“I don’t know how to use the VLE!”

Originally posted on e-Learning Stuff.

A model of VLE embedding and development

Despite many people talking about the death of the VLE over the years, the institutional VLE is still an important component of most colleges and universities offer in the online space. Whether this be supporting existing programmes of study, those offering a blended approach, or even for fully online programmes.

For most universities and colleges, growth in the use of the VLE is relatively organic, with little planning on either side. Training is often focused on the mechanistic and technical aspects of the VLE. Some training looks at the learning first, but without understanding the potential of the functionality or the affordances of the VLE, it can be challenging for practitioners to work out how to use the VLE to meet the needs of that learning activity.

The end result is an inconsistent approach to how practitioners use the VLE which can be confusing for learners who have multiple modules or courses delivered by different people. The other end result is that sometimes an inappropriate function of the VLE is used resulting in a challenging experience in learning something, with the challenge being using the technology, not understanding the learning.

One of the attractive aspects of any VLE is the range of functionality that it offers allowing practitioners (academics, teachers, lecturers) many different ways to engage with learners and create learning activities.

However that very attractiveness in variety of functionality, is also the real challenge in getting the VLE adopted. Faced with a wealth of features, many practitioners won’t know where to start and what they should do first, as well as how much they should do as well.

Likewise if you want staff to integrate and link with other tools and plug them into the VLE, then there is an additional level of functionality (and features) that needs to be understood. Not just those of the VLE, or the other tool, but how best to integrate and link them. You may for example want staff to connect their blog (or their learners’ blogs) into the VLE for discussion and comment.

For many years when supporting staff I realised that a more sustainable and holistic approach was to break down using the VLE into a series of step changes or stages. These stages would be relatively simple to adopt, and once confident and using the VLE at each stage, the practitioner could then move onto the next stage. This echoed the approach that most advanced VLE users had taken, but probably didn’t realise they had.

Too often when talking about the VLE to others, it can be easy to forget our own learning journey with the VLE and assume others can embrace all that functionality in one go. Also many practitioners who are seeking help and support, may not really understand the process of self learning on how to use the VLE that “expert” practitioners have been through and are expecting to pick it up all in one training session.

The use of steps or small changes is one that many practitioners can embrace and can use to make best use of the VLE and start on a journey integrating third party tools into the VLE.

Back in 2010 I published the five stage model I had been using.

A five stage model for using the VLE

VLEs have a huge range of functionality, a lot of criticism often laid against the VLE is that some users are not aware of those functions.

There is often too much information about the VLE for new users who may not understand many of the concepts or have the skills to fully utilise the functionality of the VLE.

This five stage model was designed to support and enable staff to easily embed use of the VLE into their teaching and learning. I wasn’t alone in doing this and I am aware of others across higher and further education who had a similar line of thinking.

For the purposes of this article I am going to re-visit the VLE five stage model and provide an updated version that can be used to support and train staff to enable them to use the VLE effectively and hopefully a better experience for the learners.

The original model got a fair bit of comment and criticism. One of the points made was that uploading resources such as existing Word documents was flawed as a better approach was that to put the text straight into the VLE as it would make it better for the learner. With files such as Word document, the learner has to have the right software, download the file to read it. Whereas just putting straight text (and content) into the VLE means its can be just read there and then, makes it more accessible more quickly. I have incorporated that critique into the model as I don’t disagree with that sentiment (and didn’t at the time), however we need to consider that some staff have a large collection of existing digital files that they may want to use with their learners, so I don’t think the concept of uploading files should be dismissed.

As with the previous model there are five main stages. The concept is that a member of staff gets themselves comfortable with each stage before moving onto the next stage. Within each stage it may be possible to break it down into smaller steps or stages. As a result the length of time it will take to do each stage is dependent on not just the member of staff, but also the number of sub-stages that need to be completed. This is less about rushing through the stages but ensuring staff are comfortable and competent at each stage, and ensuring that they then move onto the next stage.

Unlike the previous model, though there are five stages, the final three stages are not taking in order, the practitioner can use which of the three to do first (and which would be most useful to their practice and their learners).

Stage One

Upload to the VLE the scheme of work, information about the course (for example reading lists), useful links, information about the lecturer. If there is a course handbook then this could also be uploaded.

Stage Two

You could upload the presentation slides, other course resources, handouts, assignments, detailed schemes of work and more links.

Now this is something that is often laid against VLEs as why they don’t work as they are merely used as repositories of materials. However practitioners who are unfamiliar with the VLE often need a starting point. To throw the full functionality of the VLE at a practitioner who may be apprehensive about using the VLE and unsure of the benefits, is similar to throwing a learner driver onto a Formula One racetrack! Or maybe throwing them onto the M25.

Though one of the issues with uploading files to the VLE is that this can cause issues for the end user (the learner) who may not have the original programme to open the file. This is exacerbated if the learner is using a mobile device to access the learner. The original model was criticised on this point, as rather than uploading Word files to the VLE, the practitioner should enter the text (or copy and paste) so that the end user experience is much better.

So though I agree with the criticism and the sentiment, as it does make more sense for the learner, I am also appreciative of the challenge in getting practitioners to use the VLE. Yes uploading files is not as great as entering content direct into the VLE, having some stuff up there is better than not having stuff up there from the learner’s view point.

Having said that you can a mini stage which is about adding content direct into the VLE.

Stage Three

There are three choices at stage three.

Stage Three Choice One Engagement

Add engagement by learners through the use of discussion forums. Online discussions can engage learners in a variety of learning activities.

You can also add discussion by linking into the VLE external tools such as Twitter or Slack, if there is where the discussion is.

Stage Three Choice Two Content

Add more content try and put up new content at least weekly.
So then you’ll get asked what content should you put up. Well a lot depends on how the practitioner delivers learning, but could include:

  • All the pages from interactive whiteboard sessions from the classroom.
  • Photographs of pen based whiteboard or flip chart activity.
  • Videos, either embedded, or uploaded, very easy to embed videos from services such as YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Embedding presentations from services such as Sway or Prezi.
  • Links to e-Books in the virtual library or online libraries.
  • Audio recordings, these could be by learners or by practitioners, an overview of the lesson, topic or subject.
  • Learning objects from various repositories.
  • Images and photographs.
  • Lecture capture recordings.
  • Embedding outcomes of using tools such as Padlet.
  • RSS feeds that learners could subscribe to, though these are getting rarer, so you might want to add a link to a Twitter account instead!
  • Photographs of paper based exercises, if you for example use flip charts for brainstorming sessions, taking photographs of them and uploading those images can make it easier for learners to remember what they did. In the previous article I said in this section “with digital cameras” as they were a thing back then, today most modern phones have excellent cameras for this kind of activity.
Stage Three Choice Three Interaction

Add interactivity to the course through the use of quizzes and feedback. Quizzes are often part of the core VLE system, sometimes external quizzes can be uploaded and added.

Embedding.

By now usage of the VLE will be pretty much embedded into the delivery of the course. It will be much easier for the practitioner to offer the course through a blended approach and be more able to deliver learning in times of closure (say through snow).

This is just one approach, please share in the comments how you are embedding practice in the use of the VLE.“I don’t know how to use the VLE!”

CAN 2018 @ the University of Winchester – Registration is now open

Originally posted on Change Agents' Network.

Registration is now open for the Change Agent Network Conference 2018 – Student-Staff Partnerships in an Age of Change at the University of Winchester (19th-20th April 2018)   Over 60 papers, workshops and symposiums showcasing student engagement, partnership, digital capabilities initiatives and research from across UK higher and further education and skills.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Tali Atvars—Winchester Student Union President
Colette Fletcher—Assistant Vice Chancellor (University of Winchester)
Professor Tansy Jessop – Professor in Research Informed Teaching (Southampton Solent University)

To Register:
Please visit the University of Winchester registration page.
Take advantage of the Early Bird conference rate!

Keep up to date                                                                                                                                    Follow #CAN2018 to keep updated on conference developments and please contact can@winchester.ac.uk with any queries.

Conference themes:

Theme One: Keeping student engagement and partnership relevant in an age of change  Theme Two: Researching, evaluating and evidencing effective engagement and partnership    Theme Three: Developing digital capabilities in an ever changing landscape                         Theme Four: Ensuring the student voice is heard and the feedback loop is completed       Theme Five: Student-staff partnerships to support innovation and inclusivity in the curriculum Theme Six: Entrepreneurship and innovation showcase

The full agenda will be released in February 2018.

 

 

Digital discovery tool launched today

Originally posted on Jisc Building Digital Capability Blog .

Universities, colleges and independent providers that have signed up to pilot the Digital discovery tool will receive their access codes today. On this page you can learn more about the new Discovery tool, the Potential.ly platform, the different assessments available, and the guidance that will help you put it all into practice.

Where we are today

The open pilot is taking place in 101 organisations (57 HE, 35 FE and 9 ‘other’) between now and the end of May 2018. You can find out more about the pilot organisations and their different approaches in this blog post.

log-in screenThe version launched today:

  • is based on a new platform from Potential.ly
  • offers completely new, user-tested questions + feedback for staff
  • links to a host of new resources, all openly available
  • offers further specialist questions + feedback for staff with a teaching role (in HE or in FE and Skills)

The new platform

Potential.ly is working with Jisc on the development of the new platform for the Digital discovery tool. The Potential.ly team has experience of delivering an accurate personality indicator to help students understand their strengths and ‘stretch’ areas across twenty-three traits and to prepare for employment. Their platform offers a clear visual interface for the Digital discovery assessments and feedback report.

Digital capability resources are available through the dashboard in an attractive, accessible style. This screenshot shows the browse view. Answering the assessment questions creates a personalised report for each user, with recommended resources to follow up.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 09.28.22

The new design

The Digital discovery tool is designed according to the following principles:

  • Practice based: users start with practical issues as a way in to digital capability thinking
  • Self-reported: we trust users to report on their own digital practices. The scoring-for-feedback system means it is pointless for users to over-rate themselves.
  • Nudges and tips: the questions are designed to get users thinking about new practices and ideas, before they read a word of their feedback report.

Broad relevance: we have tried to avoid referencing specific technologies or applications to make the content relevant across a wide range of roles and organisations. Sometimes we use familiar examples to illustrate what we mean by more general terms.Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 12.19.58All users are offered an assessment called ‘digital capabilities for all’, based on the 15 elements (6 broad areas) of the Jisc Digital capability framework. There are very few differences in the questions for staff in different roles or sectors, and students answer many of the same questions too, though the feedback and resources they get are a bit different.

Some users are also offered a specialist assessment, depending on the role they choose when they sign in. At the moment we are offering additional question set for teaching staff – ‘digital capabilities for teaching’ – as this was the priority group identified in our pre-pilot consultations. We will shortly offer another specialist set for learners, and one for staff who undertake or support research. More may follow, depending on demand. Users can choose to complete only the general or only the specialised assessment, but they must complete all the questions in an assessment before they get the relevant report.

The questions

There are questions of three kinds.

confidence question

Confidence question: rate your confidence with a digital practice or skill, using a sliding scale. The opportunity for self-assessment triggers users to be reflective and helps them to feel in control of the process.

depth question

Depth question: select the one response out of four that best describes your approach to a digital task. This helps users identify their level of expertise and see how more expert practitioners behave in the same situation.

breadth question

Breadth question: select the digital activities you (can) do, from a grid of six. We have tuned these so most users will be able to select at least one, but it will be difficult to select all six.

At the moment we know that some elements are harder to score highly on than others. Once we have a large data set to play with, we will be able to adjust these differences. But it may just be the case that some areas of digital capability are more challenging than others…

The feedback

Once all the questions in an assessment have been completed, users receive a visualisation of their scores, and a feedback report. The report can be downloaded to read and reference in the user’s own time – alone or with a colleague, mentor or appraiser.

radial

report

The feedback report includes, for each element assessed:

  • Level: this is shown as one of ‘developing’, ‘capable’ or ‘proficient’. Some text explains what this means in each case.
  • Score: this shows clearly how the user’s responses have produced the level grading
  • Next steps: what people at this level could try next if they want to develop further
  • Resources: links to selected resources for exploration

report detailed

The resources

All the resources available through the Discovery tool – whether they are recommended in the user’s personal report, or browsed from the desktop – are freely available, quality assured, and tagged to different elements of the digital discovery framework.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 10.42.39

Making it better

This is a pilot, which means we are still learning how the Digital discovery tool might be useful in practice, and making improvements to the content and interface. For example, there may be some changes to users’ visual experience during the next weeks and months.

  • End-users are asked to fill in a short feedback form once they have completed one or more assessments.
  • A smaller group of ‘pilot plus’ institutions are going through the process with additional interventions and monitoring from the Jisc Building digital capabilities team, to help us learn from them more intensively.
  • All institutional leads are being asked to fill in an evaluation form and to run a focus group with staff to explore the impacts and benefits of the project.

These interventions help us to improve the Discovery tool and the support we provide for digital capabilities more generally.

What next?

In another post we will explore how to understand and use the data returns to organisational leads. We are also developing, for launch in March 2018:

  • A version for students studying in HE institutions, and for students in FE and Skills
  • A prototype for the Building digital capability website, to bring all our digital capability services and resources together
  • Four institutional case study videos
  • A senior leaders’ briefing paper
  • A study into how HR departments are supporting the development of staff digital capabilities (see http://bit.ly/digcaphr for more details)

Key resources

We once went there, it was nice…

Originally posted on e-Learning Stuff.

co-authored by Lawrie Phipps, Donna Lanclos, and Chris Thomson.

Beyond Metaphor: New Iterations of #JiscDigLead

t’s been three years since we ran the the first Jisc Digital Leaders Programme. During the programme we have have emphasised the need for leaders in education to model the behavioural change that they wish to see in digital. “Be more digital”, “Write a digital strategy”, “Go do Twitter” are things we have heard many times, and these are sometimes the reasons that delegates attend the course.  We hoped to give leaders contexts beyond tasks within digital, to provide a way to discuss the implications of digital tools and places that were not just to-do or top-ten lists.

We built the individual digital practice elements of that first programme around what delegates gained from doing theVisitor and Resident mapping process.  At the time, we were intent on getting people away from assumptions that digital capability was defined by their identities (especially not their “generational identity”), and thought that the V&R model gave them a new place from which to orient the conversations we wanted people to have about their practices.

For the most part, we were correct. We did have and facilitate conversations that went beyond both top-ten tech lists and “I am X identity,” and brought people together for conversations about what they want and need to do, and what their motivations are.  In the setting up of the V&R model we were careful to discuss them as modes of behaviour, not identity types. However, we have continued to see, through three years of iterations of the course, an impulse to pigeonhole, to identify themselves and others as “visitors” or “residents”; creating a barrier to freeing ourselves up to having new conversations around digital.

As much as the metaphor freed us from the tyranny of generational stereotypes, it opened up a debate around the nature of what it means to be “resident” or “visitor”, with participants asking what is “right”, what is best, and how to become more of one or the other.  This was never our intention. Substituting the stereotype with a metaphor still, to some extent, obfuscated the real aim – to discuss practice in context. It is difficult to move people away from value judgements around practice, and harder still when they are couched in language that seem to involve personal identity.

On the programme we want our leaders and future leaders to have a more nuanced understanding of what it means to practice in a time of ubiquitous digital.

We have arrived at the point where we need to go beyond metaphor. Rather than annotating a metaphorical model with allusions to practice and motivation, we will start with the practices, the behaviours, and motivations we want people to reflect upon.

The use of tension pairs to surface behaviours and practices has proven effective as a baseline for change; a visual tool for identifying where both individuals and organisations are in their digital practice and their motivations, and importantly for the digital leaders programme, where they want to move their practice to. The new iteration of this element of  the workshop will be more tailored to support delegates in identifying what the most appropriate tension pairs are for their context.

Rather than using the visitor-resident continuum as one axis we intend to provide a range of continua composed of actions and behaviours, instead of identities. For example, we might suggest that leaders map themselves against a broadcast – engagement axis.  We might even solicit tension pairs from the room. We think this small modification to the leadership course format will make it easier to dig into the important content that has always been a core part of the program:  an engagement with practice, with current behaviours, such that people are more capable of strategic thinking about the ways they want or need to change what they are doing, and what if any role digital tools and places can play in those changes.  We think it’s time in our work to give people opportunities to visualize and develop their approaches to and within digital, to centre what people want to do, first.  Identity is always an important part of why and how people do what they do, but it doesn’t have to over-determine their practices.  Our intention is to open doors, not close them by making people think that certain paths are closed because of who they are.

Beyond Metaphor: New Iterations of #JiscDigLead

Originally posted on lawrie : converged.

co-authored by Donna Lanclos,  James Clay, and Chris Thomson

It’s been three years since we ran the the first Jisc Digital Leaders Programme. During the programme we have have emphasised the need for leaders in education to model the behavioural change that they wish to see in digital. “Be more digital”, “Write a digital strategy”, “Go do Twitter” are things we have heard many times, and these are sometimes the reasons that delegates attend the course.  We hoped to give leaders contexts beyond tasks within digital, to provide a way to discuss the implications of digital tools and places that were not just to-do or top-ten lists.

We built the individual digital practice elements of that first programme around what delegates gained from doing the Visitor and Resident mapping process.  At the time, we were intent on getting people away from assumptions that digital capability was defined by their identities (especially not their “generational identity”), and thought that the V&R model gave them a new place from which to orient the conversations we wanted people to have about their practices.

For the most part, we were correct. We did have and facilitate conversations that went beyond both top-ten tech lists and “I am X identity,” and brought people together for conversations about what they want and need to do, and what their motivations are.  In the setting up of the V&R model we were careful to discuss them as modes of behaviour, not identity types. However, we have continued to see, through three years of iterations of the course, an impulse to pigeonhole, to identify themselves and others as “visitors” or “residents”; creating a barrier to freeing ourselves up to having new conversations around digital.

As much as the metaphor freed us from the tyranny of generational stereotypes, it opened up a debate around the nature of what it means to be “resident” or “visitor”, with participants asking what is “right”, what is best, and how to become more of one or the other.  This was never our intention. Substituting the stereotype with a metaphor still, to some extent, obfuscated the real aim – to discuss practice in context. It is difficult to move people away from value judgements around practice, and harder still when they are couched in language that seem to involve personal identity.

On the programme we want our leaders and future leaders to have a more nuanced understanding of what it means to practice in a time of ubiquitous digital.

We have arrived at the point where we need to go beyond metaphor. Rather than annotating a metaphorical model with allusions to practice and motivation, we will start with the practices, the behaviours, and motivations we want people to reflect upon.

The use of tension pairs to surface behaviours and practices has proven effective as a baseline for change; a visual tool for identifying where both individuals and organisations are in their digital practice and their motivations, and importantly for the digital leaders programme, where they want to move their practice to. The new iteration of this element of  the workshop will be more tailored to support delegates in identifying what the most appropriate tension pairs are for their context.

Rather than using the visitor-resident continuum as one axis we intend to provide a range of continua composed of actions and behaviours, instead of identities. For example, we might suggest that leaders map themselves against a broadcast – engagement axis.  We might even solicit tension pairs from the room. We think this small modification to the leadership course format will make it easier to dig into the important content that has always been a core part of the program:  an engagement with practice, with current behaviours, such that people are more capable of strategic thinking about the ways they want or need to change what they are doing, and what if any role digital tools and places can play in those changes.  We think it’s time in our work to give people opportunities to visualize and develop their approaches to and within digital, to centre what people want to do, first.  Identity is always an important part of why and how people do what they do, but it doesn’t have to over-determine their practices.  Our intention is to open doors, not close them by making people think that certain paths are closed because of who they are.

 

Employability in a digital world

Originally posted on Inspiring learning.

What does a twenty first century employee look like?

What kind of jobs will our learners being doing in their lifetimes?

How have our own working environments changed over the years?

Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are changing the way we live, work and learn. Have a look at what’s happening with AI and robots in retail, construction, and health to name just a few. BMW have been working on AR for a few years now and you can see what they are developing for mechanics and Mini drivers. The arts and entertainment industries are embracing VR and one example of this is a recent BBC Radio 4 production – Quake. VR and AR are taking gaming to new and exciting places including Pokémon Go (if you didn’t already know!)

Pepper and friend

Pepper (left) and friend, Jisc 2017

Jisc’s resident futurist, Martin Hamilton has done some great research on emerging technologies and their relationships with industry and education. You can have a look at his slide decks, blog and news feature for more insights and inspiration.

We can’t be sure of the impact of these developments on our future working lives. We may see more professionals working online from home or globally; more job roles in technology and engineering; more digital tools and techniques being used in traditional trades and work places; more careers in specialisms that have yet to be invented or are currently in R&D. But we do know that as educators (like learners), we have to stay up to date with our knowledge, skills and practice, through networking, research and collaboration.

What do our learners have to say? The Jisc digital student tracker project, 2017, paints a picture of the student digital experience across the UK. It gathered evidence from 22,000 learners in higher education, further education and skills. You can have a look at the findings around employability on pages 26 & 27; ‘outside the classroom: learner skills and views.’

Learners were asked if they agreed that their course prepared them for the digital workplace. The most negative results were from skills learners; only 40% agreed, and more than one in four disagreed. The most positive results were from online learners: 56% agreed that their course prepared them for the digital workplace and only 12% disagreed. This may reflect the professional nature of many online courses. Only half of FE and HE learners agreed that their course prepared them for the digital workplace. So while over 81.5% of HE learners feel that digital skills will be important in their chosen career, only 50% agree that their course prepares them well for the digital workplace. And in FE 63% of learners feel that digital skills will be important in their chosen career, but only 51% agree that their course prepares them well.

21 century learner

Twenty first century learner, Jisc workshop 2017

We know that emerging industries require workers with new skills, knowledge and experience. Modern workplaces need employees who are digitally capable, adaptable and confident. How can we use technology to support students across post compulsory education to develop their employability skills, making them work ready?

We’ve been looking at activities and ideas to help. Our report on the evolution of FELTAG includes some good advice and guidance for FE and skills providers about how to approach the development of employability skills and there are examples of effective practice from across the UK.

For in depth information and ideas, have a look at this recent Jisc project which led to the development of an employability skills model – a useful starting point. The model consists of seven strands; basic work readiness; lifelong learning; lifelong employability; professional skills and knowledge; authentic experience; attributes; and high level capabilities.

As a result of the project, Jisc published a report and created an employability toolkit. The toolkit provides a comprehensive framework and guidance that can be used by teams to support dialogue, decision making and planning. It also contains suggestions for approaches and examples of good practice. Using this toolkit we can come up with ideas about how to embed digital tools and techniques into the learner experience that can enhance employability skills and develop digital capability.

The future is here

Let’s make sure our learners are ready for the twenty first century working life when they leave us – and let’s make sure we are ready too!

The post Employability in a digital world appeared first on Inspiring learning.

Promoting the tracker to your students – new materials

Originally posted on Jisc Digital Student.

At the end of last year we were asked by several pilot sites if Jisc could provide promotional materials for the tracker. Seven posters are now available for download from the Jisc repository. You’re free to customise them with your own university or college brand, and use them in any way you like to promote the tracker to your students.

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 22.12.13 Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 22.11.59

For more ideas about engaging students with the tracker, do check out our case studies as well.

Download the full set of 7 posters as PDF: http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6768/1/JFL0086_DIGITAL_STUDENT_TRACKER_TOOLKIT_POSTER_FINAL_POSTERS.pdf

Download separate posters as word documents from the Jisc repository:

  1. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6771/ – Poster 1
  2. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6772/ – Poster 2
  3. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6773/ – Poster 3
  4. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6774/ – Poster 4
  5. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6775/ Poster 5
  6. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6776/ Poster 6
  7. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6777/ Poster 7

Access a zip file from google drive with all the materials, including images for social media use.

Digital capability community continues to grow

Originally posted on Jisc Building Digital Capability Blog .

The second network event for our digital capability community of practice took place in Birmingham on 30 November 2017 with around 100 participants from over 54 colleges and universities coming together to share practice, exchange ideas and work together. The presentations, resources and Periscope recordings are available from our event page.

The strong interest in this community of practice signifies the centrality of digital capabilities to all aspects of educational practice and a recognition that digital capabilities are not only vital for the employability and future career prospects of our students but also have the potential to enhance institutional reputations and aid organisational efficiency.

Sharing practice

The contributions made on the day, by our presenters and by collaborative engagement in workshop sessions were greatly valued.

“I wanted to hear examples of other institution’s approaches to developing digital capability, and there were plenty of examples.”

Developing a holistic institutional approach

Our keynote speaker, Karen Barton, director of learning and teaching at the University of Hertfordshire, shared their approach to developing a holistic institutional approach to digital capabilities development. The formation of a digital capability steering group has been a key enabler, engaging senior stakeholders and sponsoring wider participation with their teams.

The Jisc digital capabilities framework proved useful in getting dialogue going and helping others to get to grips with the language and vocabulary used to describe digital capabilities. Karen also talked about the University of Hertfordshire’s model for staff development at different stages of their careers and the work on mapping where digital capabilities fit into their broader CPD framework and learning landscape.

Ongoing work includes the establishment of a student experience academic research group with a sub group focusing on technology enhanced learning and exploring whether the academic CPD model can be applied to other role profiles.

Watch the Periscope recording of Karen’s session or view the slides on our event page. See also their institutional story on their participation in the first stage pilot for the discovery tool.

Community-led discussions

Group work at digital capability community of practice 301117

Participants at the first digital capability community of practice event in May 2017 requested time for community-led discussions and topics identified by those registered for the November 2017 event included:

  • Effective staff development strategies – how to upskill staff with digital capabilities
  • Developing organisational approaches to digital capability and getting buy-in from senior managers
  • Measuring the impact of initiatives, tools and strategies on staff/student capability
  • Student digital capability, embedding digital capabilities into the curriculum and student/staff partnerships

Facilitated by community members, participants were tasked with identifying critical issues and sharing experiences and solutions – the outputs are captured on our padlet. A variety of strategies were used – in one group, participants were challenged to come up with 20 ideas/potential solutions in just five minutes with most achieving the target before being further challenged to identify one thing they could action the following day. This proved a very effective way of moving from general discussion to action-focused solutions in a short period of time.

Strategies for engaging staff

Community members cited staff engagement in digital capabilities as one of their most critical issues and so the opportunity to hear from four community members on their differing approaches was informative and insightful.

Non Scantlebury and Jo Parker both shared innovative techniques they’d used to engage staff in conversations around digital capability. Non asked participants to share their favourite apps and reveal their digital superpowers mapped to the framework; Jo used the ‘love letters and break up letters’ approach which elicited deep and more emotive feedback about the digital discovery tool.

Randeep Sami and Delon Commosioung shared strategies and practical examples of how they are engaging staff in their respective colleges.  Randeep explored the concept of the digital classroom and shared details of their 21st century teaching programme; Delon outlined how working as part of the quality team has helped to position effective use of technology as integral to teaching, learning and assessment.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a series of five Pecha Kucha sessions from community members willing to share their experience, practice and strategies. These short seven-minute presentations shared journeys so far, outlined institutional approaches and transformative ambitions, bringing the day to a well-paced end.

Video recordings and presentations are available to view on our event page.

Looking ahead to 2018

Building digital capability project update

A lot has happened since the first digital capability community of practice event in May 2017:

  • Tabetha Newman96+ institutions have signed up to take part in the second phase of our pilot of the digital capability discovery tool which runs from December 2017 to May 2018.  See Helen’s Beetham’s blog post Digging deeper with the discovery tool which provides a useful analysis of the motivations and aims of those signed up to pilot the new tool. See also Helen Beetham and Tabetha Newman’s update on the digital discovery tool including a succinct and entertaining guide on the differences discovery tool and the student experience tracker – complete with appropriate hats!
  • New for 2018: senior leaders briefing and video case studies – Recognising the strategic importance of digital capabilities, Jisc will be producing a senior leaders briefing in March 2018 along with four institutional video case studies. A study of how HR departments are supporting the development of digital capabilities is also underway with a report and case studies available in April 2018 – see Lou McGill’s blog post for details of how you can take part.
  • Visioning the new building digital capability service – Jisc is also working on the development of a new web-based portal designed to provide organisations and individuals with clear routes through the wealth of information, support options and resources available to support digital capabilities development. Keep up-to-date by signing up to the digital capability mailing list and the project blog.  As the prototype of the digital capability service is being developed we are looking for volunteers to get involved in some short online user testing activities (30 minutes or less). If you would like to take part, please get in touch with Alicja Shah.
  • A series of training events and webinars on curriculum confidence, digital well-being and identity, and digital leadership is also running over the next few months.

Shaping the next agenda: your take-aways and thoughts for future events

While Jisc has founded this community, the focus is very much on building a sustainable network and in facilitating participants to share the collective wealth of experience. Feedback from the event is very positive and naturally reflects the different stages people are at in their own personal and institutional journeys.

Participants valued the opportunities to hear the developmental journeys of others and highlighted other areas they would like to see more focus on at future events.

“It was good to be able to discuss issues and ideas with like-minded people as a small group”

“It has given me some ideas to try out.”

Suggestions for the next event include creating time and space for:

  • Discussion on the changing landscape around learner expectations and needs, societal views on education and the effect of this disruption and how digital capabilities feature in this
  • Feedback and case studies from students and their experiences in digital capabilities development
  • Networking with colleagues

What did you take away from the event?

What would you like to see on the programme for the next event?

Use the comments below or share your thoughts via the digital capability mailing list.

Save the date

We are delighted to announce that the next digital capability community of practice event will be hosted by the University of Leicester on 22 May 2018.

Do join us for what promises to be another rich exchange of ideas, approaches, strategies and resources.

Teaching staff tracker and the 360 degree perspective

Originally posted on Jisc Digital Student.

For the 2017-18 Tracker, we asked our key contacts to provide information about your organisation in addition to the student data you are gathering through the tracker. This blog post explains how we developed those questions, what they are, and something of how we hope to use them to understand the student digital experience better. In short, we’re interested in what decisions at organisational level are related to the quality of the student digital experience.

org lead qus

Sample questions for organisational leads

We asked organisational leads to answer at least four of the questions. We thought it was  a big ask to provide all ten items of information and we didn’t want that to be a barrier to joining the Tracker pilot. In fact a large majority gave us ten responses. Hopefully that means we’re asking the right questions and the answers are useful at an organisational level. Across organisations of course there is even more value in comparing and summarising responses, and our next blog post will review what we have learned so far – anonymously of course.

Taking a 360 degree perspective on the student digital experience

When we developed these questions, we had in mind that we would like to include teaching staff as well. There are many projects and organisational practices that take a 360 degree perspective on an issue, and we felt this was no exception. When it comes to the digital learning experience, teaching staff are in an intermediate position between the organisation and its students. They support many aspects of the student experience – and we ask students for example about how they find their lecturers’ use of the VLE, and what they like/dislike about digital teaching on their course. But teaching staff also have their own experiences of organisational support, infrastructure and culture. These experiences add richness to the picture we can gain from students and from the organisational overview.

We also feel it is important that staff are fully involved in the tracker project, and see it as an opportunity to improve digital provision and support for everyone.

Our background research suggested that key issues for staff could be summarised in four areas, similar to the areas students are asked about:

staff four areas graphic

A draft set of staff questions is now available. This is mapped to the student questions and the organisational questions – but of course there is always room for improvement. We are looking for constructive feedback from teaching staff and for everyone involved in supporting staff and students to improve digital learning. We’ll also be asking some organisations involved in our current Tracker pilot whether they would be willing to help trial the staff survey alongside the proven survey for students.

Get involved

We’re asking you to tell us what you think of the draft questions: are they right for your sector and staff, and will the answers be actionable in your organisation? This is a chance to make a real difference to the Tracker project.

  • The draft questions for teaching staff can be viewed in BOS here.
  • You can provide your own comments and feedback on an open googledoc here.
  • Expressions of interest in trialling the staff tracker will be asked for via our email community of practice.

 

Keynote speakers for CAN 2018 at the University of Winchester

Originally posted on Change Agents' Network.

We are delighted to confirm Colette Fletcher (assistant vice chancellor at the University of Winchester), Tali Atvars (Winchester student union president) and Tansy Jessop (Professor of Research Informed Teaching, Southampton Solent University) as our keynote speakers for the CAN event 19 & 20 April 2018.

The deadline for submitting a proposal for the event is 12 January 2018.  Further information, guidance and the proposal forms are located here.