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‘One Step Beyond’: Compulsory Research and Transferable Skills Training and how to make it work. The Postgraduate Training Scheme at the University of.

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Presentation on theme: "‘One Step Beyond’: Compulsory Research and Transferable Skills Training and how to make it work. The Postgraduate Training Scheme at the University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘One Step Beyond’: Compulsory Research and Transferable Skills Training and how to make it work. The Postgraduate Training Scheme at the University of Hull

2 Hull’s PGR Structures 1)The Graduate School – University wide 2) The PhD Experience Student led PhD Experience Conference Graduate Virtual Learning Environment 3) The Postgraduate Training Scheme

3 | | 3

4 |||| Graduate School Staff | 5| 5

5 | 5

6 The Graduate Virtual Research Environment Est. 2008

7 | 7 Needs of the individuals (Postgraduates) – Focus group Students wanted to learn about the research journey Individual experiences Reassurance and support Guidance Access to materials journals, advice, 24/7 access Learning from other students

8 | 8 University of Hull Solution: - The Graduate Virtual Research Environment (GVRE) The GVRE provides students access to learning resources (300 video’s, reflective diaries, formal regulations and codes of practice, and academic resources), Rich Media, (interactive activities, reading lists, search engines, and be-spoke apps). Resources are prepared for the GVRE by both research students and academics (student to student relationship as well as academics). Students are both creator and users of the learning environment. Using the Researcher Development Framework as a bridge between on-line learning and academics

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10 The Postgraduate Training Scheme Est. 1995

11 One Step Beyond: Making the most of postgraduate education | 11 “HEIs should ensure that transferable skills training is embedded as standard in the funding and design of all postgraduate research programmes” Department for Business Innovation and Skills (2010) Can making research and transferable skills training compulsory work? If it’s compulsory, won’t the students want credits and an award for their work? The University of Hull has one answer to these questions -its Postgraduate Training Scheme, PGTS (Est. 1995)

12 The PGTS at the University of Hull | 12 At the University of Hull, research degree students are registered for two awards The PhD, MPhil, MSc, MA And the part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Research Training Except the MRes and Professional degrees, where the research training is within the degree structure

13 Compulsory?

14 | 14 Research students cannot submit their dissertation/thesis without gaining a minimum number of research training credits The student record system will not allow entry of the submission date unless the requisite number of credits are already on the system as having been awarded (pre-Exam Board)

15 PGTS Vs Cert. Research Training | 15 1 year (MA, MSc) students have to gain 20 credits 2 year (MPhil) students have to gain 40 credits 3 year (PhD) students have to gain 60 credits before they can submit their dissertation/ thesis However, there are credit exemptions, for credits awarded prior to coming to Hull, as part of other awards But, there are minimum levels of ‘new’ credits to be gained e.g. 40 credits for PhD students The Scheme is compulsory, but module choice is flexible (300 modules advertised in 13/14)

16 Accredited?

17 Credits and Accreditation | 17 The PGTS works on modules of Education A ten credit module represents 100 hours of learning, with around 20 contact hours The PGTS has a few 5 credit modules, most the Graduate School administers are 10 credits and others are 20 credits Credits are at Masters level There is an annual Exam Board and an External Examiner for Quality Assurance and Enhancement The PGTS is subject to internal Periodic Review

18 Programme Structure | 18 The PGTS is not like other Programmes, with a core number of 20 credit and a set of optional modules Instead, students conduct a Training Needs Analysis against the Researcher Development Framework with their supervisors and choose modules on the basis of appropriateness for their Personal Development Plan

19 Categories of Modules The modules fall into four main categories: (1)‘University-level’ or ‘generic’ modules (05) These comprise the smallest number and are coordinated through the GS, but taught by staff from both academic and non-academic areas of the University. E.g. ‘Project Managing Your Research Degree’ ‘Career Management Skills’ ‘Conference Presentation’ ‘Safety in Research in Science and Engineering’ | 19

20 Categories of Modules (2)‘Faculty/School-level’ modules Normally available to research students in the relevant academic area; but some modules may also be taken by students from other areas. E.g. ‘The Research Interview’ ‘Philosophical issues in Social Science Research’ (3) ‘Faculty/School other’ modules These comprise elements of other programmes, usually taught Masters programmes, but which are open to research students | 20

21 Categories of Modules (4) ‘External’ modules These are provided outside the University (e.g. a Research Council workshop or a Medical Deanery course), which are accredited within the PGTS by assessed work, on the recommendation of Academic Supervisors/Graduate Research Directors | 21

22 Credits and Assessment Credits range from 5, 10, 15 to 20; each credit requires 10 hours of personal study. Assessment is a requirement, attendance is not enough Reflection/critical appraisal of the learning is required at Masters level Students either pass or fail Students can be reassessed if they fail or take another module | 22

23 Provision for Part-time Students Part-time and off-campus students can attend the annual week-long Easter and Summer Schools which offer a number of generic Graduate School modules | 23

24 Awards?

25 Awards Completion of 60 credits (without exemptions) qualifies students for the award of the Postgraduate Certificate in Research Training; Completion of 120 credits qualifies for the Diploma (no Masters degree). The Graduate School holds an award ceremony each year, with the VC, or PVC(Research) presenting certificates | 25

26 Issues raised by making research and transferable skills training compulsory and award bearing

27 Issues Raised “The Role of Accreditation in Research Training and Why Research Training Should Be Compulsory – The University of Hull Experience” Thompson, MEd dissertation (2009) The level and quality of engagement with research and transferable skills training Is making the PGTS compulsory a good thing? Is making the PGTS award bearing a good thing? | 27

28 The PGTS has distracted me from my research | 28 The PGTS seems to be seen more as an obstacle to be overcome rather than a scheme that is relevant to the student’s research activities”. “I feel that the PGTS is a waste of time that detracts from research.” “I have had a good experience of the courses I have undertaken and think they are really useful for someone like myself who needs training in specific aspects of research.” “I can see the ways in which my new skills and knowledge will be useful as I continue my research.”

29 The amount of training students are asked to do is too much | 29

30 Before selecting modules, I undertook a Training Needs Analysis with my supervisor. | 30

31 Compulsory Schemes “I think it has to be compulsory, personally, otherwise you will get a whole group of people, particularly the supervisors, that can’t be bothered” “I think because they have to do it, but it’s explained why and there is a lot of choice, I think it would be much more problematic if they were told you have to do this, that and the other. Since there is choice, you can actually talk to them about it; you can look for what is most suitable” | 31

32 Accreditation “But I think it is the right way to go because it recognises the extra work that the students have done. It gives them something that’s transferrable - they can take with them and it’s an incentive for them to do that. I think they’re all positive drivers as it were” “when you are doing these credits, and I spoke to other people, they feel quite happy with them because it’s like they push you to do an extra work that is going to be good for you in the future.” | 32

33 Periodic Review of the PGTS (2014) Do students follow a balanced programme? | 33

34 The main thing I would do differently is to enrol on the Easter School in the first year of my PhD. The whole week is absolutely invaluable in setting students up for what is to come over the remainder of the research process and I would go as far as making it mandatory that students had to complete this module within the first year of enrolment on a postgraduate qualification. I fully intend to make the experiences I have had during my postgraduate studies benefit students I hope to teach in the future. The lessons I have learnt, both good and bad, will shape how I supervise postgraduate students in the future as I now have a fuller picture of what can be offered and most crucially, the times students should take up these opportunities. 3 rd yr PhD student, PGTS Easter School 2014 | 34

35 PGTS Exam Board Submissions Engagement increases with time! 40% exemptions in 2002, only 9% in 2013 | 35

36 Conclusions Being forced to do something that will have future benefits is important and isn’t wrong Many PhD students would not have done the training had it not been compulsory and they did see the benefits later flexibility of module choice is key – 300 modules advertised in 13/14 Barriers to engagement can be overcome! It appears that those who see least benefit didn’t carry out a Training Needs Analysis and didn’t develop a Personal Development Plan. Its not surprising that they don’t know why they are doing research and transferable skills training. | 36

37 AHRC Heritage Consortium (7 Universities) £1.85m AHRC, £3m total 60 credit Postgraduate Certificate in Heritage Research Heritage Sources and Techniques, Heritage Planning, Policy and Practice, Heritage Placement | 37

38 Selected Graduate School Publications Robert Costello, Nigel A Shaw, Kaylara A Reed & Nadine Waehning- Orga “PhD experience conferences 2013”, HEA Enhancing Learning in The Social Sciences 2013 Robert Costello & Nigel Shaw, "The Development of a Blended Learning Experience to Enable a Personalised Learning Approach to Researcher Development for Research Students". The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education Volume 19, 2013,, ISSN 2327-7955 Robert Costello, Nigel Shaw, Barbara Allan, and Darren Mundy, “Tailoring e-learning 2.0 to facilitate EU/International Postgraduate student needs within the (GVRE) Graduate Virtual Research Environment”. International Journal for e-Learning Security (IJeLS), Volume 2, Issues 3 and 4, ISSN 2046-4568 (Online) 2012. | 38

39 Robert Costello and Nigel Shaw, Assisted Learning Virtual Support (ALVS) for postgraduate students, through the Graduate Virtual Research Environment (GVRE) The 8th International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST-2013), World Congress on Internet Security (WorldCIS-2013), World Congress on Sustainable Technologies (WCST-2013). Robert Costello and Nigel Shaw, “Personalising on-line learning to facilitate SuperVisory Training (SVT)”, University of Greenwich “e” Teaching and Learning Workshop, 2013, HEA STEM (Computing): Learning Technologies - (2013) Robert Costello, Nigel Shaw, ‘Personalised Learning Environments’ HEA STEM conference 26/03/2014. | 39

40 Validation “The PGTS at the University of Hull is a mature, well established programme offering a diversity of opportunities for PG research students to develop generic and transferable skills, plus specific research skills relevant to their doctoral research. As such, it serves as an exemplar of its kind in the field of postgraduate education for research students.” Prof. A. F. Fell External Examiner | 40

41 Contact details Dr Nigel Shaw Administrative Manager Graduate School University of Hull HU6 7RX 01482 466822 | 41

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