Digital capability

What do we already know about this area?

We’re fortunate in this area to have a broad evidence base to build on, derived from previous work. A key part of the preparatory work for this codesign challenge is pulling together knowledge, evidence, resources and approaches from related projects so that we’re moving forward from a firm foundation and not reinventing wheels. In parallel with that, we’re consulting with individuals and groups in a wide range of roles in the sector on their experiences and needs in this area. I’m really keen that we keep listening and learning – the fact that this challenge is one of the four key areas we’ve been tasked with this year means that there are important pain points and issues that the sector needs further support on, and we need to understand what those are in order to put in place solutions which enable universities and colleges to address them.

The most significant body of work we’re building on with this challenge is the Jisc Developing digital literacies programme (2011-13), in which we worked with project teams in universities and colleges to support digital literacies development at an institutional level. We also worked with a number of professional associations including ALT, SCONUL, Vitae, SEDA and HEDG to understand and develop both the digital literacies of their role group and the way in which their members support the development of digital capability in other staff groups, and students. The Developing digital literacies infokit offers practical guidance, tools and approaches synthesised from this work and beyond, looking at both top-down strategic considerations and an on-the-ground view of what this means in practice for many different role groups.

For a quick summary of what we know, try our printable four-page Quick guide to Developing students’ digital literacy. Although the focus of this is on supporting student digital literacies, there are clear implications for staff digital literacies and practices. If you’re really pushed for time, there’s a two-minute version of this on the Jisc website.

In light of the recent FELTAG recommendations the digital capabilities of staff in colleges have also come under the microscope and there’s been a renewed impetus to identify how colleges can tailor staff development programmes accordingly. The Jisc RSCs have developed tools to help senior managers meet the challenge of assessing and addressing the competencies of staff, mapped to key digital literacy themes.

The digital student project has also delivered many messages of key relevance to staff digital practices and institution-wide digital capability. A starting point is this blog post summarising what we know about students’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment. The digital student blog is packed with useful reflections and resources, including a full list of the project outcomes.

We’ve been working with partners under the Changing the Learning Landscape project to provide direct on-site support for universities on their key priorities in technology-enhanced learning. A significant area of demand has been around developing digital literacies, and we’re pulling the learning from our experiences as support consultants into this codesign challenge.

We’re keen to get feedback on our existing resources in the area – if there are things that you’ve found useful, let us know, but equally, we’d really like to know about questions you couldn’t answer, support you’d love to obtain, or gaps which you think Jisc might be able to fill.

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