Assessing Your Readiness for Implementation of Learning Analytics: Making a Start

Originally posted on Effective Learning Analytics.

Lindsay Pineda

Lindsay Pineda

Patrick Lynch

Patrick Lynch

This is a guest post by Lindsay Pineda and Patrick Lynch. Their bios are at the end of the article.

As an institution, you may find yourself asking, “How do I know if we are ready for learning analytics? Is there a way to ‘feel out’ where we are before having someone come onsite for a more official assessment? What kinds of things can I do on campus to prepare for an on-site Readiness Assessment?”

One of the main advantages of engaging in an on-site Readiness Assessment is that the event is tailored for your institution’s particular requirements. Our clients have confirmed for us that the “gold standard” in this work is to bring in people from outside of the organization to help facilitate this process. Institutions have told us:

  • “This is honestly the first time we’ve had all of these people together in one room to talk about a common goal.”
  • “Bringing someone in from the ‘outside’ onsite allows for an impartial view of the institution and it’s not muddied by an emotional connection to one thing or another. That is extremely valuable.”
  • “I have no idea how I would have been able to convince this many people to be in the same room together for this long without using the pull of Consultants coming in to assess us.”
  • “With someone coming in, no one seems particularly ‘suspicious’ about the intent behind the workshops. People are curious about who is here and what they intend to help us do so they actually show up.”

Making a Start

Through our experiences, we did find that there are activities an institution can undertake as “prep work” for the facilitated on-site Readiness Assessment. Getting people together for a sustained period is difficult. Getting disparate groups together is challenging and organizing senior leadership into any narrow time frame can be near impossible. We experience these obstacles ourselves while planning on-site visits with institutions.

In this article we present two activities that will help an institution better prepare for a shorter, more focused, external engagement with their on-site facilitators. This also provides the facilitators with richer information to help deliver the most value while onsite at your institution.

Areas to Investigate

One of the key elements of readiness is to consider the fit of a learning analytics project within the culture of the organization. This includes policies, processes, and practices that may be affected. Taking a broader view can help identify where existing projects and processes can support the initiative. For example, we have encountered change fatigue in a number of institutions. Wrapping activities together into one broader program is a great way to reduce the perceived number of changes, as well as help realize the advantages of interrelated projects. For example, an existing project at focused on ethics and privacy policies could also include those policies needed to support a learning analytics initiative.

Stakeholder Involvement

Given the broader approach to implementing learning analytics, a wide stakeholder group needs to be involved. Assessing readiness acts as a solid start to the project. It is a way to introduce colleagues to the goals of the project and benefits of implementing the initiative effectively. The assessment also assists with gaining buy in from the start. Key staff groups we have identified are:

  • Learning and Teaching support/development
  • eLearning/TEL
  • IT Services
  • Academic Tutoring/Advisement Services
  • Student Support Services
  • Research and Planning
  • Registrar’s Office
  • Key Thought Influencers
  • Senior Leadership (“Decision Makers”)
  • Faculty/Teachers
  • Library/Information Services

And last, but by no means to be considered least:

  • Key Student Union/Government Representatives

For each area, as appropriate, we would suggest having both academic staff as well as administrative individuals involved.

Having this broad range of departments together offers a good overall representation of the institution and allows for sharing of impact and ideas in a broader manner. Each of these areas brings a different perspective. It includes the individuals who will see the effects on the institution’s bottom line, who will carry out the actual work, who will provide interventions, along with the end users.

Activity Recommendations

The two activities we recommend are:

  • Setting Institutional Goals and Objectives
  • Determining Challenges and Obstacles

The first activity can be used as a starting point for goal setting, which will be iterated upon in subsequent activities. These two activities are specifically aimed at narrowing down the institution’s short and long term goals while identifying any major challenges/obstacles. This allows for the on-site efforts to center around the already identified goals, challenges, and obstacles.

Activity #1: Institutional Goals and Objectives

  • Why Is This Important?

  • Intended Outcomes of the Session

  • Duration

  • Setting and Structure

  • Resources and Supplies

  • Prerequisites

  • Who Should Be Involved?

  • Outputs

  • Summary of Hints and Tips

Activity #2: Challenges and Obstacles

  • Why Is This Important?

  • Intended Outcomes of the Session

  • Duration

  • Setting and Structure

  • Resources and Supplies

  • Prerequisites

  • Who Should Be Involved?

  • Outputs

  • Summary of Hints and Tips

Why Use an Outside Consultant?

While conducting the above activities can be very valuable for an institution to glean some initial insights, it is not realistic for an institution to undertake an entire Readiness Assessment on their own. The outcomes from the “prep work” activities above will provide the outside consultants with baseline information to build upon with institutional staff and students while onsite. Our recommended “prep work” activities above are meant to assist an institution for the preparation of an on-site, facilitated Readiness Assessment; not to replace it. There are several additional activities experienced facilitators will guide an institution through. Institutions have advised us that having someone come from the “outside” creates a sense of urgency and importance around the learning analytics project and the Readiness Assessment activities. This can be valuable to leverage.

Some of the other valuable areas that we provide for institutions as experienced Readiness Assessment facilitators are:

  • Introductions to learning analytics, including real world experience and examples
  • Student requirements scoping
  • Policies, processes, and practices insights
  • Ethics and privacy considerations
  • Technical/data considerations
  • Intervention considerations, guidance, and management

These areas, and many others, are discussed in a guided, collaborative, and facilitated manner through workshops, sessions, and activities. The findings from each Readiness Assessment are shared in a confidential final report format that is meant to provide broad insights into the institution’s collective readiness. There are also recommendations made for next steps in the learning analytics initiative journey.

We heard from several institutions that an on-site facilitated Readiness Assessment is an essential first step to engaging in a learning analytics initiative. One institution told us, “An on-site facilitated Readiness Assessment is an efficient, effective, and valuable part of starting a learning analytics initiative.”

Useful Reading:


ALT Online Winter Conference #altc

Originally posted on e-Learning Stuff.

ALT’s Online Winter Conference, now in its fourth year, is back to showcase some of the best Learning Technology from ALT Members from across sectors.

The conference will take place online from 12 to 13 December 2017, giving ALT Members an opportunity to highlight the work they and their community have been involved with and to gain feedback from peers. This is a fantastic platform for you to hear about innovative ideas as new initiatives are shared in this creative environment.

To see the variety of topics covered in 2016, see last year’s programme.

For more information and to submit a proposal go here.

Deadline: 19 November 2017 for consideration.

To register complete this short form.

The FE & Skills Coalition Meets

Originally posted on Jisc Innovation in Further Education and Skills.

The FE and Skills Coalition meetings have built on the work of FELTAG and continue to offer both colleges and other sector organisations an excellent opportunity to hear the current issues and challenges which colleges and providers are facing.

The latter part of this meeting which looked at the role of  AR & VR tools in FE & Skills was the subject of an earlier blog post.

The meeting heard from Paul McKean, Head of FE & Skills at Jisc about Jisc’s strategic aims in the FE & Skills area, and an overview on Jisc’s current activities in this area.

Paul highlighted the sheer pace and extent of change in the post-16 education sector. A plethora of reports, standards and policies over the last few years has given the sector plenty of challenges, and along with area reviews and mergers has meant much upheaval.

Paul explained Jisc’s key strategic principles for the next three years. These are:

  • Quality of provision – excellence in teaching, learning and improvements in digital capability across the piece
  • Sector transformation – including financial sustainability and more efficient and effective institutions
  • Employer-led training – including better support for work-based learning, apprenticeships and employability of learners

Paul stressed the determination of Jisc to continue to be pro-active in engaging with its members to highlight the benefits of technological solutions and in supporting members in realising those benefits.

Paul highlighted some of the new offerings from Jisc for our members. These included:

  • Digital capabilities discovery tool – which helps individual staff reflect on their capability in the use of digital tools for learning and teaching. This platform will be ready for open pilot in December 2017
  • Student Experience Tracker – The tracker has gathered over 27,000 responses from students since its launch. There are new case studies that demonstrate organisational impact.
  • The Apprenticeship Journey in a Digital Age – This toolkit highlights support and digital approaches for steps along the Degree and higher apprenticeship journey. Currently available as an interactive Powerpoint deck, it will be released as a fully fledged web resource in early 2018.

Paul expands on these points in a recent podcast and blog post.

Designing learning and assessment in a digital age

Sarah Knight and Lisa Gray, Head of Change and a Senior Co-design manager in the Student Experience team at Jisc reviewed Jisc’s activities in the area of technology enhanced curricula, some of which dates back to 2006. The work is essentially designed to help answer the question: “What do my learners need to learn or what skills do they need to acquire to meet the learning outcomes for this lesson, course or module?”

Sarah and Lisa introduced the FE & Skills assessment benchmarking tool  as a really useful framework to enable institutions to see where they are in this area and reflect on their practice and on what they need to do to develop further.

They also drew attention to the Jisc work on employability, where a study of this area has led to the development of a set of guidance materials to help institutions understand the requirements for producing employable students in a digital age.

They also touched on Jisc’s work across the learner analytics space, and the really useful insights and metrics that can come from successfully interrogating the huge amount of data that institutions produce these days.

Learning spaces and the way that effective design of classrooms and other spaces can help facilitate good learning experiences were also highlighted. There are many good examples of this from across both higher and further education including:

  • Interactive lecture theatres
  • Active learning classrooms
  • Multi-discipline laboratories
  • Technology offers new possibilities to simulate work environments

Finally Lisa and Sarah stressed the role of students as change agents, and highlighted guidance for institutions in forging effective student-staff partnerships.

Case Studies in Digital Skills – Ufi Charitable Trust

Katherine Laux is a project manager at the Ufi charitable trust. She explained that Ufi works to:

  • demonstrate the art of the possible
  • create a vocational technology market
  • change the way we learn

Ufi achieve this by funding projects that can provide scalable solutions to improve vocational skills. Katherine highlighted two case studies from the Ufi stable (these case studies are free to users).

Blended learning essentials

This online, interactive course aims to introduce anyone working in further education, skills or vocational training to the benefits of blended learning and the way that technology can support learners to be better prepared for the workplaces that they will be entering.

The course was developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Education at University College London. It is available for free, although for a modest £62 it is possible to access more support and ongoing access to the course.


iDEA (Duke of York inspiring Digital Enterprise Award) is the digital and enterprise counterpart of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. It is completely free and can be accessed on virtually any device. Anyone of any age can sign up and earn badges to show their achievements in four categories: citizen, worker, maker and entrepreneur.

By taking on further challenges, participants can progress to Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. As well as being fun, the badges provide a visual acknowledgement of achievement which can then lead to improved employment prospects in the technology and enterprise sectors.


The presentations from this event are available on the Jisc website.

Thank you to all those who participated and for their willingness to share their practice and ideas with us. Please continue this conversation by using #FELTAG and by joining the FE and Skills Coalition mailing list:

Augmented and Virtual Reality for FE and Skills

Originally posted on Jisc Innovation in Further Education and Skills.


There was a really good turn out for the latest in the FE & Skills Coalition series of meeting on the 31st October. There were many issues discussed and debated at the meeting, and some of  these will be covered in subsequent blog posts.

The focus in the afternoon session was on the role that Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR) tools can play on FE and Skills education and training.

Following some hands-on demonstrations from Jisc’s own team who are working with these tools, and from Steve Smith and Frank McHale from Preston College at lunch time, the afternoon session heard from Jisc team, Leeds College of Music and Preston College.

There was a lot of interest in the role that these technologies can play in the FE and Skills sector. The ability to give students access to learning experiences that are either expensive, complicated or hazardous makes one case for exploring their use, as does the possibility of constructing learning opportunities that would be physically impossible in the real world.

Jisc’s activity

Matt Ramirez, Senior Innovation Developer in Jisc’s Digital Futures directorate opened the proceedings. He ran through some of the history of these tools, and their previous and current place on the Gartner hype cycle, and stressed the changing landscape due to the opportunity arising from the ubiquity of VR and AR capability on smart phones. Both Apple with its ARKit and Google with its ARCore are offering developers ease of access in return for entering their particular walled gardens. Standards that allow easy interoperability in this space are needed to break down these proprietary islands.

Jisc is looking at what institutions need to help them get going. Along with advice about how to select particular technologies for  evaluation or use in production environments, Jisc is looking at how to help with advice on things like repositories like SketchFab. Read Matt’s blog post which covers other interesting applications of these approaches to medicine, archeology and technical education. Martin Hamilton is Jisc’s Futurist, and he has written about Apple’s ARKIt, highlighting the way that it is mainstreaming augmented reality.

Preston College

Some colleges are already embracing AR and VR approaches. Steve Smith and Frank McHale form Preston College’s Preston’s College‘s Learning Lab confessed themselves near the start of their journey, and described their initial explorations and paid generous tribute to Matt Ramirez for his help in making some initial good choices in terms of technologies to investigate without spending a fortune and ending up with an expensive white elephant.

Steve and Frank stressed that while the potential of AR & VR tools is immense, their early experiences of talking to vendors was not encouraging. Their recommendation was to avoid the hard sell from the vendors with their ecosystems and explore ‘consumer’ level hardware and explore what can be done with these tools. They both stated that exploring the affordances of these tools had revitalised their interest and excitement in their role as teachers .

They concluded with these thoughts:

  • AR/VR is not a ‘Black Art’
  • It is not a gimmick anymore
  • Don’t be put off by high-value providers with inflexible offers
  • You can make a start for a few hundred pounds

Leeds Collge of Music

Leeds College of Music told us that they were further down the track in terms of implementing and making effective use of these approaches. Being a specialist music college, they have a requirement to teach students to be effective in the studio as well as as performers. They have created an AR resource that helps students get experience of setting up the patch bay (where audio signals are routed to sound processing modules and onwards). Students found this approach really useful, as it gave them the opportunity to fully interact with the patch bay and work things out for themselves.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 12.46.24

Patch Bay AR

If you missed the session, there is a Periscope recording
Note – this was captured via an iPhone with no external microphone.

Presentations from this session are available on the Jisc Website.

Please continue this conversation by using #FELTAG and by joining the FE and Skills Coalition mailing list:

Keep on tracking – update for November

Originally posted on Jisc Digital Student.

This is a short update on the 2017-18 tracker project and a few ‘last chance’ dates for your diary. Whether you’ve already launched your surveys, or are still deciding whether to take part, there’s plenty going on.

Last-chanceOn 21st and 28th November we’re running webinars to help you find out more about the tracker. For the benefit of international partners we are offering different start times for different timezones, but we have made them open to UK institutions as well. Follow this link to register for the time and date you want. As a one-off, we are extending the deadline for UK organisations until 30 November 2017 to allow you to benefit from these webinars. That means you must sign up and complete your confirmation form before the end of this month (international partners have until 31 January 2018).

On 14 December we are repeating the ‘getting started’ webinar we ran on 9 October, which covers a host of technical and logistical issues. You can still download the recording of that first webinar, but if you prefer to participate live, or if you want someone else to attend (for example if you are sharing responsibility for the tracker at your organisation), please follow this link and select the 14 December.

We have over 240 organisations registered to run the tracker this year, including over 30 international universities. There is now a whole area of the site for our international partners, and we are in the process of setting up in-country peer groups (you will be emailed about this once you confirm your participation).

With so much data to be gathered in from students, we are launching a series of expert panels to help us interpret it. Tracker users and students will play a full part in making sense of the evidence and deciding on the key messages. If you’re involved in running the tracker and think you could help, please apply here to take part before 30 November. The commitment extends to two virtual meetings in May/June 2018, and of course some reading and interpretation of summative data. By gaining an early insight into the overall findings, and sharing a high level discussion with experts and other participants, you will be really well placed to understand the data you are collecting in your own organisation.

If you are part of the tracker project this year, you’ll be receiving regular updates via the email discussion list. If you’re one of our international partners you’ll soon be part of an in-country network too. Get in touch if you feel you are missing out on any of these updates and communications. And keep checking this blog!

My first Student Experience Experts Group meeting

Originally posted on Inspiring learning.

Event: Student Experience Experts Group Location: The Studio, Birmingham Date: 17th October 2017-10-20

As the title suggested, expertise from the sector convened, with twitter hashtags at the ready (#JiscExperts17), the event was already brimming with activity and positive signposting.

I’m a new starter at Jisc. The last three weeks have been about getting settled into my Role as a Subject Specialist within the Student Experience team.  Having spent over 10 years within HE, I’m no stranger to Jisc and I have found events like this are always an opportunity to shake hands and chat with as many new faces, old colleagues and experts from near and afar as possible. As always, the main element for me was to listen and engage in knowledge sharing. This event was no exception.
Digital experts meeting

Waiting for the meeting to begin. Reading up on the Digital Student Experience Tracker for 2017

Throughout the day, presentations, activities, discussions (and coffee) led to the real sensation of moving forward. The ‘Tracker’ is known to many in the room. But there is added depth to the project as it moves into the next phase and Helen Beetham and the team gave an in-depth update and signposting to previous data. An interesting activity, including chocolate inspiration and some roleplay, immediately sent the room into a sound of delightful conversation.  ‘What would be the jewel in the data at your institution to act upon?’. The conversations on my table were around digital tools, content capture and the different ideas at various institutions for surveying students (and staff). This set the rest of the day up with breakout rooms, group activity and sharing either side of lunch. Lawrie Phipps and Donna Lanclos took to the stage and began their session on the ’Next Generation of Digital Learning Environments‘. The post-its and sharpies were called upon and one wall was covered in ideas about teaching practice and interview answers.  All were encouraged to engage in some discussion as we added our own to the wall.

It’s clear an event like this keeps connections alive and faces familiar.  The buzz of conversation at any opportunity firms the network across the sector and the knowledge to pass on to each other.  Looking forward to the next one.  See you there.

There are periscope recordings of the sessions which can be found on the twitter hashtag page:   The post My first Digital Experts Group meeting appeared first on Inspiring learning.

12th UK Learning Analytics Network meeting, University of Greenwich, London, 23rd Nov 2017

Originally posted on Effective Learning Analytics.

The 12th UK Learning Analytics Network meeting is being hosted by the University of Greenwich on Thursday 23rd November 2017.

Booking form

University of Greenwich building

Our theme this time is around data for learning analytics:  preparing your data sources, thinking about the implications of the forthcoming European GDPR legislation, and understanding how predictive modelling on the data works.

Prof David Macquire, VC of Greenwich and Chair of Jisc will introduce the day. We’ll have updates from Jisc colleagues on the Jisc Effective Learning Analytics project, a session on GDPR and consent from Andrew Cormack, and a panel session on “getting your data right for learning analytics”. Also, Kerr Gardner will introduce an interesting new development: extracting data from Turnitin for learning analytics.

Our final session is an update on Greenwich’s own learning analytics project which will provide useful guidance for other institutions.

As usual there’ll be plenty of opportunity for networking with people from elsewhere who are implementing learning analytics.

You’re advised to book early as there are limited places available and the event is likely to be oversubscribed.


10:00 – 16:00, Thurs 23rd November 2017
Hosted by the University of Greenwich

Queen Anne Building, The Council Room – QA063

University of Greenwich
Old Royal Naval College
30 Park Row
SE10 9LS

Directions and parking      Campus Map [PDF]

09:30 – 10:15 Arrival and coffee
10:15 – 10:25 Arrangements for the day & welcome to the University of Greenwich
10:25 – 10:35 Opening Address Prof David Maquire, VC of Greenwich University and Chair of Jisc
10:35 – 11:00 Update on Jisc effective learning analytics project  Michael Webb, Rob Wyn Jones, Lee Bailey, Jisc
11:00 – 12:00 GDPR and consent for learning analytics – workshop session  Andrew Cormack, Chief Regulatory Adviser, Jisc
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch and networking
13:00 – 13:30 Extracting learning analytics data from Turnitin Kerr Gardner
13:30 – 14:15 Understanding how predictive modelling works Michael Webb, Director of Analytics and Technology, Jisc
14:15 – 15:00 Getting your data right for learning analytics – panel session
15:00 – 15:15 Tea / coffee
15:15 – 15:55 Learning analytics at the University of Greenwich
15:55 – 16:00 Farewell

Designing for digital capabilities in the curriculum: what’s new?

Originally posted on Jisc digital capability codesign challenge blog.

When we launched the digital capabilities community of practice, a whole number of people signed up for a session on developing the curriculum. I noted some of the ideas that came out of that session, and I’ve been using it as a handy reference ever since.

It’s no surprise that session was so popular – we’re in the business of learning and the only outcome that really matters is our learners being able to thrive in a digital world. And while they gain many valuable skills informally and outside of the curriculum, the evidence is that complex, specialised digital practices need the support of subject specialists – people who understand their value and can introduce them in a subject context. So: how can we embed those digital capabilities into courses of study, in ways that engage both students and staff? What have we learned from previous conversations and programmes?

Some principles

I’ve been running workshops on embedding digital capabilities into the curriculum for some years now, dating right back to a Jisc workshop series in 2011/12. If you’re interested in some of the resources Jisc has developed since then, there is a good summary of curriculum resources on the Design Studio from the Developing Digital Literacies programme, and the Curriculum Change section of the Jisc Guide to Developing Digital Literacies (2014) is a more up to date selection. There are a few principles I’ve learned over the years.

Digital capabilities are subject specialised. Even the use of generic tools such as a spreadsheet or annotation app are highly dependent on the task at hand. But we know that students really value subject specialist technologies such as data analysis software, design tools and digital instrumentation, and specialist resources such as e-journals, reference management software and subject-specialist networks.

Every student brings their own personal digital practices to their subject, just as they bring their own literacy and numeracy practices, and their own preferences for different media. This variety of digital skills, experiences and preferences can be treated as a resource – for example through group exercises that allow students to learn from one another, or by offering different routes to assessment. They can also be discussed openly, rather than letting students feel their digital practices are not approved or not relevant to effective learning.

Staff need to be confident in their subject, their teaching, and their digital practice as part of those other forms of expertise. Digital confidence is an important quality. Students need to feel that their preferred learning practices are being supported and developed, and that staff are up to date with their professional skills. But they don’t need staff to be creating amazing digital content, to be as proficient in media production as they are, or to be engaged in all the same social media.

Digital capability is not a separate aspect of learning but integral to being effective in a subject area, or a vocation or profession. Nor is it separate from other agendas such as employability, sustainability or internationalism. Our world is digital, and global issues have a digital aspect. So look for digital activities that are complex enough to address several agendas. Introduce approaches that are genuinely used by digital researchers or professionals, not for the sake of being digital, but for the sake of achieving meaningful outcomes.

So yes, think about learning outcomes (the big picture conversation about what learners need to know) before thinking about methods and means (the technologies learners need to encounter). Digital technologies are changing every subject we teach. There are new research questions and methods in scholarly subjects, new approaches and ethical issues to consider in professional subjects, whole new branches of knowledge and qualifications that did not exist fifteen years ago. Change in the subject of study is interesting – for staff as well as students. Think about how the digital world changes the purpose of the course, and you will naturally be led to interesting activities that involve digital technologies in a meaningful way.

Using the digital capability framework in the curriculum

Many curriculum teams are already referring to the Jisc Digital Capability Framework – and especially the learner profile – to support their thinking. This can be helpful, but the profile is both too generic for detailed planning, and too specialist to be easily used by teaching staff who do not have an e-learning or digital capabilities background. If you do want to use the Framework to support curriculum design, here are some suggestions.


  1. Don’t start with ICT proficiency or productivity, which creates a technology focus too soon.
  2. Also, don’t start with digital identity and well-being. Many aspects of this will be defined at the organisational level e.g. in terms of graduate outcomes/attributes, learning contracts, fair use policies and so on. However, it can be helpful to consider any digital aspects of the overall course outcomes, and to have those in mind while focusing on the four areas of practice.
  3. Focus curriculum conversations on the four ‘situated practices’ in the centre of the framework. Of these, the most productive and straightforward conversations with teaching staff are usually in the area of digital creation, problem-solving and innovation. This is about how problems are raised and solved and new knowledge or artefacts are created by subject specialists (‘scholarship’ may be a useful term in academic subjects).
  4. Next, think about information, data and media. Your conversations about method should have already raised issues about how these are created, managed, shared, visualised and used. It can be helpful to involve specialist staff e.g. from the library, learning support, or research support to think about what information, data and media literacy mean in this curriculum. This is an important place to discuss critical thinking and judgement.
  5. The other two areas of practice – communication, collaboration and participation, and learning (development) – are more generic across different subject areas. They include issues such as how learners make notes, record their achievements, set goals, organise their time and tasks, collaborate and so on. But it is still important to ask where in this  course of study these digital aspects of learning will be practiced and progressed.
  6. Once learning activities have been proposed to reflect these four areas of practice, then we can ask what technologies learners will be using – their own, or the organisation’s – to support the practice. And at that point learners’ proficiency and productivity may need to be addressed. If there are subject specialist systems that learners need to master – e.g. for data analysis, design, project management, instrumentation, administration etc – they need time to do this, and they need regular opportunities to practice and review. If learners are using generic systems, they will have to learn the specialist ‘rules’ for using them in scholarly or professional settings, rather than in personal or social ones.
  7. Finally it’s important to consider learner differences. How will you support students whose general digital skills need improvement? Do you know where to signpost them and how to do this without embarrassment? Schedule in an activity early on that will allow students to identify for themselves if they are under-prepared. Also think about students whose general digital capability is higher than average. They will be frustrated if they have to sit through scheduled sessions that introduce skills and systems they already have or can quickly master on their own. Allow them to progress quickly using self-paced support, and think about how their skills could be used to everyone’s advantage.

What’s new from Jisc for curriculum design?

Because of the importance of curriculum design for the digital capabilities agenda, Jisc has been offering short sessions at ConnectMore events to explore the framework in the light of curriculum concerns.

ConnectMore 1Resources from those sessions are now available from the links below, as many people have been asking how they can embed these ideas into curriculum practice at their own institution.

Sarah Knight, Head of Change (Student Experience), has this to say:

ConnectMore 2What I valued from running the Curriculum confidence workshops was the opportunity for us to re-focus on learning. Having conversations with staff about what they care about – their students and how best they can support them to acquire the knowledge and skills required to follow their career pathway. We are often led to focus on the technology rather than on the principles of what makes an effective learning and assessment experience. So for me its back to first principles and then seeing how we can utilise the affordances of technology to add the enhancements in order to prepare our students for a digital workplace.

Recognising that those sessions were not long or detailed enough for most participants, Jisc is now offering a one-day workshop entirely devoted to curriculum design for digital capabilities. Curriculum confidence: designing for digital capabilities in the curriculum will be running initially on 16 November 2017 in Birmingham: more details and a sign-up form are here. If you  join us you can be sure of opportunities to share ideas and practices with experienced curriculum staff from other universities and colleges, as well as an introduction to all the Jisc resources and current development projects.

Curriculum confidence resources mentioned in this post

Current Jisc resources:

Earlier resources (collated links):

How are HR departments supporting staff digital capability?

Originally posted on Jisc digital capability codesign challenge blog.

We are about to start a short review of how Human Resources (HR)  departments in educational institutions support staff with the development of their digital capability.

HR departments in universities and colleges increasingly recognise the need to contribute towards supporting staff to respond to challenges and opportunities offered by technologies. In 2016 their annual conference focused on the  The Changing Face of Work where they explored ‘How can we best equip our organisations to respond to our increasingly digital world and to meet the needs of our Generation Z employees?’  Helen Beetham presented at the conference about the Jisc digital capability work.

HR teams have a range of roles that require an understanding of the impact of technologies on staff:

  • recruitment
  • induction
  • staff health and wellbeing
  • conflict management
  • CPD support

HR staff also need to effectively use technologies and tools to deliver services. They need to ensure that their own digital capabilities are sufficient to make the best of available data and metrics and be aware of how social media and other technologies can impact on the changing relationships between students and staff. It is timely to find out how far HR departments are engaging with these challenges and to identify new and interesting practice.

Organisational approaches to developing digital capabilities

Jisc has been working with educational institutions to consider organisational approaches to developing digital capabilities and produced a supporting guide earlier this year. We hope that this work will build on those relationships we have already established with some HR teams and help us generate new links.

The work will review practice of HR departments in colleges and appropriate professional associations, and will also include an exploration of the role of trade unions in digital capability discussions and identify opportunities for developing strategies for their involvement.

Contribute to this review

The review will be carried out by Lou McGill and Tim Gray. If you are interested in contributing to this study, or know someone who may be interested, please contact Lou McGill. We will be launching an online survey soon to capture a snapshot of current practice.