Swap Shop Oral Presentations

Aberdeen CityLab! Where the city is the classroom

Dr Bruce Scharlau, Senior Lecturer (Scholarship), School of Computing & Natural Sciences & Dr Jon Pengelly, Head of Postgraduate Studies, Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University & Zoe Evans, Transformation and Innovation Adviser, Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen CityLab is a 15-credit course offered to twenty 3rd or 4th students from the University of Aberdeen, and Robert Gordon University under an initiative run in collaboration with Aberdeen City Council. CityLab provides an opportunity for students to play an active role in improving the city. The human-centred approach, which the course uses, helps students appreciate alternative points of view as members of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional teams from the two universities. Students learn creative and innovative ways to develop projects, which can be sustainably continued after the course ends. As well as learning about team-building and project management, there are many useful personal gains. Students learn formal and informal presentation skills, and create opportunities for networking and establishing connections with professionals, who can help teams move their project ideas forward. This course is a way for students to deploy their disciplinary skills while developing their professional skills.

To view the presentation click here.

Online Professionalism & Employability

Dr Emily Nordmann, Lecturer (Scholarship), School of Psychology and Gabi Lipan, MRes Psychology Student

In this workshop we will present the results of a Learning and Teaching Enhancement Programme funded project that developed a resource to help students with their online professionalism and employability. As part of the project we conducted a survey asking both students and employers for their views on the use of social media. We found that although students are aware that employers utilise social media for recruitment purposes, they misunderstand how employers use it. In consultation with the University of Aberdeen Careers Service Employer Board, we have created a guide for students that presents the results of this survey, along with practical advice from employers on how to boost their employability by creating a professional online presence. This workshop will cover the main findings of the project and discuss how to embed this information into existing employability content.

To view the presentation click here.

Undergraduate Term-time Employment and Student Attainment

Cath Dennis, Lecturer (Scholarship), School of Biological Sciences

Undergraduate students were invited to complete a survey on term time employment (TTE) – data were then matched to attainment data from the student record (n=1304 students).  The majority of students in TTE (71%, n=621) reported undertaking TTE to cover essential living expenses.  Compared to students not undertaking TTE, attainment was significantly better at low levels of TTE (1-10 hours), and only significantly worse when TTE was >30 hours/week.  These patterns of attainment were unaffected by ‘academic potential’ (measured via incoming UCAS tariff).  Given the numbers involved, systems that recognize and facilitate student’s requirements to engage in TTE should be promoted.  This study is unable to comment on possible causation, but would tentatively suggest that students may benefit from taking on 10 or fewer hours of TTE per week.

To view the presentation click here.

Enterprising Researchers Programme: Preparing PGRs for Employment

Frances Vaughan, Enterprising Researchers Project Officer, Centre for Academic Development/Careers Service and Dr Rotimi Alabi, Founder/Managing Director at RAB-Microfluidics

The Enterprising Researchers initiative is an EPSRC-funded project which explores and addresses the links between researcher career aspirations, their employability and the skills valued by employers. This is a joint project between the Centre for Academic Development and the Careers Service.  The two main aims of the project are to understand the skills that underpin enterprise and employability from both employer and researcher perspectives, and to create opportunities for researchers to develop these skills.  Through this initiative, we have developed a mini-project model which facilitates short-term collaborations between local enterprises and academic researchers at the University. Businesses from all sectors and of all sizes are invited to host a researcher for a 2-3 week salary-free project, with the aim of promoting growth and innovation while offering researchers the opportunity to put their research skills into professional practice.  Frances Vaughan will outline the progress of the initiative to date, and Oluwarotimi Alabi will share his experience of undertaking a mini-project as a doctoral researcher.

To view the presentation click here.


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