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The Digital Department


Developing digital literacies for teaching administrators


New UCL ‘The Digital Department’ project funded by JISC

By Clive Young, on 11 July 2011

UCL Portico stepsWe have just been awarded funding from JISC for a two-year project to develop a ‘digital literacy’ framework and training programme for teaching administrators (TAs) at UCL. As well as developing the professional profile and expertise of TAs at UCL we aim to obtain external accreditation of the training programme through the Association of University Administrators.

The UCL team are

  • Stefanie Anyadi (UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences)
  • Lorraine Dardis (UCL Institute of Child Health)
  • Clive Young (Learning Technology Support Service).

Overview of the project:

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.


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