Nadine Muller has launched an excellent new blog for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and early career researchers (ECRs). In her own words…
In November 2012 I launched The New Academic, a continuing series of blog posts on all things academic, aimed at postgraduate and early-career researchers. Rather than lengthy personal accounts, The New Academic aims to provide short tips and guidance – however subjective – on key academic activities.
I now write to you with two requests (besides hoping you will visit the blog and comment, or even recommend it to others):
- If you are a researcher and would like to propose a guest post on a topic of your choice, please get in touch with me. Posts may be personal accounts of your experiences in academia generally, or may address specific issues you’ve encountered.
- Considering recent announcements of funding cuts, the next season of The New Academic (starting May 2013) will be dedicated exclusively to the experiences of part-time and/or self-funded postgraduate students, who can, unfortunately, often find themselves overlooked within departments (though of course this isn’t always the case) and within the academic landscape. If you were or are a part-time and/or self-funded postgraduate and would like to contribute a post about your experiences, please do get in touch. I already have a list of 30+ people on my potential author list for this series of posts, and the more voices are heard, the better.
Please feel to get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, and feel free to pass this message on to anyone you think may be interested. Any comments and suggestions are gratefully received, as are suggestions for guest posts.
I hope you’ll find the blog a valuable resource – as you will see, it lays no claim to being a universal database of knowledge, but to simply provide useful “beginners'” information and overviews which I hope will be of help to other postgraduate researchers and early-career academics.
All the best and thanks for reading,
Dr Nadine Muller
Lecturer in English Literature & Cultural History Liverpool John Moores University Dean Walters Building
In case you’ve been perplexed by those funny little squares that have been appearing all over campus, they are QR codes – short for Quick Response code. Although the look like tiny Rorschach tests, they are actually a scannable code, capable of holding any type of data. They originated in the automative industry and were used to manage inventory, but are now much more widely deployed to enable those armed with smartphones to find more information on a particular product or service by pointing them to a website.
There are more imaginative uses, too. You might have noticed an outbreak of QR codes in the Library, allowing you to quickly report rowdiness in the quiet areas. With a flick of a wrist, you can summon a Librarian to tell them to shhhhh.
If you already have a smartphone, then you’re just a few short steps away from being able to take advantage of this new technology. There are a number of free apps available. For Android, the most popular scanner is by ZXing and there’s a similar product available for the iPhone.
Sadly, as it with the case of any innovation, there are some annoying people who have devoted a lot of time to adapting QR codes for malicious use. Be careful where you point your smartphone, as some codes will direct you to dodgy sites intent on stealing your details. They are in the minority, however, and most will simply help you access information and services quickly and easily.
Should you want to generate your own QR codes, there are many website that will allow you to do this for free, including qrstuff.com. And if you want to find out more about the technology behind these strange blobs, there’s a very good article on Wikipedia (the QR code above will also take your there).
Do let us know if you come up with any imaginative uses of your own.
See the Doctoral School’s study direct site ‘E-Learning for Researchers’ for a new resource on preparing for your Viva:
For doctoral researchers everywhere, the viva is a daunting challenge,often approached with anxiety and confusion rather than careful preparation. Should candidates relax and hope for the best, panic, or prepare systematically for the big day? This 30 minute video by AngelProductions and Birkbeck, University of London, will help students to understand the viva and handle it well. It is now widely used in universities throughout the UK.
The Good Viva Video will help you understand:
- What is a viva?
- How important is it to your degree?
- How do vivas differ between disciplines?
- How can you prepare?
- Should you relax or panic?
- What are the roles of the internal and external examiners and your supervisor?
- How are examiners chosen?
- What questions should you expect?
- How to use a practice viva
- Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your thesis
- What are examiners looking for?
- Coping with examiners mistakes or aggressive questions
- Understanding the outcome
If you have any difficulties signing into the site please contact TLDU-Researcher@sussex.ac.uk
Slides and audio recordings from the Hugh Kearns workshops are now available on the study direct site ‘E-learning for Researchers’. These include:
- ‘Defeating Self Sabotage’ (19th Jan)
- ‘Turbocharge Your Writing’ (20th Jan)
- ‘Creating the 7 secrets of highly successful research students (for supervisors)’ (20th Jan)
If there are any difficulties with access please let us know.