Author: Caroline Carlin. Animation: Laura Ridings
The world of work is changing at a rapid pace. Digital innovations such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and augmented/virtual reality are creating new roles, transforming existing ones and making others non-existent. Whilst this shift presents exciting opportunities, it also demands a whole new range of skills. As a University TELT team, we need to consider what can we do to support staff and students navigate their way through this evolving digital world and ultimately thrive in it. As Jisc note, the “solution is to take a thorough approach to developing the digital capabilities of staff right across the organisation. It’s important to give them not only specific skills that they can pass on to their learners, but also the know-how and the enthusiasm about technology to explore its potential in new ways and, in turn, excite learners.”
How can we help staff to help students?
Embedding digital practices into the curriculum is crucial. To achieve this we need to support staff in feeling confident to explore technologies, recognising where they can enhance teaching, and to then share those good practices with colleagues.
A new addition to our DigiLearn framework is DigiPath. About 18 months ago we started to think about a digital self-assessment for staff. Initially, we investigated creating a survey in Qualtrics, but quickly realised that wasn’t really what we wanted. We wanted something more. A tool which would not only help staff to reflect on their current digital practices but also offer the ability to revisit and chart progress. Most importantly we didn’t want the tool to highlight what staff didn’t know, but to be about development. A personalised learning tool; a place for them not only to assess their own digital capabilities, but to discover resources, applications and the innovative practices of colleagues at UCLan, via case studies.
We created DigiPath in WordPress. It comprises six digital pathways aligned to the Higher Education Academy (UKPSF), Jisc Digital Capabilities Framework and UCLan’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. Each pathway has a series of questions designed to raise awareness and help staff assess their digital practices. Completing each pathway staff are presented with a level (1 – 4) based on their answers and their personalised profile mapped to the level with recommended development resources, suggested apps to explore and case studies. Staff are also encouraged to share their good practice, e.g writing a guest post for TELT blog or recording a case study, and to embark on the DigiLearn programme.
DigiPath is a tool which will inevitably develop and evolve with the changing needs of UCLan and the sector. We’re keen to involve staff in this development, continually gathering and responding to feedback. At the moment, it’s focussed on academic teaching staff. The plan is to expand, with further pathways meeting the needs of non-teaching academic staff, and support staff. We’ll also investigate the creation of a DigiPath tool for students, focussing on the digital skills they need to be successful in their studies and a competitive job market.
Want to discover your digital journey?
Go straight to DigiPath and complete the short registration. The tool is also open to non UCLan staff to explore.