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Mentoring, Instructing, Perspective and Knowledge

Reading the below article recently, I was struck by how much of my teaching approach depends firstly on the type of session I am facilitating (workshop, exercise-led course, show and tell + discussion etc.). Then beyond this broad frame-work the approach is further dependent on the people in the classroom. We are lucky here at Oxford to teach and enable highly motivated bright students and staff who are quite capable of contributing and leading debate themselves in the classroom. When the class is ‘up for it’ I tend to move towards a perspective based mentoring role once core knowledge is a given. This laying out of the territory allows for discussions that are diverse in breadth and specialism in a way that a sole facilitator cannot provide – a much more exciting use of class time!

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Guardian hosting a science film making competition

See the link here

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The return of engage!

The engage logoSo we’re gearing up for engage again and I’m pleased that the series has survived and looks set to become a regular feature of the ITLP programme. One of its strengths is that it relies on the input of a bewildering array of speakers and perspectives that means audiences are giving the widest possible overview of academic online presence with the added benefit of in-depth focus from week to week. This coming series should offer perspectives on copyright, promotion of academic practice, career goals and usage of social media amongst many others. Details will follow shortly and there will be a central web presence that brings all the strands of the series together.

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Happy Christmas

Well another calendar year is drawing to a close and it’s been pretty momentous in my little technology driven corner. We’ve hosted major events with guests from the Guardian, Japan and our own university here. We’ve run a major campaign on social media that has obviously caught the imagination of the university – 23,ooo+ hits on the website (

We have delivered new courses in Online Presence, LinkedIn for academics, and hosted a range of talks that have highlighted the effective work done with blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and a widerange of other subjects including copyright and storytelling with images. We have been through a major structural change, both as a organisation and in the teaching team that call home. Neither has been disruptive to the schedule we offer and that has been perhaps the biggest achievement.

I’m looking forward to the Christmas break and a chance to switch focus to home and music but I am also looking forward to an equally exciting term next year with the opportunity to support the wider university with the teaching I do in so many fascinating areas.

I leave you with a link to a subject based list of academics who tweet – very useful to sharpen the impact of who you follow:

Happy Christmas!

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Guardian Higher Ed comes to Oxford

We are Pleased to Welcome Nancy Groves to DMUG. Nancy is the editor of the Guardian Higher Education Network and has also worked extensively in the Culture section of the paper. Nancy will talk about her role in

the Higher Education Network, How the paper sees the service developing, and will leave space for a discussion from attendees about their experience and expectations of the service.
Book here:
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Links and things

Just a quick post to point out the new link section to the right – lots of academic friendly links to make us think about presenting information in new and more meaningful ways. The image below is from Infosthetics – well worth a look to see some great infographics. All of the links are thought provoking and have something to say about they way we can present our work in digital media

image of twitter data

Twitter traffic in Euro 2012 as it happened

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DMUG, social media and online presence

Dr Stuart Lee, DMUG presenter Trinity term

Dt Stuart Lee, Faculty of English and OUCS

Another full session for the digital media user group was held last week with a keynote from Dr Stuart Lee. Stuart looked back on 20 years or so of using digital media to support an online presence that has contributed enormously to the resources available for readers in his subject areas of medieval English and First World War poetry. The mix of a ‘try it and see’ attitude towards the use of technology, and the quality and breadth of the academic work published, made it clear that an online presence wasn’t something that has to be seen as tangential to serious work in teaching and research.

Next term we shall try and look towards the group to provide some updates of the work being commissioned and produced in the university. If you would like to become a DMUG member please email The group serves the university in the first instance and membership is generally available only to current university members.

Next Michaelmas is set to launch Social Media term which will have a variety of online and real-time events culminating is a special event towards Christmas (we hope!). Watch this space and the ITLP catalogue for updates from late September

One last piece of news: The successful online presence course is to be complimented with a second course that will look at issues involved with maintaining and using your presence effectively. This course is currently being written and we will be delivering it later in Michaelmas. The catalogue is a good place to check for details! It has been a hectic but productive Trinity and we are already excited about the planned events for next term.

Happy holidays

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Reaching Out

This term we have been lucky enough to have some guest speakers who are internationally recognized in their respective roles – positions that have a direct influence on aspirations of Oxford members. Garr Reynolds came to speak again on how to make presentations that followed clear design principles with a Zen aesthetic. Garr is a superb communicator and delivered a full multimedia tour of his principles to a packed Gulbenkian Lecture Theatre at the Law Faculty.

A podcast conversation was recorded prior to the event and that can be accessed here:

Garr’s latest edition of Presentation Zen can be accessed here:

The feedback from this event was exceptional with many commenting that their practice would be directly affected. Thank you Garr!

Lisa Sargood, Commissioning editor at BBC Vision, came to the termly Digital Media User Group to talk about the work that commissioning editors do at the BBC and how Academics can present proposals to large media institutions. Lisa’s slides and a recording are available on the DMUG site (email to gain membership if necessary). The questions were coming thick and fast afterwards – always a good sign and many stayed longafter the meeting to get some advice about personal projects.

It is really pleasing to see the DMUG provide such occasions that offer clear support to members as well as showcasing Oxford Work – see:

Shelley’s Ghost:

Treasures of the Bodleian

It’s a privilege to work in such a dynamic organization that has a profound impact on Oxford’s academic output.

Merry Christmas to you all

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Visualisation blog

For those of you who are interested in the aesthetics of  information visualisation and other related matters, check out this site – lots of great visualisation to explore …

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