Each year, dissertation students from Sports, Law, Policing and Protective Services degrees at Newcastle College University Centre present their research proposal to peers and staff across the department. The annual Higher Education Poster Presentation Conference provides students with the opportunity to showcase their research and answer questions posed by audience members.

For some of the presenting students, the conference provides the first experience they gain of presenting to such a large audience, which can be a positive formative experience. "The act of presenting and answering questions around their topic can provide students with a more profound understanding of their own research proposal, and may inform adjustments to their project as they move forward with data collection and analysis," said Dean Armstrong, Curriculum Leader (Higher Education), Construction, Leisure & Sport.

Chris Williams, a Level 6 Policing and Criminology student who presented his own research, thought the conference was excellent and added that he "enjoyed the feedback between one another, while being able to ask and answer questions".

The audience, which is made up of staff and students in their first and second years of degree study, is intended to support those presenting. For the students sitting in the audience, the experience of a conference environment provides an opportunity to gain an understanding of academic and professional expectations as they progress through their course, as well as inspiration to pursue their own research agenda. 

This was the case for Ciaran Ure currently studying at Level 4 in Physical Education and Coaching. He said: "The conference has been really helpful and I now understand different presentation techniques, which is something I can take into account when I have to deliver a presentation later on." 

Ross Graham, a Level 4 Exercise and Rehabilitation student, was also inspired to pursue his own research, adding: "I will definitely do some further research on the topics that I have a particular interest in and start thinking about my own dissertation. At least I'll know I have some wider research and knowledge on the areas I might be asked questions on".

The conference is also a great opportunity to hear and learn from students on different courses. Despite studying a sport degree, Isabelle Pickup found the Policing presentations particularly useful, saying "its gave me information on things that I came into the conference not knowing. Its more knowledge for me when there's something on another course that still relates to what my dissertation will be about". These benefits were mirrored by Ross, who agreed that the Policing presentations "provided good insights into different views and areas of study and particular areas of interests."

Following the conference, presenting students are given structured feedback from tutors and a grade which directly contributes towards their overall dissertation outcome. 

The Sport and Policing departments at the College work closely with local organisations and are looking to expand the conference to include external guests in the coming years.