Thursday, 24 April 2014

How to engage the Public with Research from PhD Students

Yesterday I supported the Graduate School by running a 45 minute workshop for their PhD students.  The workshop looked at how they engage the public with their research.  The main topic of the workshop looked at Social Media and online tools that would enable the creation of communities to allow the building of a Personal Learning Network.

As the workshop was only a 45 minute session I decided to target some specific tools, these were:

  • Blogs
    • Wordpress
    • Blogger
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • Facebook
The idea I wanted to get across was to use a blog as the base/central hub for materials and content that they want to share.  The use of a blog would allow for ease of posting and therefore sharing.  Blogs also have keyword tagging built in, allowing for easy searching in future.

Once a blog post has been made, the other tools come into their own, sharing that blog post via Twitter, Google + and Facebook really opens up the reach, allowing many more people to find and engage with it.

We went through how to create an account and how to use each tool, in the case of Google + and Facebook it was about creating a public group rather than a personal page.  In the world of Web 2.0 and beyond it is very easy to linkup and integrate these systems, allowing a single blog post to automatically be tweeted and shared on G+ and Facebook.

One real advantage of Google + is that it will inject anything shared public directly into Google Search indexes rather than requiring Search Engine Optimisation and crawling.

As the session drew to an end, I felt the group were enthused and would take up the challenges posed and start to look at using these tools.  After the session I was pleased to have the following exchange on Twitter with one of the attendees.

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