WP4. Building Next Generation Capacity

In STELLARnet a high priority will be given to PhD students. PhD education is a key issue for strengthening TEL research, shaping the domain and preparing the next generation of researchers and TEL entrepreneurs. As such the integration of PhD students into STELLARnet will create the conditions for the long-term sustainability of TEL research and TEL impact on the economy. The doctoral academy in STELLARnet draws on the complementary knowledge and experience developed within Kaleidoscope’s Virtual Doctoral School and Prolearn’s Academy.

The overall objectives for this work-package are to create mechanisms for (a) building the next generation of researchers and TEL entrepreneurs across the TEL community in and outside of Europe (b) promoting high-level research-oriented learning activities for doctoral students engaged in the TEL field (c) supporting the integration of both early stage and late stage doctoral students into STELLARnet.

The Next Generation capacity instruments will be coordinated by the Doctoral Capacity Committee. This committee will:

  1. ensure the coordination and the complementarities between the Doctoral School and the Doctoral consortium instruments described below;
  2. Manage the associated scholarship award mechanisms in coordination with the potential STELLARnet contributors and external sponsors
  3. shape the strategic organisation, orientation and policy of doctoral training in the TEL field;
  4. work towards integration of doctoral training in the TEL field within Europe;
  5. provide resources and information on TEL master-level and doctoral level opportunities in the EU.

STELLARnet Doctoral School. The purpose of the STELLARnet Doctoral School is both to induct TEL doctoral students into the STELLARnet research community and provide research training for doctoral students, particularly within the early and mid stages of their doctoral research. The STELLARnet Doctoral School will engage PhD students in high-level courses, workshops with leading scientists and as an integrated part of the research teams from all the participating research units, they will be exposed to a very rich learning environment. The workshops and lectures organized during the doctoral school will focus on theoretical, methodological and technological issues of relevance to TEL research (for example activity theory, embodied cognition, individual, social & organisational learning processes, and the work of TEN Competence). Doctoral students will also be expected to present their own research for constructive feedback from other participants in the Doctoral School. Workshops will also be offered on: writing research papers; communicating TEL research to policy makers, industry and practitioners. The workshops constitute a useful platform to enable the community to engage in the scientific work being carried out in WP1, 2 and 3. Another important goal of the Doctoral School is to recruit participants from beyond STELLARnet core partners as a means of offering doctoral training to the worldwide TEL community. This would establish the Doctoral School as a cornerstone for sustaining the STELLARnet initiative.

STELLARnet Doctoral Consortium The purpose of the Doctoral Consortium is to bring together PhD students working on TEL research, offering them the opportunity to present, discuss, and receive feedback on their research in an interdisciplinary and international atmosphere. The emphasis will be on the work of late-stage doctoral students. This work will supported by a) an on-line portal specifically designed for exchanges between doctoral students and researchers in the TEL field b) symposia presentations from researchers and late-stage doctoral students at relevant international conferences (e.g EARLI, ECTEL, CSCL) c) mobility of doctoral students, supported by targeted scholarships. Through these mechanisms prominent professors and researchers in STELLARnet will participate actively in reviewing and commenting on the students’ written and oral expressions of their research. The Doctoral Consortium also provides an indirect way for smaller research groups who lack a critical mass of doctoral students or do not have staff with interdisciplinary skills to integrate the STELLARnet community. Finally, it could be defined as a platform to find informal or formal co-advisers or jury members for the PhD thesis. The Doctorial Consortium will offer scholarship for mobility to enable doctoral students to spend time in core labs, with a specific aim of developing capacity beyond the core team.