The Beyond Distance Research Alliance (BDRA), at the University of Leicester, holds a PhD Research Day several times each year. It allows PhD students to share information about their research and receive feedback from other students, supervisors, and researchers associated with the BDRA. It is also an opportunity to provide training to students on essential research skills.

My first experience was yesterday. Up at 2:00 a.m. to join them at 9:15 a.m. their time (UK/GMT), I connected with Skype. It ran until 5:00 p.m. in the UK, after which they went for dinner (the activity in which I sadly couldn’t participate). There are four of us as PhD students, and all participated. It was nice to work with Natalia Auer, Brenda Padilla, and Ali Ewing. Our supervisors, Alejandro Armellini (Ale) and Palitha Edirisingha (Pal) were with us, along with David Hawkridge, Visiting Professor of E-learning, Ming Nie, Research Associate, and Simon Kear, Keeper of the BDRA Media Zoo. We were also joined by Rakesh Patel, MD, a researcher also associated with BDRA.

The morning consisted primarily of presentations, and I learned of the research being pursued by my colleagues, including common interests. For me, being so new, it was a chance to introduce myself and my plans. A lunch break was actually breakfast for me, at 6:00 a.m. my time. We resumed for afternoon activities led by Ale, Pal, and David. These were based on literature reviews, research design, and writing. With such a small group, I was able to follow along with everything, thanks to Simon’s technical setup and a willingness of everyone to pass the microphone or move to it when speaking. As slides were shown, I saw them through Adobe Connect. For our next such meeting, scheduled for June, I will have a lot more to say about my research, and slides will be prepared.

Many thanks to all for the day! As a distance student, it was nice to connect with others so early.


  1. Thanks for the reply, Jeffrey. Instructions will be provided in advance of the date (some time of), as they were this time. I’m not going to assume it will be ther same, as there might be a change to keep it interesting. However, the point of the presentations is to gain experience presenting, respnding to questions, and receiving feedback relating to the research. As each student progresses along their own journey, the questioning and feedback could be expected to increase. If it remains similar to yesterday, I can expect to enlighten others on aspects of my research to date, and where I am heading, in a 20 minute time frame., followed by questions. I believe in making a presentation interesting and not overwhelming others by trying to cover too many areas. By writing every two weeks about what I have been reading, I should have good material to draw upon for the presentation.

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