La Trobe students shut up and write

 STUDY: La Trobe students Jeska Rees, Eve Merton, Tom O'Callaghan, Linda Kirkman and Melissa Kennedy.

STUDY: La Trobe students Jeska Rees, Eve Merton, Tom O'Callaghan, Linda Kirkman and Melissa Kennedy.

FOR two and a half hours every Wednesday, a group of La Trobe University students shut themselves in a room in the library and disconnect from the outside world.

Phones are switched off, heads are down and conversation is barred.

The students are partaking in "Shut Up and Write", a study forum for PhD and Master's students. 

The forum was designed to give students a sense of community and increase productivity - with students collectively ensuring the strict rules of discipline are upheld.

Research Programs associate Eve Merton, who helped organised the sessions, said they were becoming increasingly popular in campuses across Australia.

She said they had proved a useful way of ensuring students were putting pen to paper and unleashing their ideas. She said students worked in 25-minute blocks, with five-minute breaks in between.

PhD student and academic Linda Kirkman said she loved the support the forums provided.

"Sometimes you just need to get out of the house," she said.

"It's that sense of not feeling alone ... there's a sense that people have felt the same things you have."

Master's student Tom O'Callaghan said the sessions helped clarify the large swaths of information he had digested throughout the week.

"At the moment I'm doing so many readings," he said.

"Having that point of sitting down and writing all you're reading about is really useful.

"You only have the good ideas when you write them out."

The Thesis Whisperer blog states the movement began in San Francisco a few years ago, based on a productivity technique called "time boxing".

"The idea of time boxing is that the best way to tackle any big job is to break it down into a set of small, discrete tasks then limit the time you have available to do them," the blog states. "

"Once you have decided on a mini-goal you set a timer and off you go."

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