Today I joined in the University of Leicester School of Education Summer School, in which research students from around the world gathered for research skills workshops. I led a session called “Building and maintaining your digital research profile.” I argued that, despite the negatives of sharing research and profiling oneself on the internet (struggling with public versus private online persona, controlling the 24/7 character of online), the positives of reaching so many people for little cost and in so many varied formats are so great it is worth considering how to neutralise the negatives so as to reap the benefits.
We covered the ways of sharing our research using different media formats: video, audio, images, text, and looked at other educational practitioners’ channels as examples. Jacqui’s Pinterest board called Classroom Ideas and Tech shares ideas for teaching in a very image-led manner.
Audio and video can be felt to be more engaging than text, with audio having the added bonus of working well even if the speaker is having a bad hair day. Audio is also easier to produce than video, which is so engaging and best for demonstrations, but expensive to make well. For both video and audio, we felt that “unscripted is best.” When someone knows their topic and is passionate about it, they speak convincingly and compellingly, and therefore it is best to try and capture the unscripted passion, so to speak.
Workshop participants visited stations set up with a laptop or tablet showing a researcher’s channel — Youtube for video, SoundCloud for audio, Pinterest and Flickr for image, and a WordPress blog for text. Groups jotted down Pros, Cons, and Tips for using that medium to share out research.
The question of using Creative Commons to license our work online came up and was considered generally a good idea, although questions arose such as “but does the University allow staff to give away our productions, for which the intellectual property belongs to the University?” We reviewed using the licensing options in Google Images to find CC-licensed images.
Looking at the picture above, pros, cons and tips for using audio and video to share research, I would add that I am a fan of audio. I like the option of listening to a lecture or a description of one’s research, without the demand of having to watch video of the delivery, especially as lectures and such don’t show very much visually — the audio is what counts. Besides, while I’m listening, I can do something else, like cook or drive.
Since the workshop, I consider it may be time to refresh my digital academic profile. I will be giving this some thought over the next few weeks.
Terese Bird, Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School