Social Media Skills for Students is a project based in the English department of Liverpool John Moores University. It’s motivated by the fact that social media skills have become an integral aspect of the competencies expected of graduates in the job market in the digital age. Academic staff are increasingly encouraged to use forms of assessment to develop these competencies, including the use of blogs, Wikis, and other modes of social media. Yet, comparatively little space within the undergraduate curriculum is currently being dedicated to ensure that students are fully trained in these areas, to the point that they are able both to feel confident with these alternative forms of assessment and can demonstrate their digital literacy and creativity when entering the job market and using social media to enhance their chances of securing work after their degree.
As part of LJMU’s dedication to embedding work-related learning in the curriculum, Dr Nadine Muller has been running a module “Express Yourself: Presentation & Social Media Skills” every since she started at LJMU in 2012. Next to equipping students with professional presentation skills for interviews and other areas of public speaking, it teaches students to establish, maintain, and manage a professional online presence via a WordPress blog, and profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social and professional networking sites, allowing them to showcase their abilities and experience to potential employers and collaborators. Students are taught how to create and design their own free blog as well as how to write posts for various audiences, and gain a readership for their selected content via social networking and microblogging, taking into account key criteria such as the purpose of their online presence and their intended audience.
Social Media Skills for Students is a bigger project which builds on this successful module by creating a resource that extends beyond the English undergraduate programme at LJMU and that is accessible and useful to all students within and outside the university. Through a central dedicated website, students will be able to draw on guides and exercises devised to maximize their digital literacy and provide them with a professional online presence that can function as a significant aid in their career development and prospects. Though in the first instance the project will focus upon the particular needs, skills and interests of Arts and Humanities students, it is hoped that it will serve as a model for the development of this kind of resource in other fields. By funding this new resource LJMU continues its dedication to graduate employability and work-related learning, providing its own undergraduate students with invaluable skills and advice for their professional development, and leading the way in addressing the emerging training needs of Arts and Humanities graduates in the digital world, and in a tough economic climate in which a professional online presence can be crucial in forging employment opportunities.
Of course what we don’t want to do is reinvent the wheel. What Social Media Skills for Students hopes to do is to pool these resources by providing a comprehensive website which hosts existing as well as new how-to guides for and reviews of the most popular forms of social media, which provides first-hand experiences, opinions, and advice by students and staff who use social media in teaching, learning, research, and other professional capacities, as well as showcasing inspiring content created by students and lecturers.
If you think your blog, guide, or social media account should be included on Social Media Skills for Students, then please, please get in touch and help us create what we hope will really make a difference to the ways in which students learn how to use social media to their advantage and as a professional tool. Equally, if you would like to contribute a post to our site about your experience of teaching social media skills, using social media skills in the classroom (as a student or as a lecturer), or boosting your graduate profile through social media, please let us know by emailing us with your ideas. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as by tweeting us via @Soc_Med_Skills. We can’t wait to get started, and we hope to launch Social Media Skills for Students at the start of the new semester at LJMU.
- Marnie Buckley (@MarnieBuckley), BA (Hons) in English, Media, & Cultural Studies
- Cleo Chalk (@LitLethargy), BA (Hons) in English with Creative Writing (LJMU)
- John England, BA (Hons) in English (LJMU)
- Sarah Louise Hanson, BA (Hons) in English, Media, & Cultural Studies (LJMU)
You can read more about each team member here.