Detail your ideas around a significant contribution. (remember this can be altered as your knowledge of the domain of study deepens, it is an iterative process)
I assume this means what shape my final publication is going to take. My hope is to emerge from this with a publishable work - one which will provide a challenge to disability studies, theology and be a resource for the LD/ADHDer in the world. Secondly I hope from this to combine my studies with ADHD coach training and be a source of empowerment for ADHDers. 2. How are you going to publish? Book and ADHD Coach practice I am also considering this a Phd by publication wherein I will publish regularly through Huffington Post, blogs, journals, essays etc. I will be video blogging. 3. Where will you engage your network of peers and mentors? Online, at conferences and in specialized training (is ADHD Coach Training). In addition I would like to find practicum site that would specifically benefit my research. This could happen either through my current job as a caregiver or volunteering with a specialized ministry. 4. How is your work going to be peer reviewed? By submitting articles to peer reviewed journals By feedback from experts in the field By crowdsourcing feedback. 5. How are your findings and data going to be published in the open? This OpenPHD blog Dissertation will be a free download 6. Describe how you know you are finished. The dissertation process will function like any similar process. I will complete my dissertation and submit it for review from my committee - upon their approval the project will be completed.
Domain of Study
Important work has been done at the intersection of disability and theology, namely Nancy Eiseland's 'The Disabled God' and Amos Yong's 'Theology and Down Syndrome'. On the whole these projects fail to take into consideration the experiences of the Learning Disabled. As a result my project will be to write a theology of the learning disabled that will challenge not only the theological assumptions, but also the assumptions of philosophy and disability studies.
I hope my project will sit at the intersection of disability studies, theopoetics, theology, integral theory and mimetic theory. While some might scoff at the notion of theological approach I find this task is important because a) religious bodies are living communities and b) what we say about Spirit is usually what we say about humanity. What does it mean to say God is Adhd?
BOOK - Towards a Theopoetic of The Cross
As a graduate student at the Vancouver School of Theology I wrote my Masters thesis on Liberation Theology and Theopoetics. The final project its self is sort of an Academic Beat poem. The book is now out through the Progressive Christian Alliance Press and on Amazon.Com
While I have not yet designed the OpenPHD Dissertation process I am still excited by the possibilities. Part of the reason I am doing my Phd on Embodied Realism, Theopoetics, Creation Spirituality and Integral Theory is so that I may continue the work begun in my MA thesis. In relation to George Lakoffs's Embodied Philosophy I think the whole project has allot it can learn from.
The point of this website is to explore the notion of an OpenPHD. The OpenPHD is an attempt at a self-directed PHD program using free lectures, podcasts, interviews, university classes and conferences as well as the local resources of public libraries, work shops seminars and classes. I do this as I work as a temp, write for The Huffington Post, promote my book Towards a Theopoetic of the Cross pay off my debt from my MA in Theological Studies from the Vancouver School of Theology. While in the past I created vast amounts of debt in order to secure an education in the present I will explore my educational goals using only what is free in the world.
To that end I am starting this blog. The point of this blog is to lay out and create my learning plan, make my argument for an OpenPHD education, to assemble an online community of 'crowdsourced' program suppervisors, advisors and mentors. I will also post podcasts and videos of homework and projects and possibly PDFs of papers. As the project moves beyond the design stage I will create a second blog where I can post notes from classes, readings and research.
My goal is to create a course of study that fits loosely in the fields of Philosophy and Theology. As my MA thesis explored the Theopoetic I intend to continue in that vein, exploring the theopoetic at the intersection of embodied realism, lyric philosophy, integral theory and evolutionary spirituality. The final dissertation project will be determined at a later date, after the course of study has been concluded. While I know that many people find the topic of theology uncomfortable, or maybe just not of their world, I hope they will join me on this quest of OpenEducation and the asking of how we engage in meaning making in the post-secular world.
Taking my cue from a low-residency program the program will be based around 12 intensives over three years, with each intensive lasting 4-5 days. Of course readings and research will flow into and out of each intensive and at the end of each intensive projects and papers will be due. Each intensive is worth 4 credits. If needed these can be replaced with weekend long two day intensives worth 2 credits. The dissertation is worth 14 credits (all inspired and based on an actual low-res program).
Relying on a community of learners, fellow travelers and interested parties I will crowd source guidance and feedback as well as supervision. If needed I will connect with a mentor to serve as a guide in this process.
Why and What
To outside eyes doubts may arise as to why one would want to do such a project. I already have an MA in Theological studies and as a result of that degree have and am working on a variety of projects, write for several blogs and work as a Theologian-in-Affiliation with the Progressive Christian Alliance. It is for the Proca, in part, that I wish to continue my education. The Proca is a wide ranging, progressive, postmodern, justice oriented spiritual community creating 'church' and 'spiritual community' for the wired world. To continue my work with them and to make a lasting contribution to their mission in the world it is important to continue my education. As a religious organization they could, in theory, offer a 'honorary degree' to me at the end of this work, but that is not the goal here and nor have I asked them to do this. I wish only to contribute to the mission of the church in the world.
To that end my 'credentials' will be based in 'social learning'. I will learn in community with the Proca and any others who may have interest in the project. I will invite feedback and guidance. The project will allow me to emerge as a co-learner who learns and teaches as a community member who emerges from my community and not as one whose education puts him above his community.
As I said before the direction of this program will in many ways crowdsoured. As a result the intensives will be developed in community and conversation and the syllabus will be created in consultation with a wide ranging community.
At the end of each intensive projects, papers or presentations will be presented to the community. Feedback will be solicited and if needed revisions made. All presentations, papers, projects and notes will be kept online either here or on another blog in a way to encourage oversight and transparency.
Journey to an (Honorary) Ph.D
I have long made it my joke that my goal in life is to achieve an honorary Ph.d. This is not some sort of high fantasy of mine, but is instead an commitment to a life-long journey of autodidacism. The Autodidact is a self-taught learner, dedicated to the journey of knowledge.
Not that I am uneducated. I have an MA in Theological Studies, a Diploma in Christian Studies and an AS in Film/Video Production and most of an BA in Creative Writing. My MA program gave me PTSD, and introduced me to the things I love in life: Liberation Theology, Process Theology, Postmodern Theory, Disability Theology etc. From this journey and this expierence I am setting myself on the Ph.d (Hon) journey.
Oh, let's get something straight...i don't actually think I am going to get an Honorary Ph.d. That's not the point. The point is to BE ON THE JOURNEY. To learn, to grow and to research and publish. The goal is to use what I learn as a benefit to humanity and the human journey.
The choice to call myself an 'journeyman' may seem a bit weird. In fact my signature on my email is: Jason Derr, AS, Dip.C, MATS, Journeyman.
Most of that should make sense. The AS is an Associate of Science, the Dip.C is the Diploma in Christian Studies and the MATS is the Master of Arts in Theological Studies. Journeyman is....well...it's this journey! A Journeyman is a skilled apprentice, skilled in his craft and a force of his own...but still learning and growing. It's what I am trying to be.
Maybe I should instead call myself a Journeyman candidate. At the end of this project there will be no Phd waiting for me, no ceremony and no robe and hood. After intensive reading and classes, a dissertation and projects I won't be able to call my self a Doctor Of Philosophy or even Registered Nurse of Philosophy. But maybe I can, with honesty, call myself an Journeyman Of Philosophy (JOP? JP?).
Alternative Graduate School
I have had this idea for awhile and have been publishing and researching ever since I got my MA back in May. But after I stumbled on the Alternative Graduate School site I knew I had to step up my game. The two founders of AGS wanted to go back to grad school but found the price to restrictive. So using MIT OpenCourseWare and an volunteer position in India they have given themselves their own grad school education.
In my own project I am dedicated to self-education but cannot go to a field placement the way they have. I have student loans, a wife who is in school and the start of a fun career. For myself I need to find my own, local field placement. This part of the journey is ongoing. In a perfect world I would go off to Sabeel - the Ecumenical Palestinian Liberation Theology Center. If I am lucky I will be able to make it to the Peoples Seminary, just over the border in Washington, a few times a year. They do Liberation Theology with migrant workers and lay people and clergy who want to walk with, advocate for and work with migrant workers and prisoners. My own work is an attempt at liberation theology with people with ADHD, which may require something TOTALLY different.