Back in December 2017 I began to get involved with the LTHE chat group. I’d heard about it from a lecturer at my University, Sue Beckingham. It had also started trending on my Twitter channels due to my followers and followees involvement.
So just before the Christmas break I took part in my first #LTHEchat, answering questions about learning and teaching spaces. I enjoyed seeing responses from academics and more, and joining in the conversation. At first I was worried that perhaps I was joining in where I shouldn’t have been, as I didn’t have the relevant experience and knowledge however, it became apparent that my views were valued by those taking part, as I could provide the student voice, but also incorporate my own interest in and understanding of higher education learning and teaching techniques.
After my first chat, Sue Beckingham, one of the LTHE steering team, contacted me to thank me for contributing and to let me know that the team were looking for volunteers for the organising team for the Easter-Summer session. To be honest, I then promptly forgot all about this message until March time when the New Year-Easter session finished, I just kept answering questions where I could and plodding along! Apparently, when I did message Sue again in March, it was very timely as there was a space available with the team for this session.
From there, things moved quickly, we began to discuss the process of being in the organising team via email, along with my two fellow team members – Dr Hala Mansour and Suzanne Faulkner. From there, we were invited as admin to the WordPress blog (www.lthechat.com) so that we could post the blog for each chat. We then had a team meeting on Skype so that we could all meet each other (sort of) and chat about our availability and skills.
Most of the organisation for each chat takes place on Google Docs, where we assign tasks for each week – blog post, question posting, creating the Wakelet etc. However, we also have a Twitter chat group where we tend to communicate the most, it’s perfect for quick-fire questions and answers and pulling together each task and element of the LTHEchat for each week. It’s also been really nice because we’ve gotten to know each other in the chat and supported each other to ensure the smooth running of each chat (as near as possible anyway!) If somebody isn’t feeling well or has a really busy schedule for a day or a few days, the team has come together to support each other, which I think has been what I’ve enjoyed the most about it.
In terms of my own development, I’ve already had considerable experience of using Google Docs to facilitate a project, I’ve also used WordPress for my own blog sites and to curate/publish other blog sites and posts so didn’t develop any new skills here. However, it’s always good to get more experience and use tools for a slightly different purpose/audience.
I’d not used Wakelet before so, I’ve really enjoyed getting to grips with it. As digital and social media tools go it’s pretty straightforward. I’ll certainly keep it in mind for future projects where it could be relevant as it’s a fantastic way of gathering social media content and keeping a record of it. It’s incredibly easy to use (I found) and ensures all the great questions and responses for each chat are recorded in one place, to be looked at any time.
For anybody who is thinking of or would like to get involved in LTHEchat in the future, whether it be responding to the questions, curating the topic and questions for one of the chats or being part of the organising team for a session, I would definitely recommend getting involved. It might be based on a simple idea of sharing and curating knowledge by asking questions and giving responses but, it’s so much more than that. There’s a real community, a real sense that despite all the experience and skills of the curators and contributors, everybody has something to share, and something to learn. The creators of the chat wanted to create something that would be a truly collaborative projects, where anybody can share, ask, learn and create. And that’s definitely what they’ve done.
My next aim: to curate the questions for one of the chats!
I haven’t spoken too much here about the creation and ideals behind the LTHEchat project so, for anybody who wants to know more, click here to head over to the LTHEchat blog. You can also find them on Twitter here. So, if you’re interested in teaching and learning techniques, higher education, social media, communication and more, just come and get involved!