Well, I started a month-long written exam yesterday. I have to write 3 papers answering 3 questions. Basically, 1) list pros and cons of games and games culture, 2) describe what others have said about games and learning so far, and 3) design a study on communication in and around MMOGs.
I think the second question will be the most difficult since it’ll mean I have to refresh my memory with a lot of reading. The first one should be much easier as it’ll be more of a persuasive argument essay. (It’s easier to say something than it is to correctly say what others are saying, I think.) The last one was confusing at first since it sounded like what I did last year with the WoW paper, but I’ll be expanding the research agenda in a few ways, so it is still a good exercise.
After I turn in my essays to my committee (which is made up of 4 profs), I will have an oral defense… probably first thing in the Fall, if not this summer. Then, I will finally be on the last step, writing a dissertation.
All this is complicated by the fact that this year my interests have dramatically shifted to an area I feel ill-prepared to write about just yet. That is, I want to look at how groups of people or individuals in MMOGs or games culture, in general, are being marginalized by a dominant culture (which happens to generally be the same dominant culture in off-screen life).
Before I start writing, I’m brainstorming possible ways to tie the last idea into the essays.
And, of course, I still have other obligations to attend to, including classes (and lots of reading for one of them called Educators as Intellectuals–a book a week) and 3 raid nights a week. 😛