Oxford Internet Institute's Summer Doctoral Program
The 10th Annual Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Program (OII SDP) brought together doctoral students from around the world to share their work and learn from leading academics in the field.

GRAND doctoral student Elizabeth Shaffer (University of British Columbia) answers a few questions about her participation.
Posted by GRAND NCE, August 17, 2012

The 10th Annual Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Program (OII SDP) was held July 9-20, 2012 at the University of Oxford in England. The program brings together doctoral students engaged in dissertation research relating to the Internet and other ICTs to share their work and learn from leading academics in the field. The program offers opportunities for students to build a network amongst young researchers with shared interests and exposes students to the benefits of discussing their research in a multi-disciplinary teaching environment. 

Structured around daily research seminars led by leading OII and international researchers, students also had the opportunity to present and critically discuss their work with peers in informal seminars in a multi-disciplinary environment, facilitating discussions and feedback around substantive and methodological research issues. 

GRAND doctoral student Elizabeth Shaffer (University of British Columbia) answers some questions about her participation in the program. 


Q Is this your first time attending a summer program?
Yes. Summer workshops and programs are very popular amongst European doctoral students. I will definitely take advantage of future summer programs if the opportunity arises as the experience of an intensive, focused program around common research interests provides an excellent opportunity to engage with peers and researchers.

Q Describe one (or two) highlight(s) of your overall experience of the OII SDP. 
Because this was the tenth anniversary of the OII SDP, a mini-conference of SDP Alumni, with additional guest speakers took place at the midway point of the program. There were engaging talks by SDP alumni who have gone on to work on a number of interesting research projects. The opening panel reflected on Ten Years in the Life of the Internet – discussing the maindevelopments in their field over   the last ten years and identifying new research challenges for the coming decade. Past alumni delivered talks in four main areas: Shaping Interaction, Collaboration and Use; Power, Politics and Governance; Design, Use and Practice; and The Evolution of Internet Research. 

I would have to say that punting on the River Cherwell would stand out as a social highlight of the program. The OII did a wonderful job of organizing group activities and fostering social opportunities for the cohort to network and build relationships – including informal gatherings and more formal dinners and events. One such event was a punting and picnic afternoon. With only a few experienced punters amongst the group, a gallant and successful effort was made by all to successfully navigate the river in our assigned punts. Post punting Pimm’s cocktails were raised in celebration of teamwork that kept us all dry and on board the punts until the end.

Q What did you learn from your experience? 
I learned that it is important to be passionate about your research, imaginative in your approach and be willing to take risks in pursuit of your goals.

Q What did you learn from your experience?  
I believe my research has benefited greatly from attending the OII SDP. One thing I will take away from the experience is the value of critical and constructive peer feedback in strengthening my research and pushing it to be better. To engage with such a diverse and multidisciplinary group over the duration of two weeks was invaluable to enriching my approach to my current dissertation research. Engaging with other doctoral students who are utilizing many of the same methods and tools as myself was extremely useful in interrogating my research design in order to strengthen it moving forward.

Q What networking opportunities did you find most useful? 
I would say that the SDP provided an invaluable opportunity to build relationships with an amazing group of peers and researchers from around the world. Sharing a seminar space, as well as numerous formal and informal social gatherings, afforded for many opportunities for discussion and sharing of ideas and experiences. The nature of the group saw a number of social media platforms utilized during and post-program to build and maintain networks.

Q Would you like to give kudos to a presenter or fellow researcher? 
While there were numerous outstanding presenters in the course of the two weeks, I would have to give kudos to my fellow student presenters. We were encouraged to be frank in presenting our dissertation work and seek critical feedback from the group to aid in improving our research. My fellow doctoral students were bold in the presentation of their work and both critical and generous in providing thoughtful, insightful and engaged feedback as peers.