What Makes Up A Professional Presence For Academics?

There’s always a question about what makes up a good professional presence for academics.

There are so many different sites which could be registered with and used, and this can look overwhelming to someone new to representing themselves online.

These are the slides I delivered for a recent Higher Education Academy workshop where I broke down the main different components which should be considered. The are hosted on SlideShare account for Thomas Lancaster.

One area I found particularly useful to go through was the different ways in which you can promote academic research using social media, so a number of sites related to that are included.

5 Reasons Why Students Should Embrace MOOC Opportunities

The educational arena has been changing with the increased availability of courses offered through MOOCS, Massive Open Online Courses.

I proposed some general information about the advantages of MOOCs, as part of an article on the Birmingham City University School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks blog.

But these large scale courses, usually delivered around the world for free, are well worth current Computing students taking on top of their normal studies. Here are five reasons why this is the case.

 

Reason 1 – £30,000 Of Education

According to the Times Higher Education, the typical British MOOC costs £30,000 to develop and deliver. That’s a substantial amount of money being invested to provide high quality materials.

Reason 2 – Employability

Showing additional skills on a CV are always worthwhile, particularly when these are not skills already covered on the course. This shows an interest in learning beyond the academic qualification and a willingness to develop new skills.

Reason 3 – Alternative Delivery Style

Regarding of how well any academic module is delivered, there will always be people who will benefit from alternative presentations of the material and different examples. Having access to these further videos and learning materials is useful.

Reason 4 – Getting Ahead

Term time at university can be intensive, with many new subjects to study. By scheduling in preparation during the vacation periods, and using the MOOC provided materials, this can help to ensure a better understanding, and subsequently higher marks in the official university modules.

Reason 5 – Not Just Lecture Recordings

A good MOOC is structured to work successfully for online learning with large numbers of participants from the outset. Kevin Werbach relayed his experiences of what it takes to develop a successful MOOC. These are more than just recordings of lectures, more carefully crafted content along with activities and a largely supportive community. This helps the self-selecting MOOC learners to be successful.

 

MOOCs Are Valuable

All the evidence points to MOOCs being valuable and being set to have a big impact on the way that education is delivered. Sure, they can’t completely replace a taught caught, with the structured learning environment and valued qualification, but they can add to the overall experience.  I recommend that students explore MOOCs to see how they can add value to what they are studying.

My Professional LinkedIn Network Visualised

Just ran through the LinkedIn Labs InMap Tool to see what my professional network looks like.

Thomas Lancaster LinkedIn Network(you can also view the larger full size image here)

Unsurprisingly, it’s dominated by my current place of work, but it’s certainly interesting to see the different links between the people I know from different aspects of my career.

In particular, there’s a group of other academics not directly connected through any of my workplaces, but all of whom seem to know one another. That just demonstrates the value of contacts made through groups such as the Higher Education Academy.

Using Professional Online Presences To Enhance Computing Student Employability

At the HEA STEM Conference 2013, I presented on the work that I’ve doing helping students to develop a Professional Presence, as well as some initial evaluation about the success of that approach towards helping students to become more employable.

The research showed that students were engaging with setting up LinkedIn profiles, creating their own websites to present their skills and making placement applications. But there are still challenges to overcome to get all students engaged with this aspect of work.

The slides are available hosted in my SlideShare account (Thomas Lancaster on SlideShare).

One of my plans for the upcoming year is to look at incremental improvements and the language that students use to market themselves online. One observation I’ve made is that, whilst a student may carefully check their CV for mistakes, they seem less inclined to do this online materials. And yet, the online materials are much more immediately visible than a CV ever is.

I had some interesting conversations at the conference with academics who had been offered international speaking opportunities on the strength of a prof

Social Media Branding For Computing Professionals

Here’s a copy of a talk that I delivered for the Cheltenham and Gloucester branch of the British Computer Society.

The talk is designed to show some of the methods that I’ve identified for Computing Professionals to build a professional brand online, primarily by using social media and their own professional websites.

To keep this presentation light, I’ve included plenty of examples. These are based on my experience, from work I’ve done with students and from other professionals I know who use social media in their business.

The slides are hosted in my SlideShare account (Thomas Lancaster on SlideShare).

The correct use of social media by students is a particularly hot issue within teaching right now.

I do believe that helping students to build their own personal brand whilst they are studying will help them with their long-term career.

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