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Contribute to research

The following is for the attention of participants who have completed the Digital Footprint MOOC, which can be found here:

Dear MOOC learner,

I am a post-graduate student at the University of Edinburgh, UK. As part of my research, I am examining learners’ participation and success in MOOCs. I hope that my research will provide the basis for recommendations on how to enhance the learning outcomes of those participating in MOOCs.

If you are in the final stage of this MOOC, I am inviting you to participate in my research study by completing a survey, which will require approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The data collected by this study will provide useful information on the effectiveness of MOOCs as an educational platform, and will thereby help to identify how the learning experiences of MOOC participants like you and me can be enhanced. Thank you for taking the time to assist me in my educational endeavors. Your participation is much appreciated.

To complete the survey, please click here or go to




European Conference on Social Media (ECSM) 2016 Day Two – LiveBlog

Nicola Osborne (EDINA) live blogging about Digital Footprints….

Today I am again at the European Conference on Social Media 2016 and will be liveblogging the sessions. Today is a shorter conference day and I’ll be chairing a session and giving a poster so there may be a few breaks in the blog. As usual these notes are being taken live so any corrections, questions, …

Source: European Conference on Social Media (ECSM) 2016 Day Two – LiveBlog

Jisc 50 most influential HE professionals using social media

Nicola OsborneNicola Osborne (EDINA), lead collaborator on the Digital Footprint campaign (2014-2015), member of the research team and actively supporting students, researchers and staff at the University of Edinburgh, has just been listed in the Jisc 50 most influential HE professionals using social media.

Congratulations Nicola! It’s fantastic to have your expertise and involvement with the Digital Footprint service and research.


Further Security (Stay Safe Online: Conclusion)

Welcome back! This is the final part of our seprofessionlism wordleeries, and will sum up our tips for keeping yourself secure.

What does this have to do with e-Professionalism?

Imagine that your account was hacked. They may be looking to harvest information from you.  Or, they could use it to make damaging posts from your social media account – a French TV station recently experienced this ( Keeping your account safe keeps it in your control, which means that no one else can damage your branding.

Okay, but what about my privacy?

How much information do you put out on Social Media? Do you think they could use that information to fool someone else into thinking they were you? These attacks, commonly known as Social Engineering (in a computing context), use your personal information to bypass security systems by working with humans directly – fooling support centres (for example) into handing over your information. The less vulnerable you make yourself, the less likely you are to be a victim of this attack that can result in credit fraud or worse. Many companies have strengthened their security against Social Engineering attacks recently, but the threat still remains and people have to be wary of this as they use the internet more and more.

Is there anything else I can do?

Keeping your computer and other devices secure is also incredibly important. Our colleagues at the Information Services department have produced this succinct yet comprehensive guide into keeping all of your devices secure from a variety of security issues. Finally, security is virtuous. Once you get into good habits, they are easier to work with. Having a password manager and different (secure) passwords for everything is actually easier than having one password for everything – and massively improves your security. And once it’s set up, you can mostly leave it. On the other hand, think how much time you’d have to spend recovering from a serious breach! We hope you found this series useful! It isn’t a complete guide to online and computer security  – and if you use online services and computers a lot, it really is worth spending a bit of time keeping up to date with security. However, if you followed these guides you will be in a much better position than when you started (hopefully)! Comments or questions? We’d love to read them on our social media accounts! Also, make sure you subscribe to this blog – or follow us on Twitter and Facebook – to keep up to date with what we’re doing.

Beyond Passwords (Stay Safe Online: Part 3)

Welcome back to the third part of our series on securing your social media and online accounts! This week, we’re going to look at how you can improve your security by using more than just passwords on online accounts. The great thing about passwords is that if you’ve been following our guides, you’ve got passwords that are easy for you (or your computer) to remember yet very hard for anybody else to guess. However, when computers are so powerful they can test millions of passwords every second, it is very quickly putting the security of any password under strain. A new type of security has emerged however, and it is called “two-factor authentication”. This relies on both something you know such as a password, and something you have such as your smartphone. You will enter your username and password, and then be asked for a code from your phone which it either randomly made or was texted to you. Only once you enter that will you be allowed access. The security is fantastic – assuming that there aren’t any weaknesses in the software running on their websites, a computer could test every possible password yet still not get into an account. And if an unauthorised party takes your phone, they still need to have your password.

How does it work?

Every website that uses 2FA (short for two-factor authentication) will have slight variations on how their version works. However, most follow this basic pattern:

  1. Register your account with them
  2. Download an app onto your phone (one app works for most websites)
  3. Go onto your account settings. There will be an option to set up 2FA. Go through the process. You will be asked to enter a code or scan a QR code on your phone. Your phone will then give back a code, enter that into the website to confirm it
  4. When you next logon to the website, you’ll be asked for a code from the app in addition to the username and password before you can login

As you can see it is simple. However, some websites will instead text you a code rather than use an app. Most websites use an app called Google Authenticator ( but if you are on another platform you may have to find an alternative app. Some websites also use other apps – they will tell you how to get them.

What websites can I use this on?

Good question! As the list changes all the time, you should check this website ( This website will also tell you how to enable it for each service that supports it.

What websites should I use this on?

As many as you can be bothered to is the honest answer! However, start with the services which are most crucial and work backwards. That may mean online banking for you (contact your bank to see what they offer). Then right after, securing your email to prevent anyone from accessing all your other services as discussed earlier. If you have a Google, Microsoft or Apple account these may have lots of sensitive information saved (such as payment details) in addition to your email – they may even allow a hacker to remotely lock and wipe your devices. These accounts should definitely be a priority if you use them a lot. In general though, think about which accounts would be the worst to get hacked and start with them.

What if I lose my phone?

When you sign up for 2FA, most sites offer you a recovery key which YOU SHOULD KEEP SAFE!!! If you lose that, you may NEVER be able to get access to your account again if you lose your phone. This does depend on the service you use, but do ask them or research to see what would happen. You do get services that back up your authentication codes, such as Authy (, and can share them between devices. This does decrease security, but increases convenience and for many may be a good compromise. However, do your own research for this!

Are there any other problems?

If you lose your phone you may never be able to login to something again. If your phone is out of charge or not on you, you may also not be able to login at that time. It will also make your day to day online life ever so slightly more inconvenient. It is up to you to decide if those are worth the very big improvements in security. As we store more and more of our important data online and those wanting to break into online services get ever more sophisticated, this may be something you want to consider using more and more.

Managing Those Passwords! (Stay Safe Online – Part 2)

In the last post, we looked at why and how to set secure passwords for online accounts. We even included tips on how to create easy to remember passwords! If you’ll remember however, one of our primary rules was to keep a separate password for every online service. That gets confusing really quickly! With the help of some software called Password Managers, you’ll find that setting new passwords for everything is easier than just remembering a few passwords for everything!

  • What is a password manager?

A password manager simply stores passwords for you, with most entering the password when you go onto a website. If you’ve ever been asked by your web browser if you want to save a password (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari just to name the 4 largest browsers all offer this as do many others) then you’ve encountered a password manager before. Password managers should securely save your password, either using it’s own password to encrypt the other ones or unlocking when you log into your computer. The simplest ones  store them on your computer, so it shouldn’t create any more security problems to use one. The best thing about many password managers is that they can automatically make you a new password when you register a new account or change your password, then save it! This obviously saves you a lot of time.

  • What if I have more than one device?

Good question! Today, most people will have a ‘main’ computer such as a laptop, their smartphone, the university PCs and possibly a tablet or another secondary device. There are ways to keep your passwords saved across all of these though. Some password managers save your passwords online in the cloud, which means they can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. You may be worrying about security, and you’d be right to do so, but as long as you understand the risks and keep your password for any sort of program secure it should not be a problem. Do keep in mind though, if the service does get hacked so do all of your passwords and you will need to change them ASAP!

  • What services do you recommend?

We don’t ‘recommend’ any service in particular, however the website Lifehacker has compiled a list of the Five Best Password Managers ( in January 2015, and would be a great place to look as they were voted for by the readers of Lifehacker! Most of the services listed though do cost money or require some more complicated set-up. However, if you use Apple’s products you might want to consider iCloud Keychain ( Alternatively, if you use Google Chrome ( this can synchronise passwords across every Chrome browser you are logged into. Again however, we do not recommend or endorse either of these services nor do we guarantee that they are secure. Whichever solution you choose, you should do research to ensure:

  • You are happy with the price of the service
  • The service works on every device you want your passwords on
  • The service is secure – reading news articles and sticking to reputable services is the best way to tell this if you are not technically savvy
  • You understand how it all works – it’s easy using this not to get the most out of it. Also, some systems won’t ever let you back in if you forget your password (for your own security). Make sure you check these things before you decide on one.
  • In Conclusion

Password Managers can be very useful, but they are not entirely without risk (either technical or security). A good, if slightly older, discussion of this can be found on PC Pro ( If you choose to go for one, make sure you look into it and then research which one is the best for you! It’s not something you’re locked into, although it may be slightly inconvenient to move your passwords between two different password managers it can be done. So hopefully this has been an informative guide on how to improve the security and convenience of all your passwords! Our next article will look on increasing security using more than just passwords. Do you have any experience with password managers? Do you have any tips for people to help get the best out of it? Do you have any questions? Tell us via our Facebook or Twitter!