A Media Zoo for University of Leicester Postgraduates

The Beyond Distance Research Alliance Media Zoo is a place where members of staff from University of Leicester can learn about new technologies for teaching and learning and try them for themselves. Now, the University’s postgraduate students will have a Media Zoo of their own. Wednesday 25th November 2009, 2pm, sees the launch of the Graduate School Media Zoo in the Graduate School Reading Room, first floor of the University’s David Wilson Library.

This new Zoo is a joint endeavour of the University Library, the Graduate School and Beyond Distance. Daily on-site drop-in or prearranged support will be provided by my able and enthusiastic colleague Emma Kimberley who rejoices in the title of Research Forum Facilitator.

 A series of workshops will be on offer over at the Zoo, geared to help postgraduate students explore time-saving and innovative technologies for their research work. Workshop topics will include “Blogging for Research” and “Social Networking in the Research World.” Additionally, the Graduate School Media Zoo has a growing and interactive web presence, including a Facebook group and a blog, so that postgraduate students who are studying at a distance can also benefit.

The Zoo will be formally inaugurated by Dr Malcolm Read, Executive Secretary of JISC, which has funded many of Beyond Distance’s research projects, followed by a workshop on “Keeping ahead of research in your field using RSS feeds”  led by Information Librarian Sarah Whittaker.  There will also be opportunities to test-run one of several eBook readers, podcasting methods, and Second Life, in the new Zoo.

Postgraduate students are perpetually busy and hard-pressed by the demands of both research and part-time teaching. Finding the time to learn about innovations and technologies which can facilitate networking and collaboration with others in their field can be a challenge. We hope that by virtue of its accessibility in the library and its web presence, the new Graduate School Media Zoo will help meet this challenge, and will equip Leicester’s postgraduates with research tools to enable them to achieve more not only as researchers but as academics of the future.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist & Assistant Media ZooKeeper

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