Postgraduate: Online dentistry degree; Wimbledon's postgraduate studios; PhD review; foster carer training

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The Independent Online

An online degree in dentistry? It may sound unlikely, but one has just been launched by the GKT Dental Institute at King's College London. Known as the e-MClinDent, it is a virtual version of the distance-learning postgraduate degree in clinical dentistry (prosthodontics) already offered by King's. It is thus part of the University of London's External Programme, which prides itself on offering distance-learning degrees at the same standard as its regular degrees, and includes a range of practical dental programmes.

The course, a world first, according to King's - is for dentists who want to improve their knowledge of fixed and removable prosthodontics. Students from around the globe will be able to peer into the mouths of their tutors' patients, via intra-oral cameras and video-conferencing. This was demonstrated last Tuesday when a video link was established between a dental practice on the Isle of Wight and students in London and Italy. The course lasts four years. For each of the first three years, students must attend a two-week residential course in the UK; the fourth year is dedicated to a dissertation.

To find out more about the GKT Dental Institute, go to: www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/dentistry/index.html

* For the first time, work by tutors and students is being shown together at Wimbledon School of Art. The exhibition, which runs until 15 October, marks the opening of the school's new purpose-built postgraduate studios. Wimbledon (www.wimbledon.ac.uk) runs postgraduate courses in drawing, painting, graphic media, sculpture and theatre design.

* Nearly 9,000 students became PhDs in the UK last year. A new report will reveal what the future holds for them. "What do PhDs do?" is the first comprehensive review of doctoral graduates' careers. It contains statistics and analysis, and looks at who our PhDs are (what they are doing, what motivated them to undertake their doctorate, and so on), and what they can offer the labour market.

Other questions addressed are how the doctorate shapes up as a useful qualification, and how the employment landscape for PhDs has changed. The research was managed by Dr Charlie Ball, head of labour-market information at Graduate Prospects, and produced by the UK GRAD programme. The report will be available at www.grad.ac.uk from October.

* Foster carers should be more involved in their charges' education. That is according to Shirley Robinson, a teacher and foster-care support worker who looked at how children in care can improve their grades as part of her doctorate in education at the University of Derby. Robinson runs a support service for 500 young people and 350 carers across Derbyshire, and some of her recommendations are being implemented by the local government. Initiatives include sending carers on training courses along with teachers and social workers.

g.mccann@independent.co.uk

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