PhilSkills for Pre-Honours Philosophy

Every year, the Philosophy department runs PhilSkills workshops to help undergraduate students improve the skills they need to succeed in their studies.

Each of these workshops is designed with a particular course in mind, but all interested students are welcome to attend. The first one is “How to Read Philosophy” by Jade Fletcher on Sept 27th. If you’d like to come, please visit the registration site to book your spot today.

New to programming?

If you’ve never programmed before, I’d recommend learning how. It’s a great tool to have in your belt, even if you’re not sure how it applies to your current research. Almost anyone who works with a computer on a regular basis can save time and do more with just a smattering of the basics.

Alisdair Tullo, our Programming and Applications Manager in PPLS, is starting up a 5-week course for students and staff members who haven’t tried programming before. It will start on the week of Sept 23rd and will be held at the Lister Learning and Teaching Centre. Anyone who’s interested should follow this link for more details:

https://softdev.ppls.ed.ac.uk/secure/signup/prog/

MSc Dissertation Support at the Writing Centre

Everyone writing an MSc dissertation will be aware that July is upon us. I took my MSc in Linguistics & English Language back in 2012-2013 and can still remember how it felt when June came to an end. Of course, submitting a dissertation is never a stress-free experience, but the PPLS Writing Centre would like to make sure that you’re adequately supported as you come into the home stretch. Accordingly, we’ve extended our offerings and organised a series of events in July to help you finish up.

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IAD dissertation help for taught MSc students

The PPLS Writing Centre will soon roll out PPLS-specific workshops, boot camps and more for PGT students working on dissertations. But there is also a series of events in June created by the Institute for Academic Development, which supports students across all departments.

The offerings include workshops on planning, structure, writing, editing, and proofreading. There are also writing boot camps to provide you with a peaceful working environment.

For more, click on this link. Make sure to book well in advance.

Linguistics workshop now available

The last of our spring workshops is now open for bookings. It was developed by Mirjam Eiswirth, who is our most senior linguistics tutor. She has used her experience of delivering nearly 100 appointments to develop a series of activities designed to help students achieve distinction in their writing. There is a particular focus on sociolinguistics, but all students are welcome to attend.

As always, check our workshops page for the link.

Philosophy workshops now available

Both of our workshops in philosophy are now available for booking. They were developed by Hadeel Naeem and Rie Iizuka, who have both seen more than 100 students at the PPLS Writing Centre over the last three years. If you’d like to learn some ways to boost your writing in philosophy to the next level, reserve your spot now.

The first (on Monday, April 8th) will be on developing your arguments more completely, and the second (on Tuesday, April 9th) will be on accounting for objections. Both will use extracts from real student writing, and both will take an interactive approach with voting, exercises and discussion.

The primary audience will be undergraduates in years 3 & 4 and taught postgraduates, but you are all welcome to attend, even if this is your first year.

More Honours Workshops in April

The PPLS Writing Centre holds workshops throughout the year. Pre-honours students have a series in autumn to start things off right, while we help Honours and PGT students closer to their dissertation due dates (in spring and summer, respectively). These are the target audiences, but anyone from any level in PPLS is welcome to attend any event. Every workshop we produce uses examples of real student writing to illustrate what works and what doesn’t (by the way, if you’d like to let us use anonymised extracts from your own writing to create future workshops and other guidance material, please fill out this form to give us permission to do so).

Our Honours workshops are taught by PhD tutors who have worked for the PPLS Writing Centre for 3 years or more. They’ve seen dozens of students (in some cases, over a hundred) about writing assignments, and they’ve also spent long hours marking student work as part of their regular tutoring duties. This gives them particular insight into where students in their subject areas go wrong. That’s why I’ve asked them to develop workshops to help larger audiences avoid those pitfalls.

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An interview with Chris Cummins

Chris Cummins is the course organiser for LEL 1A and also teaches Statistics and Experimental Design, Psycholinguistics, and Pragmatics.

What are you up to at the moment?

Portrait of Christopher Cummins
Christopher Cummins

I was just going to read the LEL1A midterm essays. It’s a stylistically interesting mix: some people have decided to jump right into things, while others have decided to position their answers to the question in a broader context, sometimes an extremely broad context, the whole of linguistics in some cases.

There’s one I’ve seen that presents everything in the form of a Socratic dialogue.  I haven’t looked at it properly, but I’d be interested in knowing what the tutor makes of it.  I mean, it’s a dialogue between the student and the tutor, who is named.  I don’t know if they know that the tutor is going to be marking it.  

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PPLS Writing Retreat next week

Kasia Banas will be holding another writing retreat on March 18th, and registration is now open to all Honours students in PPLS.

If you haven’t been to one before, consider giving it a try. Many people find it very motivating to be surrounded by other people quietly getting their work done. Even academic and research staff participate in joint writing sessions just like this on a regular basis.

And as if that’s not enough, there are promises of free cookies and caffeine. I’ve even heard that sandwiches are not out of the question.

Kasia has passed along a link to this site, where you can see more details and claim your spot. Don’t worry about where it says “Psychology Honours Students”; linguists and philosophers are also welcome.