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Words, Abraham Arief

The inaugural event was held in May, with Kazuhiro Yasunaga and Dennis Danipog both presenting their research in the field of education. Kazuhiro presented on the effect of item formats on students’ academic outcomes. His research is examining item formats in social studies and Japanese language comprehension tests in order to evaluate the effect that test structures can have on academic achievement. For his PhD, Dennis is exploring science inquiry practices by teachers in the classroom on students’ achievements. He gave an interesting talk on his research and upcoming fieldwork in the Philippines.

The second of the series saw a broad range of topics discussed, from media and communication, computer science, to medical science, with three presenters: Shiau Ching Wong, Thorsten Ehlers, and Liliana Bray. First up in June was Xiaoqing (Shiau Ching) Wong who gave a fascinating presentation on the symbiotic relationship between social movements and the media in Hong Kong (the anti-national education movement) and Taiwan (anti-media monopoly movement). Following on from her excellent article in the last edition of the Melbourne Graduate, Xiaoping has returned from her five month field trip interviewing activists and journalists with, as you could imagine, a lot of qualitative data! Emerging trends with her analysis shows use of the media (particularly social media) by the protestors was both fodder for the media as well as influential on the media reactions (and thus on the campaigning) required to support or reject government policies on the media itself. Political alignments, dissenting opinions and framing were learnt and used both by activists and journalists to achieve social and political change.

research talks

Up next was Thorsten Ehlers who is from the Dependable Systems Group of the Department of Computer Science in Kiel University’s Faculty of Engineering. Thorsten spoke about his doctoral research studies on formal methods for the discovery and prevention of hardware and software bugs in the automotive and airline industries. Referring to his work on optimal algorithms and sorting networks and on Boolean satisfiability massive parallelisation, he spoke to real-life verification and model-checking use by a German airline company in finding a solution to the gaining of incremental profits and by a German car manufacturer in the detection of safety hazard software bugs.

The last speaker was Liliana Bray who used the opportunity of the intelligent and supportive audience to practice her three-minute thesis competition speech on the genetic basis of duodenal atresia, a condition whereby the first part of the small intestine (exiting from the stomach) has not developed properly in the embryo. This competition was at the student conference, and for her own cohort. Another three-minute competition is hosted by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education. The competition involves “compelling and engaging three-minute talks on topics of public interest” to showcase “the-cutting edge research being undertaken by Melbourne’s research students”. Each presenter has three-minutes and one powerpoint slide to tell the intelligent, non-specialist audience, and the panel of judges about their research and why it is significant to humanity. Following five heats, the semi-finals are on the 11th and 12th August in the Law School and the finals are the 3rd September in the Ian Potter Auditorium.

Run and conducted by Residents, these sessions allow participants to share the knowledge they are accumulating during their post-graduate studies, develop their presentation skills and allow Resident Members to learn more about disciplines other than their own. Timely reviews of these sessions are on the Graduate House Student Group’s website.