FERSA on the web: a forum for collaboration and support

Please note that you will not have access to the members area until you have set up an account and been confirmed as a member of FERSA.

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The website was new in 2009/2010 and is still under development. Please feel free to add content and suggest ideas about anything you feel is good or that is needed. We hope the site will develop as the year progresses. The easiest way to comment is to write a blog post using the 'create content' link on the left menu of the screen. Alternatively you could see if there is discussion taking place in the forums section (members only). Ed.


Welcome to the new website
for FERSA members and friends

Throughout 2008/2009 discussions took place between members of FERSA and the acting committee. It was decided that it would be a good idea to set up a website dedicated to sharing information, research, help and for discussions of student life. This site is the result. It is designed to be ongoing and democratic in both design and content with all users being welcome to comment or help with designing, posting, commenting or participating in discussions. Sections of the site include:


Blogs - a place that may be good for one off posts that may for example provide a link to a useful website, comment on a recent lecture, advert about a conference or seminar.

Books - perhaps for more detailed information that includes an unofficial student handbook we hope to begin work on this year.

Forums - for detailed discussions that may include several different people

Polls - to vote on the most recent student issues.

RSS feeds - an aggregator that will collect information from a host of different web sites into one place (we hope).

(see above for links)

As this website is 'for students and by students' it is up to you to share what you know and ask what you dont. If we all work together we can make a positive impact that will benefit us all.

To contact members of the web development group for further information please email fersa-committee@srcf.ucam.org.

Technical information:

For those who are interested, the site is hosted independently by the student run computing facility which exists "as a university society to provide useful, flexible computing and network services for University of Cambridge Staff and Students of all degrees of ability". The FERSA site uses the content manager Drupal together with several modules that provide added services. The chatroom is provided free by 'Bowob'. The SRCF server uses Ubuntu Linux 8.04 (hardy) as it is free (in all senses), stable and relatively easy to maintain. We are currently running kernel version 2.6.24-24-server . The web server is Apache for much the same reasons. FERSA drupal is currently using a PostgreSQL database and is at version 6.1.3. We are very grateful to the SCRF for providing this service.

The site complements out faculty pages with added features such as news, blogs, private FERSA forums, polls, chat and a developing unofficial student guide. While some pages are open to public view, the chatroom, forums and polls are private to registered FERSA members. If you are a FERSA member and are not able to log in please register iusing the menu on the left  of the screen or email the webteam at fersa-committee@srcf.ucam.org


Introduction to FERSA

Students in their Master's and PhD years are members of the Faculty of Education Research Students' Association (FERSA) which represents students as well as organises activities to promote academic excellence within the student research community. FERSA conducts an annual student led conference Kaleidoscope; organizes two seminar series: one for postgraduate students and one for guest speakers; and oversees the numerous student led research groups that operate within the five academic groups at the Faculty. It also participates in tseminars in collaboration with several other universities.

Within FERSA, the Research Students' Representatives Committee (RSRC) comprises students who are representatives on the Faculty Board, the Standing Committee for Higher Degrees, the PhD Management Group, and the MPhil/MEd Management Group. They work together to address the academic, social and welfare concerns of the graduate student body. The FERSA committee members are elected by the student body in the Easter and Michaelmas terms.



FERSA began as an enterprise between Professor John Gray and several research students, to support the development of excellence within the Faculty's burgeoning student research community. Prior to the establishment of the association, students at the Faculty had already shown great initiative in developing the lunchtime seminar series and the prominent Kaleidoscope conference. In March 2007, several open meetings for all PhD and MPhil students were conducted to discuss how to increase opportunities for student participation and success, with Professor Gray and the Kaleidoscope chair, seminars organisers and PhD representative in attendance. It was decided that a students' association should be founded to establish new initiatives; to support the activity organisers within a network; and to forge links between activity organisers and student reps.

In its first year, FERSA extended the Faculty's postgraduate research activities with a second seminar series, an external exchange programme and student-led research groups. It meets once a term to give student representatives and activity organisers a forum in which to share ideas and knowledge about the research student community. In March 2007 the FERSA website was launched as part of the Faculty web pages. FERSA communicates with its members through a weekly email newsletter and further encourages networking through organising social events that include both students and academic staff.