DIAL at Designs on e-Learning Conference 2013 Wilmington USA


The University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Center for Teaching Excellence is pleased to partner with Penn State University and the University Arts London in hosting the 8th annual Designs on e-Learning Conference. The theme identified for 2 013’s conference is “The Art of Disruptive Engagement”. Slated for September 11, 12 and 13, 2 013 the conference will focus on one of the major challenges of 21st century higher education: determining the optimal uses of emerging technologies for student engagement.

Abstract Author: Chris Follows and DIAL teamDeveloping digital literacies, sharing strategies and approaches by understanding DIAL’s ‘resources of expertise’

Panel Session: This panel presentation aims to provide an overview and insight into the mostly unseen and unknown ‘resources of expertise’ required for developing and delivering sustainable digital literacies projects in UK art and design Higher education.

At the University of the Arts London the DIAL project http://dial.myblog.arts.ac.uk  (Digital Integration into Arts Learning), partially funded by JISC Developing Digital Literacies Programme, set out to explore digital literacies (DLs) in the arts. DIAL supports a number of self-identifying and mutually supportive communities of staff and students within the university (based on courses, disciplines, departments or other naturally occurring communities) who identify goals for improving their collective digital literacies. Staff and students approach DIAL with proposals of what they would like to do to address their DLs needs rather than the deficit model of waiting to be sent on specific DL training courses for what someone else thinks they need.

The DIAL project has produced many new and evolving ‘resources of expertise’, namely all those who have contributed to the success DIALs unique DL model, these include individuals involved in the DIAL project from: project conception, management, coordination and project development and innovation. All these individuals have brought their own existing and new specialist expertise to create a new combined DIAL ‘resources of expertise’. The project team and participants have shared their experience and expertise openly online, many exploring open educational practice (OEP) for the first time. See all the DIAL projects and activities here: http://process.arts.ac.uk/content/dial-projects-and-activities

Members of the DIAL project team will draw from their experiences of managing and participating in the DIAL project. This paper will highlight the different perspectives and approaches taken by the UAL DIAL project team, including:

  • The DIAL approach, what worked well and what didn’t work so well.
  • Supporting departmental strategic planning by embedding sustainable digital literacies (DL’s) using the communities of practice model (CoP’s) and supporting self-sustainable open practice networks across groups and departments.
  • The pros and cons of supporting cross collaboration in DLs between projects, departments, services and course students and staff.
  • Tools and processes for project managing a cross college DL change programme running multiple complex digital literacy CoP projects.
  • Creating DL project support roles, such as staff and student project coordinators/champions to meet capacity and support a wider project knowledge base.
  • The perspectives of the staff and students who developed DL projects from complex ‘self identifying groups’ into sustainable and productive DL CoPs through realising achievable but complicated goals/targets, applying specialisms, being subject focused and demonstrating independence, self motivation, enthusiasm and passion.

What next for DLs at UAL? DIAL is a change programme and will strive to continue beyond the life of the project and support a sustainable and long-term future for UALs Digital Literacies Programme.

Related text/references

Gauntlett, D. 2011. Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity, from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0, Malden, Polity Press.

Lave, Jean & Wenger, Etienne. 1991. Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press

Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of Practice Learning, meaning and Identity. New Yotk: Cambridge University Press

Wenger, E. White, N. and Smith, J.D., 2009. Digital Habitats; Stewarding Technology for Communities. Portland: Cpsquare.

Snowden. D. Jul 11, 2010. The Cynefin Framework [online]   <http://youtu.be/N7oz366X0-8 > [Accessed 02 May 2013].

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