Twitter and Digital Professionalism
Amanda Taylor-Beswick – Senior Lecturer, School of Social Work, Care and Community
In social work and social care there is a steep rise in the amount of employers seeking graduates who can demonstrate digital professionalism. Educational research evidences the benefits of embedding technologies into curriculum design in a way that builds opportunities for students to develop digital awareness, digital knowledge and digital skills. In the School of Social Work, Care and Community this has been taken on board by incorporating a range of teaching and learning methods aimed at digitally socialising students for employment in the connected age.
One of the many pedagogic strategies that has been employed is the ‘modelling’ of digital professionalism in online spaces. The School and a number of academic staff are active Twitter users. Twitter is used as a broadcasting tool, as a way of promoting self-directed study and ultimately as a means to demonstrating professionalism in an online space. Academic staff introduce students to the School Twitter handle @UCLanSocialWork during welcome week, they also circulate literature, using module specific hashtags, that compliments module content from their own professional Twitter feeds. Through this process students are encouraged to engage with a digital platform, learn about the rules of the platform and observe appropriate behaviour and presence online. Furthermore, they are invited into Communities of Learning for Practice that support learning, development and future employment opportunities.
Students that have chosen to engage with this activity report how they feel more connected with the School, the academic staff and various professional groupings relevant to their course of study. Academic staff are noticing a change in how students are interacting online and have established boundaries that enable students to understand the parameters of online spaces.