The Format

STEMDigital takes a reflective and hands-on approach to introducing you to social media tools and the possibilities and issues they raise for early career researchers. We start and end with traditional workshops to help you think about the issues raised by social media in your own practice, and the principles of effective practice, potential benefits and managing any risks.

Sitting in a seminar room or IT training suite isn’t the way to really learn how to use social media or explore how it might work for you; you need to ‘do’ it to really ‘get’ it! The main part of the programme therefore is online, built using the very social media tools which we’ll be exploring, such as this blog. Each week, we’ll explore a new tool together and use social media to share experiences, insights, tips and advice.

The Workshops

The programme will  be launched and ended with a traditional face-to-face workshop, where you can meet the moderator and other participants you’ll be interacting with online.

  • In the first workshop, we will talk about your current attitudes to social media, discuss your concerns and reservations, and think about how effective your current use of digital tools is. We’ll introduce the type of tools we’ll look at and discuss using social media as a STEM researcher: the possibilities, the pitfalls, and the principles of making effective use of the tools which we’ll be putting into practice later on.
  • During the course, we may also arrange other meet-ups to trouble-shoot or discuss particular tools in more depth.
  • In the final debrief workshop, we will discuss which tools you might continue to use and how you might integrate them into your workflow in the long term. We’ll also talk about how to manage your digital footprint and make sure that you’re not leaving online traces which you don’t want to! As digital tools come, develop and go all the time, we’ll also look at how you might transfer what you’ve learned and assess any future social media technologies which appear.

The Online Activity

Following the first workshop will be the main part of the programme, online activity which will be based here at this blog and completed whenever fits your workflow, and using your own computer or other mobile devices. Every week, a blog post will be posted here which identifies a specific social media tool and where it might enhance your work. We’ll include instructions for using it, and an activity to help you explore how it works. We’ll also suggest some issues to think about and discuss online with other participants! Have a look at the programme content to see what tools and issues we’ll be exploring.

Using social media involves some new values and behaviours, such as open, user-generated content, proactive, interactive networking and reciprocal participation to access the information and support you need. One of the key elements of the course is that you participate actively yourselves. Much of the value of the course will come from sharing the thoughts, insights, advice and experiences of other participants through commenting, tweeting, blogging, linking, sharing etc.  This might seem quite a large step at first, but it’s really the only way to discover how social media works, and to learn from each other! We’ll take it slow and structure the process so although you’ll be contributing on the open web, you’re doing so in a  safe and well-informed manner which is in accordance with scholarly values.

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