Well, this next semester is when I have to decide for whom I am to do my Master’s practicum project. I feel I am in a unique situation in that there are lots of ideas on what I’d like to do a practicum on I just don’t know who would be interested in having me do research for them! I have ideas ranging from studying the effects of using the Internet in the classroom to further researching the culture within World of Warcraft, or even pursuing something along the lines of my political commentary study. So, rather than me just barking up several trees to see if anyone wants to use my talents (though I am going to do this as well), I’m going to put myself out here on my blog. You can reply here or contact me via email: diana at cyber-anthro.com
Here is a link to the department’s site on the practicum process (as well as a list of previous student’s practicums). I’ve also included the practicum description here:
The practicum is the major independent project that students undertake in order to complete the master in applied anthropology. It involves doing work that will be of practical benefit to some organization or agency. Students must design and carry out a project that utilizes the skills in applied anthropology that they gained through their master’s program coursework. The project has two kinds of outcomes:
- A practical application that benefits the organization or agency that is their client
- A report to the department of anthropology, submitted both as a written document and a verbal presentation.
The practicum is similar to a traditional master’s thesis in that it represents a substantial effort on the student’s part. It is different in that the student’s project will always be directed toward the needs of a client.
Some students may conduct their practicum projects for established practicing anthropologists in their field of interest. In other cases, clients will come from another background, but they will recognize the value that the perspective of applied anthropology can bring to their organization. Clients will generally hold fairly senior positions in their organization.
Students in the online master’s program may conduct their practicum project in whatever geographic location suits their needs. In many cases, students may choose to find an organization in the community they live in. Some students who work full-time may choose to conduct their practicum for the organization that already employs them.
The key to a successful practicum experience is excellent three-way communication between the student, their faculty advisor, and their practicum client. This is especially true in the online context. The department has a set of guidelines to assist everyone in building this triangular relationship.
So, the benefit for anyone who wants to use me is that you get a trained applied anthropologist to do research for you and package it all up in a tidy informative presentation at the end that you can then share an use within your organization. I then get to write a very detailed report about the process and present that to my department in order to graduate. Hopefully we both benefit from the process in that you get very useful and actionable information out of it and I get a very useful and one of a kind experience.
My preference is that I get to work with someone who is interested in studying culture online in some form or fashion. My particular interests are in blogging, gaming, and social networking, however, I am not opposed to studying something outside of those. In addition to my academic knowledge I also have a background in web design, web development, interaction design, information architecture, usability, accessibility, and interface design that I can bring to the table.
One caveat to this is that this is not a short process. The official start to the courses involved for me is fall of 2009 with an official completion and presentation set for April/May of 2010. Due to the long process involved in coming to an agreement on what is to be studied, the study itself, and then the analysis and presentation preparation I need to start looking now! If something great comes along, however, I am not opposed to doing what I can to start the official process earlier.
Feel free to pass this around to friends, neighbors, colleagues etc. I appreciate any and all input. Feel free to leave a comment or you can reach me at diana at cyber-anthro.com.
Please contact me if you have any comments, questions or concerns.