OCSLD on the social web

Marketing to the social web book coverWe have been having a number of conversations about how OCSLD can make better use of social media, both in our work with Brookes staff and our external work. Here are some notes on ideas for revising our strategy for marketing our online courses and other consultancy, based on my reading of Larry Weber’s Marketing to the Social Web.

1. Build credibility by ensuring that our online presence demonstrates our expertise in higher education e.g. by making publicly available OCSLD podcasts, webinars & our research journal (BeJLT). Use these to define what OCSLD has to offer.

2. Allow HE staff to show their interest in OCSLD through joining/registering with a community of others with similar interests. The OCSLD community site would give access to other people, course alumni, course materials. Then it is easy to reach people who are interested in our courses, because they are already there in our community. We need to create a space where people who are interested in higher education want to come to.

3. Use the web to stay in touch with our partners, our consultants and clients. We could have a community space just for OCSLD consultants where they can help us to decide on our future programmes, test out new courses and ideas.

4. Encourage participant feedback and suggestions.  We could invite past participants to review our courses and evaluate new courses. We could run an online suggestion box.  It is our course participants who know better than anyone what is wanted from OCSLD. Perhaps have incentives for the best suggestions e.g. one free place on our courses for the best suggestion every month.

5. People power. As well as listening to what people want, we need to give them the power to shape our provision, from deciding on what courses to run, to building and sharing resources. Start with a competition on what to call the new community site?

Things we could do quickly in response to these ideas:

a. Observe the communities which are talking about staff and educational development in higher education? What are they talking about? What are they saying about us and other staff development providers?

b. Create a community (Ning?) site for current, potential and past participants.  Have a space for each course with some course materials, a podcast, feedback from last year’s group. Make it easy for users to leave comments and ask questions. Enlist our consultants to talk about OCSLD and our courses. Enlist people we’ve worked for to talk about our other services.

c. Find content which demonstrates what OCSLD does e.g. a starter pack on running your own CDI, or guides for writing and publishing pedagogic research. Decide what in our back catalogue we can give away e.g. free chapters of books we have written or PDFs of our old ‘learning to teach series‘ or Improving Student Learning Conference proceedings.

d. Recruit community activists and members. Remember everything we learnt from ELESIG about why people come to a site: to meet people, to keep up to date, to learn, to have their say.

e.  Promote the community site through our existing Twitter, Facebook and this blog sites.

It needs a name eg ‘Oxford Seeds’ (Oxford Staff Ed Dev Services) or something that neatly sums up what happens on the site (like ‘Mumsnet’) eg ‘Higher Learning Hub’ or building on a name we already have eg ‘ISL, Improving Student Learning’. Suggestions please!

Tags: /

About the author



To support the University’s mission through the provision of high quality internal and external staff and educational development, and to undertake research and publish in those areas.

You may also like...

2 responses

  1. Mary


    I particularly like idea ‘c’! (Disseminate resources and promote engagement from colleagues via the social web). In addition to the ideas already posted, I wonder whether it would be useful to exploit the social web to extend OCSLD’s ability to foster Educational research and evidence-based pedagogic practice? For instance, we could share one-paragraph reviews of papers we appreciate (e.g. http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/).

  2. rhona

    Thanks Mary – yes, that’s a great idea. Also, we have previously written up reviews of books we have read and published them as short articles in BeJLT. Shall we start summarising papers we’ve read on this blog in the first instance and see how it takes off?