Free Forum Helps Grad Students Reach Out to Each Other
- By Dian Schaffhauser
ProQuest has launched a free online community specifically for graduate students. GradShare provides a forum where graduate students can share challenges and advice and find solutions offered by their library or graduate school. Topics are expected to include dissertation subject selection, grants and financial aid, and work-life balance.
ProQuest provides specialty information resources and technologies to support libraries and researchers. Offerings include RefWorks-COS, and CSA.
A Get Answers section contains user-generated content that allows peer mentoring, including sharing questions, answers, and bookmarks. Visitors can browse for answers to their questions by academic field, stage of study, and topic area.
The Expert Advice section provides explanations and insights relating to graduate school topics from experienced professionals such as faculty members and administrators.
ProQuest collaborated with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and used feedback from 500 doctoral students in the development of the service. The online community allows graduate students to expand their academic support network, tapping the knowledge of other students, subject experts, and professors from across the country. Additionally, it supports their academic research needs by offering information from their own library, presuming school staff and administrators also participate in the forum.
"The Council of Graduate Schools was delighted to work with ProQuest as they developed this resource," said Debra Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. "More and more, universities are coming to see that students provide valuable mentoring to their peers. At the same time, Web tools for social networking are evolving to serve the professional needs of scholars and researchers. GradShare harnesses the power of both these trends in an online environment by connecting PhD students to peers in their discipline and to valuable resources at their university and, more broadly, on doctoral education. GradShare has the potential to be of great value to students in pursuit of a Ph.D."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.