facebook and blogs: staff survey feedback 2012

MA Character Animation student, Jiamin Liu, missbowtie.com

The recently published article featuring CSM’s Birgitta Hosea and her Expanded Animation blog highlights the many roles blogs can serve, and how they can evolve. This post provides more general insights about staff engagement with blogs and facebook.

The fact that colleagues are using facebook and blogs in multiple ways shone through in the recent survey exploring staff engagement with digital tools and social media across the College; 28% of staff use blogs as part of their College role, and 33% are using facebook. There is much overlap in the ways that both services are used, eg course promotion and keeping in touch with alumni, with several departments adopting the tools, such as individual courses, the library and marketing.

There are also distinct activities that each tool serves. For instance, facebook is being used as a last minute communication tool for course organisation when there are ‘time and room changes at very short notice, or last resort communication if students are having problems with other UAL digital channels’, it is also employed as a form of virtual learning environment (vle). Whereas blogs are often being used as a personal reflective tool to support staff research and student learning, and also as an online space to foster and support collaborative group projects.

The following categories and examples are not exhaustive, but they do provide an overview of some ways that blogs and facebook are being used by colleagues at CSM.



  • International research students
  • Alumni contact
  • Pathway groups


  • Research projects
  • Sharing materials and resources as extension of studio


  • Course promotion
  • Promoting student opportunities

Staff blogs

  • Part of PPD activity, eg using as part of PG Certificate
  • Personal blog to share references in class, and own work
  • Personal blog that acts as course promotion tool
  • Personal blog that communicates subject area more widely
  • Personal blog for research

Student blogs

  • Digital sketchbook
  • Group collaboration
  • Sharing of research and performance documentation
  • Online student portfolio.


CSM facebook




  • Promote and maintain research contacts
  • Alumni contact
  • Networking
  • Provides a point of contact for external community


  • Information store
  • Virtual learning environment
  • Chat room


  • Course promotion
  • Promoting student opportunities
  • Library promotion – eg news, updates, opportunities
  • Events promotion – eg Innovation Centre, or degree shows

Course organisation

  • Urgent notices
  • Last resort communication with students
  • Informing students of exhibitions, events, references etc
  • Class pages are set up each term or each year


Points raised by staff relating to the use of facebook include:

  • concern that colleagues will be expected to use social media tools as an additional activity, as already too busy
  • some colleagues do not wish to communicate with students outside of College through facebook
  • colleague felt distressed by hostile comments posted on course facebook pages by one student.

These three points express real issues that are part of the new digital landscape, and are concerns that require further exploration. In terms of social media and ethical considerations, the university has produced a set of guidelines that should be helpful when starting to use social media tools. Finally, if at any time a member of staff is aware of personally abusive, or in any way disrespectful, content online, please contact your line manager immediately.


Birgitta Hosea blog


Outside of College 67% of staff use facebook and 60% use blogs, with 68% using Skype regularly. A summary of the ways in which Skype is used within the College will be discussed in a forthcoming article.


Training   http://digitalpresent.myblog.arts.ac.uk/training-and-events/

Social media guidelines  web2.0-Considerations-1

web2.0-Guidelines- external


Birgitta Hosea interview about personal blog   http://digitalpresent.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2012/12/03/expanded-animation-birgitta-hoseas-blog/

MyBlog teaching and learning blogs at UAL   http://myblog.arts.ac.uk/ 

How to create a blog on myblogs.arts guide   http://blogguide.myblog.arts.ac.uk/ 

Student blog   http://paigedavies.myblog.arts.ac.uk/

BA Textiles Design   http://csmbatextilesdannifairchild.myblog.arts.ac.uk/

Miss Bowtie   http://missbowtie.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2012/12/04/characterdesign-update/