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Identify your domain of study

The described domain of study should be both broad and focused. This is to allow others to get a sense of both the knowledge domain and your focus.
  1. Write a short description of your domain of study. Be creative, don't limit yourself to traditional approaches of applying for PhD candidacy. It is important to be mindful of the open and networked nature of this work.
  2. Create a comprehensive summary of what is currently known within your chosen domain of study. This is particularly important for you ability to define what you will be contributing to the domain of knowledge.
  3. Feel free to use many open references and links in describing you chosen domain of study.
  4. Create a concept map or some visual description of your subject domain. Clearly identify where your focus is within the broader subject domain.
  5. If the your chosen research is interdisciplinary, also provide a summary of the related domains, highlight the overlap(s) and opportunities.
  6. Identify your focused area of reseach within the broader knowledge domain(s).
  7. Be bold, include a sentence or two describing your thesis. (remember, this may change as you deepen your domain knowledge)


Completion of this task also confirms your commitment to undergo an OnPhD that demonstrates an understanding for the criteria for an OnPhD (documented online, open and transparent, iterative progression and knowledge development, etc...)

Publish your related works to your portfolio once you have completed the outcomes described above. Provide a link to this in this tasks discussion thread.

Task Discussion

  • Yves Simon said:

    The second task is the second link in the blog post :

    Realization of the tasks of the Open PhD challenge

    on July 17, 2013, 12:52 a.m.
  • Peter Rawsthorne said:

    This is my work to complete this task. This work can also be found on my blog;

    This sentence and slide stack (with audio) answers questions 1 thru 6.
    My domain of study is the union and intersection of the educational technologist, the solution architect and the self-directed adult learner (heutagogue). The intersection of these three topics encourages the study of personal learning ecologies, the technology stack and distributed computing that supports personal learning, and the devices and user experience that best suits the self-directed learner.

    These two sentences provide a potential PhD thesis statement.
    The ability to validate and cluster all the events of life-long learning, regardless of their origin, will provide the required alternative to emancipate the self-directed learner from the limits of traditional accreditation. This shift will enable every learner, regardless of approach, to pursue learning with the same level of recognition as learners in traditional institutions.

    To do: The completion of this task exposed a gap in my knowledge. I need to do a bunch of research on Heutagogy. From this reseach I will build another concept map, but this work will become a part of my OnPhD.

    on Feb. 26, 2013, 9:35 p.m.

    Leigh Blackall said:

    Peter, I've credited you the badge for this task in the Candidacy Challenge on Credly:

    on April 24, 2013, 7:23 a.m. in reply to Peter Rawsthorne
  • Jason Derr said:

    Here is the link to my domain of study statement. It will evolve as the research evolves. 

    on Jan. 24, 2013, 1:30 p.m.

    Peter Rawsthorne said:

    Jason, could you please add the link that describes your domain of study...

    on Jan. 25, 2013, 8:11 a.m. in reply to Jason Derr
  • Leigh Blackall said:


    Networked learning is the main area of my study. I want to address what I believe is an over emphasis in the field on it being practiced within institutions of formal education, using technology and learning purpose defined by that institution, to the exclusion of other ways of understanding networked learning, especially historically. I want to strengthen the field's understanding of a networked learning that is more self directed, taking place largely outside the institutions, more connected to historical relations to the field, and not limited to practices that primarily use computers and the Internet.
    To enter and understand the field, I have been the main editor on the Wikipedia article: to date. I have declared my interests on that article's discussion page.
    I consider this article, and its discussion page, to be my description of the domain I am studying in. I recognise that it lacks an explicit epistemic position for networked learning or my contribution, so I will continue editing the Wikipedia article - focusing now or where networked learning relates to other domains. To do this, I'll expand the See Also section, as well as the categories, and work towards an epistemic and ontological position for the article.
    Additionally, I keep a label in my blog for writing on Networked Learning:
    These posts contain a variety of information, from links and reviews of other writing, to original questions and ideas.
    on Jan. 11, 2013, 4:29 p.m.