Developing learning cohorts for postgraduate research degrees
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Development of researchers through higher degree research studies is a high priority in most universities. Yet, research about supervision as pedagogy and models of supervision is only recently gained increasing attention. Charged with producing good researchers within very limited resources, academics are constantly looking for more efficient models of supervision for higher degree research students. A cohort model of supervision promises several efficiencies, but we argue that its success lies importantly on how well the cohort is developed specifically for higher degree research studies. We drew on a growing body of literature on higher degree research supervision to design, implement and evaluate our approach to developing a cohort of seven students enrolled in the Master of Education (Research) degree. Our approach included four provisions: initial residential workshop, development of a learning community, nourishing scholarship, and ongoing learning opportunities. The four provisions resulted in gradually developing an environment and culture that students found very supportive and nurturing. This paper is based on the findings from data collected from student evaluations in the first year of studies, feedback from the cohort's sponsor, and our reflective notes. The evaluation substantiated the value in investing time and resources for purposely developing acohort for higher degree research studies. Whether the cohorts are sponsored or not, universities will still need to invest time and resources for cohort development if a cohort model is intended to gain wider efficiencies in supervision of higher degree research students.
The Australian Educational Researcher
© 2015 Australian Association for Research in Education . This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified