Continuing the proposal / application preparation
I had a longish (90 minutes) Skype call with my prospective supervisor at Northumbria (Mark Blythe) last week — and I forgot to blog about it! So now I’m writing a short post about how it went.
He said that one of the first things I should do is settle on a title. We talked about the word “spiritual” and how, although it captures my sense of the feeling, tends to convey to most people a theme of religion (which is not what I mean), and he suggested “numinous” — but in my view that probably won’t be understood by the general public and would make it harder for me to recruit people for interviews. I later talked to a friend about it, and we kind of came up with “deep connection”, so I’m thinking of going with that. But I’ll probably add some better description before I start recruiting. I might use “numinous” or “transcendent” in the title even if I use more plain-language wording in my recruitment. I will be speaking on an aspect of this topic at the Interaction 12 conference, so I have to settle on something within the next six weeks.
Mark also said I shouldn’t be too specific about what I hope to use this sort of user experience for, and suggested that I look at helping elderly people improve their mood. Depression in older people is known to be an issue, and I’m thinking that it might be a practical application that could help me get funding.
I had thought of using this feeling of transcendence to facilitate behavior change, and I still might do that. I’ve just signed up to take B.J. Fogg’s week-long mini-workshop called “3 Tiny Habits“, where the participants practice a method of developing small habits (ones that take less than 30 seconds) and Fogg improves his approach to teaching the development of habits. I think this might be useful in my personal life and it might also give me some ideas for my research. Who knows what the connection might be — or whether there is one at all? But at the least, it should be interesting. Stay tuned.
I also continued reading the papers I downloaded. Gotta start writing stuff up. Oh — I’ve decided it would be too much of a distraction to consider yet another university at this point. So I’m going to focus on Northumbria but look into working with Sue Thomas at De Montfort when I get ready to develop an application to investigate the concepts.
Finally, I obtained transcripts from my previous degrees. The one from N.C. State said I had a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics, so of course I had to call and ask them to correct it to Bachelor of Science. They responded very quickly, and I expect to have my replacement paper copies in a few days.
Finally, I’m making further progress toward emptying the house of stuff I don’t need. A friend helped me disassemble a decrepit bookcase and I took that outside for the County to pick up as bulk trash, and I’ve brought a bunch of old cans of paint, stain, and paint thinner upstairs in prep for taking them to the hazmat collection at the dump (probably tomorrow). I’m still gathering stuff to take to the NAMI thrift store (and that will probably go on for months :).