Building confidence in the use of digital technologies is crucial to support student success. It is also vital, in any higher education institution, for staff and students to feel fully comfortable with the range of technologies being used within the institution and to be aware of the potential for innovation in teaching and learning. The traditional approach to such ‘up-skilling’ tends to be through the provision of formal taught courses, or training workshops. We have developed, piloted, and evaluated a new partnership scheme which has been co-created by a team of students and support staff to build a Digital Learning Community on campus.
The Digital Champions project in NUI Galway has been running for the past three academic years, as a case study in the design and delivery of collaborative, flexible, and creative approaches to building confidence and ‘cascading’ knowledge and skills more widely across the institution. Participants are encouraged to interact both in person at interactive workshops, and to continue these discussions online.
One of the key successes of the project has been the development of on-campus partnerships, between staff and students who would otherwise not meet, and with other extra-curricular, outreach and student initiatives.
Evaluation of the project through interviews and focus groups has shown that Digital Champions provides one of the few spaces on campus where staff and students can come together as equals, to share their experience and reflect on their use of digital technologies.
This presentation will describe the NUI Galway Digital Champions model, our approach, how to develop on-campus partnerships and provide an overview of the Digital Champions Toolkit. The toolkit contains advice and guidance on implementing a similar initiative at other institutions.