Social media in careers education


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Slides from a presentation given at the Higher Education Academy STEM conference, April 2012. The talk describes the use of popular social media tools within the Careers After Biological Sciences programme at the University of Leicester, UK. Many of the resources generated are housed at

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Social media in careers education

  1. 1. STEM Annual Conference 2012Use of Social Media in Careers Education: An example from the Biosciences Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Biochemistry, University of Leicester University of Leicester
  2. 2. Background: (Inter)national• Employability high on the agenda of universities• Global economic crisis  tricky job market• Unistat statement (since Aug 2010)• Key Information Set (from Sept 2012)
  3. 3. Background: Disciplinary• Biological Science = excellent platform for diverse careers• Unlike some courses (e.g. Medicine, Pharmacy, Law) Bioscience is not “vocational” - students may not know some careers exist - they may need help in seeing beyond the “known” pathways e.g. PhD, post-grad Medicine
  4. 4. Background: Local• Academic review of Biological Sciences at Leicester (Spring 2006)• Improved careers advice 1 of 6 recommendations
  5. 5. Birth of CABS• Careers After Biological Sciences @ Leicester• Programme started 2007 with support of grant from institutions Fund for New Teaching Initiatives• Two facets: - series of talks about different careers - online archive of material for those unable to attend events• The “spin” – all speakers are graduates from our own courses (or key gatekeepers, e.g. postgraduate admissions tutor, Head of Science at School of Edn)
  6. 6. Clinical Trials Teacher Laboratory Coordinator Trainer Technician PoliceDietitian Genetic Cosmetics Officer Counsellor Developer Research Civil Administrator ServantEcologist Careers in Science & Doctor Librarian Careers from Science Market Forensic Embryologist Analyst Scientist Dentist Classroom PostDoc Science Teacher Fertility Lawyer Researcher Writer Conservationist Microbiological Biomedical Academic Services ScientistNurse Research Manager
  7. 7. Brief for speakers• All speakers are asked to speak for about 25 minutes and include three core pieces of information (in whatever order they see fit): - what their current job involves - how they got there from here (i.e. brief personal history) - top tips for anyone considering a move into the same field• Organisation of events: “Here’s one we prepared earlier”: involving former students in careers advice Biosci Edn 18-3SE see
  8. 8. Social Mediafor Careers
  9. 9. Contacting speakers• Traditional routes - personal contacts (ex-tutees, contemporaries) - recommendations from colleagues• Newer route - -• LinkedIn - Business-orientated resource - Categorisation issues, e.g. “Classmates”• Facebook - Search for known names - Work through friends list
  10. 10. Facebook alumni group• Better model – relational• Two-way process, news fed to alumni• >240 members
  11. 11. Central hub for resources• Institutional VLE?• Silo - no access for former students - no access for broader community• Free blogging services - -• Previous experience with Wordpress - Bioethicsbytes - Journal of Left-handed Biochemist
  12. 12.• Resources about careers covered during annual talks• List of sources for vacation studentships• Other careers events
  13. 13. Embedded resources• Cornerstone of resources = slides from talks•
  14. 14. Further resources: video (1)• Video of talks? - relatively easy to film, but... - YouTube = max 15 mins for regular accounts - is good alternative - basic account 500 MB per week - editing costs can be significant
  15. 15. Further resources: video (2)• Workplace interviews? - short, pithy videos to complement live events - can fit on YouTube = higher impact - requires budget
  16. 16. Further resources: audio• Cheaper than video (production and editing)• Podcast services (e.g. - Subscription required• free Slideshare account now includes capacity to link audio to slides – “webinar” or “slidecast” (subscription account can also add video)
  17. 17. Raising awareness of resources•Wordpress and Slideshare have high visibility with search engines• Can raise further awareness by promoting on Twitter and Google+
  18. 18. Simple Intermediate Advanced (Cheapest) (Most expensive) Combine audio recording with PowerPoint slides andInvite speakers to upload to web e.g. Slideshare, Vimeo, careers event Set up website or blog YouTube (if <15 mins) to archive careers Make audio recording material of talks e.g. Blogger, Wordpress Collect PowerPoint Make video of talk and slides from speakers upload and upload e.g. e.g. YouTube (if <15 mins) Make short bespoke Take portrait photo video with speaker at of speakers their place of work and upload e.g. YouTube, Vimeo
  19. 19. Acknowledgements• Fund for New Teaching Initiatives• School of Biological Science (Jon Scott)• Alan Cann for Web2.0 wisdom• Jo Badge for initial data crunching• Biosciences PedR group• Alumni who have been back to speak
  20. 20. Any Questions?E-mail: cjrwSlideshare: cjrw2Delicious: chriswillmottBlogs: University of Leicester