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Thursday
May052011

Profolio Course

I think one of the biggest surprises to me about this PhD lark has been just how differently the academic world seems to work compared to the commercial one. I picked up reasonably quickly that reputation plays a huge part in the academic world, but how do you go about getting a good academic reputation when you're just a lowly PhD student? 

So I went on a course. Sussex Uni run a whole load of courses for students. This one was the Profolio: for New Doctoral Researchers course. It was divided into two parts: one part keeping a personal record of the things you do and what skills you can demonstrate over the course of your PhD, and the other part about getting an online presence to demonstrate what you've done and what you are about to other researchers.

I'll be honest, I hate a lot of the personal record stuff. They have one of those lovely 'skills audit tools', full of such wonderful phrases as 'Engagement, influence and impact'. Instant loathing on my part. That's very unfair of me and it is good (I grudgingly admit) to keep track of these sorts of things on the way through. It makes updating the CV so much easier when the time comes! 

I found the outwards facing bit to be much more interesting. They had talks from a couple of other PhD candidates, one focussing much more on the getting out and meeting people through societies etc, the other on online presence and using tools such as blogging, twitter etc. to get your voice out there. We also got to grips with our profile pages on the University of Sussex directory. That's one of those tasks where I've been meaning to do it, but I really wasn't sure what to put in the various sections. I think I probably got more from looking at other people's but it was good to have done it before the session so I could get a second opinion on what I'd written. (My profile page - http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/196717)

I think one of the main things I'll be taking from the course is something I kind of already knew. I need to focus this part of my blogging down onto my research (my personal blog tends to veer all over the place!) and I need to blog more often. I think that will be a good habit to get into, to get used to writing something regularly.

The other thing I need to stop doing is actually being quite dismissive when someone asks me about my research. I think it's mostly because I'm not totally clear on my research question myself yet, but I must stop doing it! I think I possibly need to come up with a short and pithy way to explain the duality of the game production and the PhD research. I'll work on that. 

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