Investigating how digital literacies are currently supported and reviewing skills levels across the organisation can help prioritise areas for development and baseline the institutional starting point for change.
Although potentially time-consuming, undertaking this kind of research is essential to providing an evidence base for change and a business case for investing in digital literacy development. It also provides a starting point against which you can evaluate progress, inform planning and generally contribute to the business intelligence of the organisation.
There will be different approaches required to investigating these different areas. While some of these could be informed from existing institutional documentation or light touch interviews with key players, other areas will be more complex. The main areas to consider include (a more detailed set of possible questions is available):
- Strategies and policies eg external and institutional strategies and statements
- Infrastructure eg IT hardware, software, mobile access, learning spaces
- Support eg support services, online resources, tutor/peer support
- Practice eg technologies in use, learning experience, co-curricular activities
- Expertise and attitudes eg staff and student capabilities and perceptions
- Needs and expectations eg stakeholder expectations, needs analysis
Institutional audit and review tool
This audit tool developed by Jisc supports evidence gathering around digital literacy support across the organisation. It provides questions and points for reflection around key areas: strategies and policies, support from professional services, support in programmes of study, IT infrastructure and support, developing expertise, special projects or initiatives and conclusions/recommendations.
Understanding the baseline will enable evidence-based decision-making and inform future strategies. It also provides a starting point against which initiatives can be evaluated to provide evidence of impact and support a case for further investment of resources. There are a number of tools and approaches including evaluation resources used in digital literacy projects.