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Students work collaboratively to produce content for books, articles, wikis and more. Engaging with writing groups can aid the development of a number of skills such as time management, designing, typesetting, and editing. It also results in a final product in which contributors can take pride.
For example, in 2014 students worked on a handbook for Oxford within a second year publishing module. Following completion of the module, students volunteered to prepare the book for publication. The result was a 128-page illustrated book; The Student Guide to Oxford .
Many students take part in placements as part of their degree. Where these placements involve researching for the placement provider, students can share their findings. Students disseminate the research to peers and professional judges and therefore gain valuable experience in communicating ideas to an authentic audience. Placement presentations help to develop communication skills, increase confidence, and enhance student CVs.
Drama and English students who elect to study on a placement module present their findings to a panel of assessors, including a careers expert. As students also form the audience, peer assessment skills are also developed.
Nursing students create either an oral presentation or a poster to present at the annual Adult Nursing Student Conference. The audience at this event comprises colleagues, academic staff, and stakeholders from the local Trust, the private healthcare sector, and clinical governing groups.
Students carry out research in order to create a new product, combining academic research work and learning with vocational skills.
First and second year engineering students, for example, research Stirling Engines – a closed cycle engine which cyclically compresses and expands fluid to power refrigeration. Participants identify potential improvements to the design in order to inform their work in designing and producing their own models, which must not be more costly, nor more difficult to manufacture than the original. They subsequently present their models to peers and determine whose performs best – a great way to support and build confidence.
Hosted by professional bodies and learned societies, professional body events provide a unique experience with a national audience. Student ideas are given lots of space to blossom throughout the process, from preparation to hearing and discussing the thoughts of fellow attendees.
Each year one Oxford Brookes maths student is supported to attend the Tomorrow’s Mathematicians Today conference, held by the Institute of Mathematics. Participants can give a presentation to peers from across the UK on any mathematical topic, drawn from any stage of the mathematics degree course.
In 2015, a group of psychology students attended the British Psychological Society annual conference to present their work.