[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!


Flexible, Open, Social Learning: Supporting Learning #FOS4L

Today we’re looking at ‘Curating’ – how do we ensure that we don’t just collect content for ourselves, but share it (combining with advice as to what is useful).

“Students expect academic, technical, administrative  and pastoral support as part of their educational provision.” – especially distance learning students, and this makes a difference to success and retention.

Undertake one of the following activities:

  1. Responding: Create a response to the scenario on your own or with others based on the discoveries you made through investigating this. Remember, you might find the FISh model useful. (ilo-1)
  2. Reflecting: Think about supporting learning and reflect on your current practice. Where are the challenges and opportunities? What could you do to help your students? (ilo-2)
  3. Making: Create a poster that provides useful tips and reminder to self and others about how to support learning effectively. Find a way to curate this resource (ilo-3)

Going for 1) – respond to scenario here, as we used student blogging for a module pretty successfully. We emphasised the fact that material going public meant that students needed to pay more attention before they pressed ‘post’, and noted that someone public giving them feedback that the tutor might have given has extra weight because it’s “real world” comments! It’s good to encourage the students that for their own learning, this is good, and to refer back to Seth Godin in 2009 – it doesn’t matter who reads it – it’s all part of learning, and as you improve – people will want to read it. The other layer that we added to it was to encourage students to comment on each other’s work (including within their small groups – who we met with regularly within teaching time to ensure progress was occurring!).

Video: the importance of teacher presence, and being aware of teacher presence was key … and not just doing things the way we thought they want, but listening to what is needed. If establish benchmark of expectation in the first 2 weeks – that is key. Online environments are much more democratic, and international students feel a space to speak up, people no longer feel like isolated learners. Use the offline/private messaging to contact a student to see if there’s a problem, or public boards that highlight the positive work that’s been done – students respond to that. Set expectations for engagement – differentiated by grade – highest grades, post, respond, synthesise.

Options to make infographics with or

Academic Digital

[INFOGRAPHIC] Students and Technology 2013


See full infographic and report.


"Educators should not assume that all young people are old hands online…"

Child at laptopOh yes, have observed this first-hand, and tried to get this across in my book too:

This is something that teaching staff on campus seldom realise, Professor Junco said. “If we keep in mind that not all students have the same level of skill and facility with new technologies, then we behave in ways as educators that help level the playing field,” he said.

“One way this could play out is, if a student says to a professor, ‘Oh, I don’t know how to do that’, the professor might scoff and be irritated and say, ‘What do you mean? You know this more than I do.’ So if I am teaching a class and I say, ‘OK, we’re going to use Twitter’, it’s important for me to also be sure that all my students know what Twitter is.

Read full article.


Can students simply be consumers?

Credit CardUsing the analogy of requiring effort to go to a gym, higher education requires a significant input from students … they cannot simply “buy” a degree off the shelf:

Professor Enders said he did not believe it was truly possible to create a market in higher education with a range of fees, as the coalition government set out to do in 2010, because “you cannot really know about the value” of a degree.

The difficulty of judging education – whether by the skills it imparts, by the extra income and employability it brings or by some other measure – made it hard accurately to gauge the value of a course, he argued.

Similarly, there was a “problem” with higher education being treated as a “commodity” to be bought and sold by a consumer, Professor Enders said, because university needs some effort on the part of the student.

Read full story.