The course is compulsory for students in MA African Studies and open to second-year students in ResMA African Studies. Others after consultations with the instructors.
African studies are a multi- and inter-disciplinary field of knowledge production. At this stage of the study programme students have returned from their research and internship project in Africa. The course Communicating Research aims students to learn how to communicate their field experiences and research outcomes to both an academic and more popular audience, including fellow students, researchers, policymakers, practitioners and the general public. So communication is key. This means students will learn communication skills, such as pitching and networking, but will also learn how to make use of visual and digital tools to translate the results of their work in a multi-modal/media end-product and communicate these to an audience, i.e. academic, popular and decision-makers. Visual methodologies have been part of the course ‘Researching Africa in the 21st Century’ (semester 1). These
two main threads will be offered in two parallel tracks and come together in the presentation of the end-products and in interactions during a mini-conference with external guests that will be organized and hosted by the students. The skills learned and assignments will help the students in the parallel process of thesis development, including inter-vision sessions in which students share and reflect on their fieldwork experiences and the progress of their thesis.
The course is thus set up in a triple structure, in which support for the thesis development process is a common thread:
Interactive communication skills and employability: a block of interactive training workshops, including “Pitch your research project”, “Networking”, and “Imaging your future work”. These workshops are practical (learning-by-doing) and closely linked to students’ experiences. The workshops aim to increase students’ employability and will help students to get a clearer picture of their research findings and to pass their message. It should be noted that a training in ‘Moderating discussions and Q&A’ has already been provided at the start of block 1, enabling students to practice these skills throughout their studies.
Visual and digital analysis and presentation tools: a block of interactive training workshops in which the students discuss their research outcomes and develop a multi-modal presentation. Publication of results implies many choices. The process of making these choices and being conscious of the analysis the student makes will be guided in this part of the course. These choices relate to the form the student chooses for the publication of the results. In this part of the course we will also relate to different ‘publics’/audiences: policy, decision makers, general public, etc. We make the multi-modal presentation, that may
serve one of the target audiences. For this part of the course students will discuss articles, work on publication skills in different formats, and develop their presentation skills.
Mini-conference: students organize and host a mini-conference in which they present their visual end-products, pitch the results, and moderate the discussions and Q&A. The meeting is also a networking opportunity for future work.
By the end of the course, students:
· Have understood how to proceed from data to presentation of research;
· Have the skills to use the digital environment for the development of their thesis;
· Have the skills to develop an attractive presentation of research for a specific audience;
· Have developed specific communication skills that help to increase their employability, including pitching and networking;
· Have better insight in their personal capabilities and work preferences;
· Are able to organize and host a mini research conference, including moderating discussions;
· Are able to present their research results in verbal and visual ways for a wider audience;
· Have understood how to understand their own process of data gathering and how from that phase go to a stage of writing the thesis, or of developing a multi-modal product.
Mode of instruction
Organisation of workshop
Assessment and weighing
Visualisation of research – 30%
Visual story – 30%
Mini-conference: organisation, oral presentations, pitch, moderation – 20%
Mini-conference: reflection report on using communication skills – 20%
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
A reading list with online sources and some print copies will be made available prior to the start of the course.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
Coördinator of studies: D.Y.M.Wackers