Friday, 4 November 2016

Happy Birthday #LTHEchat: an invitation to the community

Created by @simonrae 

This week we celebrate the 2nd Birthday of #LTHEchat, the tweetchat about Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Now into the third academic year, and a programme planned that extends well into 2017 with volunteer guests offering to lead themed chats, it is truly something to celebrate! In 2014 my dear colleague Chrissi Nerantzi and I via a skype call were reflecting on other shared projects and we came up with the idea of running a weekly chat as a pilot for a few months and see what happened. Well as you can see #LTHEchat is still here. What has made this work and become a sustainable model is the community that has grown to be #LTHEchat. The community not only spans the UK but also has participants from Europe, the US and Australia. Some are active participants and others 'listen in'. Every single one of you are valued members of the #LTHEchat community.

The community not only take part in the chat, some have contributed to the organising team. This group of people have worked incredibly hard behind the scene and are what makes the chats happen week on week! There are also four colleagues who who have shown sustained engagement, commitment, insight and open sharing to the LTHEchat community and they have been awarded the #LTHEchat Golden Tweeter Award: Professor Simon Lancaster, Neil Withnell, Simon Rae, Hala Mansour and Chris Jobling.

In December a group from the #LTHEchat community who have contributed to the organising team will be presenting at the 2nd Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference 2016 which takes place at Sheffield Hallam University. The paper is called:

‘With a little help from my followers’ – Facilitating the #LTHEChat

The presenters representing the organising team (yes there are more amazing people!) at the conference will be:

Chris Rowell – @Chri5rowell
Regent’s University London

Debbie Baff – @debbaff
Swansea University

Neil Withnell – @neilwithnell
University of Salford

Kate Soper – @KatesSoper
Manchester Metropolitan University

Chris Jobling – @cpjobling
Swansea University

Ian Tindal – @iantindalAnglia Ruskin University

Sue Beckingham – @suebecks
Sheffield Hallam University

Your invitation to contribute
This is where you as members of our #LTHEchat community can help us. We would be very grateful if you could complete this short online survey. Thank you!

Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference 2016

It would also be wonderful to see you at the conference! You can find out more about the event by following @SocMedHE on Twitter and how to register here:  

This paper and the other shot papers, workshops, thunderstorms and poster abstracts can be found here: 

‘With a little help from my followers’ – Facilitating the #LTHEChat

This short paper will share the evaluation of the #LTHEchat and the impact of this on professional development for the organising teams and the chat participants. The twitter chat has shown there is demand to focus conversations on Teaching and Learning (T&L) in Higher Education (HE). The research will include results from a survey and semi-structured interviews, to identify the impact and value gained by active or silent participation, for the organisers and participants. In addition the chats themselves and the learning analytics of the Storify will be monitored and analysed to evaluate asynchronous engagement with archives of live chats.

The #LTHEchat, created by the community for the community, is a collaborative project on T&L in HE via tweetchats. “A tweetchat is a virtual meeting or gathering on Twitter to discuss a common topic. The chat lasts one hour and has questions to stimulate discussion” (Beckingham 2014). Each week there is a pre-determined topic with guests leading the chat.

Through #LTHEchat an online community of practice has evolved, including educators with a variety of roles. Drawing upon the literature, Wenger, Traynor and De Laat (2011) discuss five cycles of value creation in networks and communities, suggesting value can be:
  • Immediate: answering/being answered. The #LTHEchat has created synchronous, Twitter activity. The discussion is right when you want it and, when a link is shared to a blog or article, the depth and breadth of shared knowledge increases. 
  • Potential: gaining skills/knowledge/connections which we may call upon in future. The #LTHEchat provides a fertile ground for sharing learning experiences and forms collaborative working relationships. 
  • Applied: taking something and applying to practice. Every conversation is applied to the HE context. 
  • Realised: reflecting on new implementations. The chats allowed for the sharing of reflective practice in an open forum. 
  • Reframing: in light of value gained, how does that impact on our view of success. While this is less easy to measure, the #LTHEchat has impacted on practitioners thinking about T&L. 
Wenger’s (2002) concept of ‘legitimate peripheral participation’ is relevant as the #LTHEchat facilitators ‘bounce’ from the edge to the centre of the community and from live participation to catch-up via the tweets. The #LTHEchat guests join the community in the ‘hotseat’ to develop the conversation which encourages the community to grow (Ultralabs, 2015)

The joining of chats, e.g. #HEAchat and new initiatives such as #HEStudentQ have opened the chats to both staff and students providing new opportunities for informal learning.

This short paper will share some case studies and short vignettes from the research undertaken to highlight how #LTHEchat empowers a community of practice to embrace informal learning and has supported co-learners to take ownership of their continuing professional development. Finally it will provide participants with ideas on how they could develop their tweetchats for informal learning.

Beckingham, S. (2014). Introducing tweetchats using #LTHEchat as an exemplar. Accessed 27th May 2016

Ultralabs (2015) The online communities. Accessed 27th May 2016

Wenger, E., Trayner, B., & de Laat, M. (2011). Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks : a conceptual framework. Open Universiteit. Accessed 27th May 2016

Wenger, E., Lave, J. Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (2002) Legitimate peripheral participation in communities of practice. Eds Julia Clarke and Anne Hanson in Supporting Lifelong Learning, Vol. 1: Perspectives on Learning: Learning and Teaching Vol I. London: Routledge

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see this community grow and great to be a part of it. Long may it continue.