Facilitated by: Dr Katy Jordan who is the co-convenors of the Digital University Network. For more details about the network and its activities, please click here.

The use of social media in the context of higher education – for learning, teaching, and scholarship – is well established. However, recent changes at Twitter (now known as X) have served to highlight the risks of adopting third-party, commercial technical infrastructure for academic activities and purposes. As a result of the changes at X, engagement with the platform is perceived to be greatly reduced, and a number of new platforms have entered the market. There continues to be a good deal of uncertainty – in relation to the longer term future of X, and which platforms may emerge as a leading alternative – which means that it is too early to understand the implications for the future, and it may be some time before this can be fully gauged. In the face of uncertainty and flux in relation to particular platforms, in this event we turn to current perspectives on how social media is being used in practice.

The session will open with some reflections on the current context of social media in higher education, and introduce the following speakers and themes:

  • Olivia Kelly, How distance learners establish social presence on X (Twitter) to build online support communities
  • Alex Wang, Social Media Platform ‘RED’: A liminal space for Chinese international students
  • Sue Beckingham, Digital Footprints Matter: Encouraging and supporting professionalism and safety on social media
  • Lenandlar Singh, Early Career Researchers Twitter practices: an identity development perspective


10.00 – 10.15

SRHE welcome & housekeeping

Introductions and overview by Katy Jordan

10.15 – 10.45

Olivia Kelly: How distance learners establish social presence on X (Twitter) to build online support communities.

Including Q&A

10.45 – 11.15

Alex Wang, Social Media Platform ‘RED’: A liminal space for Chinese international students.

Including Q&A

11.15 – 11.20

Comfort break

11.20 – 11.50

Sue Beckingham, Digital Footprints Matter: Encouraging and Supporting Professionalism and Safety on Social Media.

Including Q&A

11.50 – 12.20

Lenandlar Singh, Early Career Researchers Twitter practices: an identity development perspective.

Including Q&A

12.20 – 12.30

Final remarks and close by Katy Jordan


Speaker bios

Sue Beckingham is an Associate Professor Learning and Teaching, a National Teaching Fellow, a Principal Lecturer and LTA Lead in Computing at Sheffield Hallam University. She is also a Certified Management and Business Educator, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Staff and Educational Development Association, and a Visiting Fellow at Edge Hill University.

Her research interests include social media for learning and the use of technology to enhance active learning and teaching; and has published and presented this work nationally and internationally as an invited keynote speaker. She is a co-founder of the international weekly #LTHEchat 'Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Twitter Chat' and the Social Media for Learning in HE Conference.

Olivia Kelly is an Associate Lecturer at The Open University, teaching on a variety of courses. She is a Senior Fellow of the HEA, experienced in developing online teaching materials and in teaching HE level study skills. She also works as a consultant writer of EAP educational materials. She holds an Honours degree in European Regional Development and a Masters degree in Social Sciences. Her research interests include social media in educational spaces, and she is awaiting her viva to defend her doctoral thesis on how distance learners use X (Twitter) to interact and support each other.

Lenandlar Singh is a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Guyana and a PhD student at the University of Lancaster, England studying e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning. He has over 20 years’ experience teaching Computer Science and Information Systems. His research interests are in computing education, technology adoption and use in Higher Education, including Social Networks, and human technology relations. His present PhD research deploys mixed methods social network analysis to explore early career researchers Twitter use and identity development.

Yanglu (Alex) Wang is a PhD Education candidate in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen's University Belfast. Alex is in her second year of her PhD research, which focuses on exploring doctoral students' experiences of using social media as a liminal space, supervised by Dr. Ibrar Bhatt and Dr. Dina Zoe Belluigi. She is passionate about integrating the familiarity of 红书 (RED), a Mandarin-based social media platform, into research on social media in higher education. Alex holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Lancaster University. She has presented at the CHERN Workshop on "Technology-Migration Interlinkages of Chinese Mobilities in Europe," The 5th Annual PAWBL Symposium, and the SRHE Higher Education Research, Practice, and Policy-Connections & Complexities.

April 29th, 2024 from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Online event - link will be provided
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