Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Email etiquette - 10 things to get right

Ten things to get right when sending emails. Whether it's to a tutor, lecturer, colleague, client, peer or potential employer.

1. Use a salutation. I prefer Good morning/ afternoon. This also depends on how well you know the recipient as 'hi' may also be appropriate.
2. Use kind regards, your name, rather than KR, your name (I saw this just yesterday!)
3. Keep it simple without 'text talk'. For example 'u' for 'you'
4 once 'send' is pressed, it's gone so re-read before sending
5. If you are unsure whether to send it- don't
6. When bulk emailing, use BCC (blind carbon copy) to keep addresses confidential. Use your own email in the 'to' line.
7. Always be polite- email is not necessarily confidential and is proof in digital form.
8. Check that you have an appropriate subject line. Use maximum of three words if possible to sum up what your email is about
9. Don't send an email full of negative emotion. Leave it a day or two and then decide whether you need to change the email or if it is worth sending at all.
10. Check you have attached the file if you are sending one with the email.

There you have it. StudyBreak's top 10 'rules' for writing and sending an email.

Do you have any email 'rules' you could add?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Top 10 ways to keep writing

It can be hard to keep writing and find new words so here are StudyBreak's best tips for writing.

StudyBreak’s top 10 writing tips

*  Just start writing – begin with 10- 15 minutes

*  Don’t worry about editing and correct references for first draft

*  Keep all versions of your work e.g. titlev1, titlev2

*  Work out your best writing time

*  Set aside at least 2 hours, three days a week for ‘Golden Writing’ time.

*  Take an idea/question from today’s writing to explore tomorrow

*  Write about everything. E.g. If you read then write, summarise workshops you attend

*  Blog about your research journey

*  Use ‘frame writing’ to get started

*  To conquer writer’s block – record your thoughts verbally and write from the recordings

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Heartbreak in the PhD: My supervisor is breaking up with me!

I'm heartbroken. I never thought this would happen to me. My supervisor is breaking up with me. We have seen through a Master's thesis together and he has been my rock. How could he take up a post at another University let alone in another state?!

I text my Principal supervisor in a daze. She said there was no need to panic and we would sort it out. The positives are it isn't her that's leaving and I only have to find a new co-supervisor. Thinking more clearly now, my supervisor has introduced me to some great academics so it shouldn't be a problem. It's just that I had rapport with my co-supervisor and a relationship built up over years. 

This post has now led me to: what should I look for in a supervisor?
I believe choosing a supervisor is key to a good working relationship and completing your thesis.
Luckily for me, choosing and asking an academic to be my co-supervisor is made easier because I have already started my PHD, I know some academics in my school and it is a co-supervisor I need not a Principal supervisor so they won't have the bulk of the supervisory part.

Things to look for in a supervisor:
Personality - would you be able to work with them?
Number of research students they have seen through to completion 
Number of students they currently have under their wing
Expertise in your field- look at their publications 
Position- go for the experienced and highly regarded member of the academic staff

Is there anything you would add?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Cybersafety - reduce your risks

It won't happen to me. I don't write anything anyone would target me about.
TROLLS, they don't care if you haven't written anything at all, you can still be their next prey. You can be targeted for all types of reasons, whether trolls know you personally or not, targeted cyber harrassment occurs and you have no control over their actions but you do have control over yours.

The main reason trolls target others are;
- they like the feeling of power (even if it makes them look stupid!)
- they thrive on the feeling they have control of others (but they do not!)
- their own self perception is poor and trolling provides instant gratification for them

What they (the trolls) don't realise is that ongoing cyber harrassment is against the law and if people that know them and know what they are doing have any sense they won't be friends with them for much longer.

Being a bystander of a person you know who posts something publically online and you either get in on the attack (secondary cyber harasser) or stand back and let it happen- you are being part of the problem too, instead of being part of the solution. 

If you are harassed by an online troll there a number of things you can do depending on the mode of they use to attack. For example, on Facebook, posts and messages can be reported. On email, addresses can be blocked. 

The key is not to retaliate because the trolls themselves are the ones that own the problem. Their behaviour is not socially acceptable.

If cyber harrassment continues, ensure all cyber attacks are documented by either saving files or taking screenshots. 

If it bothers you more than it should, talk to a trusted person or seek professional help.

Below are so,e helpful sites that can offer support.

You are not alone- don't let the trolls win.

Lifeline.  https://m.lifeline.org.au



Monday, 13 January 2014

Ready for the new study year? Here's how to kickstart the semester.

10 Tips to kick start your new study year

It is the start of the New Year and getting back into the swing of study can be tough. Receiving all your University material at once can be quite overwhelming. It is best to take small steps and ease yourself into your new study year. Here are ten tips to kick start your new elearning year.
To ease yourself into the new semester or trimester;
      1 . Enrol in your subjects

  - start with navigating your way around the university website
  - ensure your username and password works

  - enrol in your course subjects if you haven't already done so


  1. Organise Yourself

-De-clutter your study space

-Refill your black and colour ink cartridges

-schedule study times

- have plenty of printer paper and pens/highlighters on hand
- organise your file storage and back up system

        3.  Order Your Textbooks

- you will need them by the first day of the teaching period
- check your course outline on the uni website for compulsory text books

-order second hand textbooks to reduce costs

        4.    Prepare your diary
         - digital or physical diary - a digital diary is good as reminders can be set

-schedule in important events  into your calendar ie: weddings, birthdays

-write in your assignment due dates as soon as you know them

-write in the exam period and holidays

        5.    Introduce yourself to your fellow students

          -if you are a distance learner - go online and start and an introductory thread in the discussion forum (if it is open)
             - if studying on campus and you don't know anyone, remember there will be plenty of other students in your situation. Take a chance and say hello.

          -join online study groups if available (these don't have to be at your university)

        6.    Eat well

- eat plenty of the 'right' foods everyday

-get adequate sleep every night

         7.  Move everyday

          - exercise even if you only have time for 15 minutes!

          - vary your routine so you don’t get bored

          - alert body = alert mind

         8.   Get into good habits now

           - stick to your study schedule

          - check your University email regularly

          - log on to University forums most days

          - use your diary (helpful for goal setting)

         9. Write down your goals

          - have long term and short term goals

          - write down what you need to accomplish each study session ie: read article xyz

          - reward yourself regularly

         10. Be kind to yourself

               - the overwhelming feeling will go away

              - take one day at a time, take one week at a time

              - tick of the study schedule (usually provided by your university) as
                you complete each week/task

              - the more you use online tools , the easier they will become to use
              - take a break! Mini breaks and a longer break during the holiday

No longer do you have to think ‘where do I start?’ – You have already started. You have taken the first steps to further your education – well done!