November 13, 2017, by Emma Thorne

Nottingham academic among most influential HE social media stars

University of Nottingham physiotherapy expert Dr Roger Kerry has been named as one of the most social media-savvy academics in the UK.

Dr Kerry, of the School of Health Sciences, who regularly highlights the successes of students and colleagues and actively leads debate around physiotherapy and philosophy via his Twitter account, appears among the top 10 higher education social media superstars of 2017, as announced today by Jisc.

The competition sets out to celebrate the innovative ways in which social media is being used in HE to add value to sector practice. The top 10 winners all receive an adtech experience for their class, complete with robot and virtual reality.

Judges chose to include Dr Kerry on the list in recognition of his development of the TWEED (Twitter in education) project. Inspired by his earlier research into the educational use of Twitter among undergraduate physiotherapy students, sponsored by the Higher Education Academy, Dr Kerry has created a model of Twitter use that can be implemented into any programme to ‘enhance and expedite learning and access to knowledge and debate.’

Dr Kerry said: “Following this, I went one step further and three years ago introduced a blogging assignment as part of the summative assessment for a postgraduate module I run. The underpinning theory for this is all about developing students’ critical writing and thinking skills via their awareness that what they write will be immediately open to wide public scrutiny.”

He reports that the development of critical writing, compared to more traditional assessments, is remarkable. The assessment has now been taken up by a number of other physiotherapy programmes in the UK and USA.

“Naturally, the international links were made on Twitter, which was a primary dissemination tool for the blogs!” he added. “I believe that social media offers a unique and progressive dimension to the world of education. Like everything, there are limitations and misuses, but the more we learn about these, the more we can harness and develop the true power of the media.”

The judges commented: “Roger is a great ambassador of social media in education. He has been able to prove its value many, many times, not least with students securing employment from the networks they are encouraged to build.”

Jisc is the UK’s expert member organisation for digital technology and digital resources in higher education, further education, skills and research. Its vision is to make the UK the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world.

The final line-up was chosen by a panel of HE and social media experts including Jisc’s social media team, Sarah Knight, Head of Change – Student Experience at Jisc and Chris Parr, the Times Higher Education social media editor.

Richard Tatnall, digital communications manager at Jisc said: “What really impressed me was the impact our superstars are making with their social media activity. We saw great examples of reaching vast audiences with a single message on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, as well as making big impacts on a small, defined audiences in closed and private networks. There’s no question that social media can be highly resource intensive so being able to demonstrate the value it delivers is vital and our superstars were able to do this in spades.”

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