First time I’d been to a JISC Learning and Teaching experts meeting, it was great to hear all about all the JISC activities and progress across the various JISC programmes. I was pleased to hear JISC have some new programmes being developed ‘Student engagement’, ‘MOOCS’ and the Changing landscape, DIAL has explored all these areas in collaboration with other projects and departments across the UAL so we’ll be interested to see how/if DIAL work aligns with these new programmes.
Our cluster group (4 London DL projects) all gave project overviews. Developing Digital Literacies – issues and approaches:
The session provided an update on the work of four projects that have been pursuing different institutional approaches to developing digital literacies for staff and students.
- Digital literacies as a postgraduate attribute – Institute of Education, University of London
- The digital department – University College London
- Digital literacies in transition – University of Greenwich
- Digital integration into arts learning – University of the Arts London
The session was chaired by Carole Baume, critical friend to the cluster
Its always really useful and interesting to hear about how the other projects are dealing with the same issues in different ways but with lots of synergies in the various findings, e.g. defining DLs is an exploratory and agile process, hard skills (digital competencies) and soft skills (relational digital skills as DIAL have identified in the PoI project and in the (Notes from kick off meetings ‘Understanding digital literacies at UAL’ focus groups) or ‘critical digital literacies’ as University of Greenwich identified). All the projects talked about digital identities in different contexts, specifically the relationships between personal and professional, University College London mentioned a ‘problem’ with dealing with 3rd party social medial platforms in addressing identity work. Throughout the DIAL project we observed and participated in many different social media discussions and debates, its not something DIAL is addressing head on per se, DIAL are dealing with social media in our Professional Online Identities POI Programme through various different training. Our other general approach has been to try and bring together all the various groups as to exchange findings and interests in the Social Media at UAL group.
There were lots of interesting questions at the end:
Q. How do universities support the ‘digitally scared? Or the digitally ‘left-behind’ some staff at UAL have been teaching traditional practices for many years and the wave of digital tech impacting on traditional practice (professional subject specific and teaching practices) has made many staff question to what extent do they have to engage with digital or not. Its not just staff we encounter, some 19 year old students are fearful of technology too, ‘they just don’t get on with computers’ so they try and avoid at all costs. The DIAL model/approach is a great example of supporting ‘digitally scared or ‘left-behind’ e.g. encouraging staff and students to acknowledge their fear or avoidance of engaging with digital/technology (everyone has this fear in different ways, however experienced). DIAL provides these individuals with an in-house support network which can respond and support individual needs and provide ‘long term’ DL encouragement and support.
Q. To what extent do students drive the DL agenda/needs? The PoI project is a direct response to various meetings, panel sessions and focus groups with students, fundamental to its development and being (see related meetings – Enterprise Week Improving Your Prospects through Online Profiles and Feedback notes from Enterprise week session: ‘Sharing knowledge improve and develop professional identities’ and Professional Identities Workshop #legoseriousplay).
And a final question about:
Q. How could the HE DL work inform and support our schools, from primary education upwards, so new students are better prepared? DIAL have began to explore and address this issue firstly through this project ‘Assessing the level of Digital Literacy of pre- degree students’ and with future work in the university by collaborating with current engagement work between UAL and schools.
I dropped in on a presentation of a JISC Advance project called WebES (Students for webinar employability skills) session by Ellen Lessner, Abingdon and Witney College (http://students4webes.blogspot.co.uk) at the JISC Learning and Teaching experts meeting. There are lots of relevant and useful references we can use/reuse and maybe adopt for the DIAL PoI project.
The aim of our JISC funded project is to develop employability skills for Level 3 students in relation to using video conferencing and webinars. Students will be trained to use video conferencing and to run a webinar, they will set up 7-15 short webinars with employers around the theme of ‘What does an employer want from an employee?” Our plan is to produce the following:
1. A student centred guide to running a webinar
2. Recordings of employer webinars (with full consent from employer) for use by other students
3. A student led conference, supported by the JISC RSC SE, on the theme of employability skills using video conferencing and webinars.
All the Webinar recordings can be seen on this blog – http://students4webes.blogspot.co.uk/
A DIAL version of this project:
It would be good to do a similar follow on project to Laura’s Video Presentation Skills project around issues and challenges of presenting and participating in online webinars and meetings. It would be good to first explore the different platforms as was done in WebES project. They used blackboard collaborate in the end because it had the support of JISC but after talking with the WebES team, I asked how many employers were familiar with this platform, none. So part of our project could be to first of all learn from WebES project outputs and approach and then experiment with tools employers in our sector use for online meetings etc. and involve students in a similar way to the WebES project. I’d particularly be interested in testing out google, skype and http://www.webex.co.uk/.