Welcome to the ‘MeetingofMinds’ Project

Hi from the ‘Meeting of Minds’ Team¬†

The team includes

  • Kholoud: the web technologist who came up with the idea for this platform – and wants to build it.
  • Nina:¬† the social scientist who want explore ways in which different groups of people can positively socially network with each other, and is acting as the project manager for this project.
  • Ema:¬† the web technologist who wants to build this platform with the help of Kholoud.
  • Supanoot: who is acting as the blog administrator, and will use her expertise in digital business and entrepreneurship to support the Team in producing the research and strategies needed for this project.

Our Idea: Supporting Students to Find Supervisors

Today students may move across several countries, universities and disciplines during their academic life.  This means that some students lack a simple linear path when moving from masters to post-graduate education.  They will not necessarily have been previously taught, or tutored, by a prospective PhD supervisor.  Rather they will need to explore a range of possibilities within a University before finding the right supervisory match.

Students know that finding the right supervisor is key to their future academic success, so the process of finding a supervisor can be highly stressful for them.   And if students are undirected in their search, they may end up placing additional demands on busy tutors who may not be a suitable match for them.

Our idea is to create a platform to support prospective postgraduate students to find supervisors who fit to their profile, including expertise and mentoring styles.  There are a number of existing academic social networks out there, but none of them have this focus.

This platform would build on existing information available through Southampton University staff profiles such as contact details, publications, projects and information on existing PhD and Masters students.  It will also have additional features.  For example it could allow students to arrange meetings online. It might also include some additional information on supervisors’ interests, and mentoring styles.

The Social Network

In this project we are focusing on the aspect of the platform which will operate as a social network.

This would work on a number of levels. It will

  • Enable postgraduate students in the same year to share their experiences as they search for a supervisor.
  • Allow prospective postgraduate students to contact students from previous years (who already have supervisors) to find out about their experiences and ask their advice.
  • Assist postgraduate students to make direct contact with supervisors – who are most likely to match to their chosen profile – to ask for guidance or initial feedback on their ideas.
  • Encourage students and supervisors to exchange information and knowledge on themes or topics of mutual interest.
  • Encourage professors to find the best research group members which lead to the great results.

This could potentially take place on an interdisciplinary basis, and be an informal space outside the physical lecture hall or tutorial room, where students can put forward academic ideas and ask for feedback from a range of staff.  Similarly academics might want to test out some ideas with students in this type of virtual space.

Potential issues around privacy, power, trust, etc, between students and academics will be explored during this project. We will look at how we could make this a safe virtual space where different groups would be happy to strongly engage with each other.

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