Designing for Digital Capabilities in the Curriculum

Over the last couple of weeks or so the Connect More events (#ConnectMore17) have been taking place across the UK. This year’s events focussed on the digital capabilities that every practitioner, teacher, librarian and adviser in UK higher and further education needs.

One recurring thread running through Connect More is ensuring that digital is fully embedded into the curriculum. This posed a number of key questions, such as:-

  • What do we do well already and what lessons can we learn from peers?
  • How do we ensure that the digital we embed in the curriculum is aligned to student demand?
  • How can we support curriculum staff to develop the digital capabilities required to meet that student demand?
laptop learners

Image available on Pixabay under a Public Domain licence.

The sessions on Curriculum confidence: designing for digital capabilities in the curriculum, addressed these very questions and presented attendees with a number of Jisc resources that can help institutions embed digital.

First of all, there’s the Digital Capability Activity Cards. These bitesize cards can be used with groups/individuals to surface the kinds of digital activities curriculum staff already do well with learners, mapped to the Jisc digital capability framework. We did an activity at the Birmingham and Sheffield Connect More events where we asked attendees to reflect on their own activities with learners and some of these reflections are captured here. Further case studies are also available from the Jisc guide Developing Organisational Approaches to Digital Capability.

Ensuring technology is aligned to student need requires a collaborative approach to technology adoption. Conversations with learners themselves are critical. Jisc has recently published the outcomes from the open pilot of the Student Digital Experience Tracker, which includes the response from 74 UK institutions of over 22,000 students. There is a wealth of data within this report that provides invaluable insights on students’ expectations, both from HE, and FE and Skills.

Jisc has also produced the Digital Capability Curriculum Mapping document, which encourages curriculum staff to explore their programmes of study through a ‘technology lens’ and identify areas where digital can be embedded to enhance learning outcomes.

Finally, there have also been further developments on helping institutions to assess and support the digital capabilities of staff. The HE Teacher question set and FE and Skills Teacher question set can either be used as standalone resources or to complement the existing work done to date on the discovery tool. Both are intended to identify how digital can augment the pedagogic aspects of teaching, from the creation of digital learning resources to ensuring that accessibility issues have been considered when introducing new technologies.

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