Sunday, 14 June 2015

Spotlight on Digital Capabilities #udigcap 'Who do you really think you are?'

I was invited to give the first keynote at the UCISA Spotlight on Digital Capabilities Conference at MediaCityUK.  My brief was to consider digital capabilities in the context of the participants to consider "Who do you really think you are?" 

My keynote began with asking the question "Who are you as a professional...and...What does this mean to others?" To demonstrate that communicating who we are, what we do, why we do it, where we do it, when we do it, and how we do it, is not easy, I used the analogy of bread cakes potentially outside of Sheffield know better as bread cobs, bread rolls or bread baps.  Using a who wants to be a millionaire format we had a bit of fun thinking about how we use language and then related this to job titles and skills we might include in our LinkedIn profiles. Given the stats that say over 1 billion names are searched in Google every day, coupled with the fact that social media profiles rank highly on page one; it is vital we are aware what appears when our own names are searched. 

LinkedIn as a site also has a well used and powerful search engine. Having the keywords others might use to search for you an individual must be added to your profile to increase visibility. Having a photograph is also important. Research indicated that people are more trusting of profiles with photos. Those without may be mistaken for others without a photo being there. 

I went on to talk about impact and how everyone can personally make an impact by developing and challenging ideas; aligning these to their own values and aspirations; and by inspiring and engaging others.

Becoming a central connector is someone people to whom others turn, for information and advice, They become the influencers in organisations. 

The talk continued with a selection of examples of how we can develop a professional online presence with examples of practioners who are doing this effectively through blogging and curating. My final words were to recommend that everyone present actively sought to make new connections and capture these via their chosen social networking sites. 

The full programme can be found on the UCISA website

Photos from the event were captured by Gaz Duncan and can be found on Flickr

The tweets were storified by Fiona MacNeill

Saturday, 6 June 2015

My Keynote at SOLSTICE eLearning Conference #solstice2015

The conference was a two-day event at Edge Hill University on Technology Enhanced Learning focusing on the enhancement of student learning through evidence informed practices. It took place 4-5 June 2015.

On day one Professor Keith Smyth gave a keynote on:
'Reconceptualising ‘curriculum’ for digital engagement in Higher Education'

On day two I gave a keynote on:
'Digital Connectedness'

You can follow SOLSTICE on Twitter at


SOLSTICE is Edge Hill University’s HEFCE funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Whilst the HEFCE funding for the 74 CETLs has ceased and many have effectively closed, in contrast Edge Hill University has retained the SOLSTICE brand as a signifier of its focus and processes for Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL).  This has been achieved by:

  • Embedding TEL and SOLSTICE activities in the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy
  • Positioning leadership of TEL with the Associate Deans Learning and Teaching within the Learning and Teaching Strategy Group chaired by the Dean of Teaching and Learning Development in collaboration with the Dean of Learning Services
  • Maintaining a Senior SOLSTICE Fellow in an expert advisory capacity in each Faculty with responsibility for supporting strategic development of TEL
  • Continuing the SOLSTICE TEL Fellowship Scheme, with Fellows acting as champions, advisors and members of the Validation and Audit Standing Panel
  • Sustaining provision of TEL professional development activities through the collaborative activities of the Learning Services Learning Technology Development Team, Fellows, Visiting Professors and other external experts
  • Continuing to support and organise the annual conference
  • Securing an administration base for conference and professional development activities and income generation related to SOLSTICE activities
  • Progressing affiliation with the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) and its research and development work through practice-based research and development of seminars and conferences
  • Having SOLSTICE and hence TEL represented through designated membership of key university committees
  • Maintaining the SOLSTICE brand
A key part of the legacy of the CETL at Edge Hill University is the residual knowledge and skills base of staff and a sound reputation for excellent work in the sector.