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The Digital Department


Developing digital literacies for teaching administrators


Supporting Learners in a Digital Age

By Clive Young, on 26 September 2011

Not surprisingly much of the work on digital literacies in higher education has focused on students. JISC have recently published Supporting Learners in a Digital Age, a briefing paper largely based on their high profile ‘Supporting Learners in a Digital Age’ (SLiDA) project. SLiDA explored how nine different institutions are helping students use digital technologies effectively in their studies, and preparing them to live and work in a digital society. Part of the briefing paper is a “a strategy for digital capability“. This states in short:

  • Thriving in the digital age demands the confidence to respond to complex and changing circumstances, rather than mastery of specific systems.
  • It helps to have a framework of core principles.
  • Shared frameworks are key to a strategic approach, but examples of good practice are important to guide curriculum renewal in different subject areas.
  • Digital skills should not be bolted on to existing provision. Rather, the institution needs to renew its core practices in the light of new digital challenges and opportunities.

Alhough aimed at students these apply equally to staff skills. Indeed in the strategy it is recognised that “teaching staff skills are critical to students’ experience and developing confidence with technology”. How can this be achieved? “In addition to general workshops and training opportunities, staff benefit from embedded experts such as e-champions and specialist professionals. They need opportunities to share practice with colleagues in both scholarly and informal settings.” In other words The Digital Department altnough adapting the focus very much builds on and extends the ideas of Supporting Learners in a Digital Age.



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