Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Why journal clubs matter (Corina Modderman and Carol Reid)

Emma MacDonald (La Trobe Rural Health School, Bendigo), Sire Camara (La Trobe Arts program, Shepparton), Nicole McGill (Charles Stuart University), Carol Reid (Judith Lumley Centre, Bundoora), Suzanne Muntz (Shepparton Research Network / Librarian, Shepparton), Corina Modderman (La Trobe Rural Health school, Albury/Wodonga), and Dr Phuc Nguyen (Business School, Shepparton campus)

Rurality and developing reflexive interdisciplinary research skills can make for an incongruous situation!

Researchers need skills in critical thinking, debating, and learning through discussion across multidisciplinary contexts. Living rurally means this occurs through either virtual platforms or involves long travel distances. Rural PhD candidates often find themselves appraising, thinking, reflecting and writing in isolation; we talk to ourselves (A LOT).

Regional and rural campuses present opportunities to come together to address academic isolation, having a purpose to connect help make these opportunities real. Introducing a journal club at the La Trobe Shepparton campus offered exactly such a reflective, regional research space.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

RED alert but not alarmed (RED team)

Photo by Nick Fewings | unsplash.com
One thing that everyone can agree on is that this last week has brought about seismic changes for what our 2020 will look like.

We (the Research Education & Development team) are working hard alongside all our colleagues to ensure as clear and smooth a process as possible for moving things to online modes. We recognise the importance of keeping communications open, maintaining quality development opportunities, and supporting the researcher community as we’ve always done.

But we also know that it’s not ‘business as usual’ because that is impossible.

In the midst of these huge transitions for everyone at the university, the RED team wanted to share what these changes mean for our work, and how we’re travelling with the significant shifts to our teaching and everyday practices.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

The trials and tribulations of writing in your second language: how can you make it easier? (Lise Leitner)

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
In this post Lise Leitner shares some strategies for writing in your second language, while writing in a second language!

Writing can be hard on the best of days. But when you’re writing in your second language, feelings of doubt and inadequacy can be extra soul-crushing on bad writing days. So, what can you do to make things easier? Here are a few tips and tricks that have always been helpful for me.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Doing an Australian PhD while being based overseas (Sandi James)

Photo by Chuttersnap

In this post La Trobe graduate researcher Sandi James reflects on what it is like to do your research while you are based overseas. She shares her experience and lessons she has learned to get connected and deal with isolation.

When I decided to pursue a graduate research degree I was already living and working in Southeast Asia. As I began looking around for research on doing a PhD while based overseas I found a lot of information and resources for international students arriving to study in Australian universities. This is great, and really helpful for students who are arriving to Australia for their studies. But I didn’t find a lot out there on navigating the system in reverse, i.e. studying with an Australian university from a very distant location. Given this absence, I thought I would write this post!

My research had been conceived out of other projects myself and my colleagues from the University of Malaysia Sabah were already running in Malaysia, and I thought everything would be OK with the support I had and the networks I had developed in over there.

And it was kind of OK, albeit a significant challenge.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Re-thinking mentoring (Maria Platt and James Burford)

Mentoring is a word of our time. 

Blogs and newspaper articles are awash with accounts of mentoring programs, narratives about inspirational mentors, and top tips on to prevent mentoring relationships from going pear shaped. This is true across universities too, with many institutions now offering multiple mentoring programs for staff, undergraduate students and graduate researchers.

As colleagues in the GRS who coordinate mentoring opportunities for graduate researchers, we (Maria and James) have been reflecting on what mentoring might be, as well as the ways different people might orient themselves to the opportunities it offers.  In this blog post we thought we’d share some key ideas that we have found helpful in our ongoing process of learning about mentoring.