house design, edtech & musings …so far!


Brand & Identity

eGo: make the web work for you! (updated 2013)

Exploring how social media can be used strategically for creating a positive online identity for networking and employability. In particular…
– How to manage a Public Facebook Profile
– How to use LinkedIn most effectively, including what to include in your LinkedIn Profile Continue reading “eGo: make the web work for you! (updated 2013)”


Pinterest as a Portfolio, Image Sharing Websites and the Law

Pinterest – great for using as a portfolio, creating your own ‘secret pin boards’ and displaying in your blog’s sidebar    …but use publicly with care! Continue reading “Pinterest as a Portfolio, Image Sharing Websites and the Law”

eGo: make the web work for You!


This is an updated version of a graduate workshop based on the presentation formerly called ‘ME Time: Making the Web work for You‘, which I created last year using Prezi. (It has now been renamed ‘eGo: make the web work for You creatively’). Although the attendees found some of the content useful, they fed back that many of the ideas presented were just too creative to apply for their disciplines. What they primarily wanted to know was:-
  • How to manage a Public Facebook Profile
  • How to use LinkedIn most effectively, including what to include in their LinkedIn Profile

I intend to use the above presentation as a basis for future graduate workshops, referring to my own Facebook and LinkedIn Profiles as working examples. This has meant that I’ve followed the guidelines I’ve linked to myself, which has been a valuable learning experience …and a real blurring of professional/ personal identities! This is also the reason why I’ve chosen to create this presentation using PowerPoint – I can now display this via SlideShare on my LinkedIn Profile.

Useful resources

PowerPoint v Prezi

Using PowerPoint rather than Prezi has been interesting – I’ve realised already how reliant I am on the ‘Cloud’! Not having Microsoft Office at home, I’ve found it incredibly frustrating not to be able to tweak my presentation in the evenings. I find it really difficult to concentrate working in an open plan office – funny how open plan is mainly advocated by those who have their own rooms! ;o)

Having used Prezi consistently for the past year, I find PowerPoint to be incredibly restrictive! I’m used to embedding videos and PDFs – why can’t I do this in PowerPoint? I’ve spotted that you can embed YouTube videos into your SlideShare presentation though so I’ll be trying this; you can also import your PowerPoint presentation into Prezi…

Using Twitter

I’ve also included Twitter in this presentation as you can embed your feed into your LinkedIn profile. Not many graduates use Twitter and, like me initially, are quite cynical about its usefulness. My colleague, Joanie, was also cynical but now finds Twitter to be incredibly useful for both her work and interests.

More tips/ resources?

See Plymouth University’s Social Media Strategy and further advice documents (University log-in details required).

You may also find ‘Developing a Professional Online Presence as a Graduate‘ presentation by Sue Beckingham, at Sheffield Hallam University, useful.

Do you have any other tips or links to other resources that may be useful for recent graduates looking to develop their online presence?

Pinterest – initial thoughts for use in H.E….

Pinterest BoardI’ve spent the day investigating ‘Pinterest‘ – a virtual pinboard that “lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web”. I was a bit worried about how this would fit with the other ‘collating’ services I use – Google Reader, Google+ and Diigo, but Pinterest only collects images and videos, not whole web-pages. Apparently it’s particularly popular amongst us girls – I can see why as there are lots of boards containing fashion, stuff for the home, etc.. (I’m very tempted to create my own boards for these). However, today I’ve stayed focused, choosing to follow boards containing design, technology and education.

I must admit, at first glance there didn’t seem to be much of interest for HE educators but, having installed the ‘Pin It’ button on my toolbar, I was able to pin my own findings. My first was a YouTube video illustrating Live Augmented Reality in London, created by National Geographic. I’ve had this item ‘liked’ by 8 people at the time of writing (this means it hasn’t been put on a board but is stored on their profile page) and 1 ‘repin’ – pinned on someone else’s board.

Having had a play, I think Pinterest could be engaging for educational activity; I can see boards being compiled for research/’inspiration’ and also for tutorials, eg, a collection of videos demonstrating different Photoshop tools. You could even use it as a platform for video podcasts with visual diagrams alongside! You can collaborate on boards with others – brainstorming a design or presentation. Check out Eric Sheninger’s blog for more ideas and these 5 (practical) ways for students by Sarah Fudin.

Pinterest would also be a great way to showcase your e-portfolio although self-promotion is discouraged in their ‘Pin Etiquette’ guide. Having said this, there are a few blog posts excited about it’s potential for marketing brands so it will be interesting to see where this goes. BUT, it has recently received bad press in regard to copyrights being breached and all liability resting with the user (Kirsten, DDK Portraits, posted 24th February 2012).

Pinterest is easy, fun and could be an engaging educational tool …but, sadly, this needs to be cleared up ASAP. It’s probably fine if you’re mindful of what you’re pinning …but why take the risk when there are much easier ways of collating content?

(I’m covered via fair ‘non profit educational’ use’, yeah?)

Certified …as a Learning Technologist!

Those of you who receive emails from me may have noticed the addition of CMALT in my signature. Just before Christmas I became a Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology. This involved submitting a reflective portfolio evidencing skills around operational issues; teaching, learning and assessment; engaging with legislation, policies and standards; communication and a specialist area – in my case, Digital Literacy in terms of using the web for self-promotion.

Although it is up to you how you present your work, I chose to use the Profile tool in PebblePad so that I had experience of using it as a ‘student’ – we are trialling this feature with the current PGCAP cohort. I also attached a webfolio to illustrate the range of projects I’ve worked on. Unfortunately I forgot to give my assessors permission to comment directly onto the profile as it would have been interesting to see how this worked.

Projects I've worked on...

I found ‘being reflective’ in my answers to be quite challenging – I tend to do this in my head so it seemed particularly odd to write thoughts down for someone else’s benefit. The University’s Learning Development Team provide a useful guide on being reflective (PDF) and also thanks to Dr Anne McDermott for being my ‘critical friend’.

I’m hoping that gaining this accreditation will help establish career progression for Learning Technologists here at Plymouth, and across the sector. It is interesting to see how well qualified LTs are from their signatures when following discussions on the ALT JISC-Mail List – sometimes better than our academic colleagues! :o) The range of skills involved is also impressive – David Hopkins, an LT at Bournemouth University, has made some interesting observations in his series of blog-posts (and associated comments) around ‘What is a Learning Technologist?‘ I was marked as being strong in my ‘technical knowledge and ability in the use of learning technology’; ‘understanding of teaching, learning and assessment processes’ and ‘understanding and engaging with legislation, policies and standards’.

For those interested here’s my CMALT Application – I think it’s easier to click on the ‘View evidence tree’ link to see it. Good luck to those who are currently working towards it!

eGo: using the web safely & confidently to promote yourself through networking

This presentation is designed to introduce First Year students to using the web for social and professional networking. Like ‘ME Time’, it advises students about e-safety and reminds them to pay attention to their privacy settings on Facebook. It also contains guidance about how to behave on the web as well as the benefits of using PebblePad to record and reflect on their learning, as a recent focus group identified that not all students were being told about this by their tutors. I’ve also included videos that explain free tools for social bookmarking, aggregating blog posts and communicating, such as Twitter and Google +. I hope students find these incredibly useful – I know I did!

How to view…

Press the play button (grey arrow) to start the presentation. Next click on the circle icon to centre the presentation and click on items to zoom in. To view in full screen, click ‘More’. If you get lost at any time, click on the circle icon to reset the presentation.

When you have finished, press the escape key – ‘esc’ – to exit the presentation in full screen mode.

NOTE: The links are live but hidden in full screen view as they open behind the presentation!

eGo: making the web work for you creatively!

The Careers Service at the University are running a series of workshops for graduates that aim to ‘Boost Your Confidence’, enabling them to have the edge in a very competitive employment market. I was really flattered to be asked to contribute to these through doing a session around managing online identity and using the web to network and promote yourself.

I ran my first hour-long workshop on 24th May. The students were from a range of disciplines which was quite challenging but gave me the opportunity to revisit various resources and suggested strategies I’ve collected over the past couple of years. The presentation fits neatly into stages, influenced by Dan Shawbel’s ‘Personal Branding’ blog, which contains a handy ‘getting started guide‘.

I began by asking the students if they had ever ‘googled’ themselves – this was an activity that Pat Parslow (University of Reading) got us to do when he presented his ‘This Is Me‘ workshop at Plymouth a couple of years ago, and I thought it worked really well. Unfortunately my workshop was based in a classroom, so we couldn’t do this for real. However, although not many students had ‘googled’ themselves, I was pleased to discover that they were all very careful with their Facebook privacy settings!

I then set them a mean task – defining themselves in one sentence – which is incredibly difficult at the best of times   …and especially so when you’re only given 10 minutes in a classroom and know you have to immediately share it with the rest of the class! They did really well and seemed to enjoy it – the aim was to help them to prepare a considered and meaningful profile for all their online presences.

We then started looking at some of the free services that they could use to set up sites and other digital presences. While putting this workshop together, I discovered the work of Dr Helen Barrett. Helen has been researching strategies and technologies for e-portfolios since 1991 and has built up an impressive collection of her own e-portfolio using many different services. She is also interested in digital storytelling and has been an invited keynote speaker on both this and e-portfolio at many events around the world.

However, the time went very quickly so we were unable to look at anything in great detail. An hour is nowhere near enough time to cover this topic, especially without computers. I therefore ensured that everyone had made a note of where to find the presentation so that they can access it in their own time.

I’m due to run another of these workshops at the end of July. I’ve also been asked to do a similar session aimed at First Year students. Is anyone else working on similar resources/ workshops? It would be great to swap notes…

NB: When linking to the ‘This Is Me’ project, I noticed that they have now added a range of (short) books, free to download, about Digital Identity & Careers; Health Professionals and the Retired. They go into far more detail than I have, with case studies and exercises to work through, and are well worth a look!

See also…

Facing the consequences… a social networking horror story – the movie!

Here is the final video as described in a previous post, which we hope will remind students how, in the real world, they have many different types of relationships with people and to be aware that this is also the case online. How you present your digital self is crucial, as is being careful about what information you are giving away about yourself. Have a look at Facebook’s own ‘Guides to Facebook Privacy Settings’ to make sure you’re happy with the information you’re sharing online.

We would like to thank all the staff from the Faculty of Health, the Teaching and Learning Directorate and Human Resources who volunteered to be in this production – you were great sports!

The movie was created in iMovie and Adobe After Effects. For those who are interested, the ‘cartoon’ effect was created using ‘cartoonr‘ – a fantastic free plug-in you can download from

Facing the consequences… a social networking horror story!


OK – just missed Halloween (doh!) but here’s a cautionary tale about the possible perils of using social networking sites… Lee Wright, a Lecturer in Midwifery, wanted to create a resource to advise Health & Midwifery students about using social networking sites. Working with him and Stephen Hodge, the Faculty of Health’s Learning Technologist, we decided to produce a video telling the story of a nursing student, Tracy, who is careless using Facebook and therefore has to ‘face the consequences’.

The storyboard (above) was created using the excellent toonlet, a free ‘web comic blogging’ tool, although I confess I cheated and also modified some of the panels using Photoshop. The next step is to produce the video and we are currently looking for actors. So, if you would like to get involved UoP peops, please let me know ASAP!

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