This week, we’ve had the annual PGR Writing Summer School, with a range of insightful workshops on various aspects of academic and thesis writing. And, of course, we’ve had national excitement around England’s place in the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. I’d been wondering how to tie these together for this blog, when this article on football psychology caught my eye, and chimed with a couple of comments made during the Writing Summer School. How can we build our resilience to tackle a fear of failure and deal with difficult feedback constructively? Continue reading “Feedback’s coming home!”
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.
In this post, recent viva voce candidate Farhan Noordali, from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, shares with us his experience of the viva examination. Congratulations to Farhan on passing his viva with minor corrections!
Just over a month ago, I successfully passed my viva voce examination. Needless to say, the elation, after years of sacrifice and hard work is unparalleled. However, I felt it would be worth sharing my experience and perception of the process with the hope it may provide a sigh of relief, especially to those who feel anxious about facing this final PhD hurdle. Continue reading “The viva experience – dispelling the myths”
This week Jonathan Ward, who is part of Liveable Cities team in Civil Engineering, shares his experience of working from home as a postgraduate researcher…
Doing my PhD from home has given me an opportunity to reflect on a few things which I’d like to share with you. It brings benefits, but also pitfalls. Continue reading “Working from home”
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”
This week Coralie Acheson, a 2nd year PhD Researcher in the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, shares her experience of collecting data for her research…
My research is on how tourists encounter and negotiate the values of Ironbridge Gorge, a World Heritage Site in Shropshire; part of a collaborative AHRC-funded project looking at the communication of value to different communities of interest at the site. This was my first serious foray into the academic world of cultural heritage following years of studying and working commercially in archaeology. When I started, I knew I had a steep climb in terms of raising my knowledge base in terms of thinking about tourism theory but I hadn’t realised how much I also needed to learn about the actual practicalities of carrying out the research. Continue reading “Finding your way in the foggy road of data collection…”