Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting to Vienna - the how-to's

I'm sitting at Hancock Airport now, kind of concerned about the low battery level and watching out for a power socket to plug into. BRB... found it.

Flight leaves for Detroit at 12:37pm, then catch another flight to go to Amsterdam, Netherlands, then another to Vienna, Austria. By the time I land, it's Sunday about 3pm in Vienna. They are ahead of us by about 6 hours. So it will be interesting how I will adjust to the time difference.

It's taken a long time to get to where I am. Some folks were wondering how I get to go to Vienna, well, it takes sheer determination and hard work, :-).

Here's how it all started:
1. Join a professional organization.
I'm a member of AACE who is the organizer. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. Annual dues cost $99, I think. This way, I get research journals and cheaper conference registration fees of about $400. As a lifelong learner, practitioner and researcher of instructional design, signing up for professional organization memberships to me is not an option for my studies, it is a requirement.

2. Get familiar with the conference.
I started attending Ed-Media 3 years ago. This enabled me to get a feel of what it's like and one is less intimidated by the thousands of participants from academia gathered there, some very well established researchers and some struggling doctoral students like me, except I work fulltime and don't get to pay student dues for membership. I decided to present a paper this year because my boss mentioned last year he didn't think they could afford to pay for my air ticket. Nevertheless, I went ahead to send in my proposal because doing research and sharing it is part of lifelong learning, and then ...I got accepted. Woohoo! My dear hubby used 50,000 miles and added cash to get me my ticket, regardless if my employer was paying or not, because he was going to send me there. :-)

3. Be prepared to put in extra time.
I wrote a paper based on the project I was coordinating, the survey data I had obtained, and had to ensure I had IRB exemption before I was cleared to present the data in public. These tasks are not part of my job duties, but I enjoyed the challenge and as part of my doctoral studies, the motivation was there.

After some high-level discussion, my boss finally told me the good news that they would pay for the cash balance of my ticket and the other good stuff. I'm staying in a hostel and the cheapest single room hotel I can find. So the overall cost isn't so bad.

So if you set your heart on doing something and have some research or subject related questions you want to explore, go ahead, and do it. Don't think of the obstacles, think of what you want to achieve and how you can contribute to the professional community you are a part of. For me, I have a highly curious mind and a great measure of inquiry in things happening around me *wink*; having these traits help in every way for one to explore, research and put in the hard work required to submit proposals, write papers and present in foreign lands and cities alone!

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