Digital skills through the TELescope 

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flickr photo by meenaghd shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

‘Digital skills’ are frequently referred to both inside and outside of higher education. What are they and how can we judge if we are digitally skilled or not? We turn to the Jisc framework, originally developed by the work of Beetham and Sharpe (2010), to help answer the question of digital literacy.

Understanding digital skills

Jisc defines digital skills as ‘capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society.’ It is quite a collection. This ‘living, learning and working in a digital society’ looks to require a vast array of skills to navigate successfully and covers many areas:

  • ICT capability/ literacy
  • information, data and media literacies
  • digital creation, innovation and scholarship
  • communication, collaboration and participation
  • digital learning and self development
  • digital identity and well being.

The Jisc digital framework is currently under revision, see the latest by Helen Beetham in ‘Revisiting digital capability for 2015’.

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Keeping digitally fit

There are a number of things you can do to maintain or enhance your digital capability/literacy. Jisc provides ideas for students, course team members, senior managers, support staff and IT staff. Below is an excerpt from the extensive list provided by Jisc that you can read in their entirety here. We have pulled a favourite from each one:

  • Course teams Relax. You don’t have to be an expert in all things digital so long as you keep up to date with developments in your subject community (one size does not fit all).
  • IT managers Inform students that game-changing technologies (‘threshold practices’) require investment of time and effort (learning and teaching staff).
  • Senior managers Become digitally literate yourself – not to be able to do everything but to be able to provide leadership of an institution in the digital age.
  • Students Learn how to use the online library catalogue early on. But explore online resources, not limiting yourself to those recommended by tutors. Find academic/learning portals you can trust, learn to identify authoritative resources.

**There wasn’t a tip specifically for academics so I have added one myself**

If you are a student and you would like to take on board Jisc’s top tip to learn how to use the online library catalogue, see the full list of events and support available at Sussex Library. Watch this video clip on how one student found the help invaluable.

Library pic

Whatever your area of study, you can book training to get to grips with confidently using your catalogues. If you would like to explore the Library catalogue on your own steam, see the guide to Library Search help. You can ask at the Hub too. They’ll be pleased to show you how the catalogue works.

Learn with TEL

You can increase your digital skills by taking part in our Technology Enhanced Learning workshops. All of TEL’s workshop and online resources have been mapped to the JISC digital capabilities and by completing a development activity you can earn a TEL Open Badge which guide you to which capability you have progressed. Here is a selection of workshops to help you building your digital skills taken from our Sussex staff Autumn programme:

Designing engaging and visual presentations

Evernote essentials
Getting started with your iPad

Building and maintaining a professional learning network

Study Direct: digital collaboration

Open learning online

There are a lot of online resources to help you develop your digital skills. These resources are open to everybody, and best of all, they are free. The Open University (OU) has an excellent collection of digital resources for understanding and engaging in digital practices and ‘My Digital identity’ course. Learn about social networks and blogs via BBC WebWise, try to make audio recordings with your phone, watch a YouTube video on how to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) or read the post seven things you should know about WordPress.

If you are completely new to all things digital, visit the Learn My Way website. Learn My Way covers all the basics such as online shopping, email and getting started with making online connections. You can even get help from a human being too via a link to a local digital champion who can give you up to eight sessions of free help. Here is a search in Brighton and Hove.

Get in touch with us! If you don’t see what you are looking for, we can look at putting it on for you.

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We are the Educational Enhancement team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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