Monday, 14 March 2016

Mid-Candidature Review Madness

Last Friday was my mid-candidature review. The 2-3 weeks leading up to it had been constantly hot and humid, meaning I'd had a headache for most of that time. I wasn't particularly surprised to wake up on Friday morning with the pain much worse but only on one side of my head (this always happens to me when a headache is going to turn into a migraine). I gave some serious thought to asking if I could reschedule, but having had a root canal and some of the panel being on leave during February, my review was technically already overdue, so I wanted to get it out of the way. And most of the time when I have a migraine, it reaches its peak either between 3 and 4 in the morning or 3 and 4 in the afternoon; my presentation was at 10am so surely I'd have plenty of time to get it done and get home again before it hit. I took three Mersyndol and had a large can of energy drink and hoped for the best as I got on the train to go to uni.

My presentation started off okay, but about half way through, I started to feel a sharp throbbing pain behind my left eye and knew that the migraine was imminent. I managed to get through the presentation (albeit rushing a bit), and answered some of the panels questions, but started to feel dizzy and had to sit down. At that point my supervisor realised I was getting a migraine and suggested I go, but unfortunately as soon as I tried to stand up, I blacked out and went face-first into the floor. Once all the lights were turned off, I was left lying under the table in the dark for a couple of hours (which is the only thing anyone can really do for me when I have a migraine) until I was well enough to get up and leave (and then I got to deal with a 4.5 hour journey home thanks to train issues).

Thankfully, the panel were pretty happy with my progress since my confirmation. The main feedback I got was that I needed to describe more clearly how my artifact (the interactive digital narrative sign language learning system) fit within the design science research structure I'd chosen. It's one of those things that I understand fairly well in my head but really need to work on communicating it to other people. Then again, I often find that when I try to explain something to someone else, it helps me clarify it in my own mind. Though I still need to define my actual participant testing procedure more clearly, I feel reasonably confident about most other aspects of my project.

In brighter news, my supervisor gave me a new Nintendo DS Lite last week after I lamented the death of my faithful old DS I'd had for close to 8 years (I left the poor thing in my car on a hot day last month and it decided to go to the great big hard drive in the sky). I had been searching far and wide for a pre-owned one in decent condition but all the ones I found were either pink or had faults (touch screens not working or dead pixels in the screens).
"Yes, it can play Pokemon games. I need it for research. What do you mean, you don't believe me?"
My supervisor had a bunch of the DSs sitting in her cupboard from an old research project and most had hardly been used, so I was quite happy with my new acquisition (and I immediately promised it that I wouldn't leave it in a hot car). Especially since the battery life appears to be pretty good on this one (my old one had been played so much that it would only last just over an hour on a full charge). For many years now, my DS has been a way to keep myself entertained on the train to and from uni or during the nights when my insomnia keeps me awake.

Now that my mid-candidature review is over, I am a lot less stressed (I hate doing any sort of presentation), but I still have plenty to do in the near future. I still have one or two character designs to do (I had done all of them but I'm not really happy with a couple of them so I want to redo them), and I need to finalise my interview questions and questionnaires and submit my ethics application. I also want to do my paper prototype testing and start working on putting my content into the system's modules (this last one will depend on when the programmer finishes coding them), which hopefully is doable within the next month. Also, my literature review is pretty close to being finished, and having got some feedback from my supervisors a few weeks ago, I'd like to get it finished off within the next few months or so and not have to worry about it anymore (aside from going back to add the odd new reference here and there).

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