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About GlobalInformatician

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  • Application Season
    2017 Spring
  • Program
    Health Information Sciences

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  1. So I dropped the qualitative course to take the required quantitative course as their timing conflicted. Coincidently, a potential PhD project with a qualitative component was pitched to me and I was urged to take a qualitative course. The professor said that the quantitative course I took is not that helpful for someone with my background. Apparently the course is intended to get masters students up to speed (and yet it was required for PhD students...that's odd). She used to be the director for the program and she's going to follow up with those in charge to ensure that students aren't feeling forced to take quantitative methods over qualitative methods and where conflicts exist they should be encouraged to take courses in other faculties. So now, I'm taking a qualitative PhD course and advanced quantitative course next semester. Not sure whether that'll make me a master of none but at least I'll feel better positioned when different opportunities come my way in future. Thanks for all the reassurance.
  2. I just wanted to follow up after meeting the prof at our first class. There is some truth to the reviews, he comes off as standoffish but he's also very legitimately smart. He uses a lot of jargon, which may be intimiating to some. That being said two things happened that eased my concerns: 1. He explained that the average is often low but only because he doesn't give easy exams that require students to memorize stuff but requires students to think critically and apply concepts to real world issues. He believes it is his duty to build this capacity. He also noted that he loves his job at some point. Although he has a tough exterior this was a good sign. 2. Even though it's an MIT class he's not very tech savvy. He was really concerned about how to send out the slides to the class. This suggests to me that he may not reply to emails and use course mgmt systems because of this inability. It was interesting to see this vulnerability because like I said he comes off as very confident. I think most importantly, I could very well learn something from him in this class (even though that's not necessarily my role). He did mentioned that students would feel more comfortable going to me than him and that he is fine with me supporting students who need help with content during office hours. Which suggests that he knows that his 'tough love' approach may alienate some students. I'm going to look at this as a good cop/bad cop situation. Thanks for all the good advice you all gave - will incorporate that too.
  3. When I completed my MSc in health research methods there was lack of content in qualitative methods/research. I suppose you don't know what you don't know. When I began to appraise the things I don't know, I realized that I had to return to school to develop my capacity in qualitative methods. Now I don't want to be unrealistic about what it takes to achieve this. I'm now planning on taking an advanced qualitative methods course, followed by an advanced quantitative course. I have to dive into the advanced stuff if I want to have room for other electives. I suppose that's the challenge - you don't want to be a jack of all trades (methods) by expanding the breadth of what you can do, you want depth, to gain expertise too. I don't have a PhD topic yet but I think it will be easier to define a topic with more methodological tools and techniques at my disposal. On the other hand, a part of me thinks that I should stay in my lane. All I need is one quantitative methods course (not even an advanced one, which I could confidently do). Has anyone else taken both quantitative and qualitative courses before knowing your topic? My supervisor was saying that most students get tripped up by the methods courses so it may be risky. Apologies for long post ...
  4. Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure of class size but my third year methods course in undergrad (same school) had about 70 students. I agree, the reviews ought not deter me from TAing the course that's right for me. I anticipate students seeking me out more for help with content but I didn't think about the point you made re: it could be an opportunity to be supportive and open, and potentially re-engage students that may have given up. At the same time, I agree, I would not want to undermine the prof whatsoever. I would want to reinforce his standards re: marking and wouldn't cave under pressure to students. I would want to have his back, as I'd hope he'd have mine if there were conflicts. So, of the options laid out I would try to seek a balance I guess.
  5. According to rate my professor, my course instructor while world-renowned and a genious may also be arrogant. Students feel intimidated to ask him questions and his course is relatively difficult. Despite this, I opted to TA for his course because I just had a baby and I wouldn't have to teach tutorials, only mark and hold office hours (although I have experience teaching an undergraduate course, it's practical to manage my workload with a newborn this year). I also agreed to the course because it's a research methods course, making marking more objective than subjective. I've read some of his work and do look forward to working with such an accomplished scholar, regardless of his attitudinal reputation. Anyone else experienced a prof with an attitude toward students? How did this affect how students related and what they expected of TAs.
  6. I'm starting a PhD in HIS this September 2017. My background is undergrad HIM, MSc Epi and working in evaluation and knowledge translation thereafter. When I graduated undergrad in '09 there was little interest in HIS - our program was cancelled soon after I graduated but my school reintroduced it at the graduate level and the program is doing well. It's also more interdisciplinary whereas before it was mostly clinically focused (ie, medical/clinical informatics). I hope to research/work in the area of implementation of information systems in developing and resource limited contexts.
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