Transformation Through Collaboration – Building Digital Literacy in HEIs

Partner Institutions

Project Lead: University College Cork

Project Partners: Cork Institute of Technology, Waterford Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Carlow, Institute of Technology Tralee

Abstract

This project has continued the work begun under Phase 1 of the National Forum Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund as well as bringing together expertise attained in Southern Cluster of higher education institutes in building digital literacy capacity among staff and developing more effective engagement with students through online tools.

Awareness of the importance of digital literacy among staff is critical to the success of the project. At the core of the project is the recruitment of staff as Digital Champions in each of the parent institutes. These staff will become champions for the improvement of digital literacy skills within their academic discipline, their department and ultimately across the Southern Cluster. The project will document the journey these champions take and provide a map for others who wish to follow in their footsteps.

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Primary Contact(s)

TOMcolour3200pxTom O’ Mara

UCC

Tel: +353 21 490 3874

Email: tom.omara@ucc.ie

Detailed Proposal

This project intends to continue the work begun under Phase 1 of the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund as well as bring together expertise attained in Southern Cluster Higher Education Institutes around the area of building digital literacy capacity among staff and more effective engagement with students through online tools.

The starting point for this project is a definition of what is meant by digital literacy in the context of HEIs. Digital literacy may be imagined as the ˜skills needed by teachers and students to participate fully in online learning activities.”

However, the development of digital literacies goes beyond the mere acquisition of skills; it is also about the development of a disposition towards the possibilities afforded by the use of technology. The development of digital literacies is intended to foster a new way of teaching, learning and assessing; thus leading to transformation and not simple translation of teaching practices (Petre, Carswell, Price, & Thomas, 1998).

Awareness of the importance of digital literacy among staff is critical to the success of the project. We will identify academic staff in each location and facilitate the learning needed to successfully integrate technology into their teaching. These staff will become champions for the improvement of digital literacy skills within their academic discipline, their department and ultimately across the Southern Cluster. The project will document the journey these champions take and provide a map for others who wish to follow in their footsteps.

Supports used in training of the champions will be made available online, including content developed as part of other NF funded projects.

The project will provide the foundation for a sustainable collaborative approach within the Southern cluster to the ongoing development and enhancement of Digital Literacies in HEIs.

  • All partners in this project are committed to working together in future around the area of TEL, simply as a result of collaborating on this proposal.
  • We are keen to make use of existing resources and build on previous collaboration projects. We plan to use resources from previous National Forum projects as part of the learning resource bank for this project.
  • We feel the Project Web site will continue to evolve beyond June 2016 as the Champions continue to grow, resources are developed and stories unfold. We hope the site will ultimately become a learning resource for anyone interested in improving TEL schools.
  • As part of each institute’s T&L strategy, training will continue whether this project is successful or not, but we believe the funding would allow us to work more closely together on particular learning needs. This will inevitably foster closer working relationships as we learn where expertise resides in the Southern Cluster. This can only benefit individual T&L efforts into the future
The project will be conducted through seven overlapping but discrete phases:
Phase 1: November/December 2015 – Agree common tool for assessment of digital literacy among staff. Project Web site
set up.
Phase 2: December 2015 – Identify academic staff to be developed as champions
Phase 3: January 2016 – Identify strengths and gaps of staff around digital literacy and design individual training plans
Phase 4: February 2016 to June 2016 – Provide training locally and in collaboration with other institutes.
Phase 5: Champions present at Digital Week, running from Feb 22 to Feb 25.
Phase 6: January 2016 – June 2016 Champions put learning into practice with final summary day in June, to be recorded
and documented as the final evaluation.
Phase 7: December 2015 – June 2016 – Document learning journeys and disseminate