PhD Induction Sessions

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My next two monthly reports

November was a month of more training. This started with the ECS Induction sessions which introduced us to reading groups, gave us the chance to practice making a conference poster and panel sessions with existing PhD students and with PhD supervisors, allowing us to interrogate people with varied perspectives on PhD life.

The middle of the month was consumed with preparing for and participating in the FESM Generic Skills Intensive Training course. I’m normally happy to do training, but a combination of other people’s negativity toward the course, the amount of preparation required and the onset of a cold turned me a little cynical toward the whole idea. It turned out to be around half good, half not-so-good. The presentation day was particularly good, with good content, great workshops and useful practical sessions (being recorded for watching back and self-analysis)! Other parts of the course sometimes felt a bit like filler to make the course last a week (a negotiation exercise), and some were just pointless (creating a conference poster on flipchart paper using a marker pen – very bland)!

The first ECS Research Methods course was the final bit of training in November, but was as a course runs until June. While the content will probably be useful as a whole, some of it was covered in the FESM training, and the teaching style was a bit too interactive. I think I prefer to learn by absorption, rather than have to think of answers to questions I don’t know the answer to.

Work more closely related to my PhD this month included finding out about Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational objectives, primarily in the cognitive domain, though I plan to follow up his work in the affective domain too. The other major work involved reading Alex Frazer’s nine month report. As his PhD is in a similar area to mine, it was very good to hear some other perspectives, gain some more useful references to follow up and also contributed to the preparation for the Research Methods course.

December was a short month, as I took the end part as holiday to spend Christmas with my family. However, it was still a reasonably eventful month. As all the correct parts for my lab PC finally arrived, I took to time to plug in the new graphics card, install Windows and migrate my files and settings over from my temporary machine.

This month I was also able to get my reading in the games arena off to a flying start. I found that the Communications of the ACM published a special issue in July 2007 with the title “Creating a Science of Games”. Three of the articles turned out to be about using games in education and training, which was particularly useful. Although the papers were not all relevant to my research, it was a good opportunity to practice my reading and note-taking skills, and learning how to condense down what I read into a format that I can present to my supervisor in our meetings.

Along with Joe Price, I was trained to operate the seminar video recording system. This ensures that someone should be available to record all of the LSL seminars, and takes this load off of Dave Tarrant. December also saw the first real meeting of the Games Reading Group, where Charlie presented a paper on the Facade narrative generation system.

PS. Happy Birthday Dad!

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