There was a time when teaching in Higher Education (HE) was treated as a bit of a necessary evil, and no doubt all of us have sat through some execrable lectures and seminars in our time. That time is (thankfully!) behind us, and there is currently a strong focus on professionalism in teaching that fosters an excellent learning experience for students. The Higher Education Academy (HEA) have developed a UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and professional recognition for teaching in HE, widely used in the sector.
PGRs are an extremely important part of learning and teaching at the University of Birmingham, and many of you get involved in teaching activities across the institution. As well as being a very rewarding activity and providing much-needed cash, those PGRs hoping to follow an academic career path will find teaching experience essential for their CV.
Continue reading “Learning to teach (or teaching to learn?)”
In this blog post Sam King from the Planning Office talks about the benefits of using Pure (Publication and Research)…
What is Pure and why should we use it?
Pure is a Research Information Management System and is the institutional Research Repository used by the University of Birmingham. Whilst the majority of records added to Pure are publications, Pure can also be used to record information about your research activities and can even be used to publish datasets.
If you want to plan for your academic career, Pure is an excellent tool to start collecting together your research activities in one place.
Continue reading “The Pure Research Information System is now available to all PhD researchers…”
Carol Gray, a doctoral researcher at Birmingham Law School, shares her experience with us on designing online courses…
“To teach is to learn twice”, as the saying goes.
Have you ever found yourself explaining your research to other people, then wondering how much they have taken in? Ever been tempted to set them a quick quiz to test this? (Okay, that’s probably going a bit too far….)
What about your key stakeholders or colleagues? Wouldn’t it be good to share your results with them in a format that allows the learning to count as Continuing Professional Development (CPD)? Many professionals are now required to complete a certain number of hours of CPD per year, and this can be a powerful recruitment tool for short courses.
So, why don’t you think about turning your research topic into an on-line learning module? On-line learning has become a hugely popular form of learning, either on its own or mixed with face-to-face sessions as “blended learning.” Continue reading “Turn your research into a course!”
This week James Walker, a postgraduate researcher in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels in the School of Chemical Engineering, shares his public engagement experience with us…
Ever been at a party and killed a conversation in ten seconds flat when asked “so, what do you do?” If so, you’re probably also a postgraduate researcher (PGR) – or perhaps a town planner. My heart goes out to my peers who are both! I used to get as far as “oh I’m doing a PhD in Chemical Enginee-,“ before I’d notice the glazing over of the eyes of what had been my audience. “You must be very smart,” they all say, before suddenly needing to nip to the loo. Now I lead with “well I make really tiny renewable energy catalysts and look at atoms using fancy, expensive microscopes that look like weapons in a Bond villain’s arsenal!” Suffice to say, the second response engenders significantly more discussion. The subtle difference is in knowing your audience and tailoring your delivery, I’d say. These are among a crop of new skills that I’ve picked up since becoming heavily involved in public engagement with research and I’m writing this to tell you how you too can revolutionise your personal development simply by talking about the thing that you spend most of your time doing. Convenient eh? Continue reading “Public Engagement with Research: The Personal Development Holy Grail”
We all know that getting your work published during your PhD can be a tough process, but it is possible…In this blog post Elaine Mitchell, a part-time postgraduate researcher from the College of Arts and Law, shares her experience with us…
As well as pursuing my PhD on gardening and horticulture in eighteenth-century Birmingham in the Centre for West Midlands History over the last year, I’ve worked on two publishing projects with my supervisor. Here are a few reflections on the experience. Continue reading “Publishing during your PhD”
Presenting your research in a poster format might seem like a daunting task, but there are many reasons that this is an essential task for PGRs. Jenna Clake, from the College of Arts and Law, shared her experience of participating in the Conference with us…
I presented my research at the Research Poster Conference last year, with a poster entitled ‘Do You Think I’m Crazy?: Feminine and Feminist Humour in the Absurd’. As a Creative Writing PhD researcher, sometimes it is difficult to gain the opportunity to disseminate my research to a wide audience. My research focuses on two main areas: my ‘creative’ work (poetry) and my ‘critical’ work (researching literary theories and trends). I rarely have the chance to talk about the latter, especially to academics and researchers outside my specialism, so the Research Poster Conference offered the chance to receive some much-needed peer review.
The exercise of creating a poster to share your research is helpful in terms of identifying the key aspects and terms of your project. Continue reading “Why you should take part in the Research Poster Conference”
Jim Bell, Outreach Officer at the University of Birmingham and soon to be in charge of the Midlands base for Explorer Dome (a mobile planetarium company), introduces public engagement.
Regardless of the discipline that you study or your level of experience, there is a responsibility for researchers to ensure that they are engaging public audiences with their research, and today there are more opportunities than ever to get involved.
Public engagement is a phrase that has been pushing its way into the consciousness of UK research since the House of Lords Science and Technology – Third Report in 2000, but it is absolutely not limited to science. HEFCE, RCUK and Vitae are all signed up to a “strategic commitment to public engagement”, so it is clear that public engagement is important to all areas of research.
At its most simplistic, public engagement is a conversation with a public audience about research. The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement says:
Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.
Continue reading “Think Public Engagement!”