03 February 2009

Online Communities for Graduate Students

Graduate Junction provides space for networking by graduate researchers, intending to serve current graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers.

Cross-disciplinary approach is evident in the site's determined use of keyword indexing instead of discipline-specific categories.

A central team relies on a network of volunteers to build the site. Users' profiles and forums are the activity of the site but some interactive tools (such as Conference Diary) make the information suitable for use beyond the site.

GradShare similarly reaches out to the graduate researcher. Its networking site carries no advertising but the sponsor is the company ProQuest.

Upon clicking Explore GradShare, the user is asked to identify a discipline. The display of discussions, however, draws from across disciplines.

GradShare's subtitle is "Graduate Student Community" and its discussion forums back up that claim, with topics of high interest for peer comment: thesis/dissertation (committee selection and advisor relationships among the subtopics), job search/career planning, work-life balance.

Focusing primarily on postdoc appointments, the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) also includes university faculty and administrators among its audience. Resources regarding mentoring are listed, addressing perspectives of both mentor and mentee. The site has high information value even if you are not in the postdoc business.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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