The Social Scholar Seminar Programme and Resources

The Social Scholar is a series of lunchtime seminars from the School of Advanced Study, providing training on the theme of Social Media. In these sessions we hope to learn together about how to better use social media in a professional capacity and what the difficulties and issues are.  The series will look at blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media services.    All Social Scholar seminars are free to attend and open to all including researchers and research related staff from the University of London and elsewhere. If you have any questions please e-mail Matt Phillpott (SAS) at matt.phillpott@sas.ac.uk who will be able to help you.  Also follow us on Twitter @SASNews hashtag: #socialscholar We hope to see you there!   Sessions (Spring 2015) 18 February – Podcasting academic research: PhD-Casts and Viva-Voce – giving voice to your research John Gallaghar (Cambridge), Gemma Sou (Manchester) Continue here for full details 18 March – Social Media and the Being Human Festival: A retrospect Michael Eades (SAS) Continue here for full details 29 April – Legally navigating academic blogging and social media Judith Townend (SAS) 20 May – An Introduction to using Twitter Matt Phillpott (SAS)   Sessions (Autumn 2014) 29 October – A beginners guide to writing a blog post Matt Phillpott (SAS) How do you write a blog post? This session offers suggestions for writing and structuring posts as well as providing ideas for promotion and getting your blog noticed. This session looks mainly at structuring a post for maximum exposure and to help enable readers to understand at a glance what it is you are talking about. Continue here for full details 3 December – We the Humanities:...

#PotW: Legally navigating academic blogging and social media – 29 April

This month at the Social Scholar seminar we will be joined by Dr Judith Townend who will be looking at social media and legal concerns. Here a little information by Judith about what can be expected: “While social media tools are fantastically liberating for academic communication, users need to be aware of the legal and ethical context. Those trained in journalism or law will probably be aware of the most important media and communication-related laws, but my research suggests there are many bloggers and social media users who are uncertain about the boundaries of legitimate speech. What’s more, the complexity of UK media law (and high cost of resolving a civil dispute) makes it an uncertain environment for even the most experienced and legally astute. My contribution to the Social Scholar series will discuss the main legal issues for academic bloggers and social media users, point towards useful guides, and offer some thoughts on how legal resources and systems might be improved.” Speaker: Dr Judith Townend (SAS) Time: Wednesday 29 April 2015, 1pm-2pm Location: Room 246 (Senate House, 2nd Floor) All welcome! No prior registration needed. For full details check out our Event...

Legally navigating academic blogging and social media (Social Scholar – 29 April 2015)

This month at the Social Scholar seminar we will be joined by Dr Judith Townend who will be looking at social media and legal concerns. For full details check out our Event Page. Title: Legally navigating academic blogging and social media Speaker: Dr Judith Townend (SAS) Time: Wednesday 29 April 2015, 1pm-2pm Location: Room 246 (Senate House) As per  usual we asked our speaker if they would answer a few questions for us.   Could you tell us about yourself? I’m director of the Centre for Law and Information Policy at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies; I joined the IALS/SAS in October 2014, and the Centre officially launched in February 2015 with an academic workshop and public lecture. What are your views on the use of social media in academia and higher education? I’m a great advocate of using social media to enhance academic work: at a research stage (for developing ideas, gathering data), as well as for sharing results and output with fellow scholars, practitioners with relevant interests, students and the wider public. Proponents of ‘open’ journalism have long recognised that sharing the journalistic process as well as the product can yield rich social rewards; this approach can be adopted in academia as well.  What can we expect from you at the Social Scholar? While social media tools are fantastically liberating for academic communication, users need to be aware of the legal and ethical context. Those trained in journalism or law will probably be aware of the most important media and communication-related laws, but my research suggests there are many bloggers and social media users who are uncertain about the boundaries of legitimate...

Social Scholar (18 March 2015) Using Social Media for a National Festival (and Learning how to engage online)

This month at the Social Scholar seminar we are going to look at social media campaigns for national festivals as an example of what can work well and what can be learnt from such campaigns. This should prove to be a useful session for those using or planning to use social media to promote and discuss events and projects. For full details check out our Event Page and register your interest to attend. Title: Using Social Media for a National Festival (and Learning how to engage online) Speaker: Dr Michael Eades (SAS) Time: Wednesday 18 March 2015, 1pm-2pm Location: Room 243 (Senate House) Our speaker this week is Dr Michael Eades (School of Advanced Study) and as usual we asked him to answer a few questions for us. SAS:Hello Michael. Thank you for agreeing to talk with us. Firstly, could you tell us a little more about yourself? Michael: I am the School of Advanced Study’s Cultural & Public Engagement Research Fellow, more often described as the SAS ‘Public Engagement Person’. I do various things in SAS, including my own research on the Festival in a Box project, but primarily I curate the School’s major outlet for public engagement activity: the Being Human festival of the humanities.  Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, and featured over 160 events across the country in 2014, hosted by around 100 universities and cultural organisations. I’ve worked primarily in cultural and public engagement roles for just over two years now since completing my PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2012. My thesis looked at theories of community...

Podcasting academic research: PhD-Casts and Viva-Voce (Social Scholar, 18 February 2015)

The Social Scholar seminar is back with another lunchtime session, this time on Wednesday 18 February 2015, 1pm-2pm, in room 243 (Senate House). This week our focus will be on Research and Podcasts, and how audio and video can be an aid to the researcher and administrator in promoting the work that is done and building connections. As per usual we sat down with the speakers to ask them to put into their own words what they will be talking about. Title: Podcasting academic research: PhD-Casts and Viva-Voce – giving voice to your research Speakers: Gemma Sou (University of Manchester); John Gallagher (University of Cambridge) The seminar is FREE but we request that you RSVP via Eventbrite. SAS: Thank you Gemma (Sou) and John (Gallagher) for talking with us, first of all could you tell us a little more about yourselves? Gemma: Yes, of course. I just handed in my PhD and will have my viva in March in Development studies at the University of Manchester. I’m native to Liverpool and despite setting up Viva Voce, I am not quite a ‘techy’ web whizz. John: I’m a historian of early modern Britain and Europe, working on vernacular language-learning. I’ve just passed my viva (phew) and am in the first year of a research fellowship at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. I’m a co-founder of PhDcasts, along with Ruth Rushworth (now at the University of Manchester) and Dr. Richard Blakemore (now at Merton College, Oxford). If you’d like to ask us anything, we’re @earlymodernjohn, @anotherrambler, and @historywomble on Twitter! SAS: Most of the Social Scholar sessions have focused on Blogging and communication tools such...

We the Humanities: The Benefits and drawbacks of the Social Scholar (3 December 2014)

The second Social Scholar seminar of the term takes place on Wednesday 3 December 2014, 1pm-2pm, in room 243 (Senate House). This week our focus will be on Twitter, and in particular on a unique idea for a rotation-curation Twitter account. In this post the founders of @WetheHumanities and our speakers for this session, Jessica Sage and Krissie West, tell us a little more about what to expect. What can we expect from you at the Social Scholar? We’ll be giving a little insight into what we do at We the Humanities and why we set it up, how it has grown organically, and what our plans are for the future of the project.  We also want to provoke a discussion that questions the assumption that an engagement with social media is necessarily beneficial for Early Career Researchers. Why do you think Social Media (and particularly Twitter) is useful in academia? This is precisely what our talk is going to be questioning: considering how academics use Twitter, why they use Twitter, and what they can gain and lose from doing so.  We want to engage with the tension between Twitter being on the one hand a frivolous waste of time and on the other hand public engagement in action. Speakers profiles Jessica Sage and Krissie West are the co-founders of the Twitter rotation-curation initiative, We the Humanities; they originally met on Twitter, discussing children’s fiction.  Krissie is a PhD researcher at the University of Reading, working on constructions of childhood in Transcendentalist literature, which she intends to submit next year.  She has over 17 years’ experience in journalism and...

An introduction to writing blog posts (29 October 2014)

How do you write a blog post? Is it the same as writing a very short article or a press release? Next Wednesday (29 October), Matt Phillpott (School of Advanced Study) will talk at the Social Scholar lunchtime seminar on the topic of writing blog posts in an academic and higher education environment.  By Matt Phillpott If you search online you will very quickly find numerous articles offering advice about how to write a good, successful blog post.  Many of these will be lists – 20 Quick Tips on Writing Great Blog Posts or 19 Headline Writing Tips for Blog Posts – or suggest that if you follow these ‘rules’ then you will quickly make money out of your post: Writing a Good Blog – For Dummies; How to Write a Blog Post: A Simple Formula etc.  a blog can take any form that you want it to take. It can have any voice you wish to give it. It can be thousands of words or a few hundred; it could be an image with a title, or a video. There is no right or wrong way to write a blog post. As a general rule in academia we are not interested in making money from blog posts. That is not their primary purpose or even their secondary purpose. It’s simply not relevant. We are interested in attracting an audience – of course – but the advice pieces often do not help us to solve the balance problem that we often come across whenever we try and summarise complex material into a short gathering of paragraphs. How do we...

The next Social Scholar: Creating impact: Using social networks to build knowledge networks

The final Social Scholar seminar this term will focus on a project based at the School of Advanced Study which has placed social media as a central part of the project. The event will take place in room 246 of Senate House between 1pm-2pm on Wednesday 18 June 2014. The event is free and open to all academics, support staff, and interested parties who would like to learn more about using social media. download the poster here To attend this event please RSVP via Eventbrite. Full details can be found on the SAS events system. The Social Scholar is a FREE event held by the School of Advanced Study every month. Please also follow us on Twitter @SASNews hashtag...

The Social Scholar interviews Dot Fallon and Abhay Adhikari

Next week (18 June 2014) the Social Scholar is back with a case study seminar focused on the AHRC Science in Culture Theme.  Using this theme as a casestudy, Dot Fallon and Abhay Adhikari will explore how social media can be used to create impact and engagement for research projects. This session will provide practical insights into how to use social media to build knowledge networks and share project news. We sat down with both speakers to find out a little more. SAS: Hello Dot and Abhay. Thank you very much for agreeing to talk with us. Before we begin can you just tell us a little bit about yourself? Dot: I’m the Project Administrator for the AHRC Science in Culture Theme working along the Theme Leadership Fellow, Professor Barry C Smith. I’m based in the School of Advanced Study. As part of my role I’ve organised a number of events including an Ignite event at the Natural History Museum.  I also maintain the Science in Culture Theme website www.sciculture.ac.uk and run the twitter account @AHRCSciculture. Abhay: I am an independent digital strategist and work on culture change, campaign and communications projects with local government, media and culture sectors. I am interested in how individuals and organisations define a voice and context for their digital identities. Most of my work involves using social media to create opportunities for online and offline participation. This was our focus for the Science in Culture on social media as well. You can find me on twitter as @gopaldass and my website is www.DhyaanDesign.com SAS: You both have extensive experience in using social media...

Social Media and The Guardian’s Higher Education Network

Over the last few years The Guardian newspaper’s Higher Education Network has become increasingly successful and popular. In the April session of the Social Scholar content coordinator, Claire Shaw shared her thoughts and experiences with us. Social Media is all about engagement. Using a tool such as Twitter requires not only that you share information about your institution and read other people’s tweets, but also it is about discussing content and engaging in debate. The same is true of blogs. Claire Shaw mentioned that the most successful posts that she has overseen are those that draw out debate and discussion by either discussing a controversial issue or bringing to people’s attention something about Higher Education that is not often discussed. More academics are using Twitter now than ever before and there is an increasing belief that it is a useful carrier for news, information, ideas, and dialogue. This can include the ordinary – sharing content, promoting events, and linking to interesting sites – but it can also be a more interactive experience. Claire Shaw suggested that holding a ‘live’ conversation and debate via Twitter can be a productive and fun experience for all concerned.   Using and navigating Twitter Some basic terms that are often used but rarely with explanation are ‘handles’ and ‘hashtags’. Claire answered a question about this, clearly identifying what each are for, and how they can be used. A Handle – a handle is your Twitter username. It always starts with a ‘@’ and its inclusion in a tweet will notify that person that you have mentioned them and allows others to find that person...
Training at the BBC Academy – Social Media, Online Learning, and Developing Trends

Training at the BBC Academy – Social Media, Online Learning, and Developing Trends

Tomorrow we welcome our next speaker to the Social Scholar seminar (see here for details). In anticipation, here is a summary, slides, and video from the March session. Myles Runham is Head of Online at the BBC Academy. As such it is his job to think about the capabilities and limitations of online learning as part of the BBC’s requirement to offer training to the wider media industry. Amongst the digital tools that the BBC Academy uses and engages with are those categorised as social media. At the March session of the Social Scholar Myles Runham looked at how social media and other digital tools are transforming what the BBC do to provide training. In doing so he makes a comparison to the Higher Education sector which is similarly being asked to update methods and pedagogy with the digital in mind. In essence we must ask ourselves how we can use social media tools to widen engagement and provide better training, whilst not losing sight of the core of what ‘training’ actually requires. As an example, Runham noted that the BBC uses Youtube as one means to disseminate videos intended for larger training programmes, but that by doing so they are aware that the context is lost by such a process. Social media outlets provide visibility and communication, but they do not always provide everything one might want. Runham focused his presentation on whether or not courses translate well to the online sphere and if our traditional methods for teaching require refreshing or change. There is a tendency to work with what we know, Runham said “to reduce to...