Edited version: see comments below.
I don't set out to be a rebel, honest! Yet all my life I've been branded as one, which leaves me in a semi-permanent state of bemusement. I see rebellion as a deliberate rejection of authority. That's not me - I don't spend enough time thinking about power structures and such like to be a rebel.
Instead, I tend to make choices based on circumstance, only to find out fairly often that my chosen course of action is unacceptable. It's at this point that I push back. Why isn't it acceptable? And don't tell me: "because I say so" or "because this is the way it's always been done". Not good enough. Oddly for someone with traditional values, I don't observe tradition for tradition's sake. As a trite example, I don't do either turkey or Christmas pudding at Christmas - look, if I'm going to spend that long in the kitchen, we're flipping well going to have something that we really like at the end of it! If you can't give me a good reason for doing a thing a certain way, then excuse me while I do it the way that makes sense to me.
I've been accused of intransigence, but I reckon that's the refuge of people who can't come up with a plausible explanation for what they want me to do.
So last night I once again found myself on the wrong side of the fence. It was our first dissertation workshop and (of course) I was flying in the face of convention.
I am planning to do an action research project based on the difference that the use of social media has made to my professional practice as a learner and a learning provider - terribly subjective, I know! I didn't embark on the social media road with a view to writing a dissertation about it, but it has proved such an interesting and topical journey. I thought I could also add some narratives from the members of my various communities (that means you, by the way, so be prepared to be called upon to contribute). I'm struggling to come up with some ideas for the inclusion of at least one quantitative data model that won't completely hijack the dissertation (suggestions welcome).
Anyhoo, I had thought that the dissertation itself should be an example of what it sets out to relate. So I would like to publish it primarily as a wiki, keeping it transparent from the get go and opening it to members of my various online communities to comment on and contribute to. I would like to use links where possible (begrudgingly in addition to Harvard referencing, since this is a stated requirement for all submissions). I would also like to embed some Youtube videos such as this one:
If I had my way, it would be only a wiki, but I have to submit a printed version, too - so then the challenge is whether I completely rewrite the thing so that it works better as a flat document, or submit a printed version of the wiki. I also have to think about the issue of authorship - for a book, it's one thing to have co-authors, but for a dissertation?
Since writing that last sentence, I have had a conversation with my colleague Mark Berthelemy who gently (he doesn't have another mode) reminded me that, if I want this institution to award me a Master's degree, I'm going to have to make sure I submit something that they have the skills to assess, which limits my options severely.
I'm simultaneously grateful and petulant that I have friends like that!