I was really pleased when Dr Chrissi Nerantzi asked me to be one of the organisers for the #LTHEchat for the period Jan-April 2018. Previously, I have been a participant in the chat and found the experience both useful, fun and energising as the community of people involved are really enthusiastic. So, organising the chat was a great way for me to offer something in return. It was great to work with Kiu Sum, my co-organiser, as we quickly saw eye to eye on dividing up the work and Kiu was always there to respond when I needed an update. Kiu also offered a really valuable student perspective and ideas about how to involve more students, which really added to the chats we organised.
A few chats in, it became apparent that the tool the community had been using to collate the chats (Storify) was closing so one of the LTHEchat community, Chris Jobling, suggested trying out Wakelet and they tested out the functionality. After that, Kiu and I set up a LTHE Wakelet account and tried our hand at using this tool; just one of the ways that participating means learning something new.
For me, some of the benefits of the LTHEchats, are the challenges to my thinking that they offer as well as that satisfying recognition that others are thinking the same way or are dealing with similar things. And I can only say that I was mightily impressed by the activity of the LTHE people every Wednesday and continue to be so.
Being involved in student engagement in learning and teaching alongside my undergraduate study was something I never thought of doing when I first became a university student. Stumbling across #LTHEchat was too something that was “not planned” and it was only in 2017 when I “officially” start engaging with the week chat. Student engagement and pedagogy in higher education has become one of my interests (alongside what I do by day!) and is something that seems I cannot not let go. When the call for a new organising team for January to April 2018 was open, I saw the opportunity to take up a new challenge and expressed my interest. I was pleased when I got invited by Dr Chrissi Nerantzi to join Kathrine as one of the #LTHEchat organisers – was not expecting it to happen so soon!
A few months went by very fast and what an experience it was. For the first time, the teamwork was completely done online via the use of technologies – highlighting the importance that we can use digital technologies effectively! Whilst it was daunting initially, the support I had from Kathrine and Chrissi was incredible and we quickly gelled as a team despite only using online communication tools.
During the short 4 months, I was also given the opportunity to host my (first ever!) tweetchat! It was an exciting opportunity (and challenge!) and somewhat scratched my head a lot, not knowing how the chat itself would go coming from a student. So I decided to “flip the learning” and hosting it from a student’s perspective. With the chat falling on Valentine’s Day, “my date” for the evening was “Love Higher Education? Must be love, love, love…” (#LTHEchat 104*), with #LoveHE also. It made sense that it was related to love! With the continuous support from Kathrine and Chrissi, I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the chat and am pleased to see there were many fruitful discussions from the #LTHEchat community.
Participating in #LTHEchat has opened my mind to learning and teaching outside my experiences. Most important of all is having the opportunity to engage with other members of staff and students who I may have never thought of engaging with. One important lesson I have learnt using Twitter and joining in tweetchats, such as #LTHEchat has developed my confidence and communication skills. While it may seem so “unimpactful or “meaningless” at first participating as a student, reflecting my time spent on Wednesday evenings has made it more meaningful (1 hour does go by very fast!). It feels like a good CPD session to learn, to share practices and developing my ‘graduate attributes’. But most important of all is building professional relationships, getting to know other things outside your own academic discipline and having further opportunities to co-create potential new projects. Trust me, it does break down the ice of knowing how to start a conversation as a student when you finally (or trying to) get to meet those behind their twitter handles at events and conferences! Thank you to the #LTHEchat community for the opportunity and definitely got no regrets on stumbling onto #LTHEchat a while back.
*Summary of chat: https://wakelet.com/wake/456c5406-1701-4236-a79e-4c4383f14c9c