Tag Archives: research methods

Distributed teaching on a dissertation module: Taking the load off supervisors

Diarmuid Verrier & Catherine Day

Parallel session 2,  Thunderstorm 2.2

Listen to the presentation (opens in new window)

Short abstract
A description of changes made to the structure of the psychology dissertation module. One-to-one supervision is now supported by lectures, specialist workshops, and drop-in support sessions.

Back to event programme

Detailed Outline
The psychology section of the department of psychology, sociology, and politics, has recently restructured the way teaching is delivered on its dissertation module. In psychology, this dissertation must be an empirical piece of work, typically involving the collection of primary data. In order to make the process of supervision less onerous, and to homogenise the quality of the supervisee experience, the number of hours staff spend on one-to-one meetings with students has been reduced. Instead, students now receive substantial support via lectures, structured group workshops, and drop-in sessions. For example, there are lectures on ethics; drop-in sessions to support students with their analysis (typically done via SPSS); and specialist workshops that deal with data collection in semester 1 (e.g., using online questionnaire software, conducting interviews), and data analysis in semester 2 (including a wide array of qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques). The curriculum and timing of sessions has been designed to provide a coherent and effective package, making sure that students know the skills they need to succeed at their dissertation. It is also necessary that students perceive the provision of support as seamless and generous, a real concern in a context where the NSS is a constant looming presence, and on a module where it would be easy to generate negative comparisons with previous years (e.g., in relation to the reduction in one-to-one hours). This paper will describe the key changes that have been made, discuss its worth as a model for how dissertation modules could be run, and report on student feedback on the module’s debut year.

Question: Is the one-to-one supervisor-supervisee relationship sufficient for dissertation modules?

What makes an informal learning space?

Deborah Harrop and Bea Turpin

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.4

Short Abstract
This session will summarise research which aimed to investigate: What makes successful higher education informal learning spaces? The objectives were: to determine learners’ behaviours, attitudes and preferences in relation to where, what, when, how and why they use informal learning spaces at SHU; and enable evidence-based redevelopment of learning spaces.

Back to event programme

Detailed Outline
This session will share research which sought to understand ‘What makes successful higher education informal learning spaces?’ and manifested itself in the redevelopment of informal learning spaces in the Learning Centres and the ongoing development of campus spaces at SHU. Findings from the aforementioned primary, empirical research culminated in the creation of a typology of nine learning space preference attributes and the assertion that all nine attributes must be given due consideration when designing and evaluating informal learning spaces. The typology is underpinned by a theoretical framework derived from existing published literature and is drawn from the disciplines of learning theory, placemaking and architecture and the need for an understanding of the synergy between the three. The typology of learning space preference attributes will be shared, alongside examples of how it led to the implementation of real changes to learning spaces at SHU.

Jamieson (2007) calls for new spaces that challenge the status quo and the ambition is for the typology to be used as a partial response to this. To fully respond, it is hoped this research will join up with research on formal and virtual learning spaces and in doing so ensure the construction of interrelated, complimentary and coherent SHU learning spaces.

JAMIESON, P. with contributions from MIGLIS, P., HOLM, J. and PEACOCK, J. (2007). Creating new generation learning environments on the university campus. Adelaide, South Australia, Woods Bagot Research Press.

2012 Internships: insiders’ perspectives, issues and questions

Rachel Barton

The question of internships is an innovatory policy development within the University and in particular for the Business School. Using graduate internships as an example, the paper explores the use of critical reflection to consider the insights and tensions which can occur when graduates are brought into the University as interns. Critical reflection is defined here as a continuous process of sense-making. Sheffield Business School currently employs five graduate interns on six month fixed term contracts. These posts involve, four “project sponsors” and one mentor. In my capacity as intern mentor, I have sought to explore the dominant academic discourses surrounding employability and internships and the often unidentified assumptions underpinning them. The paper advocates that greater critical academic engagement is required, in for example, the processes of role development and consideration of the purpose and value of internships both at an institutional and individual level. Drawing on the perspectives of the participants and the academic literature, this paper seeks to raise issues and questions about the legitimacy of aspects of the assumptions underpinning the institutional rhetoric and practice surrounding internships generally and my role, position and practice in particular.

B4 – (FU43 and FU01) 11.50

2012 Information skills target the job market

Claire Abson, Jo Dobson, Emma Finney and Deborah Harrop

This poster will address one important aspect of the ‘futures’ conference theme and is aimed at academic staff, support staff and external customers.  Studying for a degree develops a student’s understanding and knowledge of their subject, but it is the underlying skills they acquire that make them an attractive employee. 

The information seeking and research skills they develop are part and parcel of these very marketable graduate attributes but often they are not explicit, and staff outside LIS are not always clear on the work we undertake with students that is crucial in developing these skills.  The poster will highlight the skills we focus on, how we structure our teaching to develop them and how they fit into the attributes that professional bodies and prospective employers are looking for. 

We will use feedback from the conference, which we will gather in a variety of ways, to develop the poster to re-use with academic and support staff via faculty events and other forums.  For example, we would use a QR code to link to feedback questions via Google docs.  We will also envisage using the final version with students/prospective students/their parents, e.g. at Open Days, through contact with other SLS colleagues in the Careers Service.

(FU20) 14.00