Edit: to clarify, I have had a chat with two potential supervisors already. I'm mainly trying to work out exactly what it is that I want to do, and whether a PhD is the best way of doing it.

What do I want to do?
Narrowing things down from "everything at once," I'm looking a buying and selling online - from a small business perspective. I want to look at how businesses are using the internet to interact with customers and suppliers, and how their customers are using it to find and purchase things. I'm particularly interested in how niche-market operators can access national or international markets, to create businesses that could not sustainably exist on a local level.

Application criteria

Lets look at my doubts first. I don't have an H1 honours degree - I missed out by one mark. That's the first criteria in the application form. Also, my honours degree isn't directly related to the PhD.

On the plus side, I have a broad background that should help in a multidisciplinary area of study. I have a BSc (Chemistry and Geology, Geochemistry honours), and a Grad Dip in Professional Communications. I also have an unfinished BA, including a full major in History and Philosophy of Science, and a scattering of Media and Communication subjects. I'm good at observing what people do, and fiinding out how and why they do it. I'm comfortable working in highly technical environments and translating jargon and concepts into plain english.

I run a small online business, and know many others in the first few years of establishing their own. The promotion of niche-market small businesses, the use of online banking and other payment methods, and the use of forums and other community tools are all vital to what I do.

Demonstrating knowledge of the current academic literature:
Another stumbling block at present. Beyond reading FirstMonday I haven't really followed the literature so far - the last few years have been entirely focused on actively working on the business from a practical perspective. If anyone can recommend some reading material I'd love to hear it - leave a comment here, or send bookmarks to my account.

As [ profile] aeliel will testify, I have a brain like a sponge, and a tendency to obsessively consume new areas of interest. I can do a lot of reading between now and next year, but I'm unlikely to read as widely as I would like before the application is due.

I'll add more to this post later (must get back to work!) but I'd love to have people question my sanity and point out obvious stumbling blocks I should be aware of... the more questions I have to ask myself, the more likely I am to work out whether this is a good idea or not.
morsla: (Default)
Walking outside during rainstorms. Hot chocolate from Fräus. Sleeping in 'til midday. Nectarine-and-apricot pancakes for breakfast. It's been a pretty good start to the holidays, so far. [ profile] aeliel and I are heading off to Blackwood for a while, and should be back in town some time on Tuesday.

Just checked my results, too. I got most of the final wave of essays in late, unfortunately, so a couple of them have two marks (one for the work, the other with the penalties). If I'd had things in on time, at least one of these would be in the nineties...
Media Design: 79 (D)
Communication Entrepreneur: 87 (HD)
Creative Non-Fiction B: 80 (HD)
Publishing: 88 (HD)

Still, I'm happy with the results. It was a bloody hard slog for a while, but I made it out the other side eventually. Now I have to work out whether I want to attend a graduation ceremony in April (rather expensive...) or take the cheap option of having things mailed out to me.

Going by the uni results (and gleefully mashing together some subject names from the year), my next move should be 'writing for communications media in an entrepreneurial publishing environment'. Sounds like a plan.


Nov. 15th, 2006 03:17 pm
morsla: (troll)
Essay Topic 1:
We are in a unique period of human history, where we are witness almost daily to some new technological innovation or discovery. The last century was about space travel and nuclear energy, but it has been suggested by the experts that the twenty first will see monumental changes with respect to medicine, via genetics and perhaps the emergence of artificial intelligence. Write a speculative account of the likely future of the human-computer interface, with reference perhaps to such things as AI, nanotechnology and virtual reality.

Perhaps it's just because I don't like the vague wording of the essay topic. Perhaps it's because I've read too much gushing techno-optimism telling me why the next new thing will cure all the world's ills. Perhaps I've written too many overly optimistic pieces this year. Or perhaps I'm completely over this final subject, have one essay left to finish, and I enjoy a healthy dose of cynicism from time to time.

"Throughout history, humans have embraced technology as a means to improve their existence. No problem is considered insurmountable; no challenge a barrier to sufficiently advanced development. If we believe all the claims of the technologists, our future will be a utopia unrivalled in human history. Sickness, poverty, environmental degradation and even death itself will be overcome in time.

Not all visions share such fervent optimism. This is an account of one such future..."
morsla: (Dawn)
I took a break from writing today, and decided to play with pictures instead...

It's been months since I last played with my camera. The incentive this time involved a nice day for wanderin' and an assignment that required a picture storyboard. I decided to try it comic-book style, just for something different.

Bigger pictures behind the cut... )
morsla: (lookin)
I've discovered why sleep doesn't seem to offer any real rest, lately. I've started actually writing essays in my sleep.

I spent a good ten minutes or so explaining a how to distribute and market eBooks, to a bunch of people I'd never met before. They threw questions at me that I hadn't considered before, I gave them answers, and backed them up with things I've gathered over the past year of research. I walked away from the conversation feeling pretty pleased that I'd found a new angle on explaining the process.

Then I woke up, wondering why I was still in bed...

Bring on the holidays, so I can stop writing essays and start doing this stuff in the real world. All these theories are fine, but I want to try putting some of them into practice :)
morsla: (Dawn)
Despite a brief public appearance last night, I've returned to uni-imposed exile... at least for another week.

All of the Communication Entrepreneur material is now in, although I'm likely to continue doing the same work for a while yet... as a direct result of researching a "hypothetical" freelance communication business, I've now started my own. If you know anyone who could use a writer, editor or designer, give me a yell :)

I'm now working on two other extended pieces. One is late, but virtually finished. The other is due next week. It's in that all too familiar state of "ten thousand words of references and random thoughts," but it's a subject I'm happy to streamline into a 3,000 word package. It's also a handy bit of practice for any future science writing projects.

Work for Media Design is waiting until last, when everything else is finished. Three assignments, one essay. I'll take a warp-speed look at virtual reality interfaces, graphics in game design and photographic storyboard narratives, and finish it up with two thousand words of dystopian speculative fiction.

After that, my course is finished. I think I'll celebrate by collapsing in a heap, and spending at least 48 hours unconscious. It may be the only way I'll get any rest :)

In November and December I'll be primarily doing design work and sculpting to pay the bills, plus any other jobs that crop up. I'll also figure out how to build two websites - one for the communications gig, and one for my painting. Then January will hopefully be full of hiking, in nice photogenic places that I can write travel articles about...
morsla: (Default)
I think I've read, listened to and watched more online interviews in the past 24 hours that at any time in my life...

I switched back over to working on the feature article, and have been trying to get a sense of what my two subjects are like - from the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean. This would be much easier if I'd picked some local researchers to write about :)

The article's gradually coming together. I ran into a wall of writer's block last week, unable to find a way into the story. Sometimes, the quickest way past a wall involves a bulldozer... so I dumped 15,000 words of research notes into one file and set about rewriting and removing enough material to cull the wordcount by 80%. Overkill, but sometimes nuking the site from orbit is the only way to be sure.

I've shifted focus significantly since I started writing it, as I really wasn't sure where the article would go when I started. I've resurrected four years of History and Philosophy of Science coursework* while doing my research. I've even started to regret never studying politics, as most of the 'technological' debate is really centred on information politics: controlling who can participate in a debate on scientific research. I can keep up with the discussion, but I have a swiss-army-knife approach to virtually everything in the Arts... I studied some flexible subjects, and use them to interpret everything else.

Now I find myself reading about installation artworks and thinking "that's cool! When I grow up I want to do things that empower people, giving them a voice to speak out on environmental issues." I also want to teach myself robotics. I think perhaps I'm getting more impressionable as I get older...

New working title:
Robot Dogs and Cyber-Pigeons
Armed with technology and a social conscience, a new breed of activist is making an impact on the urban environment.

I'm really enjoying the chance to write about subjects that I'm interested in, although it's damn hard staying focused when each story branches into dozens of different tangents. It's also remarkably difficult to write academic papers at the same time as I work on a feature article... old habits die hard, and my working notes are meticulously referenced. Still, it makes for an impressive collection of notes.

In other news, I entered a picture in a photography competition. I'd never really thought of doing it before, but I looked at some of the landscapes that had been entered and thought "those are nice, but they're not quite right." I'd plug the website in a shameless attempt to get votes, but you need to be a Deakin student to take part.

* One day, I hope that UniMelb changes their process for handling "unspent" subject credit. I have 150 points of HPS floating in the electronic ether from my old BA - a graduate diploma and a half, in fact. Problem is, I can't transfer more than 50 points into a diploma-level course... so the credit sits in limbo, until it expires in the system. At least the knowledge content is still getting used...
morsla: (Dawn)
Two more presentations to give next week. I'm not particularly opposed to doing the things, but the class on Monday night happens just as the Communication Entrepreneur dinner is being held up the road... it's the only real chance to catch up with most of that crowd before we all go our separate ways, and I'd really like to get some contact details for people before they all vanish. I just hope that some of them will still be there by 8pm.

I'm hoping to keep the Publishing talk to about 15 minutes, as I can't stand sitting though a series of half-hour talks... The presentation covers 3k words of research paper, and if you can't cover the details in about ten minutes there may be something wrong. I'm talking about the "death of the book" - something that gets brought up every time the next piece of technology hits the market, and still hasn't quite managed to eventuate.

A Flock of Cyborgs is slowly coming together in the background, but has been pushed back by all the other work due this week. Robin's started doing full readings of the workshopped pieces, though, so I'll need to get a move on next week. At 3k each, we rarely get through more than 3-4 in a class... so, in the final week before it's due, I get my last chance to gather feedback about it.

As for paid work, Junior Horizons 9-3 needs a cover pic and an editorial, and then it's all done bar the shouting (well, barring any post-last-minute editorial changes). I've basically re-built the JH template, which should speed up production in the future.

Once I get the next couple of essays written, I really need to get sculpting before the weather makes it impossible. I tend to work with two-part epoxy putties - great for forming details, but the working time is almost nonexistent if the temperature is over 30°C. I have one commission piece to finish by the start of November, and ten pieces to finish by Arcanacon in January.

Painting is even worse, in hot weather - part of the reason why I do my best work after midnight, when the air is cool enough. I've started mixing drying retardant into the water I thin my paints with, but the acrylics still dry in under a minute. Once the last sculpts are finished, I'll be painting 37 figures for Ian... again, needed by Arc. Still, it beats working in a lab hands down :)

I want to try larger-scale relief sculpting, to make medallions and trophy plaques for the Arcanacon tournament. If they work out, I'll cast them up in resin and paint them up as aged bronze. Should be fun, and hopefully it'll give people more incentive to come to the tournament.

I'm also getting itchy fingers whenever I walk past the Riot art store near the station... they have canvas boards on special at the moment. I haven't painted 2D work for at least ten years, but I'd like to try it out again. Maybe after I finish my course...

To liquid born, from patterns formed
the sand descends with blind intent
Where the river takes me
will in time be revealed

Call it destiny, call it fate
Chose my direction: Running forward
Each life to learn anew, whatever may come

- Arena, VNV Nation
morsla: (Default)
The business presentation went fairly well. I hadn't actually practiced the speech (well, I couldn't, as I didn't write one). As a result, I was a bit worried about timing - I had exactly ten minutes to speak, and didn't know how much material I'd prepared. In the end, I finished my summary right on the 9:57 mark... so that worked out fine.

I'm doing another Day Of Research at the moment - following my whims across hundreds of different websites. I have to be a bit more focused this time, and work on the 'visions of the future workplace' paper. True to form, as soon as I restricted myself to one topic, my mind started to wander...

So, I'm filing away paperwork and bills, sorting out my tax, and clearing away the accumulated debris from several weeks of non-stop work. The piles of books and notes are getting tall enough to block out sunlight from the windows... I also have a bundle of letters from the tax office regarding business registration. None of these things result in much research (although I'll recycle the tax/business rego stuff into my essay), but it all needs doing.

Afterwards, I'm heading outside to sit in the park with a notepad and pen. If I stay inside I'll only pine for the outdoors, so I'm taking my work outside with me.

And it rained all night and washed the filth away
Down New York airconditioned drains
The click click clack of the heavy black trains
A million engines in neutral
morsla: (Default)
So, I sat down to find out how about the financial component of this business plan, and seem to have lost about three hours. Suddenly it's almost 9pm, dark outside, and I have a head full of terms like equity, liabilities, profit margins, operating expenses, revenue, liquidity and working capital. One day, maybe we'll streamline the process by slotting tedious information straight into our heads, freeing up more time to spend out in the sun... In the meantime, I ought to write notes on my hands to remind myself to stop and eat.

I went over the marking sheet for my business presentation, and reverse-engineered it to work out what's supposed to go into the talk. Half the marks are on presentation skills, while the rest goes into content and structure. The structure is now nailed down, just needing details for my finances and marketing plans... hence losing track of time while I set up spreadsheets. There's still a lot of guesswork involved (I need 2 years of projected figures), but it's starting to look a lot more tangible.

Yesterday was spent stuffing my brain with research for all of these. Even the most (seemingly) unrelated subjects have unexpected linking points, so I compiled information for four papers at the same time. I tend to save the relevant things after reading them, and now have about 120 pages of text and images - enough to start working with, which is nice. I'm now convinced that it's outright dangerous to try working on a single thing at a time. I get bored, my mind wanders, and I can't find any inspiration to write - something I really can't afford at the moment.

Everything seems to be growing like some kind of fractal. Big, strategic plans have been mapped out, and each branch is having more detail added to it. Whenever I focus on a specific part, I add more detail again. There are fairly simple rules being applied (isolate things that I don't know, find out more on them, add it to the bigger picture, reassess what I don't know) but it seems to build a comprehensive picture over time.

I hated doing my literature survey during the geochemistry honours project. It was painfully dull, overspecialised to a ridiculous degree, and I really didn't like trying to summarise things into a linear paper. Much later, I noticed a co-worker at CSIRO compiling three-dimensional lit surveys, with the ability to zoom in or out while navigating the points. I don't know what software he used, so I'm trying to do the same thing in my head.

It's an interesting thought experiment... I'm finding that I need longer breaks than usual, while I slowly digest things. I tend to walk away from the computer to do something creative - painting is good, as I can do it unconsciously while I keep sorting out whatever I've just read.


Oct. 5th, 2006 10:17 pm
morsla: (Default)
Things are a little... hectic... around here.

Four more weeks to finish off the year's uni work. After that, I can start getting my life back into some semblance of order. The tricky part is getting through that final round of deadlines, though.

Currently working on:

Feature article: A flock of cyborgs. Feature on "guerilla science," inspired by the Pigeonblog project. I want to look at environmental projects that foster a hands-on approach among the public. Science isn't just for scientists, and the environment is not a problem to be left for someone else. Get out there and get involved.

Capability statement, financial plan, portfolio. The "sell yourself" part of Communication Entrepreneur. A useful exercise, as it forces me to think hard about what I'm good at, and what I can offer other people. It's been helpful so far for sorting out priorities, but now I have fill in all the details on my financial plan - including two years of projected income.

Presentation: business plan. Also for Communication Entrepreneur. The presentation is assessed, and I'll hopefully have some handouts (brochure, etc) ready for it. I'm not particularly worried about giving the presentation, just about getting enough material together for it. Fortunately, I have a weekend to handle that.

Research essay: predictions for the communications workplace in 2020. Much less esoteric than the title sounds, this is directly related tot he business plan above. The real emphasis here is keeping it relevant, and keeping a weather eye on the horizon for changes in the way we communicate. Emerging and changing communication technologies are a big focus here, of course.

Research assignment: The future of the book, in the electronic age. For Publishing. I'm looking at trends in file formats and storage media, as well as devices to read the things. Digital ink, eBook readers, anything that makes a file accessible in some portable fashion.

Media Design assignments 3-5. Photographic story boards; graphics use in electronic game design; virtual reality technologies. A random grab-bag of stuff, much like everything else in the subject so far. I'm hoping that they become an interesting diversion, instead of an irritating distraction.

Speculative fiction: future human/computer interactions. For Media Design. Actually an essay, though a strangely worded one asking for a speculative account of possible futures. No plans for where to take this yet. By the time it's due, I will have a brain full of technology and futurist scenarios as a result of everything else on this list, so I'm hoping that inspiration will strike while I'm working on something else.

These are all due in the next four weeks. Well, three weeks for all the non-Media Design work, and an extra week for that.

Meanwhile (back at the ranch) I'm sorting out my 2005/2006 tax, finalising the UniCon budget for 2006, sending invoices all around the world, finding out how to use the ATO digital certificate for Business Activity Statements, finishing Junior Horizons 9-3 for an impending deadline, and working on the memoirs book.

If the last week of toothache is telling me anything, I'll also have to find time to get at least two wisdom teeth out. I'm hoping that I can intimidate them into staying up in my gums by showing them how much work they're interrupting... if that fails, I may still be finishing those final assignments in mid November.

Bring on January! I want to climb mountains, take photos, paint, sculpt, and get away from flickering computer screens. I have a bike that needs riding, and trails that need exploring. I want to find out where next year leads me.
morsla: (lookin)
I've been spectacularly ineffective at getting thing done lately. Two (already late) assignments are eating up my days and nights, and I should also take a draft of the conference report in tomorrow. I seem to spend most of my waking hours at this laptop, and I'm missing a yarra bike ride today while I continue typing.

I did get out for a little while last night, spending a few hours at Golgotha. No idea what the DJs were on last time, but the sets this time were much better. There was a full dancefloor for most of the night, with no floor-killing songs while we were there - as a result, I stayed on the dancefloor 'til we headed home. Saw Fin, Tom, [ profile] kashiichan and co, but sadly didn't find any other familiar faces in the crowd. Still, I desperately needed to get out for a few hours.

I'm almost completely run down at the moment; worn out far beyond my reserves. But, hey, it's not all bad. I bought a copy of Thom Yorke's solo album to cheer me up... nothing like a haunting song about the suicide of a UN weapons inspector to lift the spirits, eh?


Oh well, it was worth a shot. Back to the research essay, then.

I'm coming home
I'm coming home
To make it all right
So dry your eyes

We think the same things at the same time
We just can't do anything about it
morsla: (Default)
Some kids hate eating vegetables. I hated writing.

From my earliest moments in primary school, I avoided writing whenever I could. I'd push my book away, drop my pencils on the floor and make a face when forced to write.

'Just one sentence,' the teachers would say. 'If you don't finish your writing, you won't be allowed to play any games.' Children have looked at plates of overcooked Brussels sprouts with more enthusiasm than I directed at my workbooks.

I still don't know why I found the process so painful. I had no trouble forming the letters, teaching myself cursive in grade one. The shapes came easily enough, and I copied lettering styles from the covers of books. Most of my letters became pictures, quickly growing to fill the blank space on the page. Words were far less interesting than pictures.

It wasn't a matter of learning a vocabulary, either. I read voraciously, hauling dozens of books home after each trip to the library. My head was full of stories, and I filled exercise books with pictures illustrating them. My teachers despaired. 'No more drawing in class!' they demanded, hoping that I would start to write instead. I didn't.

I still have an exercise book from grade three, proudly labelled ‘Writing Journal.’ Despite the optimistic title, the book contains just four words: 'On the holidays, I'.

Whatever happened those holidays, I certainly didn’t feel like writing about it. The rest of the book is blank. Pristine expanses of prime writing real estate, untouched by pen or pencil. I keep the book to remind myself how things change.

As the years passed, I slowly grew out of my loathing. While my peers were learning that broccoli and sprouts were, in fact, edible, I discovered that words weren't always a poor substitute for pictures. In grade five, a substitute teacher coaxed three paragraphs from me. After a unit on fiction in year eight, I turned in sixty pages to a shocked teacher.

Many years and thousands of pages later, I found myself enrolled in a Professional Writing course. Looking back at how much I've changed over the years, I guess I must be getting old…


Aug. 14th, 2006 02:08 pm
morsla: (lookin)
So. 20,000 words split between four subjects. Five weeks in. I think I need some kind of survival plan.

Rather than complaining about the intimidatingly career-driven postgrads who are taking subjects on behalf of their day jobs, I've decided to copy their level of focus. Of course, I don't actually have the support network that would come with a job in the area I'm studying, but there's nothing stopping me from using semester two to do some research that's personally relevant...

Plus, with the close spacing of the assessment deadlines, I like the sound of research that can feed into multiple assignments.

Communications Entrepreneur
A1: Industry research folio. Develop an industry profile for freelance scientific and technical writing.
A2: Research essay. Topics not yet available, but will cover strategic business planning and managing creative & communications work environments.
A3: Portfolio. Business plan summary (see A1), capability statement, client presentation.

A1: Publication proposal, plan and design brief for an Australian popular science magazine, including market research.
A2: Research assignment examining popular nonfiction publishing in the Australian market.

Creative Non-Fiction
A1: Research Essay. Established and emerging markets for popular science.
A2: Major article. Feature (3000 words) - 'A flock of cyborgs: the use of animals as information-gathering machines.'

Media Design
Five assignments, all with a limited range of choice on topic areas. Still virtually no information for the subject, either...

In other news, I finished an entry for the next round of Tom's Reaper Miniatures painting contest. If any of you happen to pass through Mind Games in the next week or two, it's the vignette with a pair of grave robbers. I might enter the other categories, if I can get another entry or two painted before close of busines tomorrow - I won't be home from uni 'til 9:30pm, though, so I'm not counting on it.
morsla: (Default)
Three weeks in, I'm starting to notice some recurring observations about the semester.

Communications Entrepreneur: the subject's a mix of everything from psychology (learning patterns, body language, negotiating techniques) to business planning (legal and financial things to know, marketing, maximising your chance of finding work). Virtually all of it is completely new to me, and I think it will end up being one of the most valuable subjects I've ever taken. I think it's likely to be difficult, but rewarding enough to make it worthwhile. I also have a lot of respect for the subject coordinator.

Publishing: I fear that this will be something to glean insight from where I can, and suffer through where I can't. The classes seem entirely based on what another staff member is doing with her off-campus students, and I'm struggling to find a reason why I shouldn't transfer to the online study stream. There's a heavy focus on non-fiction book publishing in the Australian market, and very little of anything else - say, global "niche" markets enabled by internet communities, magazine publishing, or any of the other areas I'm interested in... a few people have voiced concerns that most of the subject matter will be outdated by changing technologies over the next couple of years.

Creative Non-Fiction B: Same lecturer as Publishing. There's a fairly different approach to last semester, as I'll need a single 3,000 word piece instead of several small ones. The rest of the assessment is taken up by an essay comparing and contrasting works by two non-fiction authors. It will force me to become more widely read in the genre, but I haven't written a literature-style essay since 1996. The jury's still out on this one...

Media Design: Online subject. Three weeks in, there's a single powerpoint version of the printed lecture notes (recieved a month ago), a class list, and no other material on the website. The assessment's a grab-bag of essays, powerpoint presentations etc, dealing with everything from colour theory to graphics in arcade and console games. It looks interesting, but there's not much to make a judgement on yet. I get the feeling that most people will do the work in two last-minute dashes, just before the five assessment pieces are due.

I also caught up with Suz ([ profile] suzmic, I presume) and Jonathon over lunch yesterday. I think it's been almost three years since I saw her last... I'm glad that I got to see her, though. I've lost contact with many people over the last 5-6 years... there are a few reasons why that's the case, but I'll write more about those some other time.


Jul. 17th, 2006 02:16 pm
morsla: (Default)
I've never really felt compelled to talk about uni results before... especially after the souldraining end to my Honours project.

I just checked my results from last semester, in case I'd failed something and shouldn't actually go to classes this afternoon. The last few assessment pieces were submitted in a fit of "get it over with so I can do something else with my life," and got a fairly demoralising set of comments back about my writing folio. The semester started well, but the tail end of it left me wondering if I'd made a horrible mistake somewhere along the way.

Two Distinctions (Creative Non-Fiction A & Editing), and two High Distinctions (Law and Ethics & Writing for Communication Media). The last one was a 91 :)

Looks like I get to go to today's classes after all...

In other news, I'll hopefully be selling some converted/sculpted models on Ebay in the next few months. I think that my Troll sculpts can fill a niche out there, as the studio models only really have a single pose possible. Five hundred people have looked at the photos I posted at Privateer Press yesterday - a nice surprise to start my afternoon off. Now I just have to find out how to use this Seller's account that I registered for two years ago.


Jul. 4th, 2006 01:47 pm
morsla: (Default)
So, it's time I started thinking about this uni thing. I'm not sure whether I should stay enrolled in four subjects for the coming semester, allowing me to finish my course... or if it would be better in the long run to make some more space in my timetable.

Option A: Four subjects (Publishing, Communications, Media Design and Non-fiction B)
Advantages: I finish the course this year, and can start looking for work with an actual qualification...
Disadvantages: Zero spare time. For most of Semester 1, I was working most nights and weekends, and tai chi, painting, catching up with friends etc all fell by the wayside. Virtually no chance of finding time to get any additional experience before I try the next round of job applications.

Option B: Three subjects (Publishing, Communications, Non-fiction B)
Advantages: I'll have more time available to look for volunteer or paid work, and can make some money from painting during semester.
Disadvantages: Delay finishing by at least six months, when the next Graphics subject is offered. May not actually save much time, as the fourth subject in Semester 1 had most of its workload at the end of the semester.

Option C: Three subjects (Publishing, Communications, Media Design)
Advantages: Clears even more time to do the above, as the Design subject contains five projects to work on at my own pace. Media Design is only available online, so I also save a few hours a week by reducing my travelling time.
Disadvantages: No really dedicated writing class, and I think I need the workshopping time. There are no directly relevant writing classes in Semester 1 next year, so this may delay course completion by a full twelve months unless I pick up a Public Relations class instead.

I'm a fence-sitting mediator at heart, so I'm leaning towards option B. However, there's a chance that I lean that way purely because it looks like the most obvious compromise.

I'm a little worried about what I'll end up doing next year. I've had absolutely no luck with job applications in the last two years, and the only thing that's really changed since the last run of them is a few more subjects from a course I haven't finished yet. I know that I can find something if I have to - hell, I've had enough hospitality work in the past. What I'd like to do is break into an industry that appears more firmly closed every time I look at it.

It's also a little demoralising knowing that the job I left probably paid about $20k more than anything I'm likely to get in the near future. But hey, if I'd been in this for the money, I would have taken a mining job as soon as I finished my Honours thesis.

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