My name is Nicola Osborne and I am Digital Education Manager and Service Manager at EDINA, a Jisc-designated centre for digital expertise and online service delivery at the University of Edinburgh. We work on a diverse array of innovative projects and I feel hugely privileged to work with and benefit from the support of colleagues who bring expertise, enthusiasm and creativity to our work.
I lead EDINA’s work in Digital Education which includes working with the University of Edinburgh, and with partner organisations and researchers across the UK, to develop new projects and innovative ideas, some of which go on to become fully fledged projects or services. I am also actively engaged in research in this area with my work particularly focusing on social media and digital tracks and traces, particularly in relation to higher education teaching and learning. I am also interested in privacy, ethics and information security around social media and digital platforms.
I regularly give talks and presentations on digital tracks and traces, social media, communicating research, and associated areas such as crowdsourcing and citizen science. If you are interested in attending one of these or would to have a look through materials from previous presentations see the Presentations & Publications area of the blog. I also deliver training and consultation on social media, digital tracks and traces, communicating research, and associated areas. If you are interested in finding out more or commissioning some work, please do get in touch.
I am currently co-investigator on the PTAS-funded “A Live Pulse”: YikYak for understanding teaching, learning and assessment at Edinburgh project, which is led by Sian Bayne, Director of the exciting centre for Research in Digital Education. This project emerged from our previous Managing Your Digital Footprint work, including our PTAS-funded project (Sept 2014 – October 2015) with Louise Connelly (IAD/Royal (Dick) Veterinary School), Sian Bayne (Moray House School of Education), and Adam Bunni (EUSA) which investigated students’ digital footprints and use of social media, and their implications for teaching and learning.
The Managing Your Digital Footprint work continues, with an updated survey running in autumn 2016 and a Digital Footprint MOOC due to launch later this year (sign up here for information). I will also be co-chairing (with Stefania Manca) the Social Media in Higher Education Mini-track for the European Conference on Social Media 2017 and encourage others working in these types of areas to submit proposals to this track.
Since summer 2015 I have been the Convener of the University of Edinburgh elearning@ed forum, a community of practice that spans staff of all levels working in elearning, blended learning, with educational technology, and in online learning. In this role I also represent the community in wider University learning technology meetings and fora. As a community we are keen to learn from others working with new educational technologies, in new ways, or with experiences to share. We hold both one off events and monthly meet ups, we also host an annual conference that typically attracts an audience of around 100 colleagues. Please do get in touch with the community, or with me, if you would be interested in sharing your experience with our community.
In October 2015 I was included in Jisc’s 50 most influential higher education (HE) professionals using social media in recognition of my previous and ongoing work in this area. And, building on my long track record in working with social media and communications, since mid-2016 I have been chair of EDINA’s Marketing Group, working with colleagues across the organisation, and others in IS and the University, on the communication and promotion of our exciting range of work. I welcome feedback on how we are doing, suggestions for what we should be sharing more of (or less of). Do get in touch through comments or email (email@example.com) if you have any comments to share.
I am also currently working with the EU FP7-funded COBWEB: Citizen Observatory Web project (led by EDINA/University of Edinburgh) on communications around the project and its achievements. I am excited about the potential for individual citizens to contribute to research, science and policy making and am a member of the University of Edinburgh’s Crowd Sourcing and Citizen Science Network. I also continue my interest in crowd sourcing and citizen science through my work helping to share and encourage engagement with EDINA’s FieldTrip Open citizen science software – open source tools that have huge potential in the academic and wider research community – and through my role on the Steering Group for the ambitious Edinburgh Cityscope project.
Since April 2012 I have been a member of the Journal of Open Research Software Editorial Advisory Board. The Journal of Open Research Software (JORS) features peer reviewed software papers describing research software with high reuse potential.
I am a guest contributor and occasional tutor for MSc in Digital Education‘s Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning module, based at the School of Education (College of Humanities and Social Sciences). It is a delight to work with this innovative and inspiring team and the Research in Digital Education centre, particularly as I am also an alumnus of the programme – my dissertation looked at Continuous Professional Development in collaborative social media spaces.
From February 2015 until September 2016 I managed the Jisc MediaHub service, a UK-wide platform providing access to subscription collections, and cross searching of open collections of video, image and sound materials for use in teaching and learning. I would like to thank all of my colleagues, including software engineers and support staff, for their work on this service which came to an end in August 2016.
From May 2009 until February 2015 I worked as Social Media Officer, a wonderfully innovative and varied role, advising colleagues, projects and services across EDINA and beyond on social media and related areas including crowd sourcing. I was also active in associated event amplification, public engagement, etc. You can see an overview of the social media presences I helped to develop and support on the EDINA Social Media page, and on that page you will also find a link to the EDINA Social Media Guidelines, which I authored with support from colleagues and which are available for reuse under a Creative Commons license. Those guidelines fed into the University of Edinburgh Social Media Guidelines, and I was recently part of the group reviewing and updating these for the latest revision (summer 2015). To read a bit more about my time as Social Media Officer, take a look at my post written as we were recruiting for our new EDINA Social Media Officer in Summer 2015. I continue to retain a strong interest in social media, particularly as it relates to teaching and learning, learning analytics, ethics, and related areas.
I have previously worked on the teams for the AHRC funded Palimpsest/LitLong project, the Digging Into Data project Trading Consequences project, and the Jisc-funded AddressingHistory project, alongside many other of EDINA’s own services and projects (for more details see the Recent Projects section below). Since it began in 2013 I have also written and performed at the wonderful The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, an academic-led series of events at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – you can find out more, and access a recording of my 2015 show, Back to the Statistical Future, on the Statistical Accounts of Scotland blog. Details of my most recent show, If I Googled You, What Would I Find?, can be found in this blog post, or you can listen to my August 2016 interview with Fresh Air radio.
Prior to becoming Social Media Officer I worked on the SUNCAT project team where I munged (programmatically manipulated) data, learned all about MARC21 and AACR2, and set up various social presences for the service. My background before that was a slightly peculiar blend of libraries, techie interests, film writing, website editing and creative interests which, it turned out, was an almost perfect grounding for working in all facets of social media and online communication, as well as multimedia and digital education.
I am currently working with colleagues in the Institute for Academic Development (IAD) and the Moray House School of Education on a research that builds upon our recent (Sept 2014-Oct 2015) University of Edinburgh “Managing your digital footprint (research strand)” project, funded under the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme. This project is associated with a wider student awareness campaign which I am also working on, alongside IAD, IS, Student Information Points, Careers Service, and EUSA (Edinburgh University Students’ Association).
From August 2012, until the completion of the work in Autumn 2014, I was a Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Spreading the Benefits of Digital Participation in Scotland Inquiry Committee. We investigated the opportunities and challenges of increasing digital participation and supporting associated skills across Scotland. Read more about the inquiry at digiscot.net or read this blog post. The interim and final reports from the Inquiry can be accessed here.
From October 2012 until August 2015 I was the Course Leader for “The Role of Social Media in Science Communication and Public Engagement”, a core module for the University of Edinburgh MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement (launched on-campus in 2012/13 and also online from 2014/15) which I designed and delivered. I have now handed this module over to colleagues at the School of Biomedical Sciences (College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine) as part of my change of role in 2015, but I continue to work with the programme team, based , to provide a guest week on social media for a Global Health Academy elective module on Science Communication and Public Engagement.
A significant amount of my time from November 2012 until February 2015, and from September to December 2016, has been spent working on the 4 year European Union FP7 funded COBWEB project, for which I developed the Communications Plan and worked with 13 project partners across five countries advising on social media and broader communications activities. The project is developing a generic infrastructure for citizen science projects, particularly focused on environmental projects based in UNESCO Biospheres including activities in the Dyfi Biosphere reserve, the Mount Olympus and Gorge of Samaria Biospheres in Greece, and the Wadden Sea and Hallig Islands Biosphere in Germany. The project has led to a number of significant technical developments, summarised in this paper (Higgins et al. 2016). We will also shortly be releasing a short documentary and graphic novel about the exciting and innovative activities we have undertaken for the last four years.
I was part of the AHRC-funded Palimpsest project, working with colleagues in the School of Informatics, the English Literature department and the University of St Andrews Computer Interaction Research Group. The project used text mining, georeferencing and visualisation to bring Edinburgh’s literary heritage to life for scholars as well as the wider public, via interactive and mobile-friendly interfaces, branded as LitLong: Edinburgh. This project built on the work of the Trading Consequences project, which involved applying similar data mining techniques to 19th Century trading records. This project was funded under the second round of Digging Into Data and my work involved guiding social media presences and managing the launch publicity around the project, working with project and press office partners to ensure that this work had impact in both specialist and mainstream press.
Previously I have also worked on the Spatial Memories (supporting several workshops), Will’s World (particularly the December 2012 Will’s World Online Hack event), AddressingHistory, JISC GECO, STEEV, USED and the “Support for Repositories and JISC Digital Infrastructure“, UK RepositoryNet+ project which is led by EDINA. I have also worked closely with colleagues on services including Digimap, Statistical Accounts of Scotland, JISC Mediahub and Digimap for Schools.
From Spring 2012 until Spring 2015 I was the editor of the Social Media page for the University of Edinburgh BITS Magazine. And from 2009 until 2015 I was part of the organising committee for the annual Repository Fringe events. I was also part of the Host Organising Committee for the Open Repositories 2012 conference which was hosted in Edinburgh.
About This Blog
I use this blog for capturing conferences, events, workshops, etc. that I attend. As Social Media Officer I got into the habit of live blogging and I continue to do this whenever I can as I recognise that it is a real privilege to have access to the events and ideas that my very flexible and varied role allows. Topics vary but at the time of updating this page digital education, multimedia and research using audio, visual, and moving image materials, learning analytics and maker events are all making appearances. As I work at EDINA I inevitably flag up interesting things that we are up to as an organisation but I try to also look out at interesting work and ideas elsewhere.
Finally I should say that this blog is a work in progress, so you can always expect occasional aesthetic tweaks and improvements, and the writing and live blogging styles develop and shift over time. I also tend to have very busy spells where this blog may not be updated for a few weeks or more – though that will usually mean that some interesting materials will appear on my Presentations & Publications page. I would also like to add a small health warning: although this is a professional blog about my work and area of specialism at EDINA, the views are my own.