Making connections through volunteering

Being a peer leader at QUT has given me much more than I had expected. I’ve received training, developed professional employment networks and had a real impact on my peers.

If you’re passionate about helping other students succeed with their studies, consider getting involved with one of QUT’s Peer Programs. Support from peers is effective because as a fellow student you are more likely to have experience and awareness of what others may be going through.

What programs are there?

There’s a huge range of programs and leadership opportunities available at QUT. Some are uni-wide programs that focus on connection and wellbeing while others are more discipline-specific. Each program gives you the opportunity to develop leadership skills, establish strong networks and form long-term friendships. Often being a peer leader is described as one of the most memorable highlights of student life.

What will I do?

Peer leaders are experienced students trained to share their knowledge and tips about life and learning at QUT. All peer leaders are required to undertake both online and on-campus training and professional learning for their particular peer leader role or roles. You can get involved through a variety of on-campus or online programs.

As a peer leader you will:

  • connect with other peer leaders in your program
  • help achieve your peer program’s goals and expectations
  • participate in training and receive support in your role
  • develop your professional and employability skills
  • receive recognition for your volunteer service.
  • Am I eligible to apply?

    Each Peer Program has different applicant requirements. These may include:

  • applicant requirements (minimum GPA, study year level)
  • Peer Leader role overview and expectations (time commitment)
  • discipline area.
  • Check out what’s available for the upcoming semester. You never know where volunteering can take you!

    How to feel confident presenting online

    Now more than ever we’re being asked to embrace technology and step out of our comfort zones to present information online. There are so many amzaing tools out there to create a presentaion but it takes a bit of work for most of us to actually feel confident in front of a camera. Trial and error can be the best way to get comfortable with new technology but it also helps to have a plan.

    Prepare, prepare, prepare
    Like any presentation the key is preparation. This means getting started early and planning.

  • Create a clear focus with 1-3 key message(s).
  • Revise your drafts and edit out unnecessary content.
  • Make notes for each screen / section.
  • Think about how you are going to engage the audience.
  • Practise timing of spoken presentation.
  • Become familiar with the technology (eg. Zoom, Viva Voce, Collaborate etc)
    No matter which web conferencing software you use the key is understanding its features. Make sure you know how to control the following:

  • Screen sharing and presenter view.
  • Playing an embedded video (if relevant).
  • Using a spotlight or highlight on a speaker.
  • Setting up and testing audio and video.
  • Set everything up fully to achieve the best results
    It’s also important to choose a suitable location for your presentation. Make sure you find a space which is quiet and has good lighting. This may mean booking a study room in the library or going to a friend’s house when they’re out. If at home let others know that you are presenting live or recording so you’re not interrupted.

    Before you start, think about your appearance.

  • Wear appropriate clothing – smart casual (no PJs!).
  • Angle your camera just above eye level to frame your shoulders and face.
  • Keep your face well-lit with natural light, or place a lamp behind the camera, towards your face.
  • Remove personal items or anything visible in the background.
  • Do a final check of the technology.

  • Test earphones, phone camera or webcam.
  • Close down all unnecessary browsers, windows or apps and turn notifications off.
  • Have notes ready (printed or in presenter view).
  • Test slideshare settings in presenter view.
  • Check the audio and video settings.
  • Log into the web meeting on another device to check the audience view.

  • Tips for pre-recording your presentation

    Some assessment tasks require you to record your presentation and upload the file. The same principles apply but you may need to do things a bit differently when pre-recording.

  • Practise making a short recording then watch it back.
  • Pause when you transition between slides or present complex information.
  • Speak from notes rather than ‘reading’.
  • Breath and smile as you talk.
  • Follow assessment task instructions carefully.
  • Don’t forget to hit record!
  • Whether you’re presenting in person or online being a clear, confident and engaging communicator is an essential skill to have so it’s worth investing some time and energy into it. Check out more QUT resources on presenting online.

    Having better conversations

    It seems obvious but the ability to start conversations and talk confidently is something that will help you in all aspects of life. Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist who has years’ of experience interviewing people from all over the world. Here are her tips for having a good conversation:

    • Stop what you are doing. Give the other person your full attention.
    • Assume you have something to learn.
    • Use open-ended questions.
    • Go with the flow.
    • Don’t pretend to know if you don’t know.
    • Don’t repeat yourself.
    • Don’t give too many details.
    • Listen actively.

    Check out her entertaining TED Talk on 10 ways to have a better conversation.