Last week INSTIL held two Coffee Break TIPs sessions, one at Paragon and one at St Mary’s Road. It was inspiring to see how staff are currently using Twitter and how they were so eager to share this with their colleagues!

The main focus was a 101 on Twitter, such as ‘what is Twitter?’ ‘why should I use it?’ and often an inquisitive ‘how do you use use Twitter?’. The fact is that Twitter is a very basic social media tool, it only allows for 140 characters (no waffling), you can add pictures to your tweets, follow your favorite people and indeed block any unwanted followers. Now there is more that Twitter can do, but the fact that there is not masses of functionality makes it appealing to the masses (see what I did there).

We practised using hashtags, for example #MyUWLtip and including people in your tweets for example @donaldduck.  We clarified that a hashtag acts like a funnel so that if you included a hashtag in your tweet and someone else clicks on it they are directed to all other tweets that include that hashtag. Make sense?

Academic practice and Twitter also came up and we spoke about the benefits of using Twitter in and for academia. Our very own Nick Pearce gave a very insightful presentation about raising your profile on social media.

@jancis_shepherd Head of Midwifery, told of how she raised a whopping £9.2330 with her Christmas lights competition with the help of her twitter campaign! This just shows the power and reach that social media can give you if you are committed.

Madhini Sivasubramanian, lecturer in simulated learning in the College of Nursing and Midwifery discussed using Twitter to connect with subject experts from nursing and facilitate a live tweet up / chat session with them to give students the opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics. Something that gives weight to Nick’s blog post mentioned above. We also explored the use of the polling function in Twitter to ask students questions in class, facilitating peer learning in group work.

Su-Lin Allen, UWL’ s Internal Communications & Social Media Co-ordinator, suggested tagging people in a photo  This allows you to mention people in a tweet whilst keepn ghte message free of clutter.  It also adds a visual element to your tweets.

So on the whole this session was very successful and everyone went away #LearningTechnology.

Hope to see you at the next Coffee Break TIPs!