Diagnostics Digital capability Events Framework Leadership Online course Staff student partnerships

Project areas emerging from the digital capability consultation

The initial consultation phase of the digital capability challenge ran from June to September 2014, and included individual interviews with codesign partners and other stakeholders, from which solutions ideas were distilled and uploaded to an open voting platform. Over 120 users posted over 450 votes and 60+ comments in a two-week period. The top 9 ideas were then scoped and prioritised at a workshop on 30 September.

As a result of the consultation and the workshop, the overall rationale for the work has been refined, and a set of project ideas has been selected to be taken forward in support of this.


Effective use of digital technology by university and college staff is vital in providing a compelling student experience and in realising a good return on investment in digital technology.

Jisc aims to support this by developing a set of tools and guidance to help university and college staff diagnose any skills gaps and locate the materials that can help remedy those gaps. To do this we need to address the following issues:

  • Provide clear guidance over what digital skills are required
  • Equip leaders with the tools and resources they need
  • Equip staff with the tools and resources they need
  • Provide tools and support networks to engage students and ensure their needs are met

This all needs to be wrapped up into a coherent package which makes information easy to find and compelling to use and also needs to have solid evidence of impact embedded throughout to ensure the value of this activity is plain. Finally all the work needs to be done in partnership with the other people and organisations who are involved in important work in this area.

By undertaking this work Jisc hopes to help universities and colleges to enhance the student experience and improve the return on investment in digital technology.

Outline of projects

The following projects are being scoped to address the issues identified above and develop the key building blocks of Jisc’s future support to universities and colleges in this area:

  • Digital capability framework
  • Digital leadership development
  • Diagnostic and reflective tools for digital development
  • Support network for staff-student digital partnerships
  • MOOC in skills for online learning (funded from another source)

These projects are briefly outlined below and represented in the diagram.

There will also be an underpinning work package focussing on bringing these elements into an easily navigable whole, providing support and examples of impact measurement in this area, and working with professional and sector bodies to identify key levers and opportunities which may become relevant as the project progresses.

Digital capability framework

Aim: Provide a skills framework that is widely endorsed and contains a set of core digital competencies required by staff across HE and FE. This would be used by institutions to plan how they needed to improve their staff’s skills.
The framework would support the individual and institution-wide identification of current digital capability, skills gaps, and progress made or needed. This in turn informs institutional planning and assessment of the impact of digital capability initiatives, job descriptions and performance management. At a sector level, it supports the development of diagnostic tools, and tools and materials to raise capability. The framework would need to be human- and machine-readable to support a range of use cases.

Activities: Work with sector bodies and professional bodies to recognise existing frameworks and fill any identified gaps. Early adopter institutions share their approaches.

Digital leadership development

Aim: Provide tailored guidance, coaching and facilitation over to support the development of the current and next generation of digital leaders. Helping them to understand the sort of digital university or college they want theirs to become, and plan for how to develop the appropriate digital capability in their staff.

Activities: Work with partner bodies in HE and FE to develop and pilot a flexible and tailored development and support opportunity for staff in roles such as PVC learning and teaching, student experience, or resources, Director of library and information services, registrar, HR director, dean of faculty, etc.

Diagnostic and reflective tools for digital development

Aim: Provide a spectrum of focused tools, from diagnostic to reflective, to support institutions, groups and individuals to establish where they are in their digital development and what actions they need to take. Each tool has a defined audience and purpose, and it is clear to users what the result of using the tool will be.

Activities: Collate and road-test existing resources; fill key gaps, refine based on the experiences of early adopters. Provide guidance to enable the tools to be used stand-alone; develop a support offer if institutions prefer to use them with support.

Support network for staff-student digital partnerships

Aim: Provide advice, guidance and peer support for universities and colleges setting up staff-student partnerships in digital development. Provide an online course leading to accreditation opportunities for staff and students.

Activities: Building on the emerging student Change Agent Network to provide an online community, guidance resources, accreditation opportunities and face to face events to support students and staff engaged in partnership work in digital development and TEL. Working with the NUS, students unions and recent graduates to create a buzz around the area.

MOOC in skills for online learning

Aim: Provide an open online course for staff in a range of teaching, administrative, management and professional support roles on the skills needed for planning, creating and delivering online learning opportunities.

Activities: Work with partner bodies and leading institutions in online learning to create and run a short MOOC in skills for online learning.

Note: This activity has emerged from both the digital capability codesign challenge and the online learning scoping workshop, and will be taken forward under the Scaling up online learning project over the next 9 months.

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