Long Road Sixth Form College is in the ‘top 50 further education social media users to follow’ group on JISC, the public body which provides a range of IT support for post-16 and higher education. The competition searched for people currently working for a college or learning provider in the UK who are using social media to improve learning and teaching or create positive change within their organisation.
Photo right: Alice Harrison, Jolene Barrett, Julie Lindsay, Chloe Beeton and Georgina Wilmott
Julie Lindsay, e-learning manager, explains:
“We were looking for effective ways for support staff to communicate with students in addition to existing channels (emails and student bulletins). The idea was to find a way of targeting specific groups of students rather than the student body as a whole.
“We explored social media formats as a possible communication channel which is both instant and which students respond to. We knew from a questionnaire during induction that a high percentage of students have a mobile phone/device and that they prefer to use this as their main way of communicating. We also knew that, whilst students were familiar with social media, use of Twitter for academic purposes was used less by them than Facebook, for example.
“We therefore set up the accounts described below but embedded all four within our VLE Moodle. Since September 2015, Moodle has had over 600,000 hits on the home page alone, so by doing this we gave our tweets a high degree of onscreen visibility 24/7 to the majority of students and staff.”
This how our commendation appears on the JISC website:
The LRSFC Support team uses Twitter to communicate with students, and their four accounts are embedded within their VLE using Moodle.
Julie Lindsay, e-learning leader, uses @LRSFCHub to cover guidance issues, with Tweets appearing at the top of the home page. Julie regularly re-tweets from each of the other accounts to give them an equally high profile and has started to investigate Periscope (she is in contact with an ex-student currently cycling around the world and ‘periscoping’ along the route!).
Jolene Barrett, careers assistant, uses @LongRoadCareers to promote careers. Local organisations and employers who send her tweets to advertise jobs, apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities.
Georgina Willmot and Alice Harrison, who work in the college Learning Resource Centre, use @LongRoadLRC to advertise displays publicising new stock at the Learning Resource Centre, to promote literacy (e.g. ‘Book of the Week’, ‘Six Book Challenge’) and to commemorate events like Black History Month and Holocaust Memorial Day.
Chloe Beeton, sports activator technician, set up @LongRoadActive as part of the ‘Active Students’ initiative; it appears on the Moodle Enrichment page and enables sports leaders to pass on messages to a greater number of students than she could using other media.
To find out more about JISC, visit https://www.jisc.ac.uk/