Category Archives: study

Well this is exciting

I’ve been busy and quiet (well, not blogging – my Twitter feed is as full as ever) working on my PhD over the past six months or so. My faculty has a requirement that all PhD students complete two coursework subjects, so I spent my first semester getting through those, getting to know the University and my department, applying for Ethics (OK, getting my study design approved by the faculty’s Ethics review committee) and reading, reading, reading.

So far, time management has probably been my biggest challenge – I am a full time student, and I’m working a handful of hours a week at my old job, so technically I’m doing about 45 or 46 hours a week. I haven’t officially worked full time since before the Bigster was born. Fortunately, the stage I am at means that I can sit on the sofa reading articles, keeping Fraser company while he watches TV. Occasionally, he pauses and rewinds the program if he thinks there is something that will interest me – yes folks, I have outsourced my leisure time!

The reading reading reading and the getting to know people and things continues, but the Ethics application was approved and so I am gearing up to do my first study. (I’m looking for participants – there’s details on the page). Or see my call for participants on Boardgamegeek.

I’m also working on a conference paper submission and have some tentative plans about which conferences I want to target this year and what else I want to do while I am there. If I stretch, I can call that my own personal “publishing strategy”.

And I’ve already discovered that what I THOUGHT I wanted to research isn’t QUITE what I wanted to research. Stay tuned for more of those decisions.

It’s a brave new world, but I’m enjoying it – and when I sit at my desk and play the Puerto Rico Evolver or curl up on the sofa to read about games, I am confident that I’ve done the right thing in leaping into this research program.

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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in games, study



Back to study

It’s week 1 of Semester 1, and I’m stupidly attempting not one but TWO subjects in each semester this year. The Grand Plan,  as it stands for now, is to finish my Grad Dip this year and then decide what to do about further study or not, etc etc. A lot may depend on what happens at work, too, as Victoria has now apparently gone into recession and my bank account knows it.

What I love about studying this course is that it puts a conceptual framework around stuff that I already know and do. Which is not to say that I’m not learning new knowledge and skills, because I am (omg academic writing I had almost forgotten you), but that it has meaning and context for me.

OK, what I really love about this course is that I can write about games in NEARLY EVERY SUBJECT. OMG.

Especially this semester’s subjects, which are “Internet Collaboration and Organisation” and “Internet Communities and Social Networks”. SO MUCH LOVE.


Posted by on March 8, 2013 in study


Packing time again

With school holidays looming, we’re headed off once more. The cat-sitter (and house-sitter) is booked, the rooms have been paid for. All that is left is to finish work, clean the car and pack. Oh, and write a 1500 word essay.

I have blogged before about trying to pack for game conventions. It’s fair to say, though, that that is the easiest of these tasks. Because when it comes down to it, we throw lots of clothes into a bag and then put games into the car until no more fit. And then trade them out until we have a decent set.

But to do that requires us to pack the car. And the car is still full of stuff I bought at IKEA a couple of months back, when I was going to clean out the Bigster’s bedroom. I got 60% of the work done, then stopped, and now it is around 20% more messy than it was, with 100% more floorspace covered. And I don’t want to move the new stuff in while the floor is still kinda incognito. So that’s a challenge, especially as the Bigster’s response to anyone going into her room while she is there is to go kind of Chuck Norris on them … and she’s there pretty close to 24/7 at the moment.

No-one cleans Chuck Norris's room


And before that can be done, there are several days’ worth of work to do (because going away just brings all of that week’s deadlines forward by a week) as well as a 1500 word essay on internet censorship to be written.

And I don’t think the meme generator can do either of those things for me, more’s the pity.

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in decluttering, games, study, to-do, travel


For those who are interested in my course

I have just published my final assessment piece for this semester on YouTube.

It is a video called Playing with Absent Friends, about the history of gaming with known people in another location – and how that has been affected by digitisation and convergence.

I suspect that some of you will find it interesting, although I of course see only the things I wish I could have done better – it’s the first time I have tried to produce a video and if I were to do it again I would do a LOT of learning.

See for the embedded video or watch it directly at YouTube.

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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in games, study


Convergence in action

Writing Slashing and burning Editing my essay on convergence – or the way that our interests and hobbies flow across different types of media and formats – and I woke up to a great example.

This morning, a friend (who I know through a website about boardgames and through his podcast about boardgames) posted a Facebook post about a DVD about a boardgame. Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story is an interesting (albeit at times over-long) documentary about the Monopoly (US) National championships and World championships. Actually, it’s more about the players, but that’s where the interest lies. Fraser and I watched it late last year.

Then one of the guys who is featured on the documentary replied to the Facebook post to promote his new book about Monopoly strategy. (Apparently, it features “secret game strategies and tactics previously known and practiced by only a handful of top competitive Monopoly tournament players and coaches“).

Whilst I am sceptical about how interesting the book would be to me personally, you have to love someone who bills himself as “the noted attorney, author, professional Monopoly player and movie star.” – I will have to invent my own awesome tagline, I think. And maybe print it on business cards which I could give to unsuspecting people.

ANYWAY. I digress, as usual. In this most excellent example, we have boardgames, a podcast, a documentary, a DVD (with extras), books and discussion. Of the docco, the DVD and the books. And ecommerce. And a quote from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which you may or may not have noticed me subtly sneak in there.

Shame my essay is still 700 words over the limit, really. I’m guessing you can see why.

Meanwhile, two family members have already said, “Oh, you should quote ME.” – because (WHO KNEW?) it turns out that academic writing is all about quoting the people with whom you share a bathroom. I nearly quoted my dad, because that would actually have been RELEVANT. My kid, not so much. (Although she is in my good books because she said Wow mum, your essay is really good, and then quoted some of it back to me. Wish it was being marked by a 13 yr old game fan!)

Posted by on July 6, 2012 in games, study


Not blogging, WRITING

I have not been blogging much this week, because I have been focusing all of my creative efforts on my essay.

OK, I lie. I have been juggling school holidays and parent stuff and work stuff AND my essay.

The essay is amusing me a lot. I do not, however, think that that is the primary purpose of an essay, or that my tutor would think that the essay as it currently stands is acceptable.

This is mostly because of that 1500 word thing. Because I think I probably TWEET about 1500 words in a week. Or possibly in a day, when I am writing an essay and being distracted by the AWESOME THINGS I COULD PUT INTO IT.

Things like:

  • a picture of me with Aldie and Reiner.
  • stuff about pervasive games
  • stuff about different content types on BGG
  • an analysis of why session reports, reviews and geeklists are really kinda sorta fanfiction
  • a study of the metagame in online Werewolf and how it transcends the individual games
  • that video of Otto doing the Order Up dance in Essen (actually I think this was lost)
  • stuff about how gamers are fans and analysis of the Superfan concept. I want to cast Derk as Harry Knowles in a movie.
  • a picture of a cat in a box.

Sadly, I suspect I am missing the point.

More than sadly, I think I have now written WELL OVER 1500 words ABOUT the essay. Which, for those who are counting, is currently sitting at around 3700 words, with more to add.

But lots of you have offered to proofread. So when I finish it, I might post some of the lost parts here. Because there is an audience for everything, and you guys are it.


Posted by on July 3, 2012 in be happy, games, not your earth logic, study


Essays and Telly and Books and Wha!

Time has crept on, and The First Essay In Twenty Years is due next week.

In this Venn diagram, there is only a very teeny tiny intersection between Things That We Study In This Unit and Things That I Want To Write An Essay About. And that very small area is shaded red and labelled BAZINGA!

There really is not a huge overlap.

And I was thinking about this on Sunday night, and about what I want to write, and how it’s structured into an Introduction and then there are sort of three main areas to focus on (but the line between two of them is a wee bit woolly, and there is a maybe fourth area as well), which are like Parts A, B and C, and there’s detail in each of those parts, and then there are some general and some more specific conclusions, and a glossary, and some sidebars and OMG I could put in some photos and diagrams and screenshots that really underline the commentary that I want to make. And there is some stuff that other people with all their expertise etc simply may not know, which should be shared.

And then I looked at the word limit for the Essay. Which is 1500 words.

And at the post I made in the unit’s forum. Which is over 1400 words. And does not even BEGIN to address all that fascinating stuff.

And I realised that the thing I want to write is not called an Essay, it is called a Book. Or possibly a Thesis.

Also that I really need to edit forum posts. Brutally.

Because there is WAY TOO MUCH to say about games and 1500 words just doesn’t even come close. I think I might have to write my essay about Telly instead. At least there I have a hope of editing myself.


Posted by on June 26, 2012 in grand plans, not your earth logic, study


Reading about Raiders. It’s study!

So, I’m doing this course.

And I am a little bit behind (what with all the doctors appointments and Bordercon), so I am finishing off last week’s reading.

Which is about the kids that made the shot-for-shot Raiders of the Lost Ark movie all those years ago.

Fraser and I saw it a few years ago, and it was wonderful to watch.

And today, I was sitting at the hospital while Bigster’s tests were done, reading this article and thinking wow. Because I would read that article for fun.

And so will the rest of the family.

And next week, we study Games.


Posted by on June 20, 2012 in be happy, movies, study


Feeling old

I have been a student (at a university, as opposed to a school or language class or whatever) three times in my life.

First, when I did my undergraduate degree (and started a Masters which I failed to complete).

Second, when I did a Graduate Certificate in Software Development when the Bigster was 3. I got 6 of the 8 subjects for the Grad Dip finished but then I got pregnant with Otto and I was way too sick to contemplate study.

And now, when I am starting my journey towards a Masters in Internet Studies. (Or just doing a subject to see how I like it. No pressure or anything.)

And I’m having a “how times have changed” moment.

When I were a lass B.O. (Before Otto) Right now, this week
Education was free. At least when I was in first year. You paid up-front for each subject. You pay up-front for each subject but the government lends you the money to do it.
Staff could apply for email accounts, if they could demonstrate cause. Students had email accounts too, based on their student number. Students get a firstname.lastname email address automatically.
If you missed a lecture, you borrowed someone else’s notes. If you missed a lecture, you borrowed someone else’s notes. What is this “miss a lecture” of which you speak? Lectures are recorded – you watch them when you like. Actually, lectures WERE recorded – this class is taught from February’s recordings.
Classes (mine, anyway) were during the day. You went to them on campus. Classes (mine, anyway) were during the evening, 5-9pm. You went to them on campus. What is this “class” of which you speak? Discussion takes place in the online forums. Oh, and in the Learning Management System.
Mature Age students (anyone over 25) were horrible! I mean, they were very nice – but they always did all the reading. And everyone else’s reading, too. I was a Mature Age Student. And yeah. Always did the reading. And participated in dicussions. OMG! I would have hated me! I make no commitments here
You could usually find your friends in the Grill Room in the union building You could occasionally find your friends in the online discussion forums that no-one really used. But never on campus, except when there were classes. Campus is interstate. I may never go there. But there’s a Twitter hashtag for the course, and a Facebook group to join.
I could knock up an essay in an hour or three. We were doing programming. Essays? What were they? 001011100 I can whip up an x-page strategy document for you if you like? But I am a wee bit anxious about the 1500 word essay requirement.
“Slides” were, well, slides. If you were lucky, there was an overhead projector. “Slides” were powerpoint presentations. If you were lucky, you got a lecturer who didn’t just read them out to you for 2 hours. Powerpoint again, I think. Now with added YouTube!
Most assignments were hand-written. I had my very own computer and a dot-matrix printer. And access to a laser printer because I was staff. I got bonus marks on one assignment because I used Helvetica instead of Times Roman. True story. I still have a soft spot for Helvetica (only back then, we just called it Swiss). They were, of course, submitted in hard copy. Most assignments were submitted online. Assignments don’t just have a due date, they have a due time as well. (And presumably a timezone of their very own). They are submitted online, of course. And some of them get uploaded to YouTube.
At the start of the semester, lecturers told you where their office was. At the start of the semester, lecturers told you their email address. At the start of the semester, staff tell you their Twitter username. And their phone number. And their email address. And other stuff about their lives.
I did most of my assignments at the last minute, in the middle of the night. I did most of my assignments in plenty of time. Except the ones I did at the last minute, in the middle of the night. Middle of the night? Most productive time of the day, I say! And with the Uni in another timezone, it’s really 2 hours earlier.
I studied German Sociolinguistics. You could study computer programming as part of a science degree. I studied Software Development. You could study XML and Javascript and HTML as part of a parallel Internet Development course. I am studying Internet Studies. Of which there are undergraduate and postgraduate courses. And Departments.

TWENTY YEARS since I finished that first period of study. That feels like a lot of change in a little time – some clearly technology-driven, some a change in the style of the interactions. Which may be technology-influenced, especially in a course that embraces social media, but isn’t just about computing power and Internets and cables and stuff.

Sure, I knew this intellectually. Gosh Golly Goodness, I would mutter to myself, those young varmints are using The Twitter to talk about their schooling, as I rocked in a swing chair on my porch and spat tobacco. (*Note: Like so much I write, this may not be 100% true).

But it’s different now that I am doing it.


Posted by on May 29, 2012 in study


Back to the future?

OMG! As of tomorrow, I am a STUDENT again!

Which is mostly exciting and slightly a little bit terrifying.

I hear there will be chocolate, though.

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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in study