Or what to do when you co-supervise? I’m used to my students being co-supervised by somebody from the university, but not that somebody from Vague Company is actually sitting in on the meetings and tries to push through their own agenda.

Really, what we planned to do was to discuss this beforehand. Obviously, both of us miserably failed to remember this, which may have resulted in a confused student. Maybe the confusion was good for his soul, but it didn’t really convince me.

We’ve now hashed out which is who’s responsabilities and who should say something when, but bringing this to the meeting table might require more practice than a 20 minute discussion. I understand my co-worker wants to be closely involved, the student is working for his project after all. On the other hand, if I have to stop him from starting to write out my student’s problem statement something hasn’t been communicated well. Indications for important on content, yes. Brainstorming for topics, yes. Actual writing out? No, that’s the student’s responsability as far as I am concerned. How will you learn to take your own notes from a meeting when you can assume somebody else will do that and actually email you the results? Students should learn to bring their own external memory.

Likewise, my co-worker has a number of side-deliverables he wants to see – but how crucial they are and how feasable is entirely unclear right now. I’d rather the student planned for the main focus first, and then take a look at how / whether to achieve those other deliverables. I wonder what other people’s take on student responsability and co-supervision are?

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Last monday I attended a tutorial on research methods. Tutorials really work best when there’s an atmosphere of trust, when you can ask those questions that have sat in the back of your brain for a while and you would like somebody else to come and play too. One of my questions was answered without me realizing that it had been a question. For a while I’ve been reading a book about making ideas stick, but I didn’t make it very far in.

Now, one of the tutorial givers was quoting from the book and sort of reviewing at the same time, which was rather interesting! Considering everything he said, it will definitely spur my reading the entire book, to keep the ideas fresh in my mind. Actually, the most interesting part for me wasn’t so much the research methods in themselves, but how you write about them. One of the most important things mentioned was: nibble away at your writing. If you don’t write every day, how do you expect to become a good writer? Becoming good is about making mistakes, about writing bent sentences and reviewing and critiquing your writing. This reflected very much my reasons for starting up this blog in the first place, except that I only publish something every friday.

That doesn’t mean that I only write on friday, merely that I like to edit and re-edit and think twice before commiting myself to publish here. Ironically, attending conferences tends to compel me to write and think so hard that it can get difficult to write something coherent. Some more ideas and impression will find their way to the forefront, including lessons learned on organizing poster sessions for symposia.