LLS Dissertation Conference 2018

LLS Dissertation Conference 2018

28 February 2018


The annual LLS Dissertation conference,  ‘Get Your Dissertation or Extended Report Sorted!’, took place this year on 28 February. CLaSS internal placement student, Hasan Ates, attended the event in his dual capacity as a member of the organising team, on the one hand, and as a student interested in developing his dissertation writing skills, on the other. His reflections are presented below.

Students and staff alike had a great time attending the Dissertation Conference on Wednesday, with over 90% of attending students rating the event as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’! They enjoyed the multiple workshops hosted that day as well as the Keynote speech by Jane Adams and the ‘Ask the Marker’ Panel Q&A.

The day started off well! Lecturers from Library and Learning Services (LLS) held workshops which were essential for any student who wants to do well in their dissertation, final year project, or extended report. Over half of the students who offered us feedback attended the ‘Planning and Structuring your dissertation or final year project’ workshop and most described it as ‘Good’ or ‘Very good’ and stated that the demonstrations were great!

The Director of LLS, David Parkes, welcomed participants and introduced the keynote speaker, Royal Literary Fund Fellow Jane Adams. He also signposted the services LLS offers to students.

Jane Adams, RLF Fellow at DMU

Jane Adams then gave us a wonderful talk about how it feels to write a dissertation or any other extensive piece of work. She gave us tips about what we should do to move forward with our writing. She gave us advice such as taking short regular breaks in-between writing sessions as well as taking longer breaks for a day or two before continuing with your work. Jane demonstrated the need for quality writing time instead of quantity. You can find the link to Jane’s talk here, or click this link to take you to David Parkes’ mind map of Jane’s talk.

Ask the Marker Panel

Following Jane’s talk, we had our annual ‘Ask the Marker’ Panel session. This is the part of the day students said that they had enjoyed the most! We had 5 lecturers and dissertation markers on a panel answering questions by the audience. Students were able to ask any question they wanted to and were able to gain a valuable insight into the thought process of a Marker. Many students rated this session as ‘Excellent’ and stated that they had learnt new ideas and will use them in the future. Click here for the link to the recording of the Panel.

We ended our day with a final batch of parallel workshops which will help students develop their skills for completing their dissertation, final year project, or extended report. 92% of the students who attended ‘How to sound ‘critical’ in your writing’ had positive feedback of the session and one student noted that the session was ‘Clear, concise and straightforward’.


LEGO can be serious and playful at the same time!

LEGO can be serious and playful at the same time!

Today I attended a Lego Serious Play (LSP) workshop run by Julia Reeve, part of the CELT team in Library and Learning Services.

Lego Serious Play is a way of looking at things differently and it can be used as a tool for storytelling.  Most importantly, it is not about the bricks but the dialogue that occurs as a result of the activities.

LSP is underpinned by learning and teaching pedagogies, such as Social Constructivism (Piaget 1951), Flow Theory (Csikszentmihalyi 1993), and Thinking with the hands – Constructionism (Papert 1996). Using LSP can have many benefits.  For example, it can be used to help simplify complex problems, identify possible solutions to challenges, open up dialogue, develop shared understanding and ownership and create goals and direction.  It can ensure that everyone has a voice and externalises thinking. It can be particularly beneficial in exploring individual and team culture and identity.

The workshop was only a brief introduction to LSP but by the end of the session we all understood the key principles behind the methodology, we had all developed basic LSP building, storytelling and reflection skills, and we had started to think about some of the potential applications of the LSP methodology.

We undertook a number of activities during the morning, but the main focus was on building a model that could act as a metaphor to describe our current roles at DMU.  After explaining our models to the rest of the group, we then discussed whether any of them had anything in common and positioned our models to make a cohesive whole.  This allowed us to move from individual to collective models, an ideology that underpins LSP. Although workshop participants all came from different parts of the university and included librarians, academics, careers advisors and learning and teaching developers, there were many commonalities between our models.  Our last activity was to build connectors between common areas and these very much focused on the importance of both informal and formal support across the different activities of the university.

Even in a short space of time, I learnt so much from this interactive and fun workshop and it presented lots of ideas about using LSP in staff development activities and also in information literacy teaching.

If you’re interested in LSP, you can see an introductory video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B20pvfoi2E or come along to one of the CELT workshops http://celt.our.dmu.ac.uk/.