Get involved in shaping the Jisc digital capability service

Would you like to help shape the digital capability service that Jisc will be launching in late 2018? We would love to hear your views on what would make the service most useful to you and what you would expect to find there.

As the various strands of the Jisc Building Digital Capability project are progressing we are looking at the best way to bring them together into a service for our members. We are currently doing some visioning work trying to imagine what the Jisc digital capability service might look like and what other strands of work we need to take up to deliver the service to our members.

Apart from the work we are doing internally (such as a cross Jisc workshop for staff to develop ideas and prototype the service) we are very much interested in hearing the voice of our members to ensure their requirements are met.

We have been asking:

What is the one key thing that you would like Jisc to provide you and your institution with in relation to digital capability? What would it look like and what you would do with it?

The answer that came up again and again was a student facing version of the discovery tool. This would be useful throughout the student journey – on entry for students to self-reflect on their digital capabilities and later on at various points to see how they are progressing.

Another part of the service that was recognized as important was the work that is taking place already around the framework but with the addition of practical ways and stories on how people have implemented it at strategic level. See our case studies of institutions who are developing their own approaches here. It would be useful to have a template or an action plan with what worked well and what steps were made to implement practice: key people you need to speak to, where you get the funding from, how you evaluate your progress. See our digital capability audit tool and curriculum checklists as a starting point for supporting discussions at a strategic and curriculum level – see these linked from this page.

Some respondents, envisaged the digital capability service as a one stop shop for all the range of Jisc resources, case studies and well researched content. Others included training materials and online workshops on how staff  can learn and keep up to date with digital capabilities both independently and through institutional support.

While we cannot promise that each and every single requested feature will be delivered it is crucial for us to hear your ideas and be steered by our members. We would love to hear your views on what the Jisc digital capability service should provide for you.

You can  fill in a short survey or get in touch directly with me ( or via Twitter @alicja_shah).  Follow us on Twitter #digitalcapabilties and join our community of practice.

We are also looking for volunteers for a focus group to provide feedback on the initial vision for the service in the autumn 2017 and would be delighted if you would like to get involved!

Our new Community of Practice sets sail

CoP launch 3 CoP launch 1

More than 90 digital capability specialists and enthusiasts came together for the launch of our Community of Practice at the University of Aston last week.

Delegates heard from Sarah Knight about the resources Jisc has developed for the community, including the new Developing organisational approaches to digital capability online guide launched last week. But this was very much a working meeting, with the focus on sharing ideas and developing things together. In a rapidly emerging field, strategies need to be kept in development, and resources produced in an agile way. So a lot of the day was given over to workshop sessions where we mapped the landscape and planned next steps

I gave an overview of where we are in the UK, and how we got here (including some international perspective). Then we heard a pair of inspiring organisational case studies from John Hill of the University of Derby, and Richard Fullylove of Coleg y Cymoedd. John described an integrated approach to staff and student development, incorporating the Jisc framework and profiles, and self-assessment tools. Richard showed how the use of infographics is helping to get the message across in his college, along with 30 full hours of CPD provision for staff.

You can access the Periscope recordings from these sessions here and also review a Storify of reactions on Twitter.

Next we split into groups to paper-prototype four ‘toolkits’ for embedding digital capabilities. CoP launch 2You can find our ideas and resources on these four Padlets:

After lunch, Gillian Fielding gave a summary overview of the findings of the 2017 UCISA Digital Capabilities Survey. You can access the Periscope recording here.

Then it was back to groupwork, with groups working in parallel on the same three issues this time – barriers and drivers to digital capability development, and available resources. A write-up from the activity is available here and will be further analysed in the coming days to decide on priorities.

CoP launch 4At a final panel, representatives were put on the spot with challenging questions such as ‘what makes for a digitally capable organisation?’ and ‘what is the one thing an organisation needs to get right?’ Luckily the day had lent us all inspiration and ideas.

You can find a periscope recording of the plenary panel session here.

The findings of our Mentimeter polling are also an important resource for thinking about where we go next.

  1. What one thing should the community do? (Open question)
  2. Which activities would you prioritise for the community? (Closed question based on results of 1.)

To join the Building Digital Capability community of practice visit Follow #digitalcapability on Twitter and for more information on the Building digital capability project email

Launch of new digital capability community and new guide to developing organisational approaches to digital capability

Technological change and evolving digital capabilities – how can we keep up?
Digital know-how (Beetham, 2015) is an acknowledged asset to our future economy (House of Lords select committee on digital skills, 2015) that is changing the way we work, communicate and conduct our personal business. The sustained rate of growth in digital innovation and creativity offers what seems like a limitless array of new opportunities and discoveries but also raises a few challenges (Ecorys UK, 2016) – how can we keep up with changing demands and rapidly changing skills sets?

Starting the conversation: building the digital capability community
Our understanding of what it means to be digitally capable continues to evolve – it is not a static thing and will mean different things to different people at various stages of their academic and working lives. One of the key messages from the case studies Journeys towards digital capabilities is how important it is for organisations and teams to explore frameworks and models and use these as conversation starters to establish shared understanding and a common vocabulary.

It is therefore very timely that this week sees the inaugural meeting of the digital capability community of practice for those responsible for developing digital capability in their organisations. The aim is to engage community members in co-creating resources, sharing knowledge and experiences.

Although the event is fully-booked, those unable to attend can join the discussion on Twitter at #digitalcapability @jisc as well as join the digital capability mailing list.

New guide: Developing organisational approaches to digital capability
If you have read recent posts on this blog by Helen Beetham and Sarah Knight you will be aware that Jisc has recently released a collection of new resources designed to support you to develop digital capabilities in your organisation. These include a briefing paper, an updated framework of digital capabilities, a series of digital capability role profiles (some linked to professional association requirements), an audit tool and checklist, a curriculum design checklist together with 14 new case studies from both Higher and Further education providers.

Jisc’s new guide to Developing organisational approaches to digital capability launched last week provides a structured route through these new and updated resources which we hope will be of value to those starting out as well as supporting those already working in this field with an approach based on the experience of others.

Why the focus on organisational approaches?
The guide specifically focuses on organisational approaches because the identity, culture and infrastructure of an institution have a significant impact on the extent to which digital practices are facilitated and, in turn, determines how enabled individuals feel in developing their own skills, knowledge and practices.

“When we were looking at the Digital Lancaster strategy [we considered] whether people would have the skills to undertake what we were expecting, and above and beyond that, did they have a culture that encouraged them to actually do it?”
Rachel Fligelstone, head of service, strategy and communications, Lancaster University.

Looking beyond individual capabilities: The digitally capable organisation
In addition to the recently updated digital capabilities framework for individuals we have introduced a new model that articulates what the digitally capable organisation might look like. It is similar in design and structure to the individual framework but looks beyond the capabilities of individuals and acknowledges the importance of taking a strategic approach, the impact of organisational culture and infrastructure and the role of digital capabilities and their impact on, and relevance to, all areas of university and college business.

Strategic steps towards digital capability
Based on the experiences and lessons learned from a diverse range of case study contributors, the guide also includes a customisable 4-step model which suggests practical activities designed to help you build a contextualised model appropriate to your needs.


Keeping the conversation going
The resources and outputs from the digital capability community event and any other relevant research and information will be posted to this blog site. Follow #digitalcapability @jisc on Twitter and join the digital capability mailing list to continue discussions and share your ideas.

Digital professionals in education: an update

As part of the framework project in 2015 I was lucky enough to have conversations with key people in many of the professional organisations in UK HE and FE. It was great to find so much interest in the six elements model and so many different ideas for embedding it into practice.

digital professionalsIn addition to updated digital profiles for teachers in different sectors, we have worked with the HEA to produce a new digital lens on the UK PSF. This will help teaching staff build evidence of their digital capabilities while meeting the requirements of HEA-accredited courses or individual applications for HEA fellowship. It can also support the embedding of digital activities into accredited courses (we will soon be releasing other curriculum resources too). This builds on an earlier digital lens, coordinated by SEDA, which included links to content (Jisc/third party) and to a number of useful case studies from professional bodies (not updated for this version).

Working with teachersAnother piece of work I carried out with the SEDA executive last year mapped the SEDA values to the digital domain, asking whether the digital revolution in education throws up new ethical questions, and whether SEDA’s existing values base is fit for purpose. The answer seems to be ‘yes, but…’ educators must remain aware of the new contexts in which they are being asked to practice. The same document offers 13 scenarios for discussion – for example by applicants for SEDA senior and principle fellowship.

Digital professionals 3An employability lens on the 6 elements was produced in consultation with the Association of Graduate Career Advisory Services (the professional body for careers and employability staff) and the Centre for Recording Achievement. James Clay presented this at the AGCAS conference in September. Careers and employability advisers are often at the forefront of helping students to develop social media skills and a positive digital profile. They are also key to managing several key performance metrics, particularly for universities, and so have developed data literacies that are important to the organisation overall. Look out for an updated version of this lens very shortly as part of a release of resources for curriculum teams.

In the last few months I’ve done new work with professional bodies, particularly on the digital capability profiles. In the next few posts we’ll hear from Maren Deepwell of the Assocation for Learning Technologies about developing the new Learning technology professional mapping, from Jane Secker of CILIP  about the revised Library and information professional profile, and from Gillian Fielding of UCISA. There is also new work in the pipeline with health educators, researchers (via the parallel Jisc challenge on Research Skills), with professional staff in different roles, and with teaching staff in FE, skills and apprentice learning.

Follow #digitalcapability for more news, and look for outcomes of the Digital Capabilities Community Launch Event next week.



Digital capabilities at Digifest: reports from Brighton, North Lindsey and Nottingham

We were at Digifest in Birmingham last week to launch the new and updated Digital capability resources, including a brand new series of organisational case studies and a synthesis report on their experiences.

Key players from three of our case study institutions were there with us on Tuesday to speak about their experiences. Fiona Handley from the University of Brighton explained how a digital literacies framework for academic staff has supported their professional development. Elaine Swift from Nottingham Trent University outlined how their framework has evolved over time, and how a ‘continuum of support’ ensures nobody falls through the net. Ross Anderson from North Lindsey College showed us how digital badges and digital ‘missions’ are motivating teams of staff to work together on their digital skills. Here they say a bit more about their different approaches.

Ross Anderson

e-learning ambassador, North Lindsey College

Our approach had to be something that supported and nurtured our staff in their digital skills development. Our College strategy and e-learning action plan reflected this. We wanted to make sure that ALL staff were able to develop their skills and ultimately be rewarded for their work. We saw their skills development as a continuum and wanted to have a framework or process that reflected that. Jisc’s Digital Capabilities Framework was a great starting point for us at it helped break down the skills areas into their own subsets. From there we were able to develop this further and put the skills criteria across a stage-by-stage framework in order to give staff a progressive approach. This meant that staff can pick a starting point that suits their current skills or confidence and can not only be rewarded for the skills they have but can see a clear route to further progression.

The final element was to gamify this approach and promote it to curriculum areas. So DPD Go! was created. Staff are rewarded for completing digital ‘missions’ related to using technology in their teaching, learning and assessment. A team approach has proved the most successful method of engaging staff with e-learning skills development, so it made sense to use this for DPD Go! too. The team approach creates a collaborative (and competitive) atmosphere to help drive participation.
Video introduction to DPD Go!

fiona 1 - smallishFiona MacNeill
Fiona Handley
(L) Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching with Fiona MacNeill (R) Learning Technologies Adviser, both University of Brighton

The evaluation of our original Digital Literacies Framework highlighted the topics that really seemed to engage academic staff. The webpages under the Learning and Teaching category (for example Finding and Creating Resources) had many more hits that the other three categories, especially Administration, which covered topics such as Managing Time. During face-to-face sessions introducing the Framework we also found that when groups discussed literacies under each category, it was the ones under Learning and Teaching that sparked the most enthusiasm and discussion. The bespoke sessions that were requested focused on similar topics such as using social media in teaching, flipped classroom, and using mobile devices.

At the University of Brighton improving the learning environment is a key way of getting staff to consider their digital literacy. The updated Framework which was launched in 2016 reflects this, with more literacies under the Learning and Teaching category and fewer overall. The literacies that remain under Administration are more focussed on demonstrating clear expectations about digital skills such as using calendars and formatting documents. The Framework now attempts to inspire and support good practice while also setting out a baseline of knowledge and skills that support institutional policy and initiatives.

Fiona and Fiona’s presentation on sway
Brighton’s Digital Literacies web site

Elaine Swift
Digital Practice Manager, Nottingham Trent University

Developing digital talent at NTU is an evolving process. It started with the LFHE led Changing the Learning Landscape project initiating the strategic discussions at NTU about how to embed digital literacy as a core competence for both staff and students. Initially through looking at the continuum of support that we had in place for a variety of digital literacies, a framework of digital skills and competencies was developed and adopted. This framework is now being embedded through the institution in a variety of ways including through curriculum refresh activity, online support and case studies and linking through to other key initiatives with a digital element, such as our Respect at NTU initiative. Reflecting on the work at NTU, I think there are a few key points to consider when looking to introduce a framework such as the Jisc Digital Capability Framework:

  • A framework can be a useful starter for conversations and offers a common vocabulary.
  • Think about the support that wraps around it: this often involves numerous areas of the organisation.
  • Be open to different opportunities to embed a framework. It can work in many different ways.
  • Don’t be afraid to try approaches that have not worked in the past. Timing and readiness for change occur at different stages depending on the organisation.

Thanks to all three speakers and to all our case study sites for their valuable insights and inspiration. All the slides from the session are available on slideshare.

Follow #digitalcapability and check back here soon for more resources you can use to develop digital capability in your organisation.

Case studies: journeys towards digital expertise

New and updated resources in this post:

Case studies:

Summary report

Digital capability is an agenda for organisations across the sectors of education. But how best to take it forward in your own setting? Time and again we hear that examples from practice are what people need to turn inspiration into action. There is no substitute for learning from people who have tried and succeeded, and although we can’t bring you those people directly, we have done the next best thing. Through interviews with key players and a look at the background evidence for each case we have produced a series of written reports on organisations that are making a difference.

You can explore the full list of case studies from the links above and from the Digital capability project page. Each one starts with a general overview so you can judge how relevant the lessons might be in your own setting. Some of the ideas, though, will be relevant to everybody. We have drawn these together in a summary report, Journeys towards digital capabilities, which lists the lessons learned at the different case study sites. These cover: frameworks and definitions; other strategic approaches; development strategies (personal and curriculum change); motivation and reward for staff; and ideas for working with students.

In the next post we hear from some key change agents whose stories feature in the case studies, and who also presented their experiences at Digifest.

Follow #digitalcapability for updates over the next days and weeks, and beyond.

Digital capabilities: a whole-organisation approach

New and updated resources in this post:

In 2009/10, through its Learning Literacies for a Digital Age (LLiDA) project, Jisc first flew a flag for what has become ‘digital capabilities’ today. That project focused on the skills and mindset needed to become a digitally capable learner. It concluded that there is no one way of being digitally literate. Instead there are a number of interlocking practices that individuals express differently depending on their settings, on the aspirations they have, and on the opportunities and constraints they experience.

LLiDA prepared the ground for the more ambitious Developing Digital Literacies (DDL) programme. Twelve universities and colleges were supported to put in place different strategic approaches, and together they explored what difference they could make to staff and student digital practices over a two-year period. Once again, DDL showed that there was not one ‘right’ way of doing development around a digital capabilities agenda. What one university or college needs to succeed and what its opportunities are for development are not the same as for the university or college down the road. Jisc also worked alongside a wide range of professional bodies to consider how digital technologies were changing practice across educational roles.

Since those projects reported we have seen the launch of the UCISA Digital capabilities survey (more on this in a following post), been through several iterations of the FELTAG agenda, and responded to the QAA Higher Education Review theme. Digital literacy, or capability (or fluency, or confidence, or skills) have become a mainstream concern for strategies and organisational leaders to address. Digital technologies have continued to reshape organisations – for example by enabling the collection and analysis of learning data, by opening up new kinds of student market, and by unbundling roles and functions. No-one who works in education has been untouched by these effects.


Six elements: organisational lens. Click for hi res version.

This is why I feel it’s important not to focus on people’s digital capabilities without considering the organisation they study or work in. Tools such as the Digital capabilities (‘six element’) framework and the profiles might help individuals to identify skills they have that are valuable  in their work, or to consider what areas they would like to develop further. But the responsibility for development has to be shared. We know from those earlier projects, for example, that the digital environment and infrastructure play an important role. People are more likely to develop advanced skills if they have access to a personal device and web services, robust classroom technologies and connectivity, specialist software, and rich digital media to hand.

Individuals also need support to keep acquiring and updating their skills. Online, just-in-time materials are fine for those who have some confidence, but fall down when people are anxious about their basic skills, or are trying to master complex and challenging practices. Time and freedom to experiment, especially with peer support, are necessary for deep, embedded learning. More important still are credible forms of recognition and reward.

What is Jisc doing to help organisations?

Developing digital capability: an organisational framework is a new resource, covering the six elements from an organisational perspective. It looks at what enables individuals to thrive and develop in their digital practice. It is designed to be used by digital leaders and change agents in whatever roles they are working.

From a highly practical point of view, the Digital capability case studies synthesis report describes what 15 organisations are doing to support digital capability and what they find works for them. It is a taster for the case studies themselves, which we will be launching tomorrow alongside our session on the same theme at Digifest.

We are also launching a brand new Guide: Developing organisational approaches to digital capability. Clare Killen will be blogging about the Guide at its launch, but you can catch a preview right now in this Briefing paper and Poster.

Follow #digitalcapability for updates over the next days and weeks, and beyond.

Digital capabilities framework: an update

This is the first in a series of posts to bring you up to date with developments on the Digital capabilities Framework and associated resources from Jisc. Each post will start with a list of resources so you can go straight to those links if you prefer.

New/updated resources in this blog post:

From now through Digifest and beyond there will be plenty of resources coming your way, with further developments promised through the spring and summer 🙂 So if you are into digital capability (literacy, fluency, confidence or skills) you might want to get your party bag ready.


Jisc Digital capabilities framework: the six elements

This post focuses on updates to the Digital capability framework for individuals. If you don’t know the framework already you can get a quick refresher from this blog post: framing the digital capabilities of staff (November 2015).

The aim of the framework is to provide a high-level, general account of the digital capabilities that we (in post-16 education) aim to develop, in our staff and in our learners. For the first time in this update we have evidence of how the high level framework is being used in practice. Drawn from survey evidence and consultations, and from case study interviews, these include:

  • To support discussion and build consensus about the capabilities needed in an organisation (described as ‘a common language for development’)
  • To inspire a local version
  • To plan, ‘benchmark‘ or review staff/educational development
  • To plan or review a curriculum, or to develop new learning materials, with digital capability as an outcome (there more on curriculum uses in a later post)
  • To structure and signpost development opportunities – videos, content playlists, workshops, communities of practice
  • To design digital badges or ‘missions’ for staff and/or students to evidence their digital capability
  • To map digital expertise across different staff roles within a team, department, or the organisation as a whole, identifying gaps and recognising where digital expertise adds value

Updates since 2015

The 2015 Digital capabilities review produced a framework that is now well recognised and used (the UCISA 2016 Digital capability survey will provide more evidence of this). However, we know that the original descriptions for the six elements were too complex. They have been cut down and simplified, and organised into 15 sub-elements for ease of reference. You can download the updated Framework and descriptions here.

If you are very alert – or know the original very well – you will notice some minor changes. There is no problem with continuing to use the 2015 version! But you might be interested in why these changes were made, especially if you have been involved in any of the professional body consultations or have given feedback on resources. (Yes we have listened!) This is what we were asked to do, and why.

Clarify the difference between proficiency and productivity
The first element of the Framework is now more clearly split in two parts, the first (‘ICT proficiency’) meaning functional access to digital technologies, and the second (‘ICT productivity’) meaning the choice and use of those technologies to meet personal needs and the demands of different tasks. Proficiency is essentially a set of technical skills. Productivity is the ‘mindset’ and experience to apply those skills in practice. This involves confidence and curiosity, openness, judgement and discrimination, and the ability to deal with technical set-backs.

We have not included a long list of current tools, apps and technologies in this element because they are constantly changing. But we do have a new resource (coming soon!) that maps the six elements to current tools in use. You keep asking for it, and thanks to Jisc’s Subject specialists you can now have it. And you will be able to adapt it and add your own favourites too.

Extend the idea of ‘scholarship‘ to evidence-based problem solving
The framework is meant to apply across professional roles in HE, FE and the skills sector. And one of the big toe-stubbing moments for people in non-HE-academic roles was always ‘scholarship’. We knew there was something important here about using digital evidence and tools. We wanted to keep  that digital capability is about thinking differently and not just doing differently. But it had to be expressed in a more inclusive way. This sub-element now appears as ‘problem solving‘. The Profiles for Researchers and for Library & information professionals show that this element can be interpreted in ways that are highly scholarly and research-based. But other staff (and learners!) also use digital evidence to make decisions, solve problems, and arrive at innovative solutions. Increasingly, practices such as survey design and finding patterns in data are needed across roles. We hope that in making this term more inclusive we have managed to keep that sense of intellectual engagement.

Notice that we do ‘development‘, not just self-development!
The framework was intended to be generic, with the special skills of digital teachers being explored in the relevant teacher profiles. While everyone can learn, reflect and develop in their role – the thinking went – not everyone is a teacher.

Feedback on question sets for the Discovery tool told us that teaching staff did not find enough in the generic framework that addressed their expertise in developing students and the curriculum. At the same time, staff in other roles pointed out that they also develop others, whether that’s supporting students with advice and guidance, contributing their expertise to the curriculum, or mentoring other staff in their team. Learners too can act as mentors and collaborators in the curriculum. So we’ve fixed it. The relevant element is now Learning and development and there is a new sub-element called ‘teaching‘. Just as the original framework implied that everyone should be a ‘learner’ – and have those habits of digital exploration and self-development – so now it implies that everyone in an educational organisation should be able to develop other people. And in the context of our framework that means everyone must appreciate how digital tools can help in this, even if they are not using those tools every day, or as a core part of their role.

We hope that these changes enhance the framework and make it more usable in practice. We look forward to hearing your views! Please come and discuss digital capability with us if you are attending Digifest on 14/15 March.

In the next update we discuss the new and updated digital capability profiles for different roles.

Follow #digitalcapability

Digital capability profiles for different roles

This is the second post in our rolling update on the Building digital capabilities challenge and associated resources from Jisc.

New and updated resources in this post:

In the first post I explained that the generic Framework has its limits when it comes to considering the specialist skills needed by staff in different roles. We have removed much of the detail from the high level framework, and it is now explored in a series of role-specific profiles or mappings. Each profile is an example of how the six elements can be interpreted and implemented in role-specific ways.

What does it mean to say that they are ‘examples’? Although they are more detailed, these profiles or mappings are still at a very general level. They don’t include any of the digital specialisms that we see emerging in different roles. They aren’t organisationally specific. They  don’t include any indication of level. Why not? Well, we are not trying to create competence frameworks, standards, or role descriptions. Those already exist and are quite rightly owned by the relevant professional bodies. We are – working with the relevant bodies where we can – providing examples of how digital expertise is emerging in different roles.

There is no suggestion that individuals should be able to do everything that is in the relevant profile. The profiles show how new areas of practice are emerging, and how individuals might use their digital skills in different areas of their designated roles.

byod-bannerThe profiles might be used:

  • by individuals to review their own development, and/or to ensure their digital capabilities are fully recognised and credited e.g. in appraisal and review;
  • by teams and team leaders to assess collective strengths and priorities, and identify areas in which new skills need to be developed or recruited;
  • as the basis for a local version, with language and examples relevant to local requirements;
  • to develop or curate resources relevant to people in specific roles.

Working on the profiles

I’m very grateful to have input from the members of several professional bodies and expert working groups on these resources. That doesn’t mean that the professional bodies overall have approved the content – unless it says so on the tin!

  • Teacher profile for further education and skills, with thanks to Jisc’s Digital Launchpad Working Group and Jisc subject specialists for accessibility and inclusion, for their comments and improvements
  • Teacher profile for higher education, with thanks to the Higher Education Academy for their comments and for supporting the mapping to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF)
  • Library and information professional profile, with thanks to Jane Secker and the Information Literacy Working group of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) for their comments and improvements
  • Learning technology mapping, developed in collaboration with the Association for Learning Technologies (ALT), with special thanks to Maren Deepwell for coordinating this
  • Leader profile, with thanks to participants on the Jisc Digital leaders course for their feedback
  • Learner profile, with thanks to members of the Association for Learning Development in HE and especially to Debbie Holley, Bournemouth University; also to student members of the Change agents’ network (CAN) network)
  • Researcher profile , with thanks to Vitae for supporting and enabling the mapping to their Researcher Development Profile (RDF)

We look forward to hearing your views about these resources – about how they could be useful or are already being used. Please come and discuss how you are developing digital capability in your organisation with us if you are attending Digifest on 14/15 March.


In the next update we look at some new organisational resources for planning and developing digital capability.

Follow #digitalcapability

News from the Building digital capability project team

Although it has been quiet on the blog recently, we have been busy behind the scenes with some new developments. We will also be starting a series of blog posts in March 2017, to launch a suite of resources to support colleges and universities with the development of digital capability of their staff and students. So bookmark this site and look out for the series of blog posts from Helen Beetham over the forthcoming weeks. We are pleased to be presenting on this work at DigiFest together with colleges and universities who are taking forward their developments on digital capabilities. We will also be launching a Digital Capability community of practice at an event on 9th May in Birmingham – more information will follow.

Piloting the discovery tool

We are delighted to be working with 14 institutions on a closed pilot of a beta version of our Discovery tool aligned to the digital capability framework.

Discovery tool

Discovery tool

The tool has been designed to support individuals and managers in a range of roles by helping them to identify and reflect on their current digital capability and make plans to improve their capability through a set of recommended actions and resources.

The following institutions are working with us over the next 6 months to pilot the discovery tool and our wider set of digital capability resources:

  • Coleg Y Cymoedd
  • Derwentside College
  • Hartpury College
  • North Lindsey College
  • Hull College Group
  • School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University
  • University of Derby
  • University of East London
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Hull
  • Institute of Education, University of Reading
  • The Open University
  • University of Southampton

The findings from the pilot will be informing the further development of the discovery tool which will move to a more sustainable platform for a roll out of an open pilot in Autumn 2017.

Developing organisational approaches to digital capability

6 Elements of digital capabilities model

6 Elements of digital capabilities model

In March we will be launching a suite of resources to support colleges and universities with the development of the digital capability of their staff and students. We are creating an online guide on ‘Developing organisational approaches to digital capability’ authored by Clare Killen and Helen Beetham, which will be launched late March. The online guide aims to support organisational leads with responsibility for developing staff and student digital capabilities in FE and HE by offering a structured approach showing how our digital capability framework can be used alongside a suite of tools and resources to help you to build a contextualised model for developing digital capability in your organisation.

The guide will link through to the following resources which have all been updated following feedback from an extensive consultation with practitioners and managers across further and higher education:

  • Updated digital capability framework
  • Organisational lens on the digital capability framework – which will provide guidance on how to approach digital capability across four key areas within an educational organisation of teaching, research, content and communications.
  • Strategic steps towards organisational digital capability – a 4 step model
  • An audit tool and checklist – a valuable starting point for conversations within the organisation
  • Seven digital capability ‘profiles’ outlining the digital capabilities required by different roles, including HE and FE teacher, learner, library and information professional, learning technologist, researcher and leader
  • Series of case studies highlighting how universities and colleges are developing staff digital capability

These resources will all be published in March and linked from the Building digital capability project page with supporting blog posts here.

If you have any queries please contact us at

We look forward to your feedback on these forthcoming resources.

Lisa Gray, Heather Price and Sarah Knight