Phew, made it!

Not so well known outside of UK universities is the ‘APG Transfer’ process. For the first year full-time, or two years part-time, new doctoral students are formally registered as ‘Advanced Postgraduate’ in at least some UK institutions. Through the APG Transfer, we are confirmed as PhD students, redirected to a masters credential, told that it is not working out, or given time to come up to an expected standard. This is certain to create a level of stress.

I registered on January 17, 2011, and I had good intentions of completing the transfer in December 2012, or sooner. Well, at Christmas I was still completing the required 6,000 to 8,000 word progress report that served as a research proposal to be defended. It had been reviewed and received extensive comments, so I continued and submitted it on January 8, 2013.

The second part of the process was the choice of an oral examination or a departmental presentation that would be followed by a meeting with the panel responsible for the transfer recommendation. The panel is to be our supervisor and at least one other member of the academic staff. I chose the oral exam, and my panel consisted of Prof Hilary Burgess (chair of the panel), Director of Studies in the School of Education, Prof David Hawkridge, a visiting scholar from the UK Open University who works with our Institute of Learning Innovation, and Dr Palitha (Pal) Edirisingha, my main supervisor.

The panel asked me to give a presentation of no longer than 15 minutes. Fortunately, I was prepared with one that I anticipated would take 10 minutes. This was followed by about 50 minutes of questions, primarily from Prof Burgess whom had not met me prior to this date. At the end of the hour, I was advised that I was successful and would be confirmed as a PhD student.

Not to waste an opportunity for sharing with others, my supervisor suggested I make a presentation of the APG process I experienced, and the presentation I gave, to others at the BDRA. This would be particularly beneficial to those new to our department and facing the APG in the future. The presentation was conducted online, using Adobe Connect, for 1.5 hours on February 13, 2013. The link will be added here when available.

The plan now is to complete the main study and submit the thesis by December 2014.

A.E. (Tony) Ratcliffe, PhD Student

International research by international research students

The Institute for Learning Innovation (formerly Beyond Distance Research Alliance) recently welcomed several new PhD students and visiting scholars. Our students hail from Saudi Arabia, China, South Africa, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Greece, Rwanda — plus a few from the UK.

PhD students attending training day in the Studio

PhD students attending training day in the Studio

On 18 and 19 February 2013 we held PhD Training Days, in which we gathered in the Studio (formerly the Zoo) to share research progress and participate in workshops led by Professor Grainne Conole, Dr Tracy Simmons, Dr Paul Reilly, Dr Chris Comber, and Dr David Hawkridge. Not all of our students could join us in person, however. We held the sessions live online using Adobe Connect. Our Canadian colleague Tony Ratcliffe, for example, joined us online from Canada, and unfortunately for him had to wake up at 3.30am in order to do so. In spite of this, he presented his work beautifully.

One benefit of using a method such as Adobe Connect is that afterwards we have a recording of the session, and we share these with you below:

Day 1 – 18 Feb 2013:

Recording 1 – student presentations

Recording 2:  Tracy Simmons – APG process:

Recording 3: Writing with David Hawkridge, Chris Comber on Framing your study:

Day 2 – 19 Feb 2013;

Recording 1 — student presentations & Grainne research methods:

Recording 2: — Lit Review: Paul Reilly:

Recording 3: – Grainne social media and final discussion:


Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow

%d bloggers like this: