Ludology, Ph.D. Adventures!

Guess Who’s in the Big Leagues Now? (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 10)


Started a code structure plan for the simulation of Project CODE Switch with Dr. Cardona-Rivera (featured image). I got offered a position to teach again this fall! I will be teaching the second-year master’s students EAE 6330: Game Engineering III! 🥰 Wrote a syllabus draft for the course. Kept picking away at my SGD theory paper. Just two classes left until the end of the semester. I’m super excited about summer! 

Weekly Update Breakdown


For anyone keeping track, I’ve now taught a senior-level undergraduate course and will be teaching a second-year master’s level course this fall. Look at me know! Ha ha! This is not to brag, I’m just really, really excited! It will also look really great on my CV.

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SGD theory)
    • Write discussion
    • Finish revisions
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Complete code structure
    • Implement sim
  • Teaching
    • S2021
      • Create last quiz
      • Analyze quiz results of last couple quizzes
      • Decide on (if?) extra credit assignment
    • F2021
      • Complete syllabus draft/turn it in/get it approved. ☺️
  • Self-care dailies
    • Keep up at least a 5-minute daily exercise through the end of the semester

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

Just feeling a little short on time and a tiny bit overwhelmed!

Ludology, Ph.D. Adventures!

Being Called Professor Blackburn Is Fun (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 1)


Taught my first class. Have the first round of student feedback about the quiz (So the questions were hard enough, but I struggle to know how lenient I want to be, whether to award some points back or not…). I feel like I finally have a whole paper idea for my serious game design (SDG) theory paper, now I just need to finish it by Monday for the FDG deadline. My semester schedule and self-care and achievement dailies are keeping me on track and centered. Struggling with my sleep schedule which has made sticking to my designed schedule a bit of a struggle. 

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since Last Update

  • Teaching
    • Taught my first class and it went really well
    • Made my first two quizzes in Canvas (and made a couple mistakes)
  • Writing (SDG theory)
    • Made not one, but TWO pivots in my theory paper this past week! Both called for starting over from scratch! LOL. I feel like I’m never going to get published, so I am just reminding myself that, especially for design theory science, I am actually write (ha ha!) on track! However, this is the first time I feel like I have a complete paper idea!
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Had our first meeting and met the rest of the team. They are really great and I feel honored to be the student lead on the project.
    • Learned how to do reflexive journaling. I imagine it will improve as I do it more frequently. It was actually really fun and insightful.
  • Self care dailies
    • I’ve accomplished this every day and I always feel so much more centered and healthy because of it. I also have more energy, both physically and mentally, to get through the important tasks on my list.
  • Executive
    • Set a semester schedule and bought a notepad for tracking weekly/daily tasks
    • Started (but have not quite completed) my semester plan
    • Rogelio told me at the end of last semester some tips for managing my time this semester. It is essentially a dress rehearsal for what it will be like when I am faculty — You know what, so far I am really enjoying it! One of the things he suggested was to make my class day a full teaching day. Great advice! I essentially split my week evenly into teaching and researching. The other really great advice he gave me was to keep up my dailies. I’m so glad he said that because as soon as the semester started I felt overwhelmed, but I am sticking with my dailies and they help me 1) stay centered and calmer, and 2) ensure I’m spending a little time every day on essential goal-oriented tasks.
    • I also wanted to keep my updates shorter. I did include some good news and a write-up on my dailies though, so I put my reasoning for that below. (This update is under 700 words not counting the good news and dailies)

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SDG Theory)
    • Have Monday deadline (got extended) for FDG. Going to aim for it, but okay if I miss. Will submit to CHIPLAY if I miss.
  • Teaching
    • Create quizzes 3 and 4
    • Respond to questions on quizzes 1 and 2
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • I want to have the SDG theory paper complete so that we can use the theory for designing our Project CODE artifact.

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Teaching
    • I’m not sure how lenient I want to be specifically for the quiz answers. There were three questions on the first quiz that students struggled with. The first one I am sticking to my guns, they should have been paying attention in class and to the readings. But the other two… ??? 
  • Executive
    • I’m having a hard time with my sleep schedule. My day started anywhere from 4am (not on purpose) to 9am, and ended anywhere from 5:30pm to 10:30pm for work and fell asleep anywhere from 11pm-2am. I haven’t been falling asleep/staying asleep. I don’t usually struggle with my sleep schedules so much all in one week, but it’s been very erratic. It’s making it difficult to stick to specific timelines and accomplish everything on my achievement dailies and sometimes just my needed daily tasks.

Good News!

We got our Lady (that’s her name) dog back! I call her Lady Bug. She’s the sweetest, easy-going dog I’ve ever known and she’s so cute. I just adore her. This is my first time being the owner, so I’m learning all sorts of things, but Lady is such a good dog that she makes a lot of it very easy.

More on Dailies

I share this for a couple reasons:

  1. I think it’s a good system for me and so it could be helpful to others
  2. Writing is thinking. I am still refining my dailies process and it has improved loads! I know that many of the important changes I have made have come from my sharing my ideas about it on the blog. 
  3. To help keep me on track with what’s important. By writing down what is important I have actually reevaluated what my most important activities are which continues to help me move in the direction I desire.
  4. To help me keep my goals (and not just work priorities) front and center. In writing this “More on Dailies” section I realized that when I wrote my weekly tasks these past several weeks I have forgotten to check them against my goals! 

Since last semester I have been developing a system of dailies. I am still working on them, experimenting with the time I spend on them and what days, whether I do one day a week for one goal, or a little every day. 

This is where I’m at this semester:

Research and Teaching Schedule

I am essentially a full-time employee of the University this semester so having a set schedule is crucial. I specifically chose to alternate what I start with each day (teaching or researching), with my biggest priority being research, so that I am appropriately spending my time on needed activities each day throughout the week.

  • M: Teach
  • T: Research
  • W: Research/Teach
  • Th: Teach/Research
  • F: Research/Teach

My goal is to start my day at 6:30am with self-care dailies, then move on to achievement dailies, and around 9-10am start my M-F above schedule. I want to end my day by 6pm each day, with a hard line at 8pm.

Self-Care Dailies

I do my self-care dailies (updated name) first thing in the morning. There are four items on the list. As long as I accomplish the first two I’ve accomplished my self-care.

  1. Centering
  2. Joyful Movement (i.e. exercise, walk, yoga, etc.)
  3. Games
  4. Enjoy

Centering: The Centering activities are a similar list to last semester but I have updated the items and their order. I still try to keep it to 30 minutes, but to complete everything on the list takes about 45 minutes. I make sure to always do the top two every day. Then, select the ones I want to do the most until my time is up, setting a timer for 2:45 for each item. On really busy days do the top 2 and then 1-2 more and call it accomplished. These are my centering activities:

  • Prayer (Who doesn’t need a little divine guidance and support, especially in research!)
  • Scripture Study
  • Journal
  • Affirmations
  • Meditation/Deep Breathing (sometimes involves an inverted yoga pose)
  • Vision Board
  • Gratitude+ (Adventures, Victories, DoGoods, etc.)
  • Uplifting Book (Helps me enjoy life more)

Joyful Movement. I revived my workout habits last fall, but didn’t include them under my self-care dailies. Joyful Movement is all about enjoying how my body can move in space. I usually do this with some exercise, walking, stretching, and/or yoga. Since starting this back in September I am almost flat again in my side splits, and have lost 8.5 inches. Wahoo! It only takes 25-60 minutes but is broken up throughout the day.

Games. I log in to 4-5 mobile games to complete quick puzzles or a single round of Really Bad Chess. It only takes 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy. This is taking time for myself to do an activity I truly enjoy such as a hot bubble bath, running around in the snow with the dog, or listening to a good book while I walk.

Achievement Dailies

My achievement dailies (previously goal dailies) have been refined as well. I realized that I had too many things on my list and scheduled one of them for several years in the future, and the other I do 1-2 every couple weeks, but not on a daily basis. 

The idea is to 30 minutes each of the achievement dailies. However, it’s not quite working. I have been doing teaching and researching every day (probably because of my semester schedule), but I’m still struggling with accomplishing the others. So I am going to try something a little differently this week. I’ll do the top three every day at 30 minutes each day, and then spend 15 minutes or less on the remaining three. If it is a particularly busy day, then as long as I accomplished the top priorities I have accomplished my achievement dailies. 🙂

  • Top Achievement Priorities (30 minutes each)
    • Write (this is research paper or funding writing)
    • Teach (teaching tasks)
    • Research (Any needed research tasks, including more writing)
  • Get-It-In (15 minutes or less)
    • Indie Dev
    • Online Course to support LLB, NG, and possibly even NDG
    • Service (NDG, Service Roles, etc.)

So, I’m going to try that and see how it goes!