Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Looking Forward 2014...

In my last post I reflected on 2013 (work wise). Now I want to document some thoughts for the new year - 2014.

Photo: Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers by christmasstockimages.com
First of all, we wrote letters to ourselves during the last Springboard Women's development programme. We wrote what we would want to do if we knew we were not going to fail. Our coach promised to post them to us in the new year and I'm so looking forward to receive it. I can't remember what I wrote then but would be great if I had been able to at least partially achieve one.

Travel wise I already have two conferences where my papers are accepted. I look forward to visiting Switzerland in February. Visiting Newcastle will be easier and possibly will be more fun if other members of the research group also decide to attend. We have also booked a seaside holiday in preparation for MOOC's second run in February. I also want to take the twins on a proper long vacation (at least 3 weeks) before they start school in September. Let's see what we will able to do about it.

The MOOC's next run is in February and that will be a busy (I mean a BUSY) period. In our beta run we identified things that we could improve to support learners and from January I will be working on them alongside my other colleagues. No matter what we change it will not be THE perfect course for everyone but we hope we will be able to improve from last time.  I have already started working on a new piece on my leisure and let's see how that will come along.  I already have a paper deadline for February which will mean that I will have to work on this while working on the MOOC. This is where part-time working becomes a challenge. Either you have to select what you can do during office time and say 'no' to others OR try to do everything by putting in extra hours that you do not get paid for. I think I will be/ have been in the second category. I think this is a dilemma faced by workers who can work flexibly because that work-life boundary become blurred.

I'm always looking out for new opportunities and hopefully the new year will bring more of them. My ideal job will need me to have lot more experience. So until then, I will take up whatever opportunity that comes my way. The MOOC facilitation helped me get a flavour of going full-time with my other commitments. It is hard work but I think now I am upto it. Since the twins start school in 2014, I hope I will be able to go full-time. I want to build a portfolio for a professional certification which I have been putting off but I think I will get started on that in the new year. I look forward to new learning opportunities and I will be looking out to see what other staff  development programmes will be on offer by the University.

There are couple of research ideas that I want to pursue and a half written grant application I want to complete and submit. We have a possible collaborative project that I really look forward to. Not to mention looking into the data generated in our MOOC. The School of Systems Engineering has a whole new outlook for its future and I hope I will be able to contribute to that.  I also hope to be involved in student recruitment activities (such as open days) and out reach activities.

I have not being able to continue my Zumba class mainly due to lack of motivation and I'm not sure whether I want to put that to my 'todo' list. As there is no obvious reason (for example to lose weight), it never gets to the top of the list. I would rather include walking to work at least one day a week (because the Whiteknights campus is huge and the scarcity of  parking anyway means that we get healthy amount of exercise even if you travel by car) instead.

Well... I think that will be what I would look to achieve in 2014...

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