July 3, 2020, by Lisa Chin

UNM 2020 Virtual 3MT®: Through the lens of the organisers

*This post is written by Dr Tissa Chandesa, Research Training Development Manager at the Graduate School. 

3MT® is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland, Australia. The challenge is for doctoral researchers to explain the complexity and relevance of their research to a non-specialist audience in a concise and engaging way.

On 24 June 2020, University of Nottingham Malaysia crowned its 2020 3 Minute Thesis (3MT®) winner. However, unlike previous years, this year’s competition had to be conducted virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Aside of it being momentous, organisers, competitors and judges had to familiarise themselves to several new norms. Among the new norms are: (1) no showing of the competitors’ static PowerPoint slide during the presentation of their 3MT® speech; (2) no showing of the 3MT® timer to audiences, competitors and judges; (3) having to deal with the uncertainty of the internet and (4) everyone being based at their respective homes/offices and not at our Great Hall (as previous years).

Even though, all of us were at the mercy of technology on which we had to use to conduct the virtual competition, the experiences gained was a real blessing in disguise as it presented me with a great opportunity to try out something novel. Furthermore, through careful planning and constant interactions with my fellow colleagues in the UK and China, all of us manage to organise a successful 3MT® competition, virtually, with minimal or no unexpected hiccups.

Even the competitors found the Peer Review sessions conducted virtually beneficial to them and below are some quotes from our class of 2020:

Since the 3MT 2020 is held online, the Peer Review helps me to get used to the online presentation by maintaining eye contact with the camera and makes me realized that we need to know our script well as we forget what we wanted to say easily when we stare into the camera.

The peer review session was very helpful to improve my presentation. Very constructive and sincere comments were given by the facilitators.”

It helped a lot in checking my pronunciation, timing and tone of my sentence delivery. It also helped me in my hand gestures.”

The Peer Review sessions were definitely very helpful! Throughout the training sessions, I have gradually improved and gained confidence prior to the competition. Special thanks to the trainers for putting in so much time, effort, patience and all the constructive feedback!”

Finally, to our talented and high calibre competitors as well as everyone at the Graduate School, congratulations to all of you on a job well done. I would also like to say a BIG thank you to our panel of Judges for their contribution to this year’s competition.

Until we meet again at the UNM 2021 3MT® competition, take care and stay safe!

Read more about the 2020 Winners of UNM Virtual 3MT® competition

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