Twitter feed getting a little congested? Muting tweets may be the solution to resolve this!


There may be times when you see content coming up in your feed that you are just not interested in and given the choice you’d prefer not to see! It could be that your timeline is suddenly full of tweets because there is a football cup final going on, it’s Eurovision time or because a new Wordle game gets popular and people like to share their daily results. We all have different interests and that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean you have to see these tweets! If this is happening to you then muting could be the answer! 

You can choose to mute Tweets that contain specific words, phrases or hashtags. This is a good solution to remove the tweets twittering about a topic you have no interest in from your feed. Alternatively if it’s a particular person you are following you can opt to mute just their acount. Muting an account is an alternative to unfollowing an acccount or blocking someone. There are good reasons for making these choices, but should you then decide to refollow the account, then they will receive a notification, revealing you had unfollowed them. By muting, the account won’t get a notification. Muting can be done permanantly, until you choose to unmute, or for selected durations of 24 hours, 7 days or 30 days. 

A further option is to mute notifications from a conversation you are tagged in. If you are being bombarded with notifications and you have moved on from the original start of the conversation, then it can be helpful to mute the thread. 

So in short muting is a useful option to remove tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking anyone. Below you will find how to do this for the different options available. 

Mute words and hashtags

  1. Click More from the side navigation menu, then click Settings and privacy.
  2. Click the Privacy and safety tab, then click Mute and block.
  3. Click Muted words.
  4. Click the plus icon.
  5. Enter the word or hashtag you’d like to mute. Entries can only be added one a time.
  6. Select Home timeline if you wish to mute the word or phrase from your Home timeline.
  7. Select Notifications if you wish to mute the word or phrase from your Notifications.
  8. Specify From anyone or From people you don’t follow.
  9. Under Mute timing choose between Forever24 hours from now7 days from now, or 30 days from now.
  10. Click Save.

Note: Muting words and hashtags only applies to your notifications and Home timeline. You will still see these Tweets via search. Notifications for muted words and hashtags are applied to replies and mentions, including all interactions on those replies and mentions: likes, Retweets, additional replies, and Quote Tweet. 


Mute accounts

Mute is a feature that allows you to remove an account’s Tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that account. Muted accounts will not know that you’ve muted them and you can unmute them at any time. To access a list of accounts you have muted, visit your muted accounts settings on or your app settings on Twitter for iOS or Android.

To mute an account from a profile:

  1. Click on a username to open their profile.
  2. Click the more iconnext to the follow button.
  3. Select Mute @account from the dropdown.

To mute an account from a Tweet:

Click the more iconfrom any Tweet.

  1. Select Mute @account from the dropdown menu.


Muting notifications for a conversation

If you would like to stop receiving notifications for a particular conversation, you can choose to mute it. When you mute a conversation, you won’t get any new notifications about that conversation. You will, however, still see Tweets from the conversation in your timeline and when you click into the original Tweet. 

To mute a conversation via, or from your Twitter for iOS or Android app: 

  1. Go to the Tweet detail of any Tweet or a reply in the conversation you wish to mute.
  2. Click the more  icon. 
  3. Click Mute this conversation
  4. Click to confirm.

Image credit: Pixabay – Free to use, no attribution required

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Collaborative interactive project management tools: a visual way to identify and progress tasks

To do lists (Pixabay)

Project management

In order for a group project to succeed you need to be organised. It’s important to know what stages make up the workflow that will ensure you complete the project, and who is responsible for what. One approach which has been used by many over the years is KanBan boards. Typically a white board or wall space is used along with some coloured tape to divide the space into columns (progress) and rows or ‘swim lanes’ to seperate individual or teams sharing the same board. Post-its were then used to write individual tasks. These could be moved along as the task progresses.

kanbanKanban board (Pixabay)

A Kanban system is a means of balancing the demand for work to be done with the available capacity to start new work. (Anderson, 2010; Anderson and Carmichael, 2016). A key benefit of this approach is that it can be used with all members of your group project and everyone can see all of the tasks and the progress being made.

Kanban (かんばん): Visual cards that list details about an item, organized into lists on a board to manage workflow stages.” (Shreiber, 2016)

The example above (Shreiber, 2016) shows the typical kanban headings, creating a To-do list, a Doing list and a Done list. You might choose to head the lists as Today, Tomorrow and This Week or taking writing a blogpost as an example you could have the headings as To Write, Writing, Editing, Publishing, and Promoting.

Ways to use kanban boards

Kanban boards can be used for individual or group projects. These might be one off activities or ongoing work. For example:

  • Plan personal tasks
  • Follow progression of meeting actions
  • Gather ideas for future blog posts
  • Monitoring the writing, publishing and promoting of blog posts
  • Track job applications (or applicants if you’re hiring)
  • Organise a conference
  • Reading list for a dissertation or paper literature review
  • Keep on top of assignments

Digital Kanban Boards

Trello is a useful digital project management tool The obvious advantage of a digital project management tool is that it can be accessed online, so wherever you are it is possible to work on this. The free version allows unlimited cards and upto 10 boards per workspace. There are iOS and Android mobile apps, and two-step authentication. Added features allow users to:

  • Assign names to tasks
  • Leave comments/questions
  • Add due dates and set reminders
  • Drag and drop documents onto a card 

Trello boardTrello Board

You may want to explore other options and decide on a space you feel will be most useful for your project.

Do you have suggestions for other useful project management tools? 


Anderson, D. J. (2010) Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business. Blue Hole Press.

Anderson, D. J. and Carmichael, A. (2016) Essential Kanban Condensed. Lean Kanban Press.

Schreiber, D. (2016) Kanban 101: How to use Kanban Boards to Manage Your Next project. Zapier.

Posted in Collaboration tools | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Festive CPD: Using Twitter to engage in bite sized learning activities

It has been a long challenging year for all of us and I for one am looking forward to the holidays to spend time with family and friends. What better way to countdown than this selection of bite sized activities created by colleagues to share tips about learning and teaching.

Trent Institute of Learning and Teaching

Using an advent calendar template, each a new door reveals information and tips on ways to help you on your HEA Fellowship journey. Kate Cuthbert and Laura Stinson are reknowned for sharing excellent resources and this festive calendar is no expection!  

Follow @NtuTilt  and the hashtag #NTUFestiveFellowship for updates.


Active Learning Network

This group are posting a daily question to talk aboout and share active learning tips. I loved that the questions were croudsourced from the active learning network. Participants are invited to join colleagues in a mini tweetchat at 13:00 GMT to engage in a 15-minute discussion on the benefits of active learning.

Follow @ActiveLearningNTW and the hashtag #ActiveAdvent2021 for updates.


University of Glasgow SOTL

This one starts Monday 6th December!

Follow @UoGSoTL for updates.


Brighton Learning and Teaching Hub

Another advent calendar with each new door revealing useful tips on learning, teaching and assessment (and feedback).

Follow @BrightonLTHub for updates.

Santanu Vasent

Last but not least is Santanu’s #SantasEdVent21 activity where he will sharing useful tips and resources daily throughout December. 

Follow @SantanuVasent and the hashtag #SantasEdVent for updates.

Further additions!

Marc Duffy

Follow @DrMarcDuffy and the hashtag #SDGAdventCalendar for further updates.

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Social learning: bite size practice webinars and a new national repository for teaching resources

sharing typed on paper

Pedagogy and Pancakes


Twitter: @pedPancakes

Pedagogy and Pancakes logo

Pedagogy and Pancakes is a practice-sharing seminar series created by Dr Chris Headeland.  His idea is that you get your breakfast, sit down, relax, and enjoy some lightning talks run by colleagues. In each talk, the speakers will share their teaching and learning experience and provide some concrete examples that you could adopt or adapt for your own practice.

To date the series runs every two weeks with three speakers sharing their practice. Chris uses Microsoft Teams and a form for expressing interest in the series. Once signed up you then receive subsequent meeting invites. This is really helpful as it makes sure the event is in your diary and it contains the link to join it! If you cannot make a session, then you can follow up afterwards by watching the recording.

What I really like about the series is the fact that there is an opportunity for participants to learn about a variety of different approaches that can be used in their practice. It’s a also a great place to share with others what you are doing so do consider submitting an idea and then you can give a short (approx. 15 min) presentation and engage in a discussion with those participating.

The National Teaching Repository


Twitter: @NTRepository

NTR logoThe National Teaching Repository (NTR) has been created by Dr Dawne Irving-Bell to enable educators to share their practice in a central space using Figshare.

The repository is an open access resource where you can browse and download resources. The aim of the NTR is to bring together groupings of resources relating to pedagogic approaches as opposed to subject disciplines.  Examples of practice go way beyond academic papers and book chapters accepting all of the following formats:

  • Papers
  • Reports
  • Data
  • Keynote Lectures
  • Power Point Presentations
  • Video
  • Posters
  • Infographics
  • Templates
  • Teaching Resources
  • Curriculum Materials

What is unique and so valuable about the National Teaching Repository is that you can make your work publicly available and citable as you develop it. Each submission gets a unique DOI (Digital Object Identifier). This is especially valuable where prior to publication you present ideas at a conference. Visitors can search within the repository so tagging posts will help highlight the focus of your work.

Currently this repository has the following sub-groups to help organise your pedagogical practice:

  • Welcome and Guidance
  • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
  • ICTs and Intercultural Learning
  • Digital Education
  • Institutions, Organisations and Keynotes
  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Supporting the Student Experience
  • Students as Partners
  • Continuing your professional development.


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Happy 15th Birthday Twitter

On March 21 2006, Jack Dorsey published his first tweet.

It was another three years and a month before I took the step to set up my own Twitter account and then tweet. This is my first tweet.

How to Find Your First Tweet

  • Visit your Twitter profile to find the date you joined Twitter.
  • Use Twitter’s advanced search to add your Twitter account @username (Account – from these accounts) and a date range to find your first tweets (Join date + a few months).
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the search results to get your first tweet.

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Celebrating a milestone: The 200th #LTHEchat

LTHEchat – A short acrostic poem by Sue Beckingham

On the 17th March 2021 the weekly Learning and Teaching in Higher Education tweetchat reached a special milestone – the 200th #LTHEchat. For anyone who is not familiar with the chat, this is an hour long Q&A focussed on a topic relating to learning and teaching introduced by a guest. The conversation is stimulated by 6 or so questions to prompt thoughts and reflections, and an opportunity to share ideas and practice relating to the topic.

The focus of the 200th chat was to provide an opportunity for the community to reflect on the tweetchat. In the blog post promoting this, there was a task to prepare in advance and then share at the start of the chat. This asked participants to:

Please consider preparing a picture of an object, model, drawing, collage etc. with a caption that shows what the #LTHEchat means to you. 

My response is the image above which includes a mini acrostic. In this post I have expanded this into a poem

For anyone unfamiliar with what a tweetchat is, take a look at the slidedeck below.

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Easy listening – A collection of higher education podcasts


What is a podcast

A podcast is an audio programme that can be listened to on your computer, smartphone and other mobile devices. Podcast is a portmanteau, a combination of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. POD is also described as ‘portable on demand’ (Wikipedia). Typically a podcast features one or more hosts who engage in a discussion with each other or guests on their show.

How to listen to a podcast

You can listen to a podcast via your computer via the site they have been created on. To ensure you get reminded about new episodes you can subscribe to podcasts on your computer using Feedly or iTunes.

However the added value of listening to audio is being able to listen wherever you are, be that commuting to work, talking a run, or walking the dog. Both Apple and Android have built in podcast apps, which means you can listen to the podcasts on your smartphone. There are also other apps such as Player FM, Podbean, Spotify which you can use.

I have an iPhone so went for the iTunes option. The quickest way I’ve found to add podcasts was to google the podcast show (on my phone or laptop) and select the link for Then simply click subscribe. The podcasts can then be accessed via the Apple podcast app on my phone or iTunes on my laptop.

My collection of podcasts relating to higher education, edtech and coaching

One of my earliest experiences of listening in to a podcast led by educators was Break Drink, led by Laura Pasquini and Jeff Jackson. They describe BreakDrink as “An occasional chat with Jeff Jackson and Laura Pasquini about life, work, and random stuff. There’s a good chance you’ll hear these co-hosts talk about their thoughts on current events, ukuleles, the NBA, podcasts, higher ed, rescue dogs, research, books, technology, and tacos… not in any particular order.” I really enjoyed the banter chat that goes on. Laura has gone on to host other podcasts as you will see below.

These are a selection of the podcasts I can recommend

The Education Burrito – Kiu Sum

Talking Higher Education – Santanu Vasant

Between the Chapters: 25 Years of EdTech – Martin Weller, Clint Lalonde and Laura Pasquini

Pedagodzilla – Mike Collins and Mark Childs

Gettin’ Air – Terry Green

In Vino Fab – Laura Pasquini and Patrice Torcivia Prusko

BreakDrink – Laura Pasquini and Jeff Jackson

Coaching Through It – Laura Pasquini and Julia Larson

Teaching in Higher Ed – Bonni Stachowiak

Beyond the Technology: The Education 4.0 Jisc Podcast

The Wonkhe Show

DCU Podcast (Dublin City University)

I’ve also had the privilege of being a guest on some of these podcasts. Below are the episodes I have contributed to:

Education Burrito Podcast Ep 2: Unwrapping digital identity with Sue Beckingham –

In Vino Fab Episode #57: Getting Social to Teach, Learn, & for CPD with @SueBecks

Gettin’ Air Podcast

25 Years of Ed Tech. Between the Chapters #16 Twitter and Social Media with Laura Pasquini and Chrissi Nerantzi

Posted in Communication tools | 2 Comments

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Social Media for Learning

JSML cover

The first edition of the Journal of Social Media for Learning – Conference Special Edition has now been published. The #SocMedHE19 conference took place at Edge Hill University in December 2019 led by Dawne Bell and Sarah Wright. Presenters were invited to contribute papers to the inaugural edition of this new journal. The Chief Editor is Dawne Bell and she has done a terrific job bringing this together.

Submissions were accepted in all formats (papers, posters, presentations, opinion pieces, technical reports), including reflection pieces outlining changes in individual’s practice following the conference. This has meant that there has been a wonderful range of contributions. Having this opportunity to learn from others’ practice through the different papers is going to be of value to many educators and students.

The foreword states the journal’s ethos is centered around the creation of a supportive space where all colleagues, but particularly those new to publishing, can contribute to the scholarly discourse about their academic practice, and if they so wish, secure opportunities to gain experience of peer-review and journal editing.

JSML provides a space to capture the many approaches of using social media for learning. The journal seeks to be inclusive and encourages those new to research or publishing to share their work and ideas in a format that suits them best. The review process is supportive and aims to help contributors to gain confidence. This is an exciting publication that can only go from strength to strength.

You can access the full journal here:

Research Papers

Social Media for Learning: Advancing Theoretical Frameworks to
Understand Complex Learning Environments.
Alison Hartley, Valerie Farnsworth and Helen Bradbury

Flipped Classroom and Case Studies Facilitated Using Social Media
to Enhance Learning In Higher Education.
Christie Siettou

Can Social Media Use Predict Intercultural Knowledge, Attitude and
Skills Among Generation Z? A snapshot from a Pre-Covid19 Era.
Sebah Al-Ali

Self-Regulation Strategies of Smartphone use During University
Rebecca L Barron and Linda K. Kaye

Curation, Connections and Creativity: Reflections on Using Twitter
to Teach Digital Activism.
Paul J Reilly

Co-creating Learning Experiences with Students as Partners
Sue Beckingham

Escaping the Inactive Classroom: Escape Rooms for Teaching
Rachelle Emily O’Brien and Scott Farrow

An Interactive Social Media Workshop Using Lego® Serious Play®.
Kiu Sum, Sue Beckingham, Suzanne Faulkner and Deborah Baff

A Student Approach to Using Educational Memes as an Outlet to
Enhance Learning.
Jennifer Louise Worswick Irving-Bell

Crossing Boundaries: Twitter and Online Communities of Practice
for Nursing Students.
Emma Grady and Michael Brian Haslam

How Virtual Communities of Practice via Social Media Might
Enhance Nurse Education.
Michael Brian Haslam

Online Legal Resources and Their Potential for Visual Learning
Conor Courtney

Problematising the use of Snapchat in Higher Education Teaching
and Learning.
Paul Fenn and Paul J Reilly

Dog Filters and Flower Crowns: Using Snapchat as a Pedagogical
Tool in Higher Education.
Gary W Kerr and Suzanne Faulkner

Collaborative Conference Reflections: A Visual Journey.
Dawne Irving-Bell and Sarah Wright

The journal is currently accepting abstracts from the community, including those from delegates and presenters from The Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference 2020.

The deadline for submission is 31st May 2021 and publication will be in the late summer 2021.  

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The 6th Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Event #SocMedHE20

This year things are a little different but the annual Social Media for Learning in Higher Education event will take place! This year it is led by the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow and will be online as a Tweetposium taking place on Twitter using the hashtag #SocMedHE20. The date of the event is 17th December 2020. Do follow @SocMedHE for ongoing updates.

The call for participation is asking presenters to submit 5 tweets which can include links, images or even videos, screencasts or podcasts up to 10 minutes long in total. Deadline for submissions is 15th November 2020. The theme for the event is:

Using social media to build community, care and compassion

This will be the 6th event. The inaugural Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference took place in 2015 at Sheffield Hallam University and was hosted there for a further two years before passing on the baton to Nottingham Trent University and then Edge Hill University.  The original website can be accessed here and maintains links to each event between 2015-2020. Thanks always goes back to Dr Graham Holden, Director of Learning and Teaching at Sheffield Hallam, who supported the idea for this event in the summer of 2015, and to Dr Alison Purvis and Helen Rodger as together we made an idea come to life. As with any event there is always an organizing team that makes it happen, and I have loved being a part of this every single year.

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Suggestions to help prepare for using online breakout rooms as learning activities

video conferencing

Groupwork is a valuable part of a student’s experience as it gives them the opportunity to work with peers and develop more confident teamwork and communication skills (amongst many other skills). In the classroom this activity can take place by asking the students to sit together in groups or if in a lecture theatre type classroom form groups of pairs by row and then one pair turn around to form a four with the pair behind. You might ask the groups to find a space of their own and return to the classroom after a set time. In these smaller groups students can be asked to work on a problem, engage in discussions, or any other activity they can work on collaboratively.

However when teaching online the use of video conferencing at first glance may not appear to be conducive of groupwork. It will depend on the space you are using but there are some that offer breakout rooms. The two examples I have experienced are Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom. At the time of writing I understand MS Teams are also developing this feature. For now there are some workarounds using other approaches like adding additional channels within a team. There could be others too.

Within Collaborate and Zoom the tutor leading the online class can choose to self select or randomly select groups of students. The feature allows them to send each group of students to a separate online room. The tutor can also visit those rooms to check on progress, and can bring the students back to the main room when they wish to. Once in the breakout room, participants have full audio, video, and screen share capabilities.

It is a different experience to being in the physical classroom and the aim of this post is to provide a number of tips that can help both tutors and students prepare for this activity.

  1. Provide clear instructions for the breakout activity that students can access prior to and during the activity. Once in the breakout room they will need to refer back to these! This will avoid the “What are we supposed to be doing” once in the breakout room.
  2. Have a practice run using this feature for the first time with your students. It may also be the first time for you, so let the students know this.
  3. Tell the students how long they will expect to be in the breakout room to work on the activity you are setting. You may also want to consider adding an additional bonus task to stretch those students who might finish before other groups. It’s helpful to give them a 2-5 minute warning so they can wrap things up.
  4. You can monitor progress by visiting each of the breakout rooms and checking on the students, but this can become time consuming where you have larger numbers of groups. One solution might be to assign a Google Doc to each group which students are asked to add notes/solutions to, and then have these open in different tabs on a different screen/device for you to view. It will highlight how they are doing and you can focus on visiting the groups that may need support.
  5. Once the allocated time for the activity is up, it can be useful to ask for each group to feedback what they have done. Warning the groups in advance and either asking for or assigning a notetaker and spokesperson, can help prepare the students.
  6. By asking the students to make notes in a collaborative document, they will have a record they can refer back to later. This may be helpful to feed into other activities or even assignments further down the line.

Prior to the online class

  • Create the detailed instructions for the activity that you will go through in the class and make this accessible to the students to refer back to.
  • Set up a Google Doc for each group, transferring the key requirements / questions to this working document and title by group number. This will form the working collaborative document the students can use to gather notes whilst in the breakout room. Having these as bullet points will help the students keep on task.
  • Provide the students a link to the Google Doc and make sure you adjust the settings so that it is set to editable, so that they can add information.
  • You will need to decide if you plan to manually create groups or opt for randomly create based on the number per group you wish them to work in.

During the online class

  • Go through the breakout activity brief and respond to any questions.
  • Ensure all students can access the master brief and the group Google Doc (GD) they will use in the breakout room.
  • It can be useful to assign or establish a volunteer note taker and person to feedback for each group, prior to sending them to the breakout room. If you plan to use this feature for future activities these roles could be rotated so all students experience.
  • Be clear everyone needs to contribute to the activity.
  • Where students will continue to work in the same groups, the working group GD could be used for future connected breakout activities, thus keeping the notes in one place.

In addition to sending students to breakout groups for groupwork activities, you can also use this function to send individual students. This can be useful if they are working independently on an activity and need some help, as they can share their screen with a tutor once in the breakout room.

The example of the collaborative working space given is a Google Doc. You could replace this with a link to a Padlet board, collaborative mind map or whiteboard tool, Google Slides, shared Trello board and more. I’d love to hear how you have developed activities for your students.

The infographic below is a summary of the points discussed. This was created using Piktochart.

Tips on how to prepare for online breakout room learning activities

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