Increasing students’ digital literacy is becoming more important for the higher education sector to consider (Jisc, 2017), especially with their potential future employment requiring digital skills (House of Lords select committee on digital skills, 2015). The University of Derby has introduced the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Strategy 2017-2021, focusing on increasing both staff and student engagement with technologies within their learning and teaching activities.
The TEL strategy covers a wide range of digital capabilities for academic staff to embed into the curriculum to reinforce the importance of digital skills for the students both while at the university and into their future careers. Providing students with the understanding and knowledge that these skills are extremely important for their future is key to universities succeeding in developing them (Beetham, 2015). Within their future careers, students will probably be working multiple different roles, with an increase of value placed on creativity and critical thinking (Beetham, 2015 and The Foundation for Young Australians,2017). Therefore, the TEL team at the university have been collaborating with the academic staff to include media-based assignments in their programmes, to provide students with a range of digital skills needed as a new graduate. This form of assessment promotes student creativity and is great for group work collaboration, as students can draw upon each other’s strengths. In addition, it can support working with students as partners where aspects of their assessment can be negotiated, allowing submissions from a choice of media type which meet the requirements of the assessment. The TEL team have created various different materials to assist in this development of digital skills. Included within this is the university’s ‘Create’ website, providing support to staff and students around all aspects of media creation and develop their digital capabilities. The ‘Create’ site features video content produced by TEL team, combined with other open source resources, to provide a wide range of materials assisting students in their media creation and digital skills. The site was designed with inclusivity and accessibility as key requirements, students are able learn at their own pace and on their own devices (Beetham, 2015), aiding collaboration between students when undertaking media-based assessments.
This session will explore how the ‘Create’ site assists the development of supporting the process of improving media creations skills, digital literacy and the digital capabilities of both staff and students across the University. There are a wide range of media-based assignments running at the University, with the site providing guidance on a variety of media types including video production, creation of interactive posters and the use of infographics and Augmented Reality (AR), with the opportunity to add more as staff members continue to increase their students’ digital skills and create a positive student experience (Beetham, 2015).
Session content: evaluation and reflection
The session is based on practice undertaken by the University of Derby to increase students’ digital capabilities throughout their time at the university. The university is working in partnership with Jisc’s Digital Capability Discovery Tool (Jisc, 2018), which provides a range of resources. It is being rolled out to both staff and students as a self-audit and self-reflection tool on their own digital capabilities. Once completed, individual feedback is provided of their digital profile and how they can develop their digital skills further.
In relation to developing students’ digital skills the university is assisting students by providing various different curriculum points, especially through media-based assignments, as these develop their digital skills for their future employment (Jisc, 2017). Alongside embedding media-based assignments into the curriculum, the TEL Team include the ‘Create’ website to facilitate the process for assisting students with these assessments. It provides students with the capabilities of working at their own pace to achieve. The impact is seen across a wide range of programmes, with feedback being gathered throughout the time. With this in mind, the site has been built so pages can be added whenever academic staff feel they would like further advice for themselves or their students. Through collaboration with the TEL Team, pages can be added, evolving the resources available to the wider University community.
Beetham, H. (2015). Deepening digital know-how: building digital talent. [online]. Jisc.ac.uk. Available at http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6259/1/Deepening_Digital_Knowledge.pdf [Accessed 20/07/2017].
House of Lords select committee on digital skills (2015). Make or break: the UK’s digital future. [online]. Parliament.UK. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldselect/lddigital/111/111.pdf
Jisc. (2017). Building Digital Capability. [online] jisc.ac.uk Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/building-digital-capability [Accessed 12/08/2017].
Jisc. (2018). Jisc Building Digital Capability Blog. [online] jisc.ac.uk Available at: https://digitalcapability.jiscinvolve.org/wp/digital-capability-discovery-tool/ [Accessed 23/04/2018]
Skills Funding Agency (2016). Review of publicly funded digital skills qualifications (2016). [online]. Gov.UK Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-publicly-funded-digital-skills-qualifications
The Foundation for Young Australians (2017). The New Basics: Big data reveals the skills young people need for the New Work Order. Australia.
Resources for participants