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ERIC Number: EJ771210
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-1470-3297
Postgraduate Research Success: Communities of Practice Involving Cohorts, Guardian Supervisors and Online Communities
Wisker, Gina; Robinson, Gillian; Shacham, Miri
Innovations in Education and Teaching International, v44 n3 p301-320 Aug 2007
Traditionally, supervisors work with students on an individual basis and postgraduate development programmes are run on site. However, with increasing numbers of part-time and international students, supervisory relationships are likely to be conducted at a distance as students study alongside other commitments. Isolation can often be a key feature for many postgraduates, whether based in the same institution as the supervisor and more particularly for international students or those studying at a distance. It can also be an issue for their supervisors. However, in this age of electronic communication, interactions at a distance should be able to be at least as robust as many of those conducted face to face. More broadly, the international research community is something generally cited as the context for research work, supervision, study and publication more generally. Entry firstly into the university academic community, and then into the larger global research community can be enabled, we would argue, by the support of communities of practice from the outset of postgraduate students' and supervisors' interactions. In this context, considerable numbers of international postgraduates at Anglia Ruskin University (UK) and their supervisors are being effectively supported through three innovations which build institutionally related communities of practice: (1) Guardian supervisors work with the students on research development programmes, with accompanying meetings organised during and round programme workshops, which focus throughout on strategies of meta-learning. Subsequently they support students' work at a distance with emails, and webcam correspondence. (2) PhD students are empowered to develop mutual, critically focused support for each other's work through the enhanced use of the cohort in the compulsory research development workshops and through ongoing discussion lists, self-help groups and symposia. (3) Supervisors of international postgraduates are supported as a community of practice through the revision of online supervisory discussion and development. This paper is based on action research carried out with current and graduate students, guardian supervisors and supervisors as collaborators to explore the rationale, problems, practices and the richness of the experience of working with a system which fosters communities of practice, involving guardian supervisors, distance supervisors and postgraduate cohorts.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom