Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference #SocMedHe15 – A brief snapshot (more to follow)


On the 18th December 2015 the inaugural Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference #SocMedHE15, a one day conference, with pre-conference workshops was held at Sheffield Hallam University. #SocMedHE15 is about the use of social media for learning in Higher Education and was designed to create a forum for academics, their students, developers and strategic managers to consider the opportunities, challenges and the disruptive influence of social media for learning. The conference was structured around three themes to explore the pedagogic possibilities of social media, as well as the strategic and operational challenges institutions face in supporting it.

The title of this year’s conference was:
“Finding Our Social Identity”

The conference themes encouraged delegates to investigate the disruptive nature of social media; share our practice in the use of social media for networked, social and active learning, and to consider some of the challenges of being responsive, supportive and open for change.

The conference keynote was Eric Stoller, who both challenged and inspired us to review social media in our context within higher education, and explored the opportunities of extending our networks for learning and to consider and reflect upon how we as universities need to respond to the Social Age. Eric’s keynote was fun, quirky and provocative.

Eric is a higher education thought leader, consultant, writer and speaker. His website is He is also the Student Affairs and Technology blogger for Inside Higher Ed.

Over 50 workshops, short papers and thunderstorm presentations were given. Presenters came from across the UK, the US, Australia, Saudi America, Canada and Mexico. You can find the speakers on Twitter here:


Virtually Connecting

Maha Bali organised and led a Virtually Connecting Google hangout where virtual participants of the conference could ask questions about Eric’s keynote and other aspects of his work.

LiveBlogs and Sketchnotes

Nicola Osborne a presenter at the conference live blogged all of the sessions she attended including the keynote. Sarah Smith, a student at Sheffield Hallam made sketch notes of the sessions she intended. Below are those of the keynote.

sketchnote Eric Stoller sketch note 2

NodeXL: Network Overview, Discovery and Exploration for Excel

A huge thanks goes to Marc Smith Director of the Social Media Research Foundation in California, who created the amazing NodeXL visualisations below of the Tweets containing the conference hashtag #SocMedHE15.

The graph represents a network of 930 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained “#SocMedHE15”, or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets, taken from a data set limited to a maximum of 18,000 tweets. The network was obtained from Twitter on Sunday, 20 December 2015 at 23:29 UTC.

The tweets in the network were tweeted over the 9-day, 6-hour, 23-minute period from Friday, 11 December 2015 at 16:04 UTC to Sunday, 20 December 2015 at 22:27 UTC. There is an edge for each “replies-to” relationship in a tweet, an edge for each “mentions” relationship in a tweet, and a self-loop edge for each tweet that is not a “replies-to” or “mentions”.

NodeXL map

Top influencers

You can view the entire NodeXL report here, however below are some key examples of the data gathered

Top Mentioned in Entire Graph:

Top Hashtags in Tweet in Entire Graph:
[4399] socmedhe15
[229] tleap
[80] studentpick
[77] nsmnss
[70] socialmedia
[59] starwars
[54] highered
[41] lthechat
[37] learningwheel
[33] nodexl

Top URLs in Tweet in Entire Graph:


This is just a snapshot of the #SocMedHE15 conference. I will be writing a further post on other aspects of what was an incredible conference! 

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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1 Response to Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference #SocMedHe15 – A brief snapshot (more to follow)

  1. Pingback: The 6th Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Event #SocMedHE20 | Social Media for Learning

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