Postgraduates: All about employability?


Interesting… I studied what I studied (although it was by research, rather than taught) because I was interested, and when following interest – more interesting opportunities open up:

“I feel guilty for finding it all so interesting,” a student on a taught master’s in history told me recently. My surprise must have been palpable because she went on to explain: “It’s just with the expense of it all, you have to tell people you’re doing it to get a job; otherwise it seems like an indulgence, really.”

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Academic Digital Event

Brief Reflection on Conference/Event Blogging/Social Media

BlogI’ve had some interesting experiences at recent conferences (reverse chronological order, although I also wrote the most recent last)!

JISC E-Learning Fair
My iPhone was still awaiting repair/replacement, and as there was a £15 fee to use the wireless, I decided I’d stick with pen and paper, but when it then took quite some time to sort through the information and reproduce a blog, I’m thinking a Netbook may be the way forward other events. As I only have 7.5 hours a week to work on Blended Learning (although I invariably do more), got to conserve the time for working on new ideas, although clearly the dissemination of such information is important!

Why I Study History
PowerPoint was banned at this session, which was intended to be as responsive as possible, but I did write a few notes, and not too long after the event adapted those notes to integrate some of the discussion we’d had afterwards, and posted onto my WW2 Poster blog..

Men at War/Framing Film
Again, at these conferences I was armed only with a notebook. Neither conference was set up for Twitter, so it wasn’t a question there. In giving my paper, I had access to a presentation remote control, and this makes such a difference to presentation – allowing more flexibility, and more engagement with the audience. As to blogging however, I’d blogged BEFORE each conference, which generated a lot of interest (judging by my hit counter), bit I still haven’t got round to putting elements of my paper online, even though I could easily upload  the PowerPoints to Slideshare, and maybe even just cut and paste my notes (yes, I did use PPT, but I didn’t have a fixed script).

Attended Greenbelt after the previous couple of events. I’d maintained contact with a number of people from those events via Twitter, Facebook, blog comments, etc., and it was a great chance to meet up with a number of people face-to-face again, and to have a clearer idea of which elements of the event to attend. Greenbelt experimented with an iPhone app for the first time, with around 300-400 users paying around £4 each (rather than £8 for a paper programme), in which you could favourite particular sessions. Only drawback with this was that the battery kept running out, and keeping it charged was either expensive (there was a place to recharge phones) or time-consuming in trying to find a plug socket not in use by someone else/combined with a session you’re interested in! So all my notes, again, were on paper, although I did send out a number of Twitpics from the event (don’t do this overseas, I tried a few from Twitterfon/Echofon, and it downloaded all my tweets as well – my bill for a couple of weeks abroad was about £200!)

Christianity in the Digital Space
At “Christianity in the Digital Space“, I came armed with… a notebook and my iPhone for the first session! Everyone else was hunkered down behind their laptops, and my phone, under the strain of so much Twittering, ran out of battery before the morning was up! After lunch, therefore, I returned with my laptop/partially charged iPhone, and joined the general melee for a power socket! We talked about the experience of constantly Tweeting (and other online interactions) whilst someone was giving a paper. Most presenters were quite happy with this, as they were the ones Tweeting when not presenting (even I didn’t manage both!), and the exceptionally brave ones kept an eye on the Twitterfall, and interacted with it.

Churches Media Council Conference
Once I overcame logging into the wireless network (there was no phone signal really to speak of), I had a great time Twittering about the event, along with a number of others, and having mini-tweet-ups, including meeting those I’d met before the event in person (always great – see, that’s why I talk BLENDED, not E-LEARNING). The event is quite rammed, and unlike many, I didn’t have a netbook, so tried to blog in the evening, but only managed a short entry on the first evening (trying to get agreement on a hashtag, and promoting the use of a Twitterfall – not quite this year, but it’ll be there next year), whilst it took a bit longer for the second entry, which was more of an overview of an event, and links across to others who had participated at the event.


Super Fun Days Out (SFDO) (2009)

SuperfundaysoutLove Life, Live It!

In 2008, Yaz El-Hakim, Hugh Bassett-Jones and Dominic Northcott, all staff at the University of Winchester, had a vision for “the best, most comprehensive, most intuitive and free of charge directory for anyone wanting to take part in any extreme or adrenaline sports anywhere in the country.” . Facing stiff  competition from others at the University of Winchester, Super Fun Days Out was one of only two successful businesses in the November 2008 rounds for new business start-ups, and the funding has been put to good use.  Read more.

In April 2009, I checked over the website and gave the guys some advice on how it could become more interactive, and the potential for using social media to encourage repeat visitors! In July 2009, I was asked, along with Helen Owten, to come on board as social media strategist, with a particular responsibility for Twitter (at that time standing at 11 followers), setting up a blog (which is gradually coming to life), and bookmarking through sites such as a Delicious (which is still really awaiting its turn!), whilst Helen was responsible for Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. I’m really enjoying the challenge of being more structured in my approach to a blog, and looking for ways to encourage engagement… and using that knowledge in improving my other social media strategies!

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drbexl searches the 'net

drbexl blogspot (first day)

Purpose of this blog, first created November 2008:

  • Familiarisation with what is ‘now’ on the ‘net
  • Experimentation with some of the new widgets/applications
  • Listings of useful websites, themed depending on my focus for that day/hour, etc. (I have a wide range of interests and like to experiment).

Built using Google Blogger, although my preferred tool has since become WordPress, this is a great and simple site – starting to miss some functionality I now am used to in WordPress though!


MyDesigna (2001-2009)

My DesignaAs I have built up my web design skills, I thought it was worth building up a portfolio of work, attracting attention from those who will be interested in my skills, particularly my content writing and information architecture skills, once the the PhD was completed.I wanted something contemporary and clean looking, whilst providing useful information.

  • The portfolio section of the site is the key section of the site, explaining the rationale for each of the sites.
  • Quite a lot of resources content on the site overlaps with the /designproject site.
  • I am more interested in the research side (finding and structuring information), and writing content, than programming the site.
  • In future I will actively search for free software, image and other sites to recommend.
  • Hosted by The URL also redirects to this site.