Developing employability in health and life sciences

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Developing Digital Literacies for Employability of Life and health Science Graduates

Project Information

Project Identifier

To be completed by HEA/JISC

Project Title

Developing Digital Literacies for Employability of Life and health Science Graduates

Project Hashtag


Start Date


End Date


Lead Institution

University of Ulster

Project Manager

Catherine Hack

Contact email

Project Web URL

Programme Name

Digital Literacy in the Disciplines

Programme Manager

Terry McAndrew


Document Information


Catherine Hack

Project Role(s)







If this report is on your project web site


This report is for general dissemination

''''Table of Contents

NB: This table of contents ‘auto-populates’ - to update the table of contents – place cursor in the table of contents, right-click your mouse, click ’update field’, select appropriate option

[ 1 Acknowledgements 3]

[ 2 Project Summary 3]

[ 3 Main Body of Report 3]

[ 3.1 Project Outputs and Outcomes 3]

[ 3.2 How did you go about achieving your outputs / outcomes? 3]

[ 3.3 What did you learn? 3]

[ 3.4 Immediate Impact 4]

[ 3.5 Future Impact 4]

[ 4 Conclusions 4]

[ 5 Recommendations 4]

[ 6 Implications for the future 4]

[ 7 References 4]

[ 8 Appendices (optional) 4]


This project was funded through the HEA Digital Literacy in the Disciplines call.

Project Summary

Students from the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ulster developed a open educational resource (OER) to support students in preparing for careers in the health or life science sectors. The resource provides some definitions of digital literacy and why it is important for employability, followed by some frameworks and evaluation tools that help students identify their own learning needs. The next section looks at Digital Identity and steps that can be taken to develop a positive digital profile. Finally, some of the career options available to life and health science graduates are explored. The resource was developed through an extra-curricular activity linked to a postgraduate module in professional practice.

Main Body of Report

Project Outputs

(e.g. report, publication, software)
Brief Description and URLs (where applicable)

Powerpoint presentation

This Pecha Kucha presentation was delivered with students at HEASTEM (May, 2014)


An augmented reality poster was displayed at the HEA Annual Conference (July, 2014).


The OER is available here:

Project Outcomes

Outcome Type
(e.g. practice change, production method)
Brief Description (and URLs where applicable)

Blog post

Reflection over the course of the development of the OER is available via the blog post.

How did you go about achieving your outputs / outcomes?

The project ran as an extra-curricular activity alongside a post-graduate module in professional practice. Class activities included reflection on digital identity, reflection on career options, critical evaluation of job advertisements and job profiles, and evaluation of digital literacies.

In the extra-curricular activities, students worked to think about how the class activities could be embedded within the Xerte platform.

What did you learn?

Value of the Xerte Online Toolkit approach for student created content:

Neither the students nor myself had used Xerte prior to the start of this project. Xerte was installed on a local sever, so the set up and use was very straightforward.

On reflection it would have been valuable to have introduced some publically available Xerte objects into the class, prior to getting students to develop their own resources. However, after a short learning curve, we found the resource intuitive and simple to use.

Staff and students digital literacies

There was a wide difference in the digital literacies of the students in the cohort, although they had fairly similar academic backgrounds. The students worked well as a group and were keen to share practice. The project was quite challenging to explain to students, as they had to develop their own digital literacies, whilst developing a resource which helped other students develop their own digital literacies. The students created video artefacts through the project, they were encouraged to reflect and share on this content. However they did not feel it was ‘good enough’; to use in the resource.

The issues of copyright had to be regularly reinforced with students.

The skills required to develop the resource included: information literacy, digital scholarship, digital identity and learning skills, which were effectively deployed in this authentic learning task. The students who went onto publicise and disseminate the resource further developed media literacy and communication skills.

Next academic year the resource will be embedded in the Professional Practice module, and after using it, the new cohort will be supported in developing additional pages for the resource.

Immediate Impact

The project has had a positive impact on the students who engaged with the development of the resource, giving them the opportunity to reflect on their own digital literacies, as well as develop their team working, time management and communication skills.

Future Impact

The resource will be offered to second year and final year students in the next academic year as they prepare for placement. They will be asked to provide feedback on the resource, and potentially develop further content. It will also be embedded in the Professional Practice module (where it was originally developed), and following its use in this module students will be encourage to develop new pages ( as part of the module).


  • The Xerte toolkit provides a relatively simple interface to develop open educational resources, and is therefore suitable for both staff and students to develop their own resources
  • Engaging students with the project as an extra-curricular activity had advantages and disadvantages. There was a significant drop-out of students as the project progressed, however those that remained were committed to the development of the resource. Embedding the activity in the module, may have required it to be linked to assessment to ensure proper engagement and this creates its own administrative burdens. By linking the activities to classroom activities, students could elect to participate, in the knowledge that the extra-curricular activity was very relevant to their course.


The Xerte platform should be used in other similar projects.

Reflection on how to maintain staff-student partnerships through the course of a 12 month project is required.

Implications for the future

The resource will be updated and developed further following evaluation and feedback from students. We are keen to work with other groups, initially across our own institution to make the resource suitable for students in other disciplines.

The resource will be embedded within an extra-curricular (EDGE Activity) for students at the University of Ulster. The Ulster EDGE (Engagement Development Graduate Employability) Award was designed to enhance the employability of Ulster graduates by providing official recognition and evidence of activities outside of their programme of study (The Edge Award, 2012). In order to achieve the activity award, students will be required to use the activity to create a reflective account of the development of heir digital literacies


The Edge Award (2012) Date Accessed: 06 Jan 2014

Appendices (optional)