It is an extraordinary pleasure to welcome everyone to MyGradSkills.ca (aka MyGradSkills.com). As we launch the site, hopefully we will be starting a revolution in professional skills training for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Why is professional skills training important?
The skills students acquire in their graduate training are critical for our growing knowledge economy. But graduate programs usually focus (with good reason) more on disciplinary knowledge, than on the general development of professional skills. With the changing job climate, most graduate students now follow career paths other than that of a tenure-track professor at research universities. Students need to learn about those other career paths, and how to apply the skills and knowledge from their graduate programs to a wide range of careers. Professional skills training leads to student success in graduate programs and beyond.
What is MyGradSkills.ca?
At the very heart of MyGradSkills.ca sit a series of self-paced, online modules aimed at providing information about #gradproskills ranging from topics like teaching & learning, to career development, to community engagement, to entrepreneurship, and much more. These 18 modules were created by the Ontario Consortium for Graduate Professional Skills Development in a unique collaboration funded by the Ontario Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, through their Productivity and Innovation Fund (PIF). But that’s just the start.
Over the coming months, you’ll see more additions to MyGradSkills.ca, including more blogs, virtual career panels, an information clearinghouse, as well as additional on-line modules – all designed to help you build your #gradproskills to succeed in any career path.
Who created MyGradSkills.ca?
The Ontario Consortium for Graduate Professional Skills Training is a group of universities from Ontario: McMaster University, Queen’s University, the University of Guelph, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and Western University. Each University took the lead in creating anywhere from 1-4 modules, often working together in the development. The work was a true collaborative effort of hundreds of people over several months, and we hope you’ll make the most of what we’ve created.
Why online modules?
Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows live busy lives. They travel for research and conferences; they balance work and family life; and they often play an important role in teaching and mentoring undergraduate students. So it’s not always convenient for them to attend a series of in-person lectures or to attend workshops on professional skills training. Our self-paced, online modules can be accessed anywhere and anytime, and can be completed all at once or in smaller chunks of time – whatever is most convenient for each person. All you need is an internet connection, and you’re good to go. Having that sort of flexible access makes it more likely that more students will make use of resources, enhancing students’ education and career prospects.
Who can access the modules?
Starting September 8, 2014, the modules are available for free to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Ontario. Here’s the sign-in page with instructions.
If you don’t live in Ontario, you’ll still have access to all of the other offerings of MyGradSkills.ca, and we are working as quickly as we can to give access to the modules for students from across Canada and around the world. If you’re a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow at a university outside Ontario, and you’d like your university to get access, just talk to your graduate dean (or equivalent), and have them contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are working out a range of different membership and partnership options to make the modules accessible to as many graduate students and postdocs as possible, so that everyone can benefit.
How can I make suggestions for content?
We are looking for ideas from students and postdocs about what they’d like to see in terms of future online modules, blog content, and virtual panel topics. If you have an idea, just let us know through our suggestion box on the homepage. You also can let us know if you have a suggestion for information to be added to the clearinghouse.
Check back here often for additional blogs, virtual panel discussions, and more. If you’d like to be on our mailing list for update information, just let us know. In coming blog posts, we’ll be explaining more about the background of the MyGradSkills.ca project, about the content of the different modules, about our badging system, and about other topics related to #gradproskills. You can also follow us on twitter (@GPSkills) or using the #gradproskills hashtag. And be sure to tag us in when you share your own information on #gradproskills so we can help spread the word.
Our goal is to provide you with all the #GradProSkills you need to succeed beyond the labs, libraries, and lectures, so that you can find your future!