January 25, 2018

Digital Literacy Programme

By Michelle Blake, Head of Relationship Management

At York we have recently set up a Digital Literacy Programme to improve the digital capabilities and confidence of all our staff and students. Over the last few years we’ve concentrated on student digital literacy, working in partnership with other professional support services and academics on enhancing programmes through the York Pedagogy project. This project involved us commenting on every undergraduate and postgraduate programme and we’ll write something on it soon. It also saw the development of our Skills Guides and Digital Wednesdays initiative.

Over the last year we have begun to focus on staff and our first stage, information gathering, has now completed. It sought to:
  • Identify the issues and challenges when developing staff digital capabilities across the University;
  • Identify priorities for digital skills development for Library staff and any gaps in confidence; 
  • Learn lessons about staff digital literacy that can be applied to the wider University staff. 

We have been able to condense the detailed findings into these key issues to be addressed:
  • Gaps in foundational level understanding and skills that lead to longer term problems with confidence, attitude and skill 
  • Lack of understanding of collaborative and organisational tools
  • Staff expectations (their own and their managers)
  • Support for new staff 
  • How to support and change practice amongst existing staff 
  • Lack of awareness of what support is available and how to access it
  • Commitment to ongoing staff development
  • Sharing of good practice, inspiring staff and maximising impact
  • Attitudinal barriers and varying levels of confidence
  • Sustainability and scalability

The main outcome of our first project is the establishment of three new projects under the Digital Literacy Programme:

Library & Archives: building digital skills

Timescale: November 2017 -  Summer 2019 (anticipated)
This project will take forward many of the findings of this initial scoping project. It will include the analysis of the pilot group data and alignment of individual team recommendations to develop, implement and evaluate a programme of digital skills support for Library & Archives staff. Project components to be taken forward:
  • Three level training and development programme:
  • IT Essentials: How IT works
  • Working practices: How we work
  • Aspirational: How do I make it work better
  • Creation of role descriptors
  • Exploration of scalability and sustainability
  • Support for existing staff
  • Support for new staff
(It is anticipated that this project will be used for the basis for staff across the University)

Digital leaders

Timescale: October 2017 - December 2019
This project partners with the University’s Leadership and Development Team to embed digital skills within the Leadership in Action programme by the:
  • Creation of a new session on digital leadership
  • Creation and embedding of a self-diagnostic resource for participants 
  • Links to sources of further support for developing personal digital skills
  • Embedding digital tools and tasks throughout the course to model some best practice use of collaborative tools in particular

The first cohort commences in January 2018 and the second cohort finishes in September 2018. We expect to trial out approaches during 2018 and refine these for 2019 and beyond.

Training pathways

Timescale: January 2018 - December 2020 (anticipated)
The Digital Literacy Training Pathways project seeks to understand the digital literacy linked to core working practices from across a range of staff stakeholder groups, to ensure that we are providing adequate support and training to new and existing staff. The project proposes the development of generic and bespoke support and training materials tailored to the requirements of staff undertaking a range of roles at the University at different stages in their career.

Some of the expected outputs of the training pathways project include:
  • Surfacing of existing content under the banner of staff digital literacy and identified practices;
  • Identification of digital literacy training requirements of academic staff, professional staff and administrative staff based on work undertaken with pilot groups;
  • Development of new training and support materials based on stakeholder requirements and core digital competencies, including:
  • Online support materials
  • Face to face workshops/activities to be embedded in existing programmes
  • Awareness raising and marketing of digital tools/practices;
  • Creation of a collection of case studies from pilot groups to encourage digital literacy development more widely across the University;
  • Development of online platform and access routes to training materials. 

We expect this to be the first post to introduce the programme of work that we’re undertaking and hope to provide regular updates about the projects here.

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