Today John, Chris and I attended the Digital Literacies programme start-up meeting in Birmingham. We gave a super-fast elevator pitch for the DIAL project and heard the other eleven teams’ pitches. A couple of the projects from outside our own cluster that might be useful to keep an eye on are Cardiff’s ‘Digidol’ project, which is also looking at new ways of developing staff and student skills across the institution, and the University of Bath’s PriDE project, which is also focusing on discipline-specific and stakeholder-led approaches to developing digital literacy.
Within our own cluster there is plenty of potential for ideas-sharing; the
Institute of Education (IoE) is also going to be identifying a number of small pilot projects – although they will be focusing on four to our sixteen, and their plan incorporates a substantial consultation and research phase. Martin Oliver and Lesley Gourlay (pictured) were the team members present at the meeting.
The University of Greenwich project team are looking at digital literacies from an employability angle and are going to be focusing on students at key transitional stages. We met Antony Coombes and Mark Kerrigan, as well as Peter Chatterton (centre in the pic); who is primarily independent, but associated with Greenwich. I had an interesting chat with Peter about other synergies and collaboration opportunities with Engineering and the Arts, thinking specifically about what Arts students could teach Engineers about process skills and creative practices.
University College London’s project – The Digital Department – is aimed specifically at teaching administrators, who in many HEIs run the show in terms of VLE management etc.. Although at UAL much of this kind of work is carried out by course directors, it may be the case that one or more of our 16 communities is administration-focused, and in any case I think it will be really interesting for us to see how this kind of set-up works in other HEIs.
During the afternoon sessions we gleaned some great advice from our Critical Friend, Carol Baume. Carol agreed with us that getting interim project management in place is a real priority, so that we can start working with a first handful of identified communities. Getting something started with just a couple of groups is a good move as we will be able to apply lessons learned with subsequent groups, and provide them with models and examples to work with.
Carol suggested simply putting together a basic resource that will enable one or two groups – ideally those who have worked with us previously and are already well-defined – to provide us with their digital literacy goals and ideas for the assessment of existing skills and confidence levels (baselining). A preliminary meeting of one or two members of the project team with key members from the community in question would be required, although this could take place virtually.