Balancing Teaching and Dissertation Writing

DeadlineEarly last week I was successfully following my work schedule, which includes re-shooting about 30 videos for the online course I’ll teach in fall, revising my dissertation introduction chapter, and writing the first draft of the lit review chapter.

Then I received a phone call that changed my work schedule.

A week earlier I had applied to teach another online course. My application was successful and I now have 27 more videos to shoot.

I knew the course needed a knowledge update when I applied to teach it, but I also thought I could simply update the scripts from the previous iteration. I’m finding that updating scripts is just as time consuming as crating entirely new scripts.

And with new scripts comes new visuals, which I need to source as I create the slide deck.

From previous experience I know that it takes me approximately one hour to create one minute of video. This includes scripting, sourcing visuals, creating the slide deck, shooting, and editing. I’ve found it quicker to simultaneously write the script, source the visuals, and create slide deck. Shooting and editing are done consecutively.

I’ve almost completed shooting the videos for the first course, with seven videos remaining. Two are needed for week 5, two needed for week 7, one for week 11, and the final two for week 12. Because they are spread out and not needed until October, I’ve put them on the backburner and am now concentrating on the new course.

Over the weekend I updated the syllabus and completed the first video. I also began working on the second video. Because I need to understand the layout of the course and how it works, I’m shooting the first two videos for week one, and then the first video for each of the subsequent weeks. Theoretically, that should take 13 days to complete, but I always expect to have a few videos that take longer to produce.

Once those are complete I will review/revise the assignments, set up the documents needed for each week’s module, and then begin shooting the remainder of the videos. I’m not confident that I’ll have enough time to re-shoot all the videos, but I will have time to provide the students with updated readings and links.

With my shooting schedule taking up at least six hours a day, seven days a week, I’m finding it difficult to set aside time to work on my dissertation. I keep reminding myself that a well-organized academic has to teach courses and conduct research, so this is not much different. To maintain my writing momentum, I’ll change my schedule so that I’ll write for an hour each morning. I must constantly remind myself that my current goal is to complete my PhD, and not to become a career sessional instructor.

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