Wednesday, 2 December 2015

How I lost my heart to Albert
I have been taking Dr Inger Mewburn's MOOC on dealing with the emotions that arise when doing a PhD, called "How to Survive Your PhD" - or #survivephd15 - on the Harvard MOOC platform, edX.

There was an assignment to end the MOOC, a final activity, which asked us to be creative and come up with a way to reuse, recycle or upcycle some #survivephd15 materials.

@debsnet, or the édu flâneuse, came up with a three-blog-post challenge called #HDRblog15, whereby anyone of the 13,500 strong community who had undertaken the MOOC would sign up to her GoogleDocs list and write three blog posts in November reflecting on the learning, the materials or the emotions sparked by #survivephd15.

Thinking this was a GREAT idea, I signed up, along with maybe ten others, who were ahead of me. I read the posts of those who had already posted (only about three at that time).

As people have been posting their links to @debsnet GoogleDocs list, I have been cruising back in to read their posts and reflections. One of the posts contained a reader comment telling about, which is where I am currently writing this post (I can't do the whole mindless ramble thing - read more on that here).

Today I found that there had been a post on @debsnet list that I had missed.

Each week on the #survivephd15 MOOC there was a Periscope broadcast to wind up the topic (that's more or less a smart phone one-way-ish live video beam out to an audience, except the audience can tweet questions back and throw love-hearts at the presenter by tapping the screen). The last topic was love. It had been suggested that we write how thankful we were to things we loved. There was a mention in the last Periscope session about Hanne from Hobart's "Ode to Felt Tip Pens".

Hanne talked about how she loved the colour of her pens, how others laughed at her love of colour and creation, how she hated lending them and how much joy they had given her. I caught up with that post, and left a message for her:

Hi Hanne!
Thanks for your ode - I too will have to apply my gratitude to the thing that I love. I think a post (of my own) is in order for this very topic. I too completed the #survivephd15 MOOC, but I think I only answered posts in the last week, I don't recall creating any. And, although I saw the Periscope mention of your post, I hadn't dropped in to read it. Awesome - thanks for sharing!

When I was doing my under-graduate degree I used four colours of pens - three in kinds of pastelly shades of lime green, pink and turquoise - to create my class notes as mind maps. I get the whole colour-junkie thing. I too was reluctant to lend my spares (yes, I had spares - it would be TERRIBLE to get halfway through a lecture and not be able to embellish in green!).

But then, technology bit me in a big way, and I abandoned my pens for another love...

Hi. My name is Sam, and I love my computer. I have never admitted this to anyone before. I would be TOTALLY lost without my PC (yes, not even a Mac. I know, how sad is that?).

My husband suspects that I love my computer, but I have always distracted him when he has asked me, and not answered him directly.


Then, I thought, there is more. So what follows is the tell-all, low-down.

I have shamelessly anthropomorphised my computers. I have Albert (my main PC, and my true, true love), his slightly idiot cousin, Norbert (my laptop, who while speedy and cute, does not have the depth of character that Albert has) and Herbert (my smartphone, who is really just a bit too simple, but is adorbable, all the same).

Interestingly, over time, Albert has grown, shrunk, had new attachments, got new chips and accessories, but is still, unremittingly, Albert. Sometimes I call him Bert.

He is a boy.

He lives under my desk. I love the sound of his start-up, and do worry if he is not feeling well (actually, I usually call my husband to check on Albert if things aren't right. I worry about his health. Albert's, that is).

Albert does things for me that no-one else can. He creates my posters. He holds in trust all my photos, my music, my letters, my assignments, my marking, my curated articles, books, links, pages and connections.

Albert is awesome, quick, reliable and WONDERFUL.

I would be only a tiny percentage as creative, productive or connected without him. I could not write my blog without him. I would not be writing my 750 words without him.

He is my profession. Thank you Albert.



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