How do you create a digitally literate university? How do you move lone instances of good practice into the mainstream or understand at scale what is happening within your virtual learning environment? How do you look ‘beyond functional IT skills to describe a richer set of digital behaviours, practices and identities’ (JISC, 2014). This presentation showcases an approach to understand digital practice across an institution and the subsequent work to connect the findings to notions of digital literacy, based on the Beetham and Sharpe’s (2010) Digital Literacy Framework. It discusses the scalable methodology used during the academic year 2012/13 and shares its potential for institution-wide change.
Three years ago, the university brought in its Threshold Standards as a standard for every module present within its VLE. They covered two main areas – content and communication – with those main strands broken down to include everything from uploading learning outcomes and module specifications to sharing photographs, announcements and reading materials with students. The aim was that this standard would continue to be developed as practice became embedded at the institution.
Moving on to 2013, and with significant questions about institutional digital literacy brewing, the challenge arises of how you improve digital practice if you don’t know where you are now? So, during June to September 2013 auditing of active modules in Blackboard took place as part of an approach to a) benchmark the quality of the use of technology for learning and teaching across the institution and b) establish an understanding of digital practice amongst staff. To that end, a random sample of 10% of all active modules which had run the previous year were audited using a rubric based on the Threshold Standards, with descriptors built on this and two other standards – the “Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric” (2013) and the “Benchmark for the use of technology in modules” from Edinburgh Napier University (Smyth et al, 2011). We weren’t just interested in numbers, we were interested to understand quality as well. The results were surprising and thought-provoking, bringing several key issues around staff development, digital literacy and learning design to the fore. While other approaches to auditing / baselining digital literacy provision exist (Jisc, 2014; Hall et al, 2014), they are mainly concerned with subjective / reflective measures of digital literacy. Instead, this approach explored the role of observable artifacts of the products of a digitally literate university.
Using our experiences of applying a rubric institution-wide and critically assessing its outcomes, this presentation will outline both the methodology and process as well as share our planned next steps from using this approach, all with the aim of creating a digitally literate university. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the use of rubrics for evaluating quality as a tool for underpinning digital literacy at their own institutions. They will be challenged to consider what artifacts they might look for to establish an objective baseline for digital literacy within this interactive presentation.
From the robustness of the platform, to the staff skills and practices existing above it. From content to communication and identity. If we want to build towards more than the minimum, we have to make sure we have strong foundations. The presentation questions whether asking people about their levels of digital literacy is enough to provide that solid base.
Beetham and Sharpe, (2010), ‘Developing Digital Literacies Framework’, available fromhttp://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/file/40474958/Literacies%20development%20framework.doc, date accessed 11th April 2014
Blackboard (2013), Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric, available from http://www.blackboard.com/resources/catalyst-awards/BbExemplaryCourseRubric_Nov2013.pdf, date accessed 11th April 2014
Hall, R., Atkins, L. and Fraser, J. (2014), ‘Defining a self-evaluation digital litearacy framework for secondary educators: the DigiLit Leicester project’, Research in Learning Technology, vol. 22, 2014, available from http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/21440, date accessed 2nd June 2014
Jisc (2014), ‘Developing digital literacies infoKit’, Northumbria University on behalf of Jisc, available from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/digital-literacies/, date accessed 11th April 2014
Smyth, K., Bruce, S., Fotheringham, J. and Mainka, C. (2011), ‘Benchmark for the use of technology in modules: 3E Framework’, available fromhttp://staff.napier.ac.uk/services/vice-principal-academic/academic/TEL/TechBenchmark/Documents/3E%20Framework.pdf, date accessed 11th April 2014
|Affiliation||University of Derby|