Aspiring NTF

Aspiring NTF Networking event report and links

Hosts of the Aspiring NTF event

Pictured: Top L: Danielle Hargreave (AdvanceHE); Top R: Prof Debbie Holley (facilitator); Middle L: Sue Beckingham; Middle R: Dr Nicola Watchman-Smith (AdvanceHE); Lower L: Dr Helen Webster; Lower R: Karen Hustler (AdvanceHE)   

This webinar, one of a series to support aspiring NTFs organised between Advance HE and the ANTF, brought together three experts within the ANTF community who have experience in building online networks and also using them to further the reach and impact of their work nationally beyond their immediate contexts.

  • Prof Debbie Holley (NTF 2014) is Professor of Learning Innovation at Bournemouth University
  • Sue Beckingham (NTF 2017) is Principal Lecturer in Computing at Sheffield Hallam University
  • Dr Helen Webster is a Learning Developer and Head of Newcastle University’s Writing Development Centre.

Debbie opened the webinar with some mythbusting, breaking down the idea that to be an NTF, you have to be a Russell Group professor with a traditional linear career in the disciplines who gets the NTF on their first try. She reminded us of the three criteria that an aspiring NTF needs to evidence, and made a case for networking as key to all of them: extending your reach, articulating your values (and value!) as a leader and demonstrating your impact. A network will allow you to share your work, support colleagues’ development, and offer a space to learn new things and reflect on them. AS NTF Prof Sally Brown points out, a successful network is a two-way, reciprocal relationship, building and sharing rather than boasting and showing off!

Sue gave us an overview of the role that networking played in her own NTF. Specialising in the use of social media for learning, she was able to create a narrative around her work, incorporating comments from students, but also co-authored papers with students, a Social Media for Learning conference and special interest group SMASH. She also described how she built up her own community of practice online, bringing in people you don’t yet know from other disciplines and institutions. She invited us to reflect on our own use of digital tools, using David White’s Visitor/Resident framework, mapping how we use each one to build a network, some tools leaving visible traces of our presence, others less visible, and offered the example of a conference as an opportunity to create a presence online, or Creative Commons licenses to share materials more widely.

Helen offered an example of how building an online network can raise the profile of someone who is in a junior professional services role, yet can still achieve recognition as an NTF. She described how the use of social media, especially blogging, played a key role in sharing her work and evidencing its impact. She had successfully incorporated tweets, blog stats and sharing of her Creative Commons licensed resources as evidence, as well as the more traditional quality assurance data. She also addressed Criterion 3, often the most tricky section to write, showing how her blog had offered a space to learn new things and reflect in public, and impact on others at the same time. She presented an overview of different blogging genres that participants might like to try, with tips on connecting your blogging presence with other tools to encourage interaction and increase reach.

The session ended with some next steps for participants to begin building their own networks:

  • Map your potential networks and tools
  • Make small starts within your comfort zone
  • Keep a ‘happy file’ of evidence from students and peers to demonstrate impact
  • Do ONE brave thing next week and tweet it to @NTF_Tweet!

AdvanceHE recording:

 Passcode: P+KGj98J

 And link to slides:

Report by Dr Helen Webster

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.