What they DONT’t tell you before you embark on a PhD

(originally published in Australia Asia Pacific Institute Review Jan-March 2016, p. 9) Well, if you thought that working on a PhD was about spending 3 years (or more? Yay!) reading and writing about your pet topic, you’re wrong. The first thing they don’t tell you is that editing will be much more important than writing….

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Supervising someone else’s dream?!!

This year I find myself taking on more postgraduate supervisions than I’ve ever had, though not as many as some of my colleagues because I’m wary of the responsibility of supervising someone else’s dream. And that’s how I think of postgraduate supervision, particularly for PhDs. People undertake these projects for different reasons, sometimes it’s a…

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Professionalism and Teaching

It’s been a few months since I last taught an undergraduate class and that’s given me time to reflect on my teaching style. I’ve always maintained that my job as an academic is to provoke students, startle them out of their complacency and destabilise their cozy views of the world. I still hold that unquestioned…

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Online Learning: Net Gain or Nett Loss?

In the mid 1990s, a major client demanded I get myself an email account so he could contact me via email. I didn’t appreciate it then but his insistence did, within five years, lead to my moving from designing websites and running a business to researching the internet. Well do I recall my delight at…

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Timely Feedback

It isn’t easy providing timely feedback as a supervisor amidst the many tasks that call for your attention. Does one drop the lecture being prepared, the paper being written or essay being marked to read through the draft sent by a student? How does one set up expectations so a reasonable time frame is allowed…

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What is Good Supervision?

For the past few weeks I’ve been attending a series of seminars on research supervision, conducted by Geoff Hill, with staff from across the different faculties. Just this Monday we were looking at each others’ definition of what is good supervision? For many of my colleagues, it was about being systematic, offering guidance and providing…

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Projects I Supervise

I’m currently co-supervisor on a few projects. One of which is based on the transformative potential of digital storytelling and another on community media in the developing world. My students have successfully completed projects on topics as diverse as new media in retirement villages in Australia and the notion of place in master planned communities…

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