All posts by digitalhighered

Personal branding online for academics


My recent blog on Sproul-Digital about differentiating your personal brand in digital spaces identifies some great opportunities for subject area experts and thought leaders to exploit. In particular for academics in higher education the current web eco-system offers an excellent opportunity to develop a highly effective digital shop-window based on subject area and institution reputation particularly given the dominance and reliance on Google and other search engines.  If you are wondering how to raise your profile and visibility and please follow this link for some hints and tips on differentiating your personal brand in digital spaces. About the author: Mark Sproul is Director of Sproul-Digital and former Head of Digital at Edinburgh Napier University.

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#thisisedinburgh with some Sunshine on Leith


I would have loved it had the latest work on ‘This is Edinburgh’ or #thisisedinburgh encompassed a bit of cinematic beauty of Sunshine on Leith.

‘This is Edinburgh’ is its new city centre campaign  www.thisisedinburgh.org.uk  #thisisedinburgh. The campaign is designed to attract families and shoppers back into the city centre. Running for the next two years, it is projected that the £1 million campaign will stimulate an additional £50 million spend within the city centre over that time. 

The adverts are good although I don’t necessarily identify with Girls in Town as shopping and dining isn’t often top of my to do list. That said, the films are a useful reminder of what is on offer in Edinburgh city centre.

However, if you’ve never been to Edinburgh before and what to get a snapshot of what makes it one of the world’s most beautiful cities you should watch the film musical ‘Sunhine on Leith‘ – the trailer for the film below gives a taster of what’s on offer.

The Edinburgh vistas are fantastic and all using the music and lyrics from the brilliant Proclaimers – the only thing I’d say is missing is a rendition of the song Sunshine on Leith courtesy of the fans of Hibs (and I’m not even a Hibee).

Taken all together it reinforces what a fantastic city Edinburgh is to live in with so so much to offer.

Edinburgh Napier’s new Blog service: Blogs.napier.ac.uk


We have introduced a blog service at Edinburgh Napier University to give our staff a chance to build their digital footprint and get out into the digital world with their knowledge and expertise.

This will have a knock on effect for my own blog https://digitalhighered.wordpress.com/ which will be moving from the fantastic wordpress.com service into http://blogs.napier.ac.uk/digitalhighered. The difference being I’m moving from a free external hosted service (with limited customisation) to an internally hosted service with greater customisation potential.

The exciting bit for me (and you hopefully) will be the benefit this migration has on the blog’s search engine ranking. Academic domains are trusted by search engines as they are recognised as well-established, unbiased and authoritative, so ac.uk site is given extra weighting by search engines simply by being affiliated with it. This is one of the reasons we’ve put this blog service in place – to share the knowledge and skills that the university has and make our knowledge open to Google and other search engines.

We are at the start of this work but if you would like to start blogging with us or require more information, please get in touch and I’d be more than happy to talk to you about. The service is available to staff and the content will belong to the staff. If you move on you can zip up your blog and take it with you.

Mobile App for University Open Day


The value of Open Days to Universities is significant as it allows prospective students to get a real feel for what the University has to offer. However, university open days are complex – there is so much going on for the attendees so we were really keen that they didn’t miss anything.

In addition to providing people with a programme for the day in paper format we looked at how mobile could support their open day experience. The result was a mobile app which aims to provide everyone with all of the information they need to make the most of the day and not miss anything they want to attend. And we were also aware that not everyone wants to attend the same events during the day so we added ‘build your own agenda’ functionality which allowed those attending to build an agenda for themselves which included push alerts to remind them of where to go next.

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The hope is that we can use the infrastructure to support future events and open days. The initial results look positive with around a quarter of those attending downloading the app and around half of those using the ‘build your own agenda’ functionality. We will need to conduct some proper analysis of usage and source feedback but the initial stats look positive.

If you want to have a look you can download the App via

Moving from print to digital


How publications that are designed for print work online is a continued issue for most marketing teams. Ultimately, creative teams need to be considering how the information will be consumed before deciding how to tackle the project so that the output is designed with the end user in mind. However, this does require a different mind set to that employed by a traditional marketing/publications team.

Although we are not there yet at Edinburgh Napier we have discovered this nice publication tool joomag that take a publication designed for print and gives it a little bit more life online – it’s a bit more interesting than a pdf and it is also not too expensive. It will be interesting to see what feedback we get from students.

The publication below is work in progress – I’m just testing it via the blog.

[joomag width=300 height=194 title=edinburgh-napier-university-newsfeed-2013-14 magazineId=0099210001378375587 backgroundImage=http://www.joomag.com/Frontend/flash/gui/themes/default_new/thumbnail.png ]

Or you can access via this link