Continuing her occasional series, “survive and thrive”, Katie Hoare from Careers Network explores a key skill sought after by employers in the post-COVID-19 world. It’s likely that you are already developing and using these highly transferable skills in your research.
During a March 2021 PG Skills workshop, UoB PGR alum Rob Pilbrow provided a useful definition of each of these three inter-connected skills. Persuading is the ability to convince others to take a desired viewpoint or action; negotiating is the ability to discuss and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement; and influencing is the ability to effectively persuade and negotiate.
It is also important to emphasize what these skills are not. Proper use of persuading, negotiating and influencing should NOT be confrontational or antagonistic. It is not about arguing, forcing your will, harassing, pestering or using a power imbalance. Applying these skills should result in a positive, supportive, beneficial and evidence-based discussion, underpinned by an understanding of the person or people being addressed.
In this post, Joanne McCuaig, a distance learning PGR in the College of Arts and Law, explains how and why she set up online discussion groups using Twitter.
I’m a part-time, distance student in my 2nd year, in the department of English Language and Applied Linguistics. I’m a Canadian, living in South Korea, studying with a UK institution; I wanted to take advantage of any networking opportunities. First, I set up my Academic Twitter account – regular Twitter but used as a research profile to share about your skills and work.
I then decided to start two different student groups. I got the idea after attending an online conference that had breakout sessions for PhD students. It was energising to be able to share about our research, ask questions to others, and offer suggestions for literature, methods, or approaches. A few months after the conference I contacted, via Twitter, a few of the students I’d “met” at the conference to ask if they wanted to continue the conversation.
Ahead of running the Virtual Consultancy Challenge in 2021, Katie Hoare from Careers Network spoke to some of the previous participants to find out what they learnt and whether they enjoyed it.
In spring 2020, as lockdown hit, postgraduate researchers from across the University and the globe were gaining valuable professional skills as well as work experience as consultants, and they were doing so completely online via the Virtual Consultancy Challenge. The Virtual Consultancy Challenge is an online self-access training programme and competition where inter-disciplinary teams of postgraduate researchers work together in virtual teams to solve their “client’s” real-life challenge.
At the beginning of September, a friend and I ran an online postgraduate conference for students studying philosophy of education. We initially started thinking about the conference late Spring, but decided not to rush into hosting it, choosing a September date for the event to ensure we had sufficient time to plan for it. This meant that we could attend other online webinars and conferences to see what the common issues were, and to understand the experience from the perspective of the attendee.
Here are ten tips for anyone wanting to organise an online conference:
Continuing our recent mini-theme of online conferences, Lluís Jerez i Bertolín, a PGR from the School of History and Cultures, shares with us his experience of organising one.
In late April of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc around the world, which was not good. I stepped from assisting the organisation of the Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Colloquium (CAHA Colloquium) to being its sole organiser, which was also not good. As the Colloquium could not be postponed to the next academic year, it had to take place online, which at the time I saw as a complete disaster.
We’ve recently heard about attending virtual conferences, but what about presenting your research online? Ciara Harris has recent experience of this, for the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition and her Annual Progress Review (APR). Here, she shares her experiences.
First things first, presenting virtually might have some additional challenges compared to ‘traditional’ presentations, but it has advantages too – there’s no travel time, so you can go straight from another project into your presentation (maybe grabbing a cup of tea in between), you can practice your presentation in the exact environment you plan to present in, and you can have chocolate on your desk ready for as soon as you turn your camera off after presenting!
Kish Adoni, PhD student in the School of Biosciences, recently attended a two-week online conference hosted by The American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS). He shares his experience in this post.
What do you think about online scientific conferences?
It’s weird! That’s the first thing I’d say. No more loitering around the confectionary section of a big hall, waiting to speak to a professor from another university whose papers sprawl across your office desk. There is also no chance of having one too many pints of Guinness and spilling your latest confidential scientific idea to another academic in your field. I suppose whether those things are a positive or a negative depends on personal preference, but one thing is for sure: online conferences are going to become more normal and the chances are that you will attend one.
In this post, April-Louise Pennant, a PGR from CoSS, describes her recent experience of having her viva conducted online. Congratulations to April-Louise for passing with minor corrections!
A viva is one of the biggest days of your life, a day you will remember for the rest of your life and the day you defend years of your hard work. If like me, you had to wait 6 months for this day (instead of the usual 2), the prospect of it being cancelled or even postponed – despite a surreal global health pandemic like the Coronavirus – is going to irk your soul.
When it looked likely that a national lockdown was imminent and everything began to move online, I waited with bated breath to hear news about what was going to happen to my viva. Scheduled ages ago for Wednesday 25 March, it was firmly marked in my diary and my mind, and for the last 6 months I had been preparing vehemently. Eight days before my viva, I was informed that it would still go ahead but that it would take place online via Skype. Continue reading “Defending my PhD via Skype”
This month is #AcWriMo (academic writing month), so Vicky Wallace, Research Skills Advisor, talks about academic writing, but perhaps not for an obvious audience.
What is The Conversation?
Launched in Australia in 2011, and then in the UK in 2013, The Conversation is an independent source of informed opinion from the academic and research community. The Conversation is funded by universities, research institutions, corporate bodies, foundations and reader donations, enabling it to be free for readers and authors. And PhD students may write for The Conversation! Continue reading “Join The Conversation”
First of all, take a break. Away from your thesis, and away from your research. This well-earned holiday is both a chance to reconnect with yourself as more than just the author of your thesis, and to reconnect with family and friends that you may have been neglecting recently. Importantly, this also gives you a new perspective on your thesis for when you return to it to prepare forthe next milestone in your journey, namely your viva.