Weekly Update

Monday 5th October

Hi, everyone. This is Jane, your VP Postgraduate Students. I decided to put these updates together because I found them to be the most asked questions last week and this new week. Hope this finds you well.

Quick links:

New Undergraduate & Postgraduate International Students (BRP)

If you used the University's Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code when you made your visa application to collect your BRP card from the University. This year due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation the UKVI are going to be sending BRP cards directly to you so you do not need to collect it in person. This will allow the University to reduce as much face-to-face contact and keep everyone safe. The University will email you when your BRP is ready to be delivered to ask you to confirm that you are in the UK and that you have the correct address on your SIMS account. You will need to reply to that email with a photo/scan of the vignette (sticker) in your passport that was stamped when you arrived in the UK and fill out the form attached to the email. The BRP will then be delivered to your address. If you did not use the University's ACL, then you will need to collect your BRP from the Post Office once you have finished self-isolating for 14 days.

New and returning Postgraduate Taught Students

Familiarize yourself with the Student Handbook. I would also encourage you to create a WhatsApp group chat with your coursemates for easy communication and discussions during breakout sessions and after classes. Meet with personal tutors at least more than twice in a year as they are quite resourceful to your Master's degree journey and in knowing the University's support available to you. Every school has been assigned a Technologist, should you not be able to access the online sessions or had some technical issues during the sessions. Read your student's handbook; from start to finish OR Map out the preliminary page for easy access to topics and reference — you need to know the support available to you as a student and where it stops too. Live cams are encouraged during lectures, and recording of sessions would be based on your discretion — always think of the objective benefit here. Depending on the learning platforms used by the different schools, captions would be made available as much.

New Postgraduate Research Students

Familiarize yourself with the Student Handbook. Request for the contacts of your PGR support administrative and how to access the Doctoral Academy — You will find the knowledge and resources from both very essential and a backbone to most of the things you would be involved in, as the weeks roll by. Usually, I encourage students to facilitate WhatsApp group chats for their courses. This works as a platform for easy interaction and getting to know the people you would be studying with/you study with.

Starting Out (Induction event for new PGRs) advertised by the Doctoral Academy. Book your place on one of two sessions.

Postgraduate Research Students and PGRs who teach

There will be guidance on how to manage online classes and a resource page on the learning central in line with the key principles of the digital learning framework. Depending on the college, platforms may have a feature for both asynchronous and synchronous. Timetables are being worked out but when they are made available and seem to clash regularly, contact your school offices. All live events would be recorded (with the students permission) and links would be pre-populated before the time. Each school has been assigned a learning technologist to manage and maintain IT related issues. There will be background pictures made available on the learning central for anyone to use. Independently, all schools are to decide if they want their students' cameras on to monitor engagement or not. The Learning to Teach has been made available to all colleges and PGR tutors. The non-lab based courses would have a face-to-face teaching once every week but the rest will be dependent on what courses the students chose. Alternatively, some schools will work fully remotely while others wouldn't. CESI have produced tutorials for using the new technology and practice sessions are being made available for test use. Depending on the platforms your school is using, sessions could be captioned or not. However, there is a way to link Google captions to apps — YouTube usually does wonders in explaining some of these things. And over the weeks, a set of frequently asked questions will be created and uploaded to Learning Central.

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Postgraduate Community

There is a large and active postgraduate community in Cardiff and we are working each year to build on this. If you would like to get more involved or have an idea, get in touch with Jane at VPPostgraduate@cardiff.ac.uk

Postgraduate Research Students' Association

This Association represents all postgraduate research students at the university. They provide a platform for socialising, to cultivate a sense of community and support for PGRs during their time here at Cardiff, as well as formal representation of the collective PGR interests. Membership of the Association is free - join here.

Cardiff Students Postgraduate Network

The Cardiff Students Postgraduate Network is a Facebook group for all postgraduate students that seeks to develop an active, strong and vibrant postgraduate community here at Cardiff. The network combines both Research and Taught students in order to develop a supportive research environment as well as promoting the diverse and exciting extra-curricular opportunities available to postgrads. The network gives you the chance to find out about academic and social events, get in contact with fellow students and find out more information about what’s going on in the postgrad community. The PG network is led by the Cardiff Students’ Postgraduate Association, the Vice President Postgraduate Students and the Students’ Union. They are there to listen to your views, to advise, to take effective action, and to support and facilitate your ideas, whether this be for social events or improvements in your academic experience. Don’t forget to like the page to stay updated!

Academic Reps

At Cardiff University, you get an input into your academic experience. Each year, the Students' Union trains and supports over 1,000 Reps across the University. These Reps serve as the vital link between peers, Schools, the University and the Students' Union on educational matters. They are the Voice for your school and year group. Contact your Rep.

UCU Union

It's time for more PhD rights, training and support. Your Students’ Union and many others across the country agree. Join the UCU Union for FREE!

The UCU Union provides targeted support for postgraduates who teach, on a wide range of topics including: Employment Rights, Representation, Professional Development, Training and Advice.