Managing your digital footprint: possible implications for teaching and learning

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This paper introduces current research taking place at the University of Edinburgh, which examines students’ use of social media and how they manage their digital footprint. The work engages all student cohorts (undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD, and including online students) and aligns with the innovative cross-University 'Digital Footprint' campaign (2014-2015) in order to conduct a systematic programme of research aimed at building our institutional and sectoral understanding of how students are managing their digital footprints, where such management is lacking, and what this might mean for future institutional planning to build student competence in this area.

This paper will outline the rationale for this work, including theoretical and practical contexts and challenges associated with running a digital footprint (social media awareness) campaign on this scale, as well as providing some initial insights arising from activities to date. It will also look ahead to ongoing and future activities, including further research work and a planned impact analysis of the social media awareness campaign.

The “Managing your digital footprint” campaign is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh Institute for Academic Development (IAD), EDINA, Student Information Portals, Information Services, Careers Service, and the Edinburgh University Student Association. The research is funded under the University of Edinburgh Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme and is being led by researchers from the IAD, the Moray House School of Education and EDINA.

It is anticipated that research findings for this project will feed into University of Edinburgh policy, provide evidence-based guidance to colleagues with responsibility for embedding digital social media in learning and teaching, provide evidence to enable support services to meet students’ needs and use of social media, and give a rich picture of the current 'state of play' among our diverse student body which will be useful equally for students and staff of the University.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2015
EventEuropean Conference on Social Media - ISCAP / IPP – School of Accounting and Administration of Porto, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 9 Jul 201510 Jul 2015


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Social Media


  • Digital Footprint
  • social media
  • students
  • managing digital footprint
  • social media risks
  • digital identity
  • presentation of self


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