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We're building up some responses to common questions - thanks to everyone who has asked them! If anything isn't covered, please email Dr Mike Rose:

  • What is the goal of the programme?
    A lot of research suggests that researchers are very time-poor and there are many different barriers to their taking up tools or techniques that could be very useful to them, whatever their discipline. You may find yourself asking whether it’s worth taking a week to learn how to use a particular programme if you’re not sure if you’ll really use it. 23Things tries to offer some short cuts and space to experiment – we’ve identified important topics for any researcher and collected expert blogs from academics and professionals who use these tools. You’ll finish the programme with some fresh ideas, more confidence in exploring digital tools, and valuable future connections.
  • Why should I join?
    People join 23Things for many different reasons, and the programme is designed to accommodate diverse needs and interests. The most common motivations are to network with other researchers internationally, to gain information and confidence in using online tools, and building one’s professional profile. From our research, once people have completed the programme, they frequently feel empowered to take on new challenges, that they have a better overview of the academic career landscape, and that they have learned a lot from researchers in other contexts. To help you navigate our many topics, this year we link each of the Things to one or more high-level goals for your development: I want to improve social justice. I want to save time and improve my wellbeing. I want to be more influential. I want my research to be respected. I want to attract more funding. I want to understand how the research landscape is changing. You may have you own specific goals, too, and we encourage you to share these with your Pod once the programme starts. Perhaps youare looking for future research collaborations, want to enhance your academic or public writing,would like to know about what’s out there to make your research more efficient and effective, or are simply curious.Everyone’s welcome!
  • How it works?
    Once you register for the programme and subscribe to the Things from the 'Register today' section on the Home page, we will allocate you into a Pod and you’ll received two weekly blogs, starting from 4th March. You’ll receive instructions for joining the Discord server and the specific areas for your pod, where you’ll be able to introduce yourself and get chatting. Each blog covers a relevant topic, with experts sharing their experience, further resources, and suggestions for further exploration or discussion. You’re free to read these whenever is most convenient to you. A calendar of the Things can be found on the Home page. Simple, really! Further involvement is up to you, including pod activities, our virtual writing retreat and discussion sessions.
  • What sort of Things will we look at?
    The Things are very diverse and change each year. (You can also look at an archive of older Things.) We try to make the course relevant to all career stages and disciplines, so this year we’ve included (for example) leadership in collaborative projects, career and project planning, maximising the impact of your research and researcher wellbeing. Each Thing includes expert advice and experience, introductions to useful tools and platforms, plus additional resources if you want to pursue the topic further. This year we have linked each Thing to a set of high-level goals, to help you apply the content to your own aims. These are: I want to improve social justice. I want to save time and improve my wellbeing. I want to be more influential. I want my research to be respected. I want to attract more funding. I want to understand how the research landscape is changing.
  • Programme Duration:
    Monday 4th March 2024 – 7th June 2024. Each week we will release two Things for you to explore, with two break weeks built into the timetable. You can see more details on the Home page.
  • Time commitment:
    We suggest that the programme demands around one hour per week, though this will very much depend on your personal interest and availability. The Things are designed to be short reads with opportunities to explore further. We estimate 10-15 minutes per blog. The blogs are released throughout the programme but remain available after it ends, so you are free to return to any topics that came up during busy times. Beyond that, there is your pod; your level of involvement here is entirely up to you. Most pods meet online a couple of times a month to discuss the Things and get to know each other. Often this is the most valuable part of the programme, as you can make longer-term connections and learn about how things are done in different countries and institutions.
  • Completion:
    The programme ends once all 23 Things have been released. There is no formal assessment of your participation, since we find that every individual gets something different out of the programme. If you can say that you have read all the blogs and have attempted at least half of the tasks, you can claim our unique digital badge and certificate. We will share a link after the programme finishes where you can declare your completion.
  • Evaluation:
    23Things is a live contribution to our research into how researchers adopt and adapt digital tools for their work. We will ask you to take part in an evaluation questionnaire at the end of the programme, and there is also a voluntary focus group. We’d love to know what you think about the programme!
  • What are pods?
    At the start of the programme we’ll put you in a pod with other researchers who share some related fields of interest. This will be quite broad (so don’t expect the meet others working on exactly your topic) but you should share a lot of the same interests and disciplinary language. The idea is to help you create a mini network of colleagues at other institutions. As you go through the programme, you pod will be a little community of fellow travellers. Some of the Things have specific topics we invite you to discuss with your pod, which for other tasks you may want to give each other feedback and encouragement.
  • Meeting your pod:
    Pods are groups of researchers within the programme who are likely to share research interests – which may be because of similar disciplines, methods or areas of impact. For 2024 we are grouping people using the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. You should be grouped with people from around the world interested in solving similar problems or whose research relates to these high-level aims. Pods meet online through our dedicated Discord server, usually 1-2 times a month. As well as meeting each other, pods can discuss the latest Things and encourage each other with the various activities in the programme. (We leave it up to each pod to arrange meetings that work for most members; time zones can be a challenge, so you may need to be creative!) By the end of the programme, you should have a mini network of researchers with some shared passions and expertise; we hope that you will be able to call on this group for future collaborations and mutual support.
  • The Chair:
    When you register for the programme we will ask you if you would like to be a chair for your pod. This simply means initiating a positive conversation and helping the group to arrange the first couple of meetings. Chairs are not expected to take on extra work or to be solely responsible for managing the pod, but they will be our point of contact to check on how things are going. Chairs will also have the opportunity to meet with our Engagement Mentor for advice on keeping up momentum. **Note that the chair is there to make things easier, but they are not taking on full responsibility for the pod; things work best when everyone feels free to take the initiative.**
  • Engagement Mentor:
    Our Engagement Mentors are on hand help you make initial contact with your pod, keep the conversation rolling, and to provide support if you’re not sure what’s going on. They will stay in touch with pod chairs but are happy to talk to anyone with questions.
  • The website:
    Our website is where each Thing appears as a blog post. Subscribe to the blogs from the 'Register today' section of the Home page to make sure you don’t miss out on any updates. Comments and feedback through the 5-star ratings are very welcome! The blogs are open to the public so anyone can read them. Pod discussions and other events are hosted on our private Discord server, which we will share details about when the programme starts.
  • What if I miss a week, or need to leave the programme?
    23Things is designed to be self-paced, so if you miss a week or two it’s no problem. Catch up if you can, but there’s also no penalties or checks if you simply don’t get round to it. While we see lots of benefits to taking part, it’s only worth it if it’s worth it for you. Similarly, we know that everyone has many priorities to juggle, and sometimes you just need to step away from a commitment. It’s helpful for us if you can let us know if you decide you can’t fit the programme in (especially if it will affect your pod dynamic), but we promise we won’t be cross. 😊
  • What happens to my data from the application form?
    For the successful management and delivery of 23Things, programme staff from partnering universities will share information such as student name, email address, disciplinary area and university affiliation. Anonymised data and quotations may be used for reporting purposes and research publications, in line with the ethics approval we have obtained. This information will not be shared between other 23Things registrants and any information on fellow participants which arises out of engagement with the programme (for the purpose of a particular Pod for example) should be used in the context of 23Things only. This data will only be kept for the calendar year following the end of the programme. If you would prefer not to have your information shared in this way, please contact Mike:
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