The Digital Department
As the complexity of providing education in an increasingly digitally-rich HE environment has grown, a new cadre of well-qualified teaching administrators (TAs) is now emerging as critical ‘change agents’. TAs provide a range of ‘just in time’ support to academic colleagues. They often manage VLE resources, communicate directly with students and facilitate key educational processes such as assessment, feedback and consistent quality standards. Although TAs contribute directly to the student experience their specific digital literacy needs have so far been rarely recognised or addressed. The Digital Department will therefore analyse the diverse skills and abilities needed in a modern ‘digital department’, and explore how can we can benchmark, develop, share and evaluate best teaching administration digital practice across UCL.
Supported by the Association of University Administrators (AUA), we aim to work together to establish a sector-wide certification framework. In parallel the project will explore how technology can enhance the business efficiency and educational effectiveness of academic processes. Achieving consistent quality of teaching and learning support is important to students but is undoubtedly challenging in a large, diverse research-led university such as UCL. By developing a common framework of digital literacies among a committed staff group and by engaging students, support staff and academic colleagues throughout the process, we believe we can establish a practical, sustainable model of institutional change which can be applied to other staff groups across our institution and the wider HE sector.
- Review current processes and practices to establish a baseline of digital literacies required and a framework of good practice
- Analyse the likely future requirements - via focus groups and 'mini projects'
- Plan innovations - co-develop a knowledge base to enable individual self assessment
- Pilot a practitioner-led workshop programme covering main skills areas.
- Evaluate with a particular focus on enhancing the student experience.
- Certify of the emergent programme (with the AUA) – a portfolio approach.
- Cascade the literacies to colleagues and students.
- Adapt the model for other groups of professional services staff.
Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes
Evaluated UCL organisational strategy for developing digital literacies of teaching administrators (TAs).
Benchmark of digital literacies required by TAs to support the digital department
Knowledge base and development framework.
Evaluated development model for engaging staff / students and enhancing and embedding skills.
OER materials to support staff and organisational development, including guidance and workshop materials, toolkits and a 'knowledge base'.
Individual case studies (portfolios) in a range of academic units.
A reward and recognition/certification model.
Adaptation for other professional support groups.
Clive P L Young
UCL Learning Technology Support Service (LTSS)
020 7679 0824
UCL Psychology and Language Sciences
020 7679 4224
UCL Institute of Child Health
020 7905 2673