Higher Education is very much a new passion for Ben, having started in the role of Digital Education Developer for the College of Arts at the University of Lincoln in March 2017. In this role, Ben supports teaching and learning across the college as it relates to digital technologies and pedagogy. He’s also responsible for the wider adoption of digital tools across the institution, maintaining the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and has had the opportunity to develop several creative projects with colleagues in the Lincoln Academy of Learning and Teaching. Since becoming a Learning Technologist, Ben has gone on to gain fellowship of the HEA (Higher Education Academy) and graduate from Falmouth University, Cornwall, with a PGCHE (Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education) teaching qualification.
Alongside his work as a Digital Education Developer, Ben has a number of research interests which he continues to pursue mainly within the field of American Studies. His particular interests lie in the study of American country music and the culture of the Southern United States. He is particularly interested in gender as it relates to country music and has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to develop his own ideas for modules of study as part of the PGCHE course. Ben has taught short sessions on gender and country music under the banner of a module he devised called Working 9 to 5: The Business of Gender and Country Music.
Other earlier teaching experience within Higher Education includes teaching for six months on the BA(Hons) Media Production course at Lincoln while studying for his MA in Digital Media in 2015. Ben has also had the opportunity to attend a number of conferences and user group meetings within the sector over the last few years, including ALT-C 2018 at the University of Manchester and 2019 at the University of Edinburgh.
AM I HIRED?®
In 2017, the Digital Education and Student Life team at the University of Lincoln launched AM I HIRED?® a brand new tool, based on the web, which gives students at Lincoln and elsewhere the opportunity to explore what their public-facing social media presence looks like. Students are invited to connect all of their social media accounts, after which they are shown a curated breakdown of all the posts and information that is publicly available, perhaps to future employers, the University or their peers. This information is presented alongside informative videos produced by the team and careers guidance from the Careers and Employability Department at Lincoln. The most important aspect of this tool is that it is session based and no information is stored or kept throughout the entire process. Students see a snapshot in real-time, and the information is wiped once they finish using the tool.
Designing and building AM I HIRED?® was Ben’s principal project after joining the University of Lincoln in 2017. He had a lot of fun working on this project with his colleagues in the department and has been grateful for the opportunity to present the platform at conferences across the UK, including the SocMedHE conference 2017 at Sheffield Hallam University and ALT-C 2018 at the University of Manchester. In January 2019, AM I HIRED?® was shown at the Adobe BETT show at the Excel Centre in London and promoted through the Adobe Education Twitter account to an audience of over 90k followers globally.
A creative solution to the modern problem of online identities: The University of Lincoln (@unilincoln) has a program where students upload their social profiles which creates an online CV for the students to see how they are represented online. pic.twitter.com/7N1ajf454g
— Education At Adobe (@AdobeEdu) 24 January 2019
To find out more about AM I HIRED?® and to have a go yourself, visit: amihired.lincoln.ac.uk.
Ben Atkinson is a writer, presenter and designer.
He has a broad range of experience and interests which stretch across the creative industries, from broadcasting to writing, design and development. Ben is the author of two novels, the presenter of a syndicated country music programme which airs on stations across the UK, and an established web developer and graphic designer, with a number of national and international websites, branding projects and mobile apps to his name.
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