Fees are paid and registration is complete! I’ve been welcomed by my two supervisors, Dr Alejandro Armellini and Dr Palitha Edirisingha. We have my first supervisory meeting set for February 1, and I will attend at least some of the ‘research day’ presentations later in the month. It is great to have met one of the other students in the program on Twitter, and we have have had a chance to chat. During my visit in October, I met my supervisors, researchers, one student, and the now departed (for Australia) department head, Gilly Salmon.

I can’t help but think that some entering a distance doctoral program may be apprehensive about doing it that way. Certainly, at the undergraduate and graduate levels the concerns are common. However, I consider this to be a way of life. My bachelor degree was very much self-study with the benefit of a telephone tutor, and my master’s was learning about distance education while taking it at a distance. Online conferencing had evolved for that program. Even looking back to when I obtained my first pilot licence in 1977 (I’m no longer licensed), the ground school was through filmstrips, audio cassettes, and texts. Yes, I did have an instructor for the flight training, and he was a very helpful tutor for the theory.

Skype and/or telephone will make communication easy, in addition to email and anything else we may use. For now, the work begins with me developing a draft research plan. I’ve ‘Googled’ for format ideas as well as asking for input on Twitter in our #phdchat group. In addition to other quick responses, it was pleasant to receive a response from someone else local, not a member of the group, whose skills and knowledge I respect.

One thing on my mind is how much to blog about the journey and how much to keep to my personal notes. My comfort level will develop, and you will see the results. In the meantime, as I get started, I will heed the advice to have lots of coffee and chocolate on hand!