September 29, 2016, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

Placement students enhance confidence & collegiality among peers

Reports on placement outcomes tend to focus on what one side of the arrangement – the student or the placement host – get out of the process, but in reality the benefits are highly reciprocal. This is nicely illustrated by a recent Postgraduate Placements Nottingham scheme in which Postgraduate Research Students (PGRs) worked with Elizabeth Newall from UoN Libraries, to facilitate a PGT Open Online Course (NOOC). We asked the placement students to share some reflections.

As PhD Facilitators what did you contribute to the PGT NOOC?


Rashidat & Courage

Lauren:  I think that our online presence as facilitators gave NOOC participants a sense of confidence and collegiality; I certainly tried to give positive feedback and to reassure participants that many of us go through the same challenges during postgraduate study.  I also think working as a team to monitor posts daily lets participants know that there is always someone on hand to help and give feedback.

Rashidat: The expectations of an average masters student are not only numerous but they also vary widely. So I had the opportunity to help them realise that these expectations are valid and that they are not also limited. Their expectations can and may change, but that whatever these expectations are, the University Of Nottingham has all the resources they may need to meet them and even excel.

Courage: Yes, the diversity of the students was what stood out most prominently to me. There were those who were coming back to study after years in industry, those who were coming directly from  an undergraduate course and a wide range of cultures and countries were represented. I have enjoyed finding out about the experiences that made people choose to further their study.

Nicola PPN


Nicola: I think that as facilitators we helped masters students engage with the course and so made it more interactive. We have also been able to provide support and encouragement which hopefully helps to motivate the students. We have also been able to encourage students to interact with each other and sign-post to other units on the course.

What did you get out of the experience?

Nicola: This was my first experience of working on a NOOC and online facilitation so it has been an interesting experience learning how students can be supported to learn in this way. I’d encourage others to take part, it’s a great experience!

Rashidat: I enjoyed the opportunity to share my story, this is important to me because I think it may help a struggling mum or international student out there, and I felt I could even develop a sort of mentor-mentee relationship [with some of the students]. I also learnt a lot from supporting this course, for instance I use the library resources more now than ever before. I didn’t know about the databases that are available to PGTs before!

Laura PPN


Lauren: I really enjoyed the enthusiasm and friendly attitude of the participants on the NOOC, they’ve really supported one another, and I’m also constantly fascinated by students’ research interests. On a personal level, it’s been really nice for me to reflect on the benefits of postgraduate study and be part of a community of people facing similar challenges. This has been particularly comforting as I write up my PhD!

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Posted in Placements