Animal Behaviour lecturer is a higher education social media superstar!

Posted on 14th November 2017

The innovative use of Twitter has gained an Animal Behaviour lecturer the accolade of ‘social media superstar’.

Dr Christina Stanley.
Dr Christina Stanley.

In a national competition, Dr Christina Stanley, who lectures in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Chester, has been named as one of the top 10 Higher Education (HE) social media superstars of 2017. The competition was run by Jisc, which is the UK higher education, further education and skill sectors’ not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions. It aims to celebrate the excellent social media work being done by sector professionals, and the most innovative ways of using social media to add value to their practice.

Dr Stanley said: “When I took up my first lecturing position in 2015 and was asked to design a new module for undergraduate students in line with my research interests, my first thoughts were: ‘Brilliant! But how can I ensure this is fun and engaging?’”

Realising the importance of embedding employability skills into University teaching, and after inspiring conversations with colleagues, Christina decided an innovative use of Twitter was the answer. She shared relevant papers with her students and inspired them to do the same, even using Twitter as an assessment tool, applying the hashtag #BI6192. The Twitter feed was also embedded on the module’s eLearning website.

Christina added: “I think this is a great example of how social media can be easily used by other HE professionals. In addition to helping students to improve valuable communication skills, they engaged with wider reading on their subject and reported to me that they had gained inspiration, even replies, from scientists all over the world.

“They also graduated with concrete evidence of their ability to both engage with the wider community and promote new material – these are key employability skills. I’m so pleased this work has been recognised at a national sector level and I would urge others to try it for themselves!”

A panel of HE and social media experts chose the final 10, with Jisc describing each academic’s work as ‘fantastic examples of social media use in HE that others could take inspiration from’. As well as the achievement itself, the winners all receive an edtech (educational technology) visit for their class (robot included).

The judges’ feedback about Christina’s work was: “Despite Christina confessing to not always having been a Twitter ‘believer’, we thought her use of Twitter as an assessment tool was very innovative and had the incredibly valuable benefit of helping students develop their communication skills.”

Professor Andrew Lawrence, Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Chester, added: “We are extremely proud that Christina’s teaching methods have been recognised in this way within the sector. It is a key priority to embed employability skills into our University teaching, and this is a wonderful and inspiring way of achieving that aim.”

More information about the competition, Dr Stanley and the other winners can be found at: