Basser Seminar Series

Discussion forum: Helping Students and Supervisors Manage PhD Risks (A software engineer's perspective)

Speaker: Dr Keith Nesbitt
The University of Newcastle, Australia

Time: Friday 7 August 2009, 1:00-2:00pm **Note different time
Refreshments will be available from 12:30pm

Location: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1

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Managing attrition rates and completion times of higher degree research students are key considerations for Universities as they are directly tied to future funding for research places. A number of approaches have been suggested and indeed tools developed to help support both supervisors and students achieve RHD completion. We address this issue from a software engineer's perspective and draw parallels to the management of software projects. Software projects have a long history of late or failed completion, and many strategies have been devised to tackle this problem. Can lessons learned from software engineering projects be applied to Research Higher Degree Projects? We certainly believe so and discuss a typical risk management process used in software engineering and how to adapt it to help both supervisors and students manage the risks associated with PhD completion.

Speaker's biography

Keith Nesbitt originally worked at BHP Research as a software engineer, doing applied research in the area of Intelligent Agents and Virtual Reality from 1989-1999.

He then graduated with a PhD from the School of IT in 2003; his thesis gave design principles for multisensory information display. He is now a Senior Lecturer in the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle.