Inspiration day about thesis supervision and the study progress reform 

at Aarhus BSS

For all supervisors and directors of studies at Aarhus BSS

29. November 2016

Description and purpose

The study progress reform has resulted in shorter time frames for project and Master’s thesis supervision. This places substantial demands on making the most of the time available for supervision for students as well as supervisors. Many supervisors and departments at Aarhus BSS have already adopted a series of specific initiatives in the attempt to meet those demands, such as Master’s thesis workshops and collective student supervision. The aim of this inspiration day is to focus on the new challenges and share knowledge about local practices and initiatives at Aarhus BSS.

In addition to a keynote presentation on supervision, there will be three tracks where new or just good supervision practices are presented and discussed. Sharing experiences is a keyword of the day, and as such the participants will return home with specific ideas and tools for supervision under the new conditions of the study progress reform.

Programme

*The inspiration day will be held in Danish, but track 3 will be conducted in English if the registered participants so wish

Description of tracks and speakers

Track 1 - Collective supervision and project management

One of the new conditions is that Master’s thesis periods have been grouped so that individual supervisors are no longer assigned their Master’s thesis students on an ongoing basis. This can present new challenges, but also new opportunities. Four experienced supervisors recount how they have handled the situation.

  • Sune Dueholm (MGMT): “Mass supervision”: This presentation reflects on the challenges associated with handling many Master’s thesis students simultaneously and how these challenges are best dealt with. The presentation includes personal experiences with supervising via seminars as well as answering questions from the students on Facebook.
  • Helle Spindler (PSY): Do you repeat things frequently? Do you believe the students could reflect more on their own written products? Perhaps collective supervision is for you! This presentation will focus on starting up the supervision process, challenges and in particular the benefits for both students and the supervisor!
  • Patrick Leroyer (BCOM): Years ago, we introduced collective supervision for our Master’s thesis students in the form of “thesis symposia”. At the time, the aim was, among other things, to combat the dreaded “thesis swamp”... Today, the study progress reform has given symposia renewed relevance. And they work because they are for example predominantly based on peer feedback. In this presentation, I will present the underlying concept and how it can be included nicely in a good Master’s thesis process along with the individual supervision.
  • Hanne Kragh (MGMT): On the basis of the study progress reform and with the aim of making better use of both the students’ and supervisor’s resources, I have worked with collective supervision and peer feedback in the Master’s thesis process on the MSc in Economics and Business Administration degree programme. The presentation describes the overall idea of the process as well as the planning of a series of collective supervision meetings with incorporated peer feedback. The benefits and challenges are discussed.

Track 2 - Joint initiatives

On account of the students now writing their theses simultaneously, several degree programmes have intervened on behalf of the individual supervisors and have merged parts of the supervision process into joint initiatives. This means that the Master’s thesis students experience being left alone in the process to a lesser degree, and, in addition, that the supervision resources can be used more effectively.

  • Hanne Søndergaard Birkmose (LAW): The study progress reform entails that the vast majority of students on the Master of Laws and MSc in Business Administration and Commercial Law degree programmes must write their Master’s thesis in the spring semester. This occupies a great deal of supervision resources at the department in the spring. To give the students the opportunity to get an overview of possible thesis topics and test their own ideas as well as to use supervision resources in the best possible way, the Department of Law has, for the second time, held a Master’s thesis day in advance of student registration for the thesis. The experiences have been good, because the students get a basis for starting on their Master’s thesis at an early stage, and the department optimises the resources.
  • Lars Thorup Larsen (PS): Project ‘thesis on time’ at the Department of Political Science. The presentation recounts the didactic considerations in the Department of Political Science’s new project ‘thesis on time’. Students who will write their Master’s thesis in the spring semester must already now find a supervisor and settle on a problem statement before the end of the year. A series of collective activities are set in motion, e.g. a Master’s thesis weekend, since the whole year group must now write their Master’s thesis simultaneously. There is a potential for a joint reflection on the challenges of the thesis process and therefore a less fragmented process.
  • Jacob Klitmøller (PSY): Our new initiative, ‘Master’s thesis workshops’, is our approach to inviting students to begin considering their Master’s thesis during the semester immediately preceding the semester where they write their Master’s thesis.  In addition to information about the formal requirements (academic regulations) and aids (e.g. Scribo),we aim to facilitate the students’ reflections on their topic on the basis of the formal requirements for the Master’s thesis - including choosing a supervisor; helping them relate previous experiences with writing assignments and supervision to the upcoming Master’s thesis process with a focus on the relationship with the supervisor; as well as supporting the establishment of thesis groups.
  • Knud Erik Jørgensen (MGMT): At IT, Communication and Organisation we work intensively to maintain focus on the Master’s degree throughout the final year, which we call the graduate year. We work with collective as well as individual preparations for the Master’s thesis, and the graduate year is composed in such a way that the thesis is not something that the student is suddenly faced with, but rather a natural extension of the teaching.

Track 3 - Writing and text feedback

  • Tine Wirenfeldt Jensen & Gina Bay (AU Library, BSS):

How can students get going faster on writing their Master’s thesis and make more use of each other?

The study progress reform means that students have to optimise their use of the time set aside to write the Master’s thesis. This includes the beginning of the writing process, where students can waste a lot of time waiting: For the right idea for a topic to materialise, for a broad problem statement to be narrowed down, for the relevant literature to be found, and in particular: Waiting until you think you know enough to actually begin writing.

Methods that can help the students along are e.g. the problem statement and literature search tool Scribo, scheduled peer feedback and a series of digital resources that can consolidate the students’ writing and work processes. These methods are presented in the workshop with a focus on how they can be applied in connection with the Master’s thesis.

Target group

  • Supervisors and directors of studies at Aarhus BSS.
  • All teaching and management staff at Aarhus BSS are welcome to participate.

Generel information

  • Venue: Studenternes Hus, Frederik Nielsensvej 2-4, 8000 Aarhus C
  • Price: Free of charge 
  • Seats: Limited number of seats which are allocated on a first come, first served basis
  • Language: Danish and English. Keynote and track 3 will be held in English if the registrations make it paramount.

Event organisors

Gitte Wichmann-Hansen

Associate professor
M
H bldg. 1323, 322
P +4587163503
P +4542429707

Linda Greve

Educational it consultant

Contact

Questions regarding content:

  • Bente Mosgaard Jørgensen

Questions regarding practical matters:

  • Julie Lykke Facius, mail: jlf@au.dk, tlf.: 871 66029

Questions regarding communication:

  • Mette Kastberg Lillemose, mail: mkl@au.dk tlf: 871 64731

Organisor

  • Aarhus BSS.