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Online Identities - COPYourself Meeting #2

Notes from the first meeting of LCC COPYourself, taken from Filip's Blog, which you can see by clicking here.

 

Our second community meeting at LCC was on 6 June and confirmed some already known findings.

Students do want to learn how to build professional websites and in order to be able to do that they’d need the following:
• tech talks on coding 
• tech talks/courses/student skill swap which would enable them to use the necessary software to build a website
• showreel and tutorial support by technicians who often have a different, more practical point of view.

Students at this meeting have established that although they are aware of some existing UAL tools which may help them develop their online presence (not aware of Secure URL), they do not use them almost at all because they prefer to network with people from outside of UAL and in person.

The importance of networking in person and adapting to probably still more widely used trends of personal contact rather than online self marketing have been a matter of discussion. We have identified that some industries may be more advanced in terms of recruiting people online than others, and universities should not only drive the change, but should also back students who wish to get into industries which use more old fashioned methods of networking. It has also been highlighted that on many cases students may struggle with producing online content in the already saturated online environment, and that we sometimes resolve to be only consumers. It is hard to find people online because of the sheer amount of people who are trying to break through, hence we cannot rely solely on online presence.

Our community has, therefore, at this meeting established that the university should provide, apart from the above mentioned support of building websites, the following as voluntary, extra-curricular activities:
• industry workshops/networking with professionals 
• 1st hand experience of working in the industry
• activities to build social and team skills to help us orientate in the world of online networking
• projects linked to external companies. These would have to be well advertised and promoted, still as extra curricular activities which would enable students to build the necessary industry connections

We have established that it is vital to raise a continuous awareness of the importance of online presence from day 1 in Year 1 on all the courses. The use of Linda should also be more encouraged, as well as the use of other UAL platforms, such as Commonplace.

It is generally understood that students prefer to use their daily social media platforms for collaborations, although this is not the industry standard. Twitter may be an exception to this given that Twitter can, if cleverly used, be useful in terms of establishing important personal contacts at events. However, as entry level professionals we need to be cautious we are separating our personal from our professional online presence, so these don’t have a negative impact on each other, and that we practice a healthy balance of online and personal self promotion, depending on the nature and technical advancement of our industry.

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