The use of digital technologies and media by researchers potentially is changing what it means to be an effective researcher or skilled academic/professional in higher education. Vitae baseline report
Research skills and competences are integral to academic practice at all levels but this section will focus on developing the digital literacies of research students and career researchers.
Researchers are increasingly using digital technologies in a social and professional context to enhance their research activities as these open up new possibilities in terms of networking, communication and collaboration, data capture, analysis and visualisation, project management and open publishing and research. However, Vitae, an organisation championing the development of researchers in the UK, has recognised that there is a general lack of expertise within the researcher development community when it comes to digital literacy development.
Through its involvement in the developing digital literacies programme, Vitae is working more proactively with this community to help prioritise activities and support.
Developing a culture of digital research practice is important in research-intensive institutions and across research networks. There are examples of approaches to this, including the involvement of researchers in change programmes.
Exploring the digital practices of postgraduate researcher at the University of Exeter
The Cascade project at the University of Exeter has worked with a group of postgraduate researchers to develop their skills and interests in the area of digital scholarship and explore different practices in the use of technology in research contexts.
These practices are significant for innovating research culture in departments but are also being used to develop activities in taught programmes, enabling students to experience learning activities that are digitally rich as well as research intensive. Postgraduates are seen as key change agents at the University. They are influencing research teams through their enthusiasm for digital methods, and they are also involved in undergraduate teaching where they are bringing new practices into the classroom.
The interns themselves believe that they have much to learn from the next generation of undergraduates, who they see taking more creative control of digital media and developing their own environments and tools for learning.