There will be three main workshops associated with the unit, for which attendance is mandatory: Workshop 1 (Week 1, am): Orientation This introductory morning workshop will review the unit goals, give students the chance to introduce themselves and their project, and review some basic content on best work practices, health and safety, ethics, professional development, and reflective practice. These are essential tools for making the most of your practical experience during the unit. Workshop 2 (Week 1, pm): Themes, Knowledge and Skills This afternoon workshop follows on from workshop 1, and will be aimed at reflecting on the skills and knowledge you have gained across your degree, and how this might map to potential employers, and what they are looking for. We will look at how to recognise our strengths and make best use of them; as well as identifying areas where we can improve, and make plans on how to develop those areas during the unit. Finally, we will make a first draft of a personal curriculum vitae (CV, resume). Workshop 3 (Week 11, am+pm): Presentation skills This workshop will focus on two key opportunities where we present ourselves to our colleagues in a professional context: giving a formal presentation; and giving a job interview. The workshop will look at techniques for delivering an informative and professional presentation, and will go through the process involved in a typical professional job interview. We will use a combination of delivered content and group exercises, including mock interviews, with a focus on developing confidence and experience in presenting in different situations.
The main component of this unit is a project conducted with an external partner organisation. Projects range from pure research to projects with a more educational or outreach flavour. All projects, however, should give you exposure to a professional working environment, and the opportunity to contribute to a larger effort related to professional physics. You will spend nominally 100 hours working with the partner organisation, spread throughout the semester. We suggest you spend one week of the mid-semester break, and 9 Fridays working at the external organisation, however the hours will need to be negotiated with your external supervisor, Projects should normally start in Week 2, concluding in Week 10, but again there will be some variations in schedule according to particular circumstances.
Supervisors and Mentors
Students will have a supervisor at the host organisation, who is able to devote some time to supervising the students on the days that they attend the host organisation. At the start of the project, agree on a time or day when you are most likely to have overlap with your supervisor. If you don't have regular access to your project supervisor, let the unit convenor know as soon as possible so that alternative arrangements can be made. The Physics and Astronomy Department at Macquarie University also appoints a University mentor to maintain liaison, monitor progress and assist in advising students. Students will meet with their University mentor at least three times during the semester to review lab-books, progress against project objectives, etc. At least one, if not all, of these meetings will take place at the host organisation.
Required Unit Materials
You will be working within the premises of the partner organisation. Compliance with standard Work Health and Safety (WHS, sometimes also called Occupational Health & Safety, or OH&S) practice is expected. This includes wearing appropriate clothing and footwear (e.g. covered shoes), and following all workplace rules as defined by the Partner. If you are unsure of these rules, ask your supervisors.
Required Text: Not applicable, but project supervisors may recommend relevant readings.
Record-keeping: Each student pair must maintain a lab book. The lab book needs to be completed for each day of work on the project. Entries in the lab book must be viewed and approved as correct records by the Partner supervisor on a regular basis (at least fortnightly). Students will be required to hand in their lab books to the Partner supervisor at the end of the unit.
Students spend around 100 hours working within the host organisation. This time should be used effectively in the pursuit of the objectives identified by the partner supervisor and unit learning outcomes. A clear understanding of the project objectives and appropriate planning will facilitate progress towards the project objectives. Students are expected to regularly graph and analyse their results (if appropriate), and keep comprehensive and up-to-date records in their lab-books. The host supervisor and University mentor will review the lab-book to ensure good practice in this respect.