The Saturday of the study school continued the theme of exploring theory, extending a very warm welcome to Dr. Jonathon Tummons from the University of Teeside, who gave an engaging and enjoyable presentation on how theory develops, and how we develop as researchers through our engagement in a community of practice of researchers. One student described Jonathon’s talk as “A breath of fresh air” . Students also praised the assignment workshops and the practical session on SPSS saying that these were very helpful in their development.
The idea of incorporating student defences into the main programme was welcomed, (even by those presenting them) as students felt it gave them an insight into what colleagues were doing. The critical reading groups went very well too. Reflecting on the weekend overall, one student comment was “I don’t think we have had a bad session”.
There were requests for more specialised lectures relating to students’ study topics. particularly with regard to Special Educational Needs and a suggestion was made that we could consider combining student vivas with study schools so that examiners could give guest lectures, although we thought that this was unlikely to be practical given the demands made on examiners.
On the perhaps more mundane, (but still important) theme of organisation, the group appreciated the space provided by the Graduate School, feeling that it provided a much more relaxed atmosphere than the “classroom” feel of the Learning Landscapes room. There were some reservations, inevitably. The sight lines of the Academic Commons room were not seen as ideal. Students felt it would have been nice to have a “chillout” space, and perhaps a few additional rooms for tutorials, given the distance to Bridge House, and the rest of the University. (This was keenly felt on the Saturday at lunchtime) Some comments were made on the noise made by the tea urn, and it was suggested that this be placed on the landing at future events.
Other issues that arose, were the timing of the event – the Sunday timetable seemed to be a little empty to some students, and it was suggested that the content of the Friday be transferred to Sunday. That said, others felt that some difficulty would be inevitable given the problems of International travel. Some students commented on the “Inappropriateness of the presence of a child” at one event, although this seemed to be something of a minority view. Finally there was a request that we organise more social events for the weekend, even to the extent of adding a “What’s on in Lincoln” feature to future study school programmes.