What is the Postgraduate Group Online?
The Postgraduate Group Online (or ‘Pogo’) is an opportunity for taught postgraduates and postgraduate research students to meet one another online to talk about aspects of postgraduate study and scholarship. The focus will be on academic reading and writing, good academic practices, the link between theory and practice, and the exchange of research, ideas and approaches with an inter-disciplinary focus. The aim of the group is to provide a scholarly forum for postgraduate students to engage with others beyond their course of study, to share practices, and to cross-pollinate ideas.
Who is if for?
Pogo is open to all Postgraduate Students (including Research Students and Taught Postgraduates), along with DMU academic staff who teach on Postgraduate courses.
The Postgraduate Group Online is designed for those postgrad students who want to look beyond the confines of their discipline/profession/programme of study to learn from and share with other scholars across DMU.
What happens in a Pogo session?
Postgraduate study and scholarship is at the cutting edge of human knowledge.
Each session is split into two parts: Talking and Doing. In the Talking part, we will get to know one another a little, and get a sense of our varied interests, before talking in a little more depth about a particular theme or topic. In the Doing part, we will share our goals and then engage in either some reading or writing – whatever the participant wants to get on with.
Meeting and greeting (Talking) – very brief introductions/updates from each participant: name; course/subject area; academic interests; and current focus. We don’t want to spend too long on this, so focusing on those four areas is appreciated.
Discussion/sharing (Talking) – this will be around a particular theme, either one that emerges organically from the meeting and greeting, or something that has been pre-arranged by the facilitator and participants prior to the session. Prospective topics include: the role of theory in academic work; the significance of discipline/profession identity; challenges and approaches to academic reading; reliable sources of information and the knowledge ecosystem; cross-cultural understandings of scholarship; the art of conversation; how we can change the world for the better. Other topics or themes can be suggested by participants.
Goal-setting (Talking/Doing) – group members will be encouraged to set goals relating to the theme of the discussion and/or what they need to get done. This can be very broad and is determined solely by the participants themselves.
Getting things done (Doing) – the remainder of the session will be devoted to whatever writing/reading task the participants wish to engage in – typically some reading or writing activity. We will work in intensive 25 minute ‘pomodoro’ bursts for both reading and writing.
When and where is it?
As the name suggests, the Postgraduate Group Online meets online. Sessions are monthly on the first Wednesday afternoon of the month from 2-4pm. They take place via MS Teams, and you will have to be added to the Team to take part (see ‘How do I Join…’ below).
Dates for 2022 are as follows:
Spring Semester 2022 :
Wednesday 2nd February, 2-4pm
Wednesday 2nd March, 2-4pm
Wednesday 6th April, 2-4pm Postponed. Now on Wednesday 13th April, 2-4pm
Wednesday 4th May, 2-4pm
Summer Semester 2022:
Wednesday 1st June, 3-5pm * – Note the later time on this date.
Wednesday 6th July, 2-4pm
Wednesday 3rd August, 2-4pm
Wednesday 7th September, 2-4pm
How do I join the Postgraduate Group Online?
To join the group, email Jason Eyre (email@example.com) and you will be added to the POGO MS Team where you will be able to join the sessions and receive notifications.
What’s the deal with the green dragon logo?
That’s ‘Pogo’, our mascot. In 2020, Leicester City Council decided to name the newly created public space behind Leicester Market “Green Dragon Square” after a medieval inn that was once in this area of the city. The Green Dragon Tavern was also the name of the famed Boston establishment that played host to the city’s intellectuals in the 18th Century, and where the American Revolution was planned. A salon is a meeting place for scholars and intellectuals who wish to advance their knowledge and exchange ideas, and that is the purpose of the Postgraduate Group Online, with an emphasis on sharing and developing good academic practices that will help participants engage more deeply in their research whilst broadening their horizons.
- Upcoming: Pogo, 2-4pm Wednesday 4 May 2022
Our next Postgraduate Group Online (Pogo) session will take place on MS Teams at 2pm on Wednesday 4 May 2022. To request to join the team, just click here.
- Pogo, April 2022
The Pogo session planned for Wednesday 6 April, 2-4pm, will now take place the following week, Wednesday 13 April, 2-4pm. Hope to see you there!
- Pogo the first – 2 February, 2022
The Postgraduate Group Online met for the first time today, thank you to everyone who came along. What follows are a few sketched notes highlighting some of the points of our discussion. I will aim to do this with each of our monthly sessions, although I will be careful not to identify participants here (unless you really want me to!).
As the very first meeting of the group, we discussed motivations for coming along and two key themes emerged. The first is the idea of being part of a community – that is, being open to new practices and ideas, and not being so isolated in our studies. Many of us are still working from home, and home may not even be in Leicester or the UK, so how else are we to meet others and share ideas? That is one of Pogo’s aims.
The other motivation for attending a group like Pogo was more immediately practical, and that is the idea of ‘accountability’ – using the community to account for one’s self. It sometimes helps us to work on something and finish it when we make a public proclamation of intent that we will do so. Making a commitment to a group to which we belong helps to motivate us. We can also potentially use the monthly sessions to help structure our work between those sessions, thinking of each Pogo meeting as a little island in an archipelago that we must make our way to however we can. A learning community can provide us with a sense of structure, in other words, and that is important when we are working independently on a dissertation or thesis, as many of us are.
On that note, we also touched upon the idea of supervision. Amongst other things, the supervisor plays a similar role to the community as outlined above, albeit more formally. That is, we are open to our supervisor’s ideas and practices, and our interactions with them can help us to not to feel so intellectually isolated. We are also accountable to them – we make commitments to provide drafts of chapters, for example, and structure our time to meet those commitments. Reflecting on this, perhaps a learning community like Pogo provides a less formalised space in which we can work and act in a similar way, but without the pressure that comes along with the formality of supervision. It broadens the pool of thought and practices that we are exposed to (from a range of different disciplinary backgrounds); and it can potentially augment the structure that supervision already brings – a scaffold for the scaffold, as it were. To learn from others, and to account for ourselves to others beyond our supervisors, we are taking steps towards a kind of scholarly independence.
We also spoke of how supervisors can often pull our thinking in directions that are not always the directions we wish to take, particularly when we have more than one supervisor advising us in ways that contradict or conflict. We spoke about the positive aspects of this situation, as it can encourage us to make our own judgements and decide things for ourselves; after all, eventually we will know more than our supervisors will about our own projects (or at least as much), shifting the dynamic over time to one where we are the experts on certain aspects of our dissertation/thesis topic. This is an important feature of postgraduate study, as we push at the frontiers of knowledge and take responsibility for our own expertise.
- Introducing DMU’s ‘Writing Communities’
Hello everyone. As I write it is the start of 2022, and I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to our range of learning communities which focus in particular (though not exclusively) on academic writing.
The various communities have been designed to appeal to DMU staff and students at different stages of their academic journey. What they all have in common is an understanding that it is by working together and alongside one another that we best learn how to approach the complexities of writing. This includes the activities that support our writing, such as reading, talking, and (of course) thinking.
There are a number of different communities for staff and students to consider participating in, including:
The 500 Word Club – for all DMU students. This weekly group is focused on developing good writing habits, including the use of learning technologies in the writing process.
The Postgraduate Group Online – for DMU research students, taught postgraduates, and staff who teach on PGT courses. This monthly group aims to provide a cross-disciplinary forum for the sharing of ideas and practices that will help the next generation of scholars to produce the best work they can.
The Writing Group for Research Students – for DMU’s PhD and other Postgraduate Research Students. This community meets monthly and aims to provide mutual support for those working on researching and writing their thesis.
The Writing Circle – for DMU research students and staff. This group convenes fortnightly and provides a space for DMU staff and researchers to write alongside one another and share experiences and practices.
Use the tabs at the top of the page to find out more about these different writing communities and how you can get involved. We hope to see you soon!
– Dr Jason Eyre, Centre for Learning and Study Support, De Montfort University