EquATE: experiences so far

paul hubbardThe EquATE programme was not something I had heard of until I got an e-mail earlier this year asking if I would be interested in taking part.  Once I had read the flyer though there were a number of reasons why I was interested in taking part in this course.  I found it interesting as the course was sold as an opportunity to network with other academic staff throughout the university.  I thought participation in such network would be useful because it looked like it would build on some of the work I’ve done on my education master’s course.  One module on that course was about becoming a ‘networked practitioner’ so I thought could utilise some of what I learnt there within the EquATE network, and maybe work on a project in that area.

Some of the themes mentioned in the EquATE flyer were are also of interest, such as technology.  Part of my aims in my role in the school are to add more online and technology based content to the teaching that I do, so I thought being on this course and in this network would aid that objective as well.  Finally, I thought the course would be really helpful as part developing my pedagogical research through providing me with reserved time to develop this research.

Since being on the course it has been good to meet new people and discuss ideas around education and research in education.  After the initial introductory session we were straight into planning and discussing projects with an aim to get some initial planning and research done ready to present a poster to the group early in the new year.  It has been great to be able to have time to sit down to discuss and develop a project.  The main challenge though has been to find something that will start to generate useful information in a short time frame.

As it happens the project I am working on is in the field of becoming a networked practitioner.  Having an online presence as an academic is becoming increasingly important for dissemination of work, improving impact, and career progression.  I am therefore working with Sarah Lockey and Sonia Bussey on a project to look at what extent academics in Newcastle are utilising online networks and social media and their academic/research career.  The project hopes to establish if staff are aware of and use online networking in their practice and to see if they understand what alternative impact metrics are (termed ‘altmetrics’), such as online article views, social media mentions, publication downloads etc., and how/if they can be utilised to further career progression.

Dr Paul Hubbard, School of Medical Education

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