Academic weekend

Subject: Linguistics. Study level: BA and MA. Group size: 20-50

Motivation for the activity

The initiative of the students motivates the participation of the lecturers. Students often have good ideas and projects that could inspire their fellow students. A student conference can facilitate this as well as cultivate a better study environment - both academically and socially.

Central learning outcome for the activity

  • That the papers and projects of students are presented to their fellow students
  • That students learn to mediate their knowledge to peers in the way that this is done at conferences
  • To create a good study environment at the department across year boarders with academic sparring and independent initiatives from the students
  • To give students writing their master's thesis the oppurtunity of presenting their work 

Description of the activity

The Academic Weekend at the Linguistics department is arranged by students with the support from the lecturers.

Below is a manual of the activities of the students.

  • Before planning the weekend funding must be in place, for example for renting a camp or a similar facility, for food, transportation and fees for any external presenters. The Linguistics Academic Weekend 2013 was supported by the SMU-project 2013.   
  • A group of students are in charge of all practical matters such as participant registration, booking of camp, transportation, grocery shopping etc. 
  • The student group and the lecturers make a program for the weekend and invite students and teachers from the department to present their current projects, papers or research.
  • The weekend is organized like a regular conference with presentations, workshops and breaks. 2-3 key note speakers are invited for the day, both teachers and students. Additionally workshops are held throughout the day (see program for the Academic Weekend 2013).
  • The breaks are open for people to discuss the presentations and workshops as well as asking further questions to the presenters.
  • Social and academic entertainment can be held in the evening. In 2013 a Hungarian Roma band performed and a lecturer gave a talk of the Roma language followed by a pub quiz. 
  • After the weekend the abstracts from all talks are collected and made into a proceedings publication, which is distributed electronically to all students and lecturers of the department. This helps giving the event an even more professional frame.
  • Lecturers are recommended to participate, both in the academic and the social activities and with presentations when asked for it, as well as integrating the subjects from the weekend in the general curriculum.  

Outcome of the activity

  • The students get to know each other across year groups
  • The students experience that their projects and papers are valuable knowledge and the presenters practice mediating their work to peers
  • Both students and lecturers experience how competent the organizers and the presenters can be which is very inspiring, both for the general teaching and for other academic activities. 

Reflections on the activity

It takes a lot of work to plan an academic weekend in this format so all organizers need to be ready to put in the hours needed to do the task.

The economical system and procedures of the university can be hard for students to understand so it is important that the administration staff and lecturers help out with this.

The support and participation of the lecturers in the weekend is received as a seal of approval by the students which is of great significance to the student organizers.

The recurrent feedback on the weekend of 2013 was that 45 minutes was not enough time for the presentations and workshops. The participants would all have liked a little more time to immerse in the different subjects. 

Jakob Steensig

Associate professor, PhD.

Contributor

Vibe Kromann. Student and student teacher, Department of Aesthetics and Communication - Linguistics.

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