Developing Student Employability Through The Creation Of Online Professional Identitites

I attended and presented at a really useful Higher Education Academy workshop, looking at the ways in which technology is becoming embedded within teaching and learning of employability. My own presentation focused on the need for students of all academic disciplines to establish an online professional identity.

The presentation took place at the Using Learning Technologies To Develop Employability Skills Workshop, held at the University of Salford on 11 July 2013. The slides, hosted on SlideShare account for Thomas Lancaster, are included here.

I was also interested to hear of work taking place at the University of Southampton where students (largely PhD students) were taking the role of helping students to establish, build and develop their professional identities. This certainly seems like an excellent way to extend this topic beyond the bounds of the Computing academic discipline.

How To Quickly Grow Your Pinterest Profile

One area I’ve been working on is expanding my use of Pinterest, as it’s an excellent social site, but one that I’ve fallen very behind with.

You can view my Pinterest profile here.

Pinterest is mostly a site where you can share graphics and images that you’ve seen on other sites and liked. You can also upload your own graphics and images directly to Pinterest.

However, this definition is quite broad, as you can also pin videos, slides and other resources.

There are several ways to quickly add pins to images of interest.

First of all, if you Follow other prolific pinners, you can repin some of the pins that they’ve made.

Second, you can create boards relating to areas of your research. Then just choose some of the main sites that you know of and pin appropriate images.

Third, pin your own talks. This can easily increase their exposure. You can pin slides that you’ve uploaded to SlideShare.

Fourth, you can search websites directly on Pinterest to find appropriate graphics. Use this to start off with some of your own other professional presence sites.

Fifth, grabbing screenshots is a great way to quickly create other images which you can share.

Just be creative! Pinterest had a lot of potential and is an excellent visual community and a way to expand on your own professional online presence.

Examples Of Promoting Research Through Professional Presences

Here are the slides that I delivered at the HEA workshop “Professional Presences For Academics” related to examples of different promotional methods. The slides are hosted on the SlideShare account for Thomas Lancaster.

They cover all types of ways of self-promotion using web sites, blogs and social media, but they will be particularly useful to anyone involved with academic research.


One thing that I’ve found works very well is promoting talks and research activities both before, during and after their release, and these slides include a number of examples and ideas.

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