Upcoming projects

The development of toolkits gives us a good manageable and useful focus at the moment as a special interest group. We are able to offer events around the toolkits, both online and face-to-face.

Looking ahead to the coming year, our direction suggests the following themes will preoccupy us as we continue to develop our toolkits and plan events:

  • Digital Storytelling toolkit
  • Blended and Hybrid spaces for learning
  • Social media for learning in partnership with the SocMedHE community


MELSIG is a voluntary association of academics, developers and learning technologists working in UK higher education. The group explores its common interest in the innovative use of digital and social media for enhancing and transforming learning.

It does this through events, open online activities and other collaborative activities led by the community members.

See our eventsresources and publications areas for examples of what we do.

All in a frenzy

We have some great times at MELSIG events, but we don’t have to wait until the next one to see how fun CPD can be when it involves making media for learning.

Media Frenzy

The idea of Media Frenzy, an approach I have used for several years at Sheffield Hallam, is to create an immersive space full of challenges. I have run these with staff, with students, and with staff and students!

One of the great things about learning how to incorporate digital and social media into practice is that it usually involves quite a bit of fun and a huge amount of creativity. Because of all the apps we have access to now on our smart devices, it is quite straightforward to set up a range of challenges involving individuals or small teams making digital media artefacts using a range of media for a range of purposes.

A Media Frenzy is a rare occasion when a bit of competition can heighten engagement in a classroom. You can assign points to the challenge activities you devise based on the time it is expected to take, the complexity of the activity, and the experience of the participants. You can even use a handicapping system to even out the challenge event by using self-declared ratings if you really want to run it as a competition.

The way I have run Media Frenzies is to:

  • Devise a range of challenge activities.
  • Create cards that describe each challenge and the points each completed challenge will accrue a team.
  • Have one challenge card on offer for high scoring challenges. Have several challenge cards available for lower scoring, low skills, low effort, short duration activities.
  • Laminate your challenge cards and stick all of them up on a wall using Blutack.
  • Form teams from all of the participants. They should be of an equal size. Teams of three or four work well.
  • Let the teams scrutinise the challenges and the points available for each challenge so that they can agree an ideal strategy for selecting and undertaking challenges for the duration of the Media Frenzy workshop.
  • Now invite the team members, in turn, to take one challenge card each from the wall.
  • Repeat this until all the challenge cards have been shared out.
  • Now instruct the teams to complete as many of their challenge cards as they can manage.
  • At the end of the competition, calculate how many challenges have been completed and add up the scores for each team as noted on the challenge cards.

Toolkit in a Day – did we do it?

Last Thursday about 100 people worked together to produce three new MELSIG toolkits at the #melsig_shu Enhancing Practice with Digital and Social Media event. Where did we get to?

Our video team is topping and tailing a huge quantity of video from the three toolkit strands – this is made up of scenes of the day, presentations and panel interviews, and artefacts that will be embedded as resources in each of the three toolkits. In addition, they are working with a lot of audio, recorded to capture conversations and demonstrate audio and podcast methodologies including audio case studies.

Then there is the quantity of paper-based artefacts generated. For example, most delegates contributed to the Coffee Galleries – ‘instant poster’ sessions displaying key ideas to other teams during the coffee breaks (this was one of the ways we devised for making sure the toolkit teams shared what they were doing with each other. We are transcribing all this now, by toolkit theme.

Each toolkit room excelled at using the whiteboards – for example, concept maps and decision trees were created, annotated and narrated over.

Video FAQs were produced – we each posed tricky questions for the rest of our groups. And then everybody answered the tricky questions. More than that though, questioners were invited to bring their FAQ to life by selecting the most interesting answer and recording the FAQ as a video conversation. Both written responses and video conversations are being dealt with and this is going to produce an amazing resource.

Throughout the day participants made stuff! The Google Docs and Padlets for each room are loaded with ideas and links to what was made.

You get a sense of what happened. Bear with us while we try to unravel this and turn it into the online toolkits.

If you were there and made something in the How session, please make sure we know about it and make sure we have a copy or a link to what you produced.

So, we are very happy. The active learning co-production method worked and we will be sharing more on the methodology as soon as we can.

Thank you everyone – I hope you enjoyed the day and got back home despite the rail strike.

Join us online for #MELSIG_SHU 21 June 2018

Our #MELSIG_SHU event is happening all day 21st June. There are several ways you can join us through the day as we address the theme Enhancing Practice with Digital and Social Media and build three toolkits together using our Toolkit in a Day methodology.

We will have 100+ people with us in Sheffield following this programme. But we need everyone who has some experience with our toolkit topics to contribute too.


We have a Padlet board for each toolkit strand where you can contribute:

Just click on the (+) button in any Padlet board to contribute.


Join us through Periscope at 3.30 in the afternoon – follow @melsiguk for the link and stream. We are running a problem-based role play and the players need your help! The topic will be #learningspaces and we want to know what makes a space an ideal space for learning.

Flipgrid Tips

See the previous post for information on how you can send us video tips

Just keep feeding us

We need ideas all day long. Dip in and out of the #melsig_shu stream and throw us ideas for any of the toolkit themes.

Tip Collecting on Flipgrid

Toolkit in a DayYou know we’re building three toolkits?

  • Social Media 4 Learning
  • Flipped Active Blended learning
  • Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes

We want you to share a video tip on how you are developing, using or supporting any of those ideas.

You can access Flipgrid via your desktop with a webcam, but we encourage you to install the app if you are coming to #MELSIG_SHU or if you want to contribute remotely. There are apps for:

Share a toolkit tip

You can view the tips others have left or leave your own tips and thoughts on these Flipgrid topic pages. To access the whole MELSIG Flipgrid Grid where you will find all the topics:https://flipgrid.com/adbfea

You may need the following to access our grid: C0nnectedv01ces

To go straight to our topics:

Social Media 4 Learning

Share a tip or idea about using Social Media for Learning.
We look forward to including your suggestion in the MELSIG Social Media for Learning Toolkit. Here is a direct link to this new topic: https://flipgrid.com/77c923


Share a tip or idea about using digital or social media to enhance Flipped Active & Blended Learning.
We look forward to including your suggestion in the MELSIG FAB Toolkit. Here is a direct link to this new topic: https://flipgrid.com/9d0fb1


Share a tip or idea about using Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes.
We look forward to including your suggestion in the MELSIG Social Media for Learning Toolkit. Here is a direct link to this new topic: https://flipgrid.com/672a03

Introducing social media for learning

The third toolkit being developed in this week’s MELSIG Toolkit in a Day event will focus on Social Media for Learning. (See introductions to FAB and PPP)

In considering social media for learning, we will take a broad view that encompasses the formal and informal experience of our students.

Social media disrupts a traditional view of the learning environment. In particular, it is pervasive and does not respect the boundaries of the formal or informal space as we have known it. Neither does it distinguish between the personal and academic space and can best be understood as media that positively crosses boundaries and thereby changes our very understanding of what learning means. In this respect, social media for learning has a lot in common with ideas of blended learning and the hybrid learning space. In constructing a toolkit, we will look at both the opportunities and challenges this suggests and will draw upon evidence from our own experience to populate it.

In doing so we will use social media to create artefacts that both test our understanding of social media and demonstrate its characteristics. Our aim is to critically assess social media for learning and, where appropriate, advocate its use with examples.

Flipgrid – sharing ideas about media-enhanced learning

Deb Baff (@debbaff), one of the facilitators of the Social Media for Learning strand of this week’s #MELSIG_SHU event Enhancing Practice with Digital and Social Media, has been using Flipgrid.com for collecting ideas and sharing experience around academic innovation. It’s a perfect fit for our toolkit building endeavours.

It’s a social video app – you can pose a video question and invite your community or class to respond using a short video. The MELSIG event provides us all with an opportunity to explore Flipgrid, the apps, and most importantly, how recording responses to a question can enhance learning.

You can access this via your desktop with a webcam, but we encourage you to install the app if you are coming to #MELSIG_SHU or if you want to contribute remotely. There are apps for:

We will set up Flipgrid topics for each of the three strands, but Deb has already set us a question: How do you use Social Media in Learning and Teaching at the moment?

Your consent

If you are attending the MELSIG event we will check with you there that you are happy to participate in activities that may involve you being recorded.

For remote participants in this pre-event activity, please check the following:

Flipgrid is a leading video discussion platform used in education globally at all levels in more than 150 countries. Flipgrid allows us to spark discussion by providing a platform in which we can share short video responses based on questions posed by a facilitator.  This will help create an inclusive dialogue and engage participants in a fun and meaningful way.

You can  review Flipgrid’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy here: https://legal.flipgrid.com/

By taking part you indicate that you have read and consent to Flipgrid’s terms of use and policy. Should you change your mind at any point and wish to withdraw your contribution please contact a.j.middleton “@” shu.ac.uk or the owner of other boards that may be set up to support our MELSIG toolkit activities.

Introducing Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes

Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes Toolkit

Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes Toolkit

The Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes focus provides us with an opportunity to revisit MELSIG’s roots and the widespread interest of innovators in the role of the recorded voice to supported learning, teaching and assessment.

In this strand, we will take a broad view of the idea of podcasting and identify ways in which the ‘digital voice’ of the academic, the student, employers, clients and publics can be harnessed to stimulate learning. For example, digital media can be used to convey knowledge and it can be used to capture experience. More than this, however, audio is an ideal locus of co-production and the co-construction and representation of knowledge. This is partly because it is an easy medium for the academic or the student to work with, especially given the array of technologies we have nowadays to record conversations and events and to share and use these artefacts. This ease of use may mean we also understand podcasting as a single dimension of video-based media, such as screencasting, digital stories and learning capture, where the voice has a primary role in creating a rich learning experience.

Access to both provided and personal technologies provides us with an opportunity to check the range of technologies and ways the voice can be brought into the physical or digital learning environment, and to consider the purposes to which it can be applied. Perhaps the best known audio method is audio feedback, but lecture capture, webinars and student note making using smart technologies are also commonly used. Examples of podcasting formats such as student group ‘magazine programmes’, interviews with experienced people who can provide new perspectives on knowledge and professional practice, co-produced audio revision notes, and so forth, indicate the wealth of possibilities for this pedagogic media.
Key resource: Digital Voices: a collaborative exploration of the recorded voice in post-compulsory education book on the MELSIG site (free to download)

Media Frenzy – host a party for academic innovators

Media Frenzy

On Thursday 21st June hold a Media Frenzy celebration wherever you are. Get your inspirational innovators together for an hour to make,

  • a ‘Voice of the Innovators’ audio case study lasting less than three minutes (see method)
  • a ‘howto’ screencast
  • an infographic
  • or answer one of our toolkit FAQs using Flipgrid – we will post questions here shortly but see Deb Baff’s introduction to Flipgrid

All Media Frenzy contributors will receive a MELSIG Contributor Open Badge and will be entered into a draw to win a copy of Reimagining Spaces for Learning in Higher Education book which is being launched at the MELSIG Toolkit in a Day event on that day.

If your innovators know about and have experience to share on any of the new toolkit topics we’d like to include their accounts in the toolkits we are developing,

  • Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes
  • Flipped Active & Blended learning
  • Social Media for Learning

Here’s an example

To inspire you, here’s a Voice of the Innovators audio case study from Sheffield Hallam University’s Charmaine Myers who leads the University-wide Venture Matrix project. This is destined for the FAB Toolkit.

Note the format:

  • Contributor’s name and affiliation
  • Context – the circumstances that led to the innovation
  • Description of how the innovative method was/is being used
  • Observations
  • 3 tips for others who would be interested in doing something similar.

Contributor: Charmaine Myers, Sheffield Hallam University
Description: Recording employer video briefings for student project assignments
Media: Video (nb the audio case study is about the use of video)
Model: Video briefings

Submit your Media Frenzy artefacts

Submit anything you make to a.j.middleton ‘at’ shu.ac.uk using a file transfer service like WeTransfer Don’t forget to include written information about you or the subject and ensure everyone who needs to consent has done so. Provide contact details so we can register you for an Open Badge and the book draw.

Open Badges to recognise contributions

MELSIG is a voluntary association dependent on the collective energies of people who engage with it. With our commitment to making and sharing knowledge in the form of toolkits through co-production, Open Badges allow us to recognise the contributions of participants.

MELSIG now has three badges it will award to recognise participation in building our toolkits:

  • Contributor MELSIG Toolkit – Holders of this badge have promoted teaching excellence by drawing upon their knowledge, research or experience of teaching and learning with digital and social media in higher education to contribute to one of the UK Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group’s online toolkits during the 2017-18 academic year.
  • MELSIG Toolkit Leader – Holders of this badge have led activities resulting in the development of a set of useful resources to inspire and guide academics on a topic relating to media-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education for the sector’s UK Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group (MELSIG) during the 2017-18 academic year.
  • MELSIG Editorial – Holders of this badge have supported the development and quality management of the Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group’s online resource base during the 2017-18 academic year.

Details on how to claim your open badge, issued using Badgr, will be published shortly and introduced at the next MELSIG event on the 21st June.

Further, a mapping of typical  MELSIG activities is being made to the UK Professional Standards Framework across the dimensions and descriptor levels to make it easy for anyone to reference engagement with MELSIG to professional practice portfolios and future claims for good standing.