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What is Masterliness?

Part one: Project description

Project fundholder / Project leader

Emma Duke-Williams

Funding awarded



University of Portsmouth.

Project title

“What is Masterliness?”

Project description

To create a series of vox-pops by MSc students to help new MSc students understand aspects of working at MSc level.

Project aims and objectives

To create a set of (student lead as far as possible) videos explaining issues facing incoming MSc students.

To be ‘vox-pop’ type recordings.

Made available on suitable site (probably Google+ or Moodle, as students will have access to both once here)

Space for students to discuss issues / interact with each other prior to arrival (moderated if necessary!) Students come to the department from a range of different backgrounds and so have very different prior experiences of education. Many of them find it difficult to adjust to working at MSc level, and in a single year, this can mean that it’s often fairly late in the year that students start to understand some of the academic aspects of working at Masters’ level. We do, however, have fairly small groups, and so often they form fairly close social groups, perhaps more course based than we’d ideally like, as students on the 4 courses we teach often have overlapping areas of expertise in some areas. We try to overcome this by some group sessions – and a shared common room, but students are not always on campus, and the ideal would be for students to start to prepare pre-arrival. The university already has ‘Prep-Up’, which is, however, primarily aimed at UK students entering Higher Education for the first time.

Intended outputs (resources e.g. documents, videos, learning objects etc.)

Set of videos & related discussion boards etc.

Intended Outcomes for staff

Increase skills in creation of (simple) videos that can be used in other areas of the department.

Intended Outcomes for Students

Increasing familiarity with “Masterliness” concepts required for study.

Technical skills in creation of video resources.

Funding outline (how money is to be spent; list items or costs)

Equipment: iPod Touch: £249 (32GB; rear facing camera) (For when the rear facing camera is required)

iPod Touch £199 (16GB, front facing camera only) (For when rear camera not necessarily needed)

Tripod attachments (2) : c£30 (we have plenty of tripods kicking about!)

iVideo for iPod £3.

Cases/ screen protectors for iPods c£15

Reason for iPods: These seem to offer the best flexibility, in particular compatibility with the security on Eduroam etc., other cameras that have built in Wifi have proved problematic with the network.

With iVideo, students can edit on the device.

(Prices approx – based on current Amazon offers)

Activities (brief outline of work)

Summer 2013:

Obtain hardware;

Create videos.

Investigate most appropriate hosting solutions.

Autumn 2013:

Further develop materials (we already have a “masterliness” day planned) once students have started to understand what’s required of them.

  • Follow up with September starting students.

Christmas 2013-Jan 2014;

Use resources to support January entry students.

  • Follow up with Jan starting students.

Dissemination routes (e.g. events, posters, webinars…)

Attending one or more CLL events (near Portsmouth, to reduce travel costs!)

Possible related papers as appropriate.

Part two: Final outputs

Project resources inventory (list of items created)

Initial “masterliness” concerns:

Video created by small group of January start students:

Link to project resources and blog


To follow later.

How did the project utilise and/or develop digital literacies in the participants?

Attach a mapping of key project activities onto

To follow later.

General Issues raised by project

Barriers / Challenges e.g. accessibility

Solutions deployed to above issues and challenges

How the roles/activities of the participant’s learning landscape was effectively changed by the project

Recommendations to future projects of this nature


The original confirmation didn’t come through until the previous cohort of students had left; we got current students to discuss what they anticipated studying at MSc level would involve, (see link to images in G+).

Now that students have completed their final assessments & are working towards their projects, we are hoping to capture their reflections on the year. (A small group of students who started in January created their own video [own hardware, as the University hadn’t processed the grant] ) – to share experiences of what it’s like to start part way through the year. The current students starting in January enjoyed watching this & found it useful.

Fuller information can be provided in the next few weeks, when we have the current students starting to create resources for the next intake. (September intakes are much larger than January intakes)