[ACADEMIC] Checking in with @4NTWRKSMCR for #DSMMCM1819

I received a Twitter DM yesterday evening, from a group of students who I taught in the first year, and who have kept in touch with me over the past couple of years (pretty impressive when you consider that I’ve been away from work for most of the last two academic years). They are seeking ‘backlinks’ for their ‘Digital and Social Media Marketing Communications Management’ project, a final year unit where @groovegenerator encourages students to see who can come out top on Google search, Twitter, etc. for the hashtag #DSMMCCM1819.

I like working with students who are keen to pursue their studies, and chuck themselves into challenges 100%, and particularly seeing the development from first year to final year. As the first group to ask, and because the group have kept in touch, and I have seen what the group have done for the unit throughout the year – as well as watching the hashtag in general, I said I would post something if they gave me a few words on what they felt they had learnt from ‘Digital Media and Marketing Platforms’ (DMMP) which I’d taught them in the first year. This is what they sent me:

The DMMP days, we were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students, eager and ready to learn whatever the unit’s teaching team would throw at us. We should also mention that this was the first time ‘4 NTWRKS MCR’ banded together for an assignment and since then we have been inseparable! Little did we know how vital the knowledge we gained in DMMP would prove for DSMMCM1819.

Dr Bex took us under her wing, taught us about blogging and helped us set up our first WordPress site, so to us, it was a piece of cake to set-up the 4 NTWRKS MCR site. We learned invaluable skills with regard to search engine marketing, something we are grateful for…  that has been a key component of our final year unit. We’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve revisited our first-year notes! We also gained awareness of databases such as YouGov, Google Analytics and Google Trends – a lecture couldn’t go by without a look at Google Trends!!! Last but not least, the assignment pushed us to produce a creative video marketing idea, as a result, we were exposed to a whole new world of filming and editing, skills that proved beneficial when making our recent DSMMCM1819 YouTube video.

Without putting in the hard work, we are under no illusion that we would have been stuck, Googling for days and most certainly regretting not getting more involved! Dedication, hard work and the support and encouragement from Dr Bex helped us succeed.

Our advice to any student in DMMP? Make the most of the time you spend with the teaching team, they have a wealth of knowledge that will not only help you for your assignment, but for later units and potentially in your job or further studies search.

I look forward to seeing which group leads the pack, and wins the trophy … and takes up any invitation to undertake networking (check out Manchester Digital,, including Tech for Good!


DIY – 'edupunk'

Interesting article in Times Higher Education – I have DIY U – not read it yet though!

Few scholarly cheers for author’s ‘branded’ vision of accessible higher education. Sarah Cunnane writes

In 2008, a diverse group of people working in and around higher education decided they were – in the words of the film Network – “mad as hell, and not going to take it any more”.

The cause: the omnipresence of “cookie-cutter” content management systems for teaching such as Blackboard and the focus on new technology as a force for change, rather than on the potential of the community around that technology.

The result: edupunk. The term was coined by Jim Groom, instructional technology specialist in the arts and humanities at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, and it was quickly adopted by a group of academics, mainly in the US and Canada, who wanted students to create their education rather than merely consume it.

On his blog, Groom has described the importance of the work of edupunks, who he says are working in opposition to “the decline of higher ed into a series of feeding lots for the private sector job market”.

The definition of edupunk is somewhat loose, as preferred by its creator and early adopters. The New York Times defined the term as “an approach to teaching that avoids mainstream tools like PowerPoint and Blackboard, and instead aims to bring the rebellious attitude and D.I.Y. ethos of ’70s bands like The Clash to the classroom”.

However, The Edupunks’ Guide to a DIY Credential, a new self-published e-book by journalist and author Anya Kamenetz, has ignited an argument about the use of the term and what it stands for.

“It’s a word that has had a lot of different meanings, but it appeals to people,” Kamenetz says.

“Everybody loves the idea of being a bit rebellious, and the idea that I’m trying to get across is that there is a student-centric way to approach higher education.

An interesting debate to follow….