DIAL project update below from DIALs SEE project partner Katie Mills:
Having produced this summary and reading through the impact and value of the project it really comes to light just how valuable it has been, particularly in testing new models for internal collaboration and in relation to our own team and staff’s awareness to the importance and valuable of digital skills and professional identities within our area of work. I really hope you get further support and funding to take this work forward and we/SEE are eager to remain involved and build on the great work done so far.
What benefits has your project delivered and who are the beneficiaries?
The immediate beneficiaries of the project have been the students and staff who have engaged with the project, either as participants of events and workshops or as part of the delivery and support team who have also benefited from raised awareness, skills and knowledge of digital skill and professional online identities. Beyond this through engagement in the project UAL’s Student Enterprise and Employability (SEE) department (at all staff levels) us better informed about the importance and relevance of digital literacies, skills and online professional identities for creative students and graduates in finding work and employment, and thus SEE staff and programme is now more engaged with this area of student/graduate skill development and learning. Greater profile and prominence has been given to digital skills generally (specifically professional online identities) and new workshops and events have been introduced in this area for students and graduates. The project has provided a test case and pilot which SEE can use and refer to in advocating for greater attention and consideration to be given to providing and embedding digital skills and literacy development within and outside the curriculum diversifying and enhancing employability, enterprise and careers support and experience for UAL students.
Furthermore the project has created an internal network of digital literacy on online identity advocates and champions. A diverse range of staff from disparate units and parts of the university have been given an opportunity to meet and collaborate on related activities, creating a ‘known’ pool of staff who can further support and contribute to talks, workshops, initiatives and other events to support student, graduate and staff learning and understanding in this area, at course, college and institutional levels. The project has also provided an opportunity to raise the profile and understanding of SEE, Own-It (UAL’s intellectual property advice unit) and Learn-It at college and institutional level, enabling these units to engage with new audience groups and showcase their value and expertise in relation to online professional identities, digital skills, IP and employability.
What other impacts has your project had?
SEE’s improved understanding of the relevance and importance of digital skills and professional online identities for finding and sustaining work, employment and creative practice has influenced strategic decisions around SEE’s service and support priorities and provision across UAL. The project has also led to further pilot initiatives and new partnerships which may otherwise have been overlooked by SEE. An example of this being the recent decision to pilot a one day ‘learn to code’ tech jam in partnership with Freefomers, an external social enterprise start-up. The tech jam was run at London College of Communication but was open to all students, graduates and staff from all of UAL’s colleges. Internally the tech jam was coordinated by SEE, LCC Digital Space and Marketing team, working together for the first time.
The project has also been a pilot for a new model of teaching and learning at UAL, whereby students, graduates and staff have come together for training. Beyond the advantages of diversity within learning groups (e.g. age/generational, professional status/level, etc) this has given key UAL departments and staff, with very different remits and target audiences, the opportunity to work together, offering a unique (first time) opportunity and justification for aligning, combining and maximising effort, time and budgets for greater impact and reach.
The project has also provided some valuable research and data on students’ perceptions, interests and needs in relation to professional online identities which can be used by various internal stakeholders, including SEE and tutors and CLTAD to inform further communication and investigation within this area.
How will the project be developed further/sustained?
SEE is currently reviewing its entire support and service programme at UAL and will continue to ensure professional digital skills are reflected within our support and service offer to students, graduates and staff. SEE will also continue to utilise the internal network of staff to enhance and support our programme delivery utilising and engaging staff in our events, workshops and programmes where possible and strategically valuable.
Following the initial and successful collaboration with Freeformers SEE will use the learning and experience of this project to further expand our external network of partners to identify new opportunities for enhancing students, graduate and staff knowledge, skills and experience of digital literacies and professional identities. The findings and experiences from the project will also be used by SEE staff to further promote and champion the importance and value of embedding digital skills and literacies within the curriculum to enhance student skills and employability and wider student experience across UAL.
Katie Mills | SEE