How OCMS has managed through Covid

When OCMS closed its doors on the 17th March 2020 we had no idea how we would manage to work remotely but over the weeks we have become increasingly aware of the potential for using online learning to facilitate spaces for debate, engagement and community building across the world.

We have seen an increase in the number of students able to join the weekly Montagu Barker Lectures series and more students dialing into the seminar series to support, encourage and learn through peer to peer encounters. We are keen to explore further how we might continue to develop this momentum as we move forwards.

Over the past few months during lockdown, the faculty has been working hard together to develop a new approach to our research induction programme. This new approach has been entitled the “OCMS Programme of Research Induction” or OPRI.” It will combine the benefits of online teaching opportunities with the well-established practices of face to face mentoring at OCMS and consists of three parts.

Firstly, before students arrive at Oxford, they will have the opportunity to review their initial research ideas through an online supported module on Mission Research. Secondly, a residential component will help our new researchers settle into the OCMS community and combines face to face teaching with access to the Bodleian library. During this time students will develop a research portfolio including a mature research proposal. Finally, after their time in Oxford students will be offered a range of online modular teaching sessions to refine their proposal in the light of research methodologies, methods, and practical skills training. This induction process is supported by a personal mentor from the OCMS faculty.

Having re-shaped the research induction process, we are now beginning to explore how best to deliver learning encounters through short webinar training sessions and more in-depth modular approaches. These will combine synchronous learning (in real time) and asynchronous learning (at any time) through a newly developed learning management system.

We have now reached the point when we are excited to be able to announce that in early November, we will be running a “Webinar Training Practicum”, a series of webinar sessions for current students. Sessions will focus around three themes: research methodologies, research methods and practical research skills. We hope these will be helpful and provide practical support for students at various stages of their research journey as we await the time when we will be able to meet again in Oxford. Watch out for more information coming out in the next couple of weeks.

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