Supervision of Honours and coursework Masters theses: strategies for enhancing the student experience (showcase)

Who: Suzanne McLaren

Theme: (1) Developing student skills

When: Thursday, September 2nd @ 12:10pm – 12:30pm

What: Supervision of Honours and coursework masters students’ theses is a core part of teaching. Students often experience high levels of anxiety, and the task of completing their largest assessment to date is daunting. In this presentation, I will provide strategies for enhancing the student experience, including the “usual” strategies such as setting expectations, clear communication, breaking the task into manageable steps, keeping the project contained, and providing constructive feedback. I will also discuss less often considered strategies, including building peer support through group projects, increasing student engagement through negotiation of topic and active participation in each stage of the project, staying within your area/s of expertise, student-supervisor “fit”, flexibility with supervision style, sharing your own experiences of research, and following through to the end of the research process (publication of findings). Central to my approach is fostering an appreciation of research and the research process, rather than “passing the thesis”. Enhancing students’ understanding of the value of their research knowledge and skills in their future careers is woven through the research experience. Outcomes include high student evaluations of the supervisory experience, a high percentage of students with Q1 or Q2 publications, students continuing on to higher degrees by research, and students engaged in research roles or projects within their workplace. The supervisory approach taken is applicable to the research and supervisory process in a broad range of disciplines.

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