Project meeting notes DIAL: Digital Integration into Arts Learning

JISC Developing Digital Literacies Programme

Project: DIAL: Digital Integration into Arts Learning

Institution: University of Arts London

Date: Friday 11 November 13:00 – 16:00

Location:  Boardroom 9th Floor, 272 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EY


JISC: Paul Bailey, Doug Belshaw, Carole Baume

Project: Shân Wareing, Chris Follows, Lindsay Jordan, Professor Elizabeth Rouse, Deputy Rector Academic , Pat Christie (Director Information Services), Dee Searle (Director, Communications),  Nick Rogers/Philip Ratcliffe (Director, HR), Duna Sabri (Evaluator), Ben Westhead (President of SU), John Jackson (Educational Development), Nancy Turner (Associate Dean: Professional Development at CLTAD)

Notes of Meeting (download word documents here –

Background and overview

The project is very timely for the institution, as they had just had recommendations from an IT service review which suggested they needed to look at staff development around the use of technology. They are looking at looking at culture and transformational change through digital literacies (DL) and developing confidence and capability. A major challenge is dealing with constant change and building staff confidence.

The institution has fantastic programmes, but sluggish infrastructure but want to get beyond expectations and create an environment where experimentation and sharing can be encouraged. As well as being able to provide/stimulate demands on the infrastructure from the students themselves. They want to look at whether they are using enough social media

The institution sees the project as a lever for change in the institution. Hence the project has taken in a problem based learning approach through communities of practice. The focus of the project is on Graduate Employability but underpinning is staff skills and DL skills.

There has been some change in structure within the institution but have some strong senior manager engagement in the project. The project needs to look at how HR can best support the process of developing DL. The careers service has now become Student enterprise and employability and comes under Shan.

There is a high proportion of part-time staff and another challenge is how to update all staff

The DIAL pteam may consider the use of ‘badges’ although the terminology may be adapted to suit the environment ‘credits’ maybe? Badges are a way of incrementally and visibly crediting and logging an individuals development as they learn new skills and achieve new goals, badges could support the CPD process. UAL ALTO have established a contact in the US regarding the development of badges following a visit to MIT OCWC Conference, there is a possible future collaboration opportunity to develop the badges concept in collaboration as a ALTO UK and DIAL co-development pilot project.

Doug suggested we look at the following links for more information about the technical infrastructure at and details of the DML competition (backed by Mozilla, the US Dept of Education, HASTAC, NASA, etc.) at It’s worth following the hashtags #openbadges and #dmlbadges on Twitter.

The institution has invested time in digitisation and OER and will be looking at how to bring staff along with the changes and new advances around OER.

No employers have signed up to the project but skill sector bodies have a view that there is a list of skills that employers need.

The project is encouraged to provide an overview of any existing projects, initiatives or partnerships that maybe useful in the project plan and also the baseline report.

Project Discussion

The pilot communities

The five communities will be scoping some key areas where staff has hit barriers and where they want to create supporting resources (hence PBL approach). This is an opportunity to create a support community.

The five suggested communities will come from a technical group, academic, CPD including the PGCert, institutional-senior managers, the library and students. It is possible that the communities will each involve a range of stakeholders from each of these. (See University of Bath PRIDE project – hubs and spokes model where they have faculty based groups with a range of stakeholders including students)

There is already resource committed in various parts of the institution in IT, IS, HE and communications, so the project is looking to leverage this to bring about change.

The project team have already done some discourse around communities of practice, as looking across University to build communities across colleges. There are some existing communities which could be candidates for the pilots.

The pilots need to weave in different aspects of DL and also institutional issues and it would be good to identify a list within the project plan.

Philip from HR sees it as developing a more learning culture in the Institution. At present it i a deficit model i.e. I don’t know how to do this, so I need a course, or this used to be done by someone else but they left. They are hoping to change this culture.  The plan is to encourage people to come with projects and support them to work on these as projects. The community approach will create a set of resources than they can use (and also share between communities).

Two groups they would like to engage (in the communities?) are the

  • laggards where DL is not in their thinking. They recognise that it won’t work talking to them about DL so will focus on identify, status, etc. as well as levers such as student feedback.
  • student body, how to lever their expertise across all the communities. Learn from students who have worked, done placements and links with administrative processes.

An existing initiative the “Learning zone” is based on peer support, where they employ students to support staff. Ben suggested that there is a big gap between the work of the learning zone and the rest of the institution.

A recent VLE review (John Jackson) has undertaken focus groups with students. They plan to gather some stories from this review work and capture them in a visual way.

A suggested group was the Race Ethnicity Achievement group who are involved in producing resources. They are enthusiastic about getting work out there and have communication needs.

Engaging Students

There are some challenges in how to involve the students as they exist as different communities split across the colleges and how to share learning. The University is sold to students as being one university, but reality is more split. The institution and field is ripe for shift from staff and students being on a more level playing field, encouraging collaborative approaches. See work at Lincoln (Doug ref) and Exeter students as producers and students as change agents.

They use of students in employability and students working with staff on DL would be beneficial for students as well.

The project should look at methods to engage students through existing structures e.g. existing course or use new processes to engage students who are not already engaged. (see Oxford Brookes University e-Pioneers)

The PGCert has 100 staff blogging, but they don’t want students to see it as they feel they still learning. They are being encouraged to celebrate being a learning community and recognise that with DL there are new things to learn all the time.

It would be useful to encourage senior managers to be more open about their learning and digital literacies, taking a lead from the top.

Existing practice

Communities may look at their own digital literacies as part of their own learning. There are several existing tools/approach for self-assessing DL skills – (see design studio resources and/or ask Helen/Doug)

The institution is looking at how best to reward good teaching and are in the process of setting up student led awards for staff through the HEA and will look to influence this through the DL project. There is a “teaching prof” route but no one has done it yet. Both these will be integrated into the performance review process

The project wants to capture stories of staff and how they have developed their DL skills. (use of media to capture these) and communities will involved in the co-creation of resources to include line drawings.


The evaluation is being led by Dune Sabre. An initial task is to interview project members, (What is DL) and then come up with a plan for evaluation and help team members to use tools that will evaluate each strand. The evaluation should be formative for the project and seek to draw out lessons/learning that will benefit both UAL and the wider community (i.e. other Universities). Jay Dempster will be able to comment on the evaluation plan and questions (invite to cluster meeting?)

Programme Management


The governance should be detailed in the project plan and also show how senior managers on the advisory baord are involved in strategic planning committees. The advisory board may also include representatives from an employer, external stakeholders e.g. LMU contact, a member of another project i. the cluster.

Project Plan

The project plan is still in development and an early set of work packages and deliverables for the next 3 months should be produced as soon as possible. The programme managers would be happy to agree that the full project plan could be delivered after the project manager is in post i.e. late January.


JISC are planning to engage a number of key stakeholder bodies and associations with the programme to support embedding and dissemination.

Details of dates of further activities across the programme were provided at the start-up meeting, as well as providing an overview of the support team structure.

The programme support team is being led by JISC Advance, the main contact is Doug Belshaw Evaluation support and synthesis support have being appointed to support these activities and populate the Design Studio with outputs from the projects. A closed programme support wiki is being set-up for projects to submit reports and access support materials in relation to the programme. Registration details have now being circulated and project team members should ensure they have access.

Lindsay has agreed to host/organise the first cluster meeting with a focus around the baseline report and evaluation.


Projects are invited to participate in the JISC Learning and Teaching Experts Group and will receive regular updates and information about this group. Projects will also be expected to attend and present at meetings running in 2012. See  for further information.

Projects are invited to attend the JISC Online Conference 2011: Learning in Transition which is taking place online from 15th – 25th November. Projects will receive one free place per project and will need to contact Geoff Minshull  with their details to receive their free place. See for further information.

The programme tag for Blogs and twitter we are using is #jiscdiglit.

The project at the University of Greenwich has established a Digital Literacies community as part of their project, available at

Projects are reminded to consult the new JISC brand guidelines when setting up their project website, blog or in the production of related materials. These are available from:  where you will also find a Decision Tree advising which brand identity elements apply to you.

Projects should also feel free to contact the programme managers (Paul Bailey and Sarah Knight at any point for support or advice and also to keep them informed of any changes or issues regarding the project’s progress.


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