Impact of postgraduate transition through a pandemic student engagement
This paper explores two students' experiences transitioning from an undergraduate to a postgraduate degree in Forensic Psychology (MSc) during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, both students advertised, attended, and ran writing circles whilst being Senior Peer Advisors which contributed to our transition, experience, and learning. Writing circles and retreats were implemented to try and combat some of the impacts of online learning due to the pandemic. Overall the sessions have helped us to develop our leadership and planning skills which are vital skills for future employment. Being part of writing circles themselves helped provide valuable feedback from peers to improve our assignments before deadlines, providing understanding and meaning and a way to assess how clear our writing is. Helping us to develop more creative ways of collaboration online which can be transferred to work environments.
The benefits of running sessions online meant they were more inclusive to more students geographically/availability, offering peer support and creating friendships, and reducing academic stress/fears of the unknown from delayed replies from tutors. Limitations included not being in person meant that we could not physically talk through our work and lots of students worried about plagiarism due to the distribution of digital copies of work prior to establishing ground rules. Technological issues were encountered with frequent connection issues, but this was counteracted by emailing copies of feedback after each session. Overall, actively engaging ourselves and peers in writing circles benefited student engagement due to the combined reduced support at Master's level and COVID-19.
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