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Abstract

Teaching Fellow for Museums, Heritage and Archaeology University College London (UCL), Qatar Proposal for Poster Display at ARC’18 Title Connecting theory to practise in postgraduate higher education. The case study of UCL Qatar work placements. Introduction One issue of significant importance regarding higher education teaching practises has been to which extent postgraduate education provides with students the opportunity to connect theory to practise on the subjects they are studying. By connecting theory to practise, postgraduate students are given the opportunity to enhance their academic skills and develop critical thinking on how what is being discussed within a lecture room may be applied professionally in the field they are interested in. The benefits and advantages of hands on experience is multidimensional and evident in cases where it is integrated into the process and structure of the educational curriculum. As Te Wiata's (2001) research findings report, the ability of students to demonstrate and integrate skills that relate to their enhancement of knowledge and professional advancement, is highly connected with their development of confidence in applying knowledge into contexts such as the workplace. There are many different ways so as to provide postgraduate students with the opportunity to practically apply the theories they absorb through academic readings and lectures and this is a process that requires careful and well thought planning on behalf of the academic team of each postgraduate course. The specific poster's presentation main goal is to present the findings of successfully connecting theory to practise by UCL Qatar – a university part of Qatar's Education City, specifically accomplished by incorporating work placements as modules for postgraduate students studying cultural heritage during the years 2013-2017. Presentation of Case Study UCL Qatar, a leading centre of excellence for the study of cultural heritage (UCL Qatar, 2017), is one of Qatar Foundation's Education City universities. Since September 2012 when the fist cohort of students arrived in Doha and until October 2017 when this poster display proposal is written, UCL Qatar has offered four masters degrees in Cultural Heritage and Information Studies and more specifically, an MA in Museum and Gallery Practice, an MSc in Conservation Studies, an MA in Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World and an MA in Library and Information Studies. One of the main concerns of the faculty members at UCL Qatar while structuring these masters courses, was to provide the opportunity to our postgraduate students to apply in practise all academic knowledge they acquire throughout their studies. Furthermore, understanding the need to create links between postgraduate studies and the employment market, we wanted to provide our students the chance to dive into the actual workforce and have the experience of working with professionals directly related with their field of studies. For these purposes, a postgraduate module was structured for each of our masters degrees, the Placement Module, where each student would have to pursue a placement in an established institution or organisation within Qatar or abroad. Practise based research methodology and results The proposed poster presentation, will portray the importance of connecting academic theory and the professional market through a number of very successful work placements undertaken by UCL Qatar postgraduate students. The set of data, belongs to a time period of 4 years (2013-2017) and is a result of qualitative and quantitative feedback received by UCL Qatar's postgraduate students, while assessing and evaluating the experience they had while conducting their work placements. The students note the importance and contribution that these placements had in them better accumulating knowledge, meeting professionals from their respective fields and a number of them eventually receiving employment offers, which is a direct portrayal of a successful effort. More specifically, these placement took place in more than 20 countries around the world, including Qatar, the number of students is close to 200 students and the institutions or organisations they have attended so as to conduct their placements range from local hosts such as a number of museums under Qatar Museums (Museum of Islamic Art, National Museum of Qatar, Mathaf – Arab Museum of Modern Art, the Firestation) as well as internationally renowned institutions like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York, the British Museum, NASA's materials science lab, Christie's Auction House London, the Library of Yale University, Oxford Archaeology East and many more. Furthermore, this poster presentation aims to portray how the work placements present the opportunity for students to enhance their research skills through mainly two routes. The first relates with connecting the placement with applying field research for their masters dissertations and the second is students participating as interns in research projects conducted by UCL Qatar faculty, with a number of these research projects being funded by the Qatar National Research Fund.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2018.SSAHPD345
2018-03-15
2019-08-19
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