Category Archives: PhD Journey

2016 – The Year of Data

It's a long field to plough but I think I can see the fence at the other end

It’s a long field to plough but I think I can see the fence at the other end

I’m sad to say the podcasting project fell through due to both our respective workloads. The upside is, I appear to be on track to actually collect data for my PhD research in the second half of this year.

I’ve also changed universities – it’s a long story but essentially I could be assured of the best supervision team possible by shifting, so I have. I’m currently finalising my ethics application then it’s all systems go.

2014 In Review

Apologies for more of an introspective post. This year has been a hectic one from the viewpoint of my PhD progress, let alone anything else.

The biggest milestone was successfully completing my ‘first year’ proposal review. This involved standing up in front of my supervisors, the Head of Postgraduate Studies (HPS) and any other academics and peers who may chose to attend (which a number kindly did). It can be a stressful event, but some decent preparation and a very supportive supervision team and HPS turned it into a great learning experience that has widened my view considerably of the approach I can take to my research. So very happy on this count.

IMG_3196Another key achievement was presenting my work to date (which is essentially a review of the literature in relation to virtual worlds/environments and clinical simulation) at the SimGHOSTS conference at the University of the Sunshine Coast. I was surprised at how many people attended for the concurrent session and I also really enjoyed talking to a number of people afterwards who had some great insights. The other big moment for me here was seeing the astounding simulation facilities USC has, now managed to a large extent by one of my excellent supervisors.

On the thesis front, my literature review is shaping up well and I’ve finally decided on a platform to write the full thesis. I’ve chosen Scrivener, which I’ve used for a while for fiction work but I’ve now realised it’s well set up for a thesis and even has some EndNote integration. It also eliminates a key area of procrastination, so I’m pretty excited to be nailing lot more words in 2015.

Finally, I’ve also (thanks to a great supervisor) been given the opportunity to tutor a 3rd year nursing subject for 13 weeks.I started the PhD because I wanted to work in the teaching / education area more and this is a first step I’m very pumped about.

Here’s to a 2015 where the Oculus Rift is finally released (please!!) and a big thank you to those of you still following this blog. I’d love to hear about your goings-on in the comments if you had the time.

Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2: More Simulation Promise

There’s no shortage of people eagerly following the development of the Oculus Rift, and I’m definitely one of them given I see the Oculus as central to my PhD research. In case you hadn’t heard, the second version of the Oculus Developer Kit is slated for a July 2014 release. It contains a bunch of improvements, not least of which is a much nicer looking unit.

Have a look for yourself:

The position tracking improvements are particularly exciting from a clinical simulation viewpoint, as it the improved quality of what you’re seeing. To now be able to lean forward / backward / sideways and have it reflected fully means that a lot of body language cues can now be recreated virtually. Add in significant body language options and you have a huge improvement to reality of the scenario.

Now that the Oculus crew are owned by Facebook, they’re thinking pretty big, claiming they hope to create a billion-user VR MMO. There’s been some big claims in this space before, but this one’s up there.

Diving In

maze-smhIt’s been a positive 12 months in regard to my research – although none of the actual data collection has started and it’s probably a while off yet before it does.  That said, I made some serious inroads into understand the body of literature surrounding virtual environments and clinical simulation.

I’ve also submitted my first journal article on the topic – it’s a ‘state of play’ article with a focus on what needs to occur to convince educators that virtual environments can be a key component in their simulation arsenal. The article reviewers have given some great feedback and the final version should be submitted in the next week. Then it’s on to getting the first draft of my lit review structured and written.

It’s been a rewarding year on two other fronts. First, I have three great supervisors who are very committed to the research area and have been a huge help so far. Second, I’ve had some great chats with the developer who’ll be helping me build the simulation. We’re actually setting up a site to record our journey, which I’ll obviously flag here when it’s ready to go.

For those of you still beavering away in the field – I hope it’s a rewarding year for you!

[Image via]


2012 – Slow Progress

Just a quick note to say thank you for your ongoing support of this site. Updates have been much less frequent but for all the right reasons i.e. my PhD studies in the area are progressing, albeit slowly.

Most of 2012 has been spent getting a grasp of the literature around virtual worlds and clinical simulation. 2013 should see the full study design fleshed out and hopefully acceptance of my first journal paper.

Hopefully I’ll be updating this blog a little more often as I devote even more time to the area in the coming year.

SimHealth 2012

Once again apologies for the infrequent updates to this site – my PhD studies are certainly dominating my time in regards to virtual worlds, which is as it should be.

I just thought I’d give a quick heads-up that I’ll be presenting a poster on the opportunities for inter-professional clinical simulation within virtual world environments at SimHealth 2012 in Sydney in September.

If you’re going to be there, I’d love to catch up for a chat.

PhD: let the marathon begin

This post will be of little interest to most people but for the few that may be, here we go. This week I formally commenced my PhD candidature. It’s been a hell of a ride already getting orientated (a half-day series of sessions on the University and its approach to higher degree students).

I’ll be attempting to complete the PhD in 5 years part-time, which is on the optimistic side of the scale but you never know, I may pull it off. You’ll be pleased to know that my research topic, although not totally finalised, will definitely have at its centre the question of whether virtual environments can increase clinician competence and confidence.

I’m looking forward to posting lots of links to cutting edge research as I run across it in my studies. I may even deliver something myself 😉