Due to COVID-19, it has been impossible for our doctoral students on both the PhD and EdD programmes to get together in person to hangout and catch up. Our recent consultation with the students indicated that they would value having a virtual hangout place where they could socialise with fellow doctoral students. Such virtual space is extremely important as the physical isolation during the pandemic could have detrimental effect on our mental wellbeing and could make many of us feeling lonely.

With this in the mind, the Institute of Education’s Postgraduate Research Studies (PGRS) team has created two private virtual hangout places on Microsoft Teams: one for PhD students and one for EdD students. All members of both doctoral programmes have now been added to their respective group and we hope the students will make the most of the space created!


Fatima Zahra Abbou (an IoE PhD Student Representative) commented that “PhD journey can be very lonely and with this lockdown it can be lonelier. The virtual hangout space set up by the IoE PGRS team provided us with a platform in which we can share and exchange our ideas with other research students to keep us connected and motivated during this exceptional time.” Chengcheng Guo (another IoE PhD Student Representative) agrees with Fatima and said that “The virtual hangout place provides us with a new and useful way to learn together and communicate with our peers who, due to COVID19, have had to return to their home countries around the world. It helps us cope with the quarantine time.”

Simon Fox (an EdD student) commented that “The virtual hangout has the potential to be really useful for EdD students. Even if only to connect with other researchers for likeminded chatter. Have a look and see who’s around!”