Social Media and Online Identity workshop – brief notes



I did an interesting workshop on social media and digital identity for our staff Learning and teaching conference here at Regent’s University this afternoon. I started off with a brief introduction explaining why I think the issues of online identity are becoming more relevant to academics. It’s not just one reason but several; they want to make their research more visible, some are using social media in their teaching and classroom activities, lecturers themselves want to increase their personal profile (and brand), and even those who don’t want to participate get ‘dragged’ into other people’s social media whether they like it or not!

The first activity was to look at their digital footprint so I asked them to search for themselves on Google using first just their name, then their name and home town and finally their name and ‘Regent’s University London’. We repeated the exercise using DuckDuckGo (another search engine that doesn’t  keep your search data). We then had a short discussion on the results and any surprising findings that we found.

The second task was based around a ‘typical’ lecturer at Regent’s called Dr. Jane Doe. I had a bit of fun with this. I got my colleague Steve Dawes to create a photofit picture in Photoshop, based on some of the participants who I knew were attending the workshop. Here is the finished version:


Here is Jane’s Facebook profile:

“Jane primarily uses Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Jane has a lot of Facebook ‘friends’ from school and her days as a university student, many of whom are people that would still be considered ‘real friends’. However, some of her ‘friends’ she no longer has regular communication with and  does not share any life/interests with them. In the past Jane has accepted friend requests from people, some of whom she has not met in person. She has a great profile picture from her pre-wedding celebrations in Paris but she has made her privacy settings on Facebook so that only her ‘friends’ can see the photos that she shares.”

We spent a little time looking at this facebook profile and discussing if there was anything we would change.  We then looked at the other social media sites Jane is using, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Academia.

Finally I went through some general points about maintaining an effective online presence base on advise from The Institute of Academic Development at Edinburgh University:

Thanks to Zubin in particular for his comments about his own experiences of using these sites:)





Social Media and Digital Identity workshop


L and T conf

Coming soon Social Media and Digital Identity workshop … Friday 9th June 14.45 Room TBA

L and T Conf 2

Go to Regent’s Uni intranet to book your place.

Only 202 days until Christmas …time to enrol for #12AoC 2017


Just set up the 12 Apps of Christmas course here ….guess I need to run it now!


Learning to #Twalk Storify


Learning to Twalk
Storify created by @andrewmid

Paris Climate Agreement and why it matters for learning technology



The Paris Climate agreement aim is to create a global agreement on reducing pollution emissions and slow down the trend in global temperatures. The governments of the countries who signed up to the agreement committed themselves to keeping the increase of global temperatures to less than 2% – and hopefully to less than 1.5% increase. Not exactly a radical proposal in my view but it is significant as it would have a big impact on pollution and world energy levels. It is proposed that these limits will be enforced by making polluters pay a climate tax. Put simply – the more they pollute the more tax the pay. This should encourage countries to look for renewable sources of energy and away from heavy emission power stations reliant on non-renewables like coal and oil.


All of us working in HE and Learning technology need to be concerned with Trumps proposal to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. After China the United States is the biggest polluter and contributer to global emissions. Working with technology it might seem that we work in a carbon-neutral environment when we are on our university campuses but this is not the case. The energy to power our virtual learning environments, gadgets, smartphones, laptops and pc’s are all generated somewhere! We need to do whatever we can to intervene in what is essentially a political argument about global warming. It is Trump and his followers who are propagating the argument that it is these solutions to global warming that are causing job losses in the US. Sometimes we need to look beyond the immediacy of our own clustered environments and do something ‘political’ to change the world. These can be big a small things – send a Tweet, write a blog post, go on a protest, organise a meeting on campus – things can be done to create a better world!!!

Blackboard Catalyst Award Winner 2017


Bb Catalyst award winner

Just opened my emails this morning to find out I’ve won a award!

“Dear Chris,

On behalf of Blackboard, I am pleased to inform you that you are a winner of the 2017 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching & Learning!  Congratulations on this achievement! You join a select group of people from around the world whose participation has been recognized as a significant and exemplary contribution to our Blackboard Community…..”

Awards will be presented at BbWorld conference in New Orleans in July – Just have to find someone who will pay for me to pick up the award now 🙂

It also gets a mention in the Regent’s University 2017 staff conference montage:

<p><a href=”″>Staff conference montage 2017</a> from <a href=””>Regent's University London</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Reflections on Regent’s Twalk #SIGCLANS



This is a very short post to capture my initial thoughts about the Regent’s Twalk at lunchtime…..Today I organised a short walk on the main campus of Regent’s University London. During the walk we visited five different types of learning spaces; The Refectory (an informal learning space), ICT2 (a IT lab), The Tate Library (Collaborative learning space). Room H242 (classroom with furniture designed for ‘flexible’ learning) and H243 ( a traditional lecturer theater). We walked around these spaces tweeting out photos and answering the following questions:

  • What is the value of informal meeting spaces like cafes for today’s learner?
  • What other good meeting spaces do we build into our campuses? What are their qualities?
  • Where do students do group work?
  • How fit for purpose is the traditional PC Lab?
  • How are they used, who by, and when?
  • Where do our students ‘feel at home’ on campus and amongst friends?
  • What do they do on campus?
  • How does it promote their sense of belonging?
  • What do today’s classrooms look like?
  • What does flexible mean and is flexible desirable?
  • Is it time to rethink the need for ‘teaching walls?’ and lecterns?
  • How do you define an Active Learning Classroom?
  • Do we support staff to move from the teaching wall to the middle of the room?
  • What is the role of technology in the room?

We started on time and just two lecturers and three members of the learning technology team turned up. Even though this was about the numbers I was expecting it was still very disappointing. There are some obvious reasons why this was the case; teaching has finished so many lecturers are not on campus, there was a JCC meeting on at the same time, it clashes with lunchtime, end of term fatigue. But having said that the event was well advertised so to only get two academics was a bit demoralising. However, the two who turned made up for the numbers with their enthusiasm, energy and genuine desire to engage with the tasks!

The questions certainly sparked a lot of discussion among the participants. There was a really nice interaction between the learning technologists and the tutors who had not met before. Even the two academics had not spoken to one another before even though they have taught here for a number of years and even teach the same subjects (in a slightly different context).

I think I need to go back and look at the tweets later when I have time. I was too busy taking people round and explaining the tasks too fully concentrate on the Twitter stream. It would also be interesting to see how much interaction was going on between the different institutions organising the walks.

Would I do it again? If so, how? I definable would do it again but I need to think of better ways to get the message over the the lecturers. For me the activity was not really about using Twitter but about exploring and critiquing learning learning spaces on campus other words creating a dialogue. I really don’t think that most lecturers who saw the posters/leaflets/intranet/tweets saw it as this – or even thought about how they could use this as a teaching activity with their students. Maybe next time I need to get staff to book the event more like a normal workshop? Or simply just take round a sign-up list? Who knows – you just need to try things out sometimes and see where they go:)





Twalk 2


poster template Twitter

Facebook and HE – some useful articles



Just starting to investigate the recent literature on Facebook and HE. These are the results of a very quick research. Any comments greatly appreciated.

Cuesta, M; Eklund, M; Rydin, I; Witt, A (2015)
Using Facebook as a co-learning community in higher education. Learning, Media and Technology Vol 41,Issue 1

Donlan, L.(2014) Exploring the views of students on the use of Facebook in university teaching and learning. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 04 July 2014, Vol.38(4), p.572-588. Routledge

Grosseck, G ; Bran, R ; Tiru, L. Dear teacher, what should I write on my wall? A case study on academic uses of Facebook. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2011, Vol.15, pp.1425-1430

Kent, M, & Leaver, T. (eds) (2014) An education in Facebook? : higher education and the world’s largest social network. Abingdon : Routledge

Blaine A. Legaree; Considering the changing face of social media in higher education. FEMS Microbiol Lett 2015; 362 (16):

Muhammad Kamarul Kabilan , Norlida Ahmad, Mohamad Jafre Zainol Abidin (2010) Available at:

Sharma, S K. ; Joshi, A ; Sharma, H. (2016) A multi-analytical approach to predict the Facebook usage in higher education. Computers in Human Behavior, February 2016, Vol.55, pp.340-353

VanDoorn G. and Eklund, A.A. (2013) Face to Facebook: Social media and the learning and teaching potential of symmetrical, sychronous communication. Available at:

Wise, L., Skues & Williams, B. (2011) Facebook in higher education promotes social but not academic engagement. Available at

UCISA – Spotlight on Digital Capabilities conference slides


Slides for my presentation at the UCISA Spotlight on Digital Literacies conference Weds 24th May

UCISA Programme