Last week, Esther Barrett, Rebecca Burningham and I delivered the first in a series of exciting new online workshops focusing on key areas of digital capability. Whilst the workshop is still fresh in my mind I want to share some of my reflections (before breaking up for Christmas and taking on fresh challenges – another mince pie anyone?).
The session focused on how we support learners around areas of digital identity and wellbeing – a topic close to my heart and relevant to all of our member organisations. Not only because we have a duty of care towards all of our learners, but also because it’s often difficult to unravel our digital identities from the people they represent.
The first point that struck me was the range of participants that had signed up for the workshop. We had librarians (from HE and FE); senior lecturers and learning technologists in attendance (we even had one dedicated person attending from Australia – a great advert for how synchronous online learning can span geographical barriers that face-to-face learning can’t overcome). For me, this reflected how digital capability cuts across a range of roles within an organisation and is everyone’s concern – not just those with direct responsibility for it.
Before the session we had set up some background reading on our learning platform. We wanted participants to familiarise themselves with the subject and get up to speed with many of the resources Jisc has to offer beforehand, including:-
- The Jisc Digital Capability framework, which comprises the six key elements of digital capability. The framework provides a high-level, general account of the digital capabilities that we aim to develop – in our staff and in our learners.
- The results of the Student Digital Experience Tracker published this summer, which paints a national picture of the student digital experience. Within the Tracker there are key questions relating to how students feel supported when developing their own digital identities and aspects of digital safety and wellbeing.
- The Jisc Learner profile which provides a starting point for defining the digital capabilities required by learners and can be used to inform how you support learners. We used this extensively throughout the session to look at specific areas that learners may need further support.
- The Jisc/NUS benchmarking tool to look at what steps organisations could take to support learners around digital wellbeing.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and I think it’s fair to say we had a variety of activities during the session to encourage sharing, collaboration and reflection. These activities consisted of built-in features of Adobe Connect (such as polls, chat, breakout rooms, open mics, etc) as well as some personal favourites that took you outside of Adobe Connect (Mentimeter, Padlet, LinoIt, etc). The point we wanted to make was that good synchronous online learning (regardless of the tools) is about so much more than viewing PowerPoints on a VLE – it’s about engaging with your learners in a meaningful way, by asking them where they are, what they think and involving them wherever possible.
If you’d like to know more about the series of online workshops Jisc has to offer we are developing an online community of practice under the #jisconlineworkshop hashtag and the next workshop is due to run in February 2018 (focusing on developing learner employability skills).