Fourteen further education (FE) and higher education (HE) providers have shared the steps and experiences of how they are working to improve their organisational digital capability and to support staff and students to develop individual digital capabilities.
These examples show their differing priorities and strategic approaches, how they are leading the change processes, the actions they have taken, how they are moving ahead and the lessons learned. Our brief synthesis report (pdf) draws together the lessons learned across all case study participants.
Anglia Ruskin University: a digital literacy framework for staff and students
Anglia Ruskin University has a clear goal for "staff to improve and extend their digital literacy skills" within their 2015-2017 learning, teaching and assessment strategy. This strong focus on professional learning and accreditation emphasises the requirement for staff to keep up to date with digital practice in their subject area.
The university’s digital literacy framework drew on Jisc’s definition of digital literacy and the EU’s DigiComp framework and is now well established and used by staff. Staff are engaging through initiatives such as short, focused five-minute CPD activities rewarded by digital badges and tailored playlists of CPD resources from Lynda.com.
Bournemouth University: a new vision for learning
The vision and values of Bournemouth University are defined by the ‘fusion’ of research, education and professional practice. This ‘fusion’ principle is being used to address a number of over-lapping priorities including: evidence-based ‘transformational change’ aligned to the Teaching Excellence Framework; enhancing the student experience; addressing the need for 21st century skills and improved campus facilities (including core digital infrastructure).
Their TEL (technology-enhanced learning) strategy forum has a focus on sharing excellent practice and building innovation partnerships, research-teaching collaborations and action research projects, encouraging a diversity of digital practices to emerge and a broader, more scholarly idea of digital capability to become established.
Epping Forest College: unleashing student creativity
The 2020 Vision for Epping Forest College includes the aim of providing "resources and facilities that promote and embrace emerging technologies, support a professional environment and enable outstanding learning". After significant investment in IT and network infrastructure the college is now prioritising the upskilling and confidence-building of their teaching staff in all aspects of teaching, learning and assessment.
Digital learning advisers support students to use the learning spaces and the technologies available and ensure all learners are trained in e-learning and online responsibility. A series of contextualised activities and tools have been developed to meet the needs of different subject areas with the support of Jisc curriculum specialists.
Glasgow Caledonian University: a focus on flexible curriculum design
Digital literacy is referenced in Glasgow Caledonian University’s 2020 strategy and a strong commitment to digital education and innovation features in their strategy for learning which identifies a series of principles and ‘enablers’, some of them digital.
A joint initiative with the African Leadership Academy means that a large number of online and blended programmes are being developed with online assessment and feedback as routine.
Academic staff have completed a survey on their digital capabilities giving the university an insight that will allow them to move forward with digital learning and teaching.
The Jisc/NUS digital student benchmarking tool has also helped individuals benchmark their practice and support module reviews.
Hillcroft College: small is (digitally) beautiful
Hillcroft College promotes best practice in the advancement of equality and diversity and specialises in support for learners with dyslexia and dyspraxia. The Hillcroft ethos is that learners must become digital citizens before they can become digital learners and workers. E-safety is a clear priority and, with support from Jisc, the college is developing a more strategic approach to digital capability.
Lancaster University: digital fluency for everyone
Lancaster University is addressing cultural, infrastructure and skills development needs through Digital Lancaster, the digital version of the overall strategic plan.
Digital Lancaster sets out five goals: digital learning; digital design; digital expansion; digital communities; and digital engagement and has. identified four key digital capabilities they need to cultivate including:
- Digital fluency for staff and students
- Digital infrastructures
- Digital innovation
- Digital governance
With a "recruit the best" strategy, the human resources function is exploring what this means for a digital organisation.
North Lindsey College: digital ‘missions’ and digital teams
North Lindsey College acknowledges the role of digital technologies in learning and teaching through their college vision. Some of the priorities have been defined by national agendas such as the Further Education (FE) Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG) report (pdf), government area reviews and the Teaching Excellence Framework for HE.
Other priorities such as safeguarding and promoting social values, supporting staff skills development for blended learning and developing or adopting a digital capabilities framework for staff and students have been established through a Skillscan survey, support from Jisc, internal consultation and reviews.
The Jisc digital capabilities framework has helped to identify areas of development that will have most impact. The college also took part in the pilot of Jisc’s student digital experience tracker which provided detailed information about what the learners think of the digital environment and curriculum.
Nottingham Trent University: a continuum of support
Nottingham Trent University (NTU) engaged in a Changing the Learning Landscape project in 2014 to help the university make a step-change in their approach to digital capabilities.
Following on from this, the university has developed their own digital capabilities framework and has been investigating staff and student needs in order to provide a co-ordinated "continuum of support" for digital practice.
Every course at the university is undergoing a curriculum refresh process requiring consideration of digital capability alongside other key priorities for NTU graduates.
Salford City College: cascading skills through staff and student champions
Salford City College identified digital learning as one of five strategic priorities in 2015 with the aim of implementing the FELTAG recommendations by 2018.
Their digital learning strategy of 2016 sets out how the college will achieve this through seven strands of work: pedagogy; digital learning environments, IT investment, resourcing; digital literacies for staff and learners; collaboration and partnerships; and innovation and quality.
Employability and progression are key success factors for the college. As well as developing placement partnerships with employers the college aims to help employers understand the value of digital capabilities in their businesses and to help them to make use of the digital expertise the college can provide.
The University of Brighton: digital literacies in professional development and the curriculum
The University of Brighton developed their own digital literacy framework in 2013 as part of a Changing the Learning Landscape project.
Practical Wisdom, the university’s strategy for 2016-2021, includes several actions that require robust digital literacy skills.
The library is leading the drive to improve digital capability in collaboration with the Centre for Learning and Teaching and the learning technology team. The framework is facilitating a shared understanding and providing consistency through "talking a similar language". It is flexible enough to allow individual schools to respond differently.
Curriculum teams are embedding digital literacies in their work with students and academic staff required to reference the framework in the university’s initial post-graduate certificate programme and when seeking recognition as fellows or senior fellows of the HE Academy.
Student learning and teaching ambassadors support other students and staff in their uses of digital technologies.
The University of Lincoln: how digital are you?
The university places a premium on open pedagogies and student-led production of open content, connecting digital education with the practices of digital research and the public communication of ideas.
They recognise that staff and students will need support to take advantage of a "more complex and dynamic digital environment" and are also concerned to promote digital safety and well-being.
Our digital capabilities framework was used to gather a baseline view of digital capabilities across the university and the results are informing priorities for future workshops and development projects.
The Open University: developing a digital mindset
The Open University has a comprehensive digital and information literacy (DIL) framework which was introduced in 2012 and is fully integrated into course design processes and academic professional development.
The 2016 Students First strategy of takes this a step further and includes a commitment to'"develop a set of minimum competencies for digital literacy and provide programmes for development and support for all staff and students".
A range of initiatives is supporting the drive to improve digital capabilities across the organisation, addressing variable levels of digital confidence for teaching practice staff and developing an understanding of what new data literacy skills are required.
The DIL framework is being aligned to the Teaching Excellence Framework and the Research Excellence Framework and also is being mapped to the university’s employability goals.
The University of Southampton: working in partnership with students
The University of Southampton places a strong focus on research excellence and reputation with digital scholarship being recognised as being of strategic importance. The close working relationship between the library and the digital education team means that developments in digital scholarship and digital learning are being addressed in parallel.
The university works with iChamps, student digital partners, who lead their own projects and act as advocates and mentor new iChamps, offering workshops to share their skills. In collaboration with the Students' Union, the university is also training course leaders and representatives in how their digital practices can support their roles, using badges and accreditation pathways to recognise and reward their achievements.
University College London (UCL): modern variations on a radical tradition
University College London (UCL)'s twenty-year vision: UCL 2034 commits the university to "supporting students to develop their digital capabilities to ensure that they are able to thrive in new working and learning environments".
The 2016-21 education strategy has specific objectives for the digital curriculum and the digital environment for learning and plans to expand their current student ChangeMakers programme to increase the number of staff-student innovation projects and site more student change agents within departments.
They are also encouraging students to participate in digital learning and scholarship through the Connected Curriculum scheme which engages students in research, scholarship and professional practice.