Supporting doctoral student development and progression monitoring using PebblePad

Ian Palmer, University of Sheffield

This presentation describes how we have introduced PebblePad into a PGR scenario that supports both the professional development of students and helps monitor the individual's progress in satisfying the many academic and administrative requirements demanded by a postgraduate research programme. All Doctoral Students at Sheffield are required to engage with a Doctoral Development Programme (DDP), designed to help students develop specialist and transferable skills which will enhance their research and employability. PebblePad is used to support a personal Training Needs Analysis and an ongoing eportfolio evidencing the acquired skills, training and professional development a student has undertaken or is actively engaged with. This is based around the key attributes defined by the Vitae Researcher Development Framework that articulate the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers. Using PebblePad, research supervisors, PGR leads and administrative teams are better able to evaluate a student's progress and provide formative feedback where appropriate. PebblePad is also used for capturing information at key milestones of the PhD programme such as confirmation review and thesis plan.  In addition, regular Supervisory Meeting Report submissions provide effective oversight of the research student-supervisor relationship helping assure timely completion.

Ian Palmer, Faculty IT Manager, Medicine, Dentistry & Health, University of Sheffield