My PhD journey

No Comments// Posted in MOOC, PhD, utm by on 08.19.14.


To be or not to be…that’s the question. I made a tough decision after mulling over the options for a while. I took the plunge into the abyss of uncertainties, knowing for sure I would expect years of sleep deprivation, zombified mind and yo-yoing esteem.

Yep. I decided to do PhD. Part time.

Why do I want to do my PhD? Some may want it for the advancement of one’s career and some may want to pursue PhD to refine themselves and contribute to the body of knowledge. Frankly, it has always been my dream to pursue PhD albeit reservation on whether I can ever do it. However, my professors and close friends have been encouraging me to pursue my PhD, reviving my aspiration to do so. I used to think I wasn’t good enough to go all out for the dangling carrot of academia. Then I told myself, what do I have to lose? I braved myself to try and I hope to finish it strong. Due to scholarship bond, I opt to do my PhD on part time basis. To be honest, I used to be skeptical about not doing my postgrad studies, especially PhD full time. How on earth can I ever think about it after listening to the rants and rave from my friends, the PhD hopefuls who did it full time?

It’s more on keeping up with the momentum as I’m psyched into doing research at the moment. I worried that if I take a hiatus from my studies, I may not be able to start again and sustain my research fervour . This is of course a personal perspective and others may think otherwise. Feel free to disagree.

Another tough decision to make is deciding on the area that I’ll focus for my PhD. Should I stick to IT or revert to TESL?Although I had receive a direct offer to do PhD in Information Systems, I was still mulling over my decision. I actually made a SWOT analysis for this, to consider the pros and cons of my decision. I love teaching and I am passionate about technology management for learning. Hence, trying to strike an equilibrium requires a bit of studies on the areas offered in respective disciplines. My final decision was Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT) at UTM, famed for its reputation for producing technocrats specializing in cutting edge innovation & research in the country. Selection is tough and one of the perks is getting to study in Japan.

I count my blessing that finding a Supervisor for my PhD was a breeze. I was thrilled when Prof. Rose Alinda Alias, the Deputy VC for Academic & International, UTM offered to be my SV. Am I really dreaming here?! Others have to scout high and low for a good SV and here, I have a persona de grata wanting me to work under her tutelage. Ya Allah, I feel happy yet worried if I can deliver up to her expectations. She is a well-known expert in Knowledge Management, one of my research interests and having her as my supervisor is the ultimate dream. I’m also blessed to be working with Prof. Naoki Ohshima who is an esteemed scholar in the field of project management and instructional system design in learning. I hope to learn more from both of them and give the best output from my PhD journey.

The current title of my PhD research is “Knowledge Sharing Model of Online Interaction in Massive Open Online Course(MOOC) for Higher Education”. I actually started writing my PhD proposal after my MSc. viva voce. Pheww, it was frantic alright! I barely had any rest and start devouring the references at the library. Since the topic is relatively new in Malaysia, I had to thoroughly read and do research for proposal in order to present something deemed worthy for serious consideration. However, I knew that this is what I need to face by studying part time. I need to plan my work well in order to graduate on time (GOT). I’m still refining it from to time, not sure whether it’s good or not but I just keep reading & writing notes on daily basis. For now, I have been working on my literature review so I can identify the research gaps and issues that I can highlight and attempt for my thesis. However, it’s not as easy and smooth sailing all the way. I experienced Information Overload at some points and feel like throwing up after staring at the computer screen and books for too long. Yikes 🙁


Hmmm…would I ever able to cope when I have to juggle work and studies? I know life is not a bed of flowers but hopefully it isn’t a bed of thorns either *cringes* I can only hope, pray and work towards my goals. I know it may be difficult but it’s not impossible. May Allah ease this journey for me. Hopefully I can sustain my motivation to finish this strong to the end.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.