Digital Practice and Pedagogy

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The Digital Practice and Pedagogy (DPP) project Final Report

Project Information

Project Title

Digital Practice and Pedagogy

Project Hashtag

#MJM22

Start Date

1st July 2013

End Date

31st July 2014

Lead Institution

University of Brighton

Project Manager

Dr Sarah Atkinson

Contact email

s.a.atkinson@brighton.ac.uk

Project Web URL

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/

Programme Name

Digital Literacy in the Disciplines

Programme Manager

Terry McAndrew

Document Information

Author(s)

Dr Sarah Atkinson & Adam Bailey

Project Role(s)

Project Manager and Module Leader

Date

3rd July 2014

Filename

DL_Final_Report_SA_AB.doc

URL


Access

This report is for general dissemination


Acknowledgements

The Digital Practice and Pedagogy (DPP) project was funded by the HEA Digital Literacy in the Disciplines scheme 2013/14. The project was supported by the University of Brighton’s School of Art, Design & Media (ADM) and the Faculty of Arts Centre for Research Development alongside the University’s Information Services Department.

Project Summary

The Digital Practice and Pedagogy (DPP) project centred on the development, delivery and evaluation of a new Level 7 semester-based 20-credit core module/unit of study which was offered and piloted within the MA Creative Media academic course within the University of Brighton’s School of Art, Design & Media (ADM).


The  Digital Practice and Pedagogy module aimed to significantly improve the digital literacies of staff and students in the Art, Design and Media disciplines by embedding new and emerging digital pedagogic practices into its teaching, learning and assessment strategy. The School of ADM, in which the MA Creative Media course is located, has highly differentiated practices across the courses and varying levels of digital literacy which span the spectrum of abilities from highly proficient to beginner-level. The course provision includes traditional art programmes which have conventionally been seen to lag behind in uptake of digital technologies for learning at one end of the scale, and media courses at the other which have tended to be the early adopters of both the use and study of emerging technologies in teaching, learning and research. The introduction of the Digital Practice and Pedagogy module provided an ideal vehicle with which to redress this imbalance.

The first iteration of the module was delivered in 2013/14 and evaluated as part of this project. The participating students comprised of both part-time and full-time students who were a mix of distance and on-campus learners, and some staff members taking the module as part of their continued professional development.


The module was developed through close work and consultation with incoming and current students, the university’s Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) and the school’s Learning Technology Adviser (LTA) in its endeavour to enhance the provision for distance learning opportunities at the university. The output of the module, which was delivered wholly online, was the development of reusable learning resources through student partnerships with academic staff. All resources generated by the module have since been made available as Open Educational Resources (OERs) that can be taken and re-used, and built on by other academics and students.


Main Body of Report

Project Outputs

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

Open Educational Resource


An introduction to collaborative working and Wiggio (Tanya Neuss)

https://student.brighton.ac.uk/xerte/play.php?template_id=57

Student authored OER is an introduction to collaborative working for students with group tasks and assignments.


Open Educational Resource

Creating videos with limited means (Maximillian Jacobson-Gonzalez)

https://student.brighton.ac.uk/xerte/play.php?template_id=43

Student authored OER designed to empower users to generate their own media content.


Open Educational Resource


Ethics in digital practice (Alexandra McGougan)

https://student.brighton.ac.uk/xerte/play.php?template_id=41

Student authored OER designed to explain ethics and digital literacy, examining ethical choices, rights and responsibilities.


Open Educational Resource


Edit a film with Final Cut Pro X (Ben Beasley)

http://mrbenbeasley.wordpress.com/

Student authored OER guide to editing film using Final Cut Pro X.


Open Educational Resource


Your queer selfie (Sarah Hebben)

http://www.YourQueerSelfie.tumblr.com

Student authored OER using blog platform Tumblr exploring the themes of representation, body image and selfies.


Learning Resources and Activities


Module blog https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/

The blog contains students’ assignments, reflections and observations on digital practice and pedagogy.

Details of the module curriculum - weekly activities based on a variety of topics and lecture presentation slides made freely available as OERs.


Learning Resources and Activities

Week 1 introduction to the module

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=16

Lecture slides and activities.


  • Overview of the module.
  • Introduction to the learning tools used in the module
  • Introduction to digital literacy concepts and open education.
  • Finding out what your own digital literacies are.


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 2 Professional online identity

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=150

Lecture slides and activities.


  • What you need to do to create and maintain a professional online identity.
  • How social media can be used to build networks.
  • The impact and consequences of an online presence.
  • Netiquette.


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 3 What is e-learning

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=194

Lecture slides and activities.

  • An explanation of e-learning.
  • Approaches to understanding how learners learn.
  • Learning theory for e-learning.
  • What makes effective e-learning.
  • New approaches and emerging pedagogic practice.


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 4 Open Educational Resources.

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=228

Lecture slides and activities

  • Definition of open educational resources.
  • Benefits and challenges of producing OERs.
  • Finding and discovering OERs.
  • Evaluating OERs.
  • Introduction to Creative Commons.


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 5 Building learning objects.

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=296

Lecture slides and activities

  • How educational resources are designed.
  • The concepts behind:
  • Learning design.
  • Learning objects.
  • Designing activities.
  • How to create learning objects using the Xerte authoring tool.


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 6 Web accessibility and copyright.

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=344

Lecture slides and activities

  • Principles of usability and accessibility in web design.
  • Examples of well designed websites.
  • An introduction to copyright.
  • Open access and licensing.


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 7 Digital media

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=382

Lecture slides and activities


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 8 Online communication

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=427

Lecture slides and activities

  • An introduction to how we communicate online.
  • Different modes of communication,
  • And the factors that affect this.
  • An exploration of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools.
  • Visual communication and infographics


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 9 Collaborative learning

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=454

Lecture slides and activities

  • An explanation of collaborative learning.
  • Description of communities of practice.
  • Effective practice using Wikis & Blogs.
  • Facilitating effective online working in collaborative spaces.


Learning Resources and Activities


Week 10 Assessment & feedback, and gamification

https://studentfolio.brighton.ac.uk/dpp13/?page_id=502

Lecture slides and activities

  • Review of assessment and feedback
  • What makes feedback effective
  • Introduction to use of game techniques in learning


Open Educational Resource

Webinar recording and series of resources from a talk given by Chris Follows on using digital and rich media, available on the Process Arts site.

http://process.arts.ac.uk/content/university-brighton-webinar-19-11-13-notes-links


Discussion

Twitter activity and discussion on various digital practice and pedagogic topics collated using hashtag #mjm22

https://twitter.com/hashtag/mjm22


Open Educational Resource

Outline OER framework. Collaboratively authored student resource.

http://www.mindmeister.com/344038048/oer-framework


Project Outcomes

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

Validated module (MJM22)

A newly validated module was introduced that is now part of the MA Creative Media course, and available as an optional module to all level 7 students within the faculty as well as being available for staff CPD within the School of ADM.


Software pilot

The Xerte software has been installed and tested as part of this module. This will lead to a review of this software as a learning content creation tool.


Software pilot

The trialling of the WordPress blog platform for reflective blogging has provided evidence to support the business case for the purchase Edublogs as an Institutional blogging platform.


Open educational resources

A series of tutor and student authored OERs has been produced can be reused, and repurposed for teaching digital literacies and practice in different areas.


Practice change

The open and inclusive design of the module has enabled students and tutors to work as partners in facilitating the module and producing content as part of it.


Practice change

Students that studied the module have a greater appreciation of digital tools and practice. They have critically re-evaluated and applied these acquired digital literacies both in their personal, educational and professional practice.


Practice change

The entire online delivery of the module has allowed the learning technologists and tutors to explore available virtual classroom and webinar software, as well as to develop pedagogic approaches to using these.


Practice change

The practical nature of the activities & assessments (producing an OER and reflective blog) has enabled students to engage in authentic learning activities and personalised learning outcomes, which they have been able to utilise and apply.


Working practice

Delivering the module on the basis of open educational practices has extended the working practices of the course. It is hoped that this will lead on to further work in this area and that more modules can be structured to accommodate these practices.


Knowledge sharing

The collaborative approach to the delivery and development of the module has encouraged the sharing of practice, expertise and experience between staff, students and departments.


Pedagogic approach

The ‘open’ approach adopted by the module has been beneficial for the students and staff taking the module.


Increased awareness

The successful delivery of the module has created significant interest amongst tutors in Media and the School more widely. It is hoped that this interest can be built upon, and can be a catalyst for tutors to further incorporate digital practice into their modules.



How did you go about achieving your outputs / outcomes?

The Digital Practice and Pedagogy (DPP) project was strategically positioned within the MA Creative Media course at the time of its periodic review (which was being led by Atkinson). This particular course has continually aimed to break new ground in its teaching techniques to achieve a learning culture that truly reflects the global digital age where time and space constraints on building learning communities have been significantly removed. From its outset, the course team have experimented with the use of synchronous and asynchronous digital communications to teach students in multiple modes (face to face and remote), also encouraging horizontal informal learning among the module cohorts for example, through online forums as much as the more traditional formal learning. Use of Skype and other such technologies allow for diverse kinds of students to join together across part-time, fulltime, campus, off-campus, home and international boundaries, to learn and to share their learning. The course seeks to actively use and incorporate digital developments into its pedagogic practice to enhance students’ experience of and facility with digital technologies. This leads to an enriching environment offering varied learning experiences and contexts as well as opportunities to harness the full flexibilities of real-time and asynchronous face to face and virtual presence. It means that both the modes and content of learning within this context are actively preparing the students for confident and imaginative participation in the creative and digital economy.

The review process of the MA Creative Media course provided a timely context within which to develop the Digital Practice and Pedagogy module since its aim to enhance, develop and extend digital and online pedagogical practices aligned with that of the overall course, in its endeavour to be highly responsive to individual students and to promote learner’s flexibility. In addition, by situating Digital Practice and Pedagogy within this level 7 course meant that the module could be offered as an option to all level 7 students within the faculty studying on other courses, as well as to any member of staff wishing to build the module into their individual continued professional development strategy.

The DPP project aimed to significantly enhance student and staff digital literacy within the Art, Design and Media subject area, more specifically, the module itself aimed to:

  • Enable students to raise their levels of digital literacies through the use and experimentation of various digital communication and collaborative technologies.
  • Develop students’ working knowledge and understanding of the principles, practices, techniques and pedagogies of interactive learning content design and creation alongside the advancement of their critical understanding of the use of new digital technologies within various educational and training contexts.

The course and the proposed module focussed on institutional imperatives and directives as laid out within the university’s strategic planning documents, in order to be the cornerstone of institutional strategy which proposed ‘a step change in forms of digital learning to support interactive face-to-face learning and teaching’ (Objective 7 University of Brighton Strategy).

The DPP project team (Atkinson and Bailey) also engaged with the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2012-15, to ensure that the project not only met the university’s baseline provision, but actively sought to exceed this, and to proactively lead the e-learning and digital transformation agenda, to move ‘beyond the baseline to interactive learning’ as specified in the strategy’s implementation plan.

The DPP project was underpinned by the expertise and previous pedagogic research that had been undertaken by the project team. The university’s ARTS‐OER Brighton Project Report was co-authored by the DPP project team (Atkinson, Bailey, Flint and Mallinder 2012) and directly informed the module development through its focus on the co-creation of resources by students for use by other students in their learning of new digital literacies.

Upon receipt of the HEA Digital Literacy in the Disciplines funding, the DPP project team undertook the following activities:

  1. Xerte was installed on the University server and the DPP team familiarised themselves with its use. Students had the option to author online, re-usable and interactive learning materials using this ‘open source’ software package within the module. It was envisaged that engaging with Xerte would enable the students to explore the design, creation and implementation of open educational resources. The software works by allowing the user to build learning as a series of slides or pages with text, images, embedded media (such as audio and video), and design interactivity or quiz features within a simple template format.
  2. WordPress was installed to provide a public blogging platform for the module that enabled students to record and share their reflections, and for the tutors to openly publish structured learning activities and notes from lectures.
  3. The curriculum of the Digital Practice and Pedagogy module was developed in consultation with University learning technologists (including Bailey), and with the university’s Digital Literacy framework team, to ensure that all that was proposed was inline with the university’s Digital Literacies Policy and Implementation Plan, 2013 ensuring consistency in the language and terminologies used.
  4. The module proposal, outline and structure were validated at the MA Creative Media course review event on in July (see Appendix 1 for the validated module descriptor: MJM22 – Digital Practice and Pedagogy). The module was designed to be as discipline neutral as possible in its conception, in order to be widely applicable to the range of subject areas with the Faculty of Arts. The aim was for students to become co-researchers and co-producers within their disciplinarily specific content. Students were to be encouraged to work within their own areas, and to utilise and produce resources specific to their subject area within the curricular activities that are described below.
  5. MJM22 – Digital Practice and Pedagogy was delivered for the first time between October 2013  and January 2014 (see Appendix 2 for the module guide which provides an overview of the weekly curriculum). The module was taken by five students in total, three of whom were in part-time mode and one in full-time, they were a mix of distance and on-campus learners, two were university staff members taking the module as part of their continued professional development. The mode of delivery was via a timetabled weekly online (‘live’) lecture or ‘webinar’ (using Blackboard Collaborate in CourseSites – a virtual classroom software). These were structured sessions led either by the module leader (Bailey) or by a specialist-visiting lecturer. Using a virtual classroom such as this provided the ability for students to join in remotely, wherever they were geographically based, to share the lecturer’s computer screen, and to participate in discussions via communication tools such as chat, audio and video. This particular software also has a whiteboard and file sharing features. All sessions were recorded, (which included capturing the online interactions), so as to be accessed by students who weren’t able to attend the timetabled slot and to be replayed by those that did attend for review purposes.
  6. Each week, students were required to engage in e-learning resource generation via different modes guided by the module leader. These resources have been collated via the module’s blog for future use either within the delivery of the module and by others in the wider teaching and learning community. These different resource ‘outputs’ included the online lecture itself, the records of communication (predominantly via Twitter which was used as a communication channel and to help engage with wider audience in discussions), the module content and its supporting learning materials (through the university’s VLE - Blackboard), through student authored OERs (created in Xerte), screen captures (generated via Camtasia Relay), and the text generated through reflective practice (via the Blog). After each of these week online lectures, students were set an online activity which followed on directly from the focus of the lecture. These exercises were designed to enable the students to explore and experience the different technological tools within their own contexts and to critically reflect upon their use. The activities were delivered through the group blog and students responded through their reflections upon their development of their digital literacies. The blog was embedded into the official Digital Practice and Pedagogy website, which is an outwardly facing forum which directly aided in the synthesis of student input into the model as co-creators and co-curators of the content.
  7. An evaluation of the first iteration of the module was then undertaken, through a focus group with the students. The students were encouraged to talk openly as a group about their experiences with the module leader and their input was transcribed. An analysis of the students’ reflective blog posts was also undertaken. The findings of this evaluation are summarised within the following section of this report. The projects findings have been disseminated and shared at the following events:

‘The pedagogic potential of OER: Two case studies from the Media and Film disciplines’, Open Education Week: Opening minds, sharing resources, and developing collective practice, HEA sponsored workshop, Sussex University, 11th March 2014.

‘Digital Practice and Pedagogy: Student generated OERs using Xerte in Art, Design, Media and Psychology’, HEA sponsored workshop, University of Lincoln, 26th June 2014.http://makingdigitalhistory.co.uk/projects/xerte-talking-students-producing-interactive-learning-resources/art-design-and-media-workshop-26th-june-2014/

‘Digital practice and pedagogy: a case study of online distance learning through open educational principles and practice,’ The Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2014: Preparing for learning futures: the next ten years, Aston University, 3rd July 2014.

What did you learn?

Value of the Xerte Online Toolkit approach


  • As a content authoring tool for students, Xerte facilitated the creation of digital learning objects relatively easily and the student outputs could be shared and reused effectively. This software was ideal for the purposes of the module since students didn’t need to know any programming, and it is compliant with internet and accessibility standards, as well as being mobile responsive.
  • The software provided a suitable development tool to demonstrate practical concepts of learning design through the production of learning objects with the assemblage of digital assets and information objects, as described by JISC (2013), adapted from Littlejohn, Falconer and McGill (2008).
  • A pilot install of the Xerte software was made available for local use on the module. Installation was straightforward and did not present any technical difficulties in set up.
  • The use of Xerte required some initial training and students took time to develop familiarity with it. The interface is not intuitive and students needed to acquire a conceptual understanding of the design process provided by the software in order to work with it successfully. It is not immediately apparent what the purpose of and how to work with some of the templates and students needed to invest time in experimentation and testing.
  • The effective use of Xerte required the acquisition of some technical knowledge by students around the use of basic HTML and file formats for digital media.
  • Students encountered some technical issues and inconsistencies with the software when developing their learning objects, for example in the embedding of videos. They felt this hindered their ability to produce their OER but this didn’t prevent them from persisting with the software.
  • Students appreciated the convenience of constructing learning objects using templates but were also critical of the design limitations this imposed. Working within this framework did enable students to think critically about the content they were developing and work creatively within its limitations. Student comments included:


“Having been introduced to Xerte in the module, it seemed to tick a lot of the boxes but was a bit of an uphill struggle to get familiar with it.”


“Part of its limitations are also its strengths, having spent a fair while writing swathes of text to include on the pages of the OER I discovered that a great deal would not fit… but this made me also think that some people might be put off by a lot of text and it encouraged me to look for other ways to impart the information.”


  • Providing clear guidance to students at the start of the module on what elements the OER needed to include assisted students to make a structured exploration of Xerte.
  • All of the students underestimated how long it would take them to create their OER. Students were not aware of how long it would take to produce online learning and did not have any terms of reference to make a comparison to other forms of digital content production.
  • The OERs produced using Xerte did fulfill the requirements of being accessible, shareable and reusable.
  • Working with a common tool to develop the OERs enabled those students who chose to use Xerte to share experiences and knowledge.



The development of students and staff digital literacies.


The module addressed the development of staff and student digital literacies in the following ways:


Information literacy

Students were required to engage in a series of online individual and collaborative activities. This led to the development of skills in finding, interpreting and sharing information relating on various digital practices and tools. These were recorded on the module blog, disseminated via Twitter or used in the production of OERs.


In the development of the learning activities and materials, staff actively identified and sourced suitable open digital assets and learning resources.


Media literacy

Students and staff actively engaged in the review and co-production of academic and professional communications throughout the module. They developed critical writing skills for the web through reflective blog posts, planning and producing an OER and video production.


Communication & collaboration

Students developed a Twitter network as a means to extend their understanding of social networks using hashtag #mjm22. Students’ appreciation of Twitter was limited before the module began and this experience has led then to make new discoveries and re-assess the value of this medium. It’s use led directly to the discovery of resources and connections with subject experts that students included in their research and assignments.


Career and identity management

The first two weeks of the module focused on addressing students’ levels of digital literacy and evaluated their existing digital identity.

This process challenged the students’ existing perceptions of their online identity and how this might be improved. It also enabled the students to assess their progress on these aspects at the end of the module.


ICT literacy

The online delivery allowed students and staff to deploy a series of applications and services with which they weren’t necessarily familiar. For example, the requirement to participate in a weekly online lecture (webinar) using virtual classroom software meant students needed to ensure they could use this software on their computers. One student independently downloaded the mobile app for the software and participated using their iPad.


Learning skills

The module provided a technology-rich environment. Students developed skills to learn online in a number of ways: by assessing the requirements for their OER, by using a range of platforms, by participating in the weekly webinars, by writing regularly to the module blog and by communicating through Twitter.


Digital scholarship

The production of a student authored OER required students to participate in emerging academic practices and to consider issues around working digitally and openly, this included developing a greater awareness of copyright and accessibility challenges.




What specific challenges did your discipline bring?


  • The Art, Design and Media disciplines encompass a diverse range of subject practices. A suitably devised curriculum for the module needed to accommodate both differences in subject-specific practice and in levels of digital literacy. The online delivery of the module, use of open educational practice and assessment design aimed to reconcile these differences.
  • Students were not necessarily familiar with the working methods and approaches being deployed in the module and it represented a different way of studying.
  • Students appreciated the opportunity to interact with students from a diverse range of backgrounds and felt that the online delivery of the module facilitated this interaction. One student commented:


“Initially, I think I found it quite disconcerting about how different it was, and I’ve done them all by distance learning and the other ones were very much read the enormous reading list and hand in the assignment. And I think the interactivity and feeling part of a group, actually learning about tools and developing skills rather than just reading and comprehension has been, as I said, disconcerting at the start, and very good in terms of learning curve and taking me out of my comfort zone.”


How did the discipline itself influence the approach by the students (and staff)?


  • The creative nature of the arts disciplines has meant that the students are already familiar with approaches such as problem-based learning, developing a portfolio and group working. The non-traditional student profile of those taking the module including academics, specialists and working professionals, also informed the nature of the materials that were generated within the module, providing richer and diverse approaches to the assessments.


Did students have the right pre-requisites for engaging in the challenge?

  • As an optional module on the MA courses, students consciously choose to take the module. As a new module, students did not have any preconceptions or expectations of the module beforehand. Equally, the tutors on the module were not aware of the students existing experiences of technology before the module began. It was assumed that those taking the module, either staff at the University or students on a post-graduate course, would have at least some experience of working online and basic computer skills (e.g. using the institutional Virtual Learning Environment, word processing and web searching).


  • Students valued the ability to interact with other students through the webinars and online activities. While the learning was designed to encourage interaction and socialisation, students’ willingness to participate assisted this aim. They were open to embracing new experiences and to being challenged, as illustrated within this student comment:


“I think when I decided to take this on at the beginning I was a bit hesitant because I had so much online learning before and I was really keen on having a full in-house student experience this time around but I really like the subject so I wanted to do it anyway. And I really have no regrets because I found that the seminars were really interactive and don’t feel a [face to face] session at University would have added anything for me really.”


Did the students exchange skills/practices with other students?

  • Peer learning was facilitated through the design of the module curriculum. Students were sharing their reflections on skills and practices via blog posts, in the module discussion board and during the webinars. Opportunities for discussion amongst students were expanded in the webinars and students expressed that they highly valued this interaction. Students also wrote far more than was expected or required from them on the blog.


How have student capabilities, aptitudes and attitudes been affected?

  • The teaching and learning on the module were closely aligned and reflected the principles of ‘open scholarship’ as proposed by Martin Weller (2011). The delivery of the module mirrored the skills and aptitudes expected of the students and the tutors were active participants in the process. The module content were designed as OERs and were devised using openly available resources. Changes in students’ aptitudes and attitudes have been witnessed through their personal reflections and final assessments. Such reflections included:


“Defining digital literacy as a premise for my OER has helped me examine my progress in this module; not only have my digital skills and knowledge of tools grown, but also, as often happens with increased fluency, my enjoyment.”


“I think that this module has given me quite a lot of opportunity to consider my job, my classroom presence, the way in which I deliver information to students and has left me questioning quite a lot of my previous skills and practices, not in a negative way but just realising there are other ways in which I could be thinking about delivering the same information that might be more engaging for students and might be more relevant to their digital world that they live in rather than the world that I learnt in at University and before that.”


“I think that although the module has given me a lot of confidence in the development of my own content online, both for learning but also for… I think what’s the most useful and the most moving to me was the accessibility, and I learnt so much about the issues around what kinds of groups can access content in which ways and I think was really an eye opener.”


  • Students were required to work openly and make their learning publicly available as a perquisite of taking the module. Some students had existing digital identities as working professionals that they ulitilised for the module. Students also understood that while working in a public space hasn’t necessarily exposed them to greater risks. One commented:


“To a certain extent to me, it hasn’t felt particularly like a public space, I know that our work on the blog is accessible but putting it up there doesn’t mean it’s going to be found and I think also learning from home for me, I think again, Twitter is the only thing for me that has made me feel that I’m operating in a wider arena in this module.”


  • Working in this way has highlighted the need for students and staff to become aware of and to apply knowledge and skills around digital identity, accessibility, digital media, sourcing open content, copyright and correctly applying licences for re-use.


''''''''''Were the challenges digitally authentic?

  • The design of the assessments allowed students produce OERs that were useful or relevant to their discipline and professions. For example, one student produced instructional videos on using video editing software that were then successfully incorporated into a University courses learning materials for undergraduate student use.



Immediate Impact

The immediate impacts of the DPP project have been:

  • Those individual staff who were directly involved in the project were enabled to enhance and enrich their own digital practices and pedagogies.
  • The inclusion of the module within the MA Creative Media course initiated a systematic review of the baseline requirement of online provision within the MA course. Most notably, as a direct result of the review, the following online learning baseline is now met when students opt to undertake distance education modes of study:
  • The weekly lectures/seminars are either video or audio recorded and then uploaded for students to access online within 48 hours of the class. Some seminars are also streamed live online.
  • All weekly readings are made accessible online via the VLE’s Aspire reading list system prior to the module’s commencement.
  • Seminar discussions are facilitated in a number of different ways to enable distance learners to participate. This includes live video conferencing, online chat rooms, and discussion forums.
  • All written assignments are submitted electronically via the VLE.
  • One-to-one tutorials are conducted either online either using video conferencing or via a telephone conversation.
  • The MA courses external examiner has positively appraised these new developments, and specifically in relation to MJM22: “Her first impressions had been how innovative in pedagogic approach the course is and the blended learning as well as being open to distance learners.” (Exam board meeting minute, 26th February 2014).
  • The module is now a permanent offer within the MA Creative Media course and will run in the coming academic year, as an elective option for all faculty based level 7 students and School of ADM staff.
  • There has been a positive response to the module by the students who studied on it. This has been conveyed in student evaluations and reported at meetings by student representatives.
  • The module has contributed to the investigation of webinar/virtual classroom solutions at an institutional level to enable the delivery of synchronous learning for distance learning students across the entire university.
  • The OER learning resources can be fed into the institution-wide digital literacies resource pool as part of the University’s strategic Digital Transformation agenda.
  • The awareness and appreciation of the profile and role of the Learning Technologists have been significantly raised within the school.

Future Impact

The future impacts of the DPP project include:

  • Its facilitation as a co-learning opportunity between the Information Services Department and the School of ADM that can be taken forward as a successful model for future collaborative teaching and learning projects, which has the potential to advance staff development and to continue to evolve new digital pedagogies.
  • In its internal reporting and dissemination (through the annual academic health process) the project has the potential to positively inform and impact upon both the school and University’s future strategies and policies for online learning including the stimulation of growth in the university’s online learning provision and capacity.
  • In its presentation and dissemination, the project team evolved new methods for the inclusion of student voices in conference presentations whereby students were able to feedback directly to the wider academic community, which increases the integrity and strengthens the communication of the projects findings.
  • An opportunity to explore the co-delivery and/or collaboration with the University of Sussex in future iterations of the module which has the potential to widen the local impact of the project to the staff and students of other institutions.

Conclusions

General:

  • By situating an intervention that enhances digital literacies within a discipline-specific context - new opportunities for engagement and innovation which are specific and unique to those disciplines have emerged.
  • Working as a cross-disciplinary team between academics and information service professionals has greatly enriched the teaching and learning experience.
  • Delivering learning through open educational practice and allowing students to produce OERs has provided an effective way to introduce authentic and active learning into the curriculum to motivate and engage students.
  • Students’ critical awareness of technology and digital literacies can be effectively developed through the practical experience of engaging with a variety tools and media within a disciplinary context.
  • Digital practice needs to be closely aligned to the needs of the curriculum to be seen as appropriate by the learner. The delivery of learning has been re-assessed to encourage student interaction and active learning.
  • Synchronous virtual classroom tools are effective in facilitating and enhancing engagement, enabling richer opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction, and making students feel included where they are distributed and following different modes of study.
  • The introduction of a dedicated module has placed an emphasis on the importance of the development of digital literacies and provided a structured vehicle by which students and staff can acquire these skills.
  • Both the opportunity for students to author content and incorporate visual and media rich content as part of their assessment, and the discursive nature of social media tools, compliments the learning cultures within the Art, Design & Media disciplines.

Wider community:

  • Making materials and learning resources available as OERs and conducting the module openly in online publicly accessible spaces provides a useful way for the course to engage with the wider educational community, establishing an ethos of innovation, knowledge sharing and collaboration, whilst promoting the activity of the University, the MA Creative Media course, and the Faculty of Arts MA provision.

HEA/JISC:

  • The project has been effective in introducing the concept of digital literacies and developing digital practice within the discipline. It can now be used as a catalyst for change within the school.
  • The project has raised key issues around the parity of student experience within the MA course that have served to improve the online provision for students, especially, the effective inclusion of distance learning students.
  • The production of the DPP module offers a delivery model that is potentially transferable, scalable and sustainable within other contexts. It is capable of offering increased flexibility and opportunities for distance and blended learning.

Recommendations

General:

  • The University of Brighton should invest in a webinar/virtual classroom solution that can facilitate widespread online synchronous participation across the school and within other departments across the university.
  • Staff should to be encouraged to enrol on a digital literacies module as CPD. In the longer term, this will lead to the embedding of digital practices and pedagogies into their own courses rendering a module such as MJM22 redundant and a transitory measure.
  • The University should consider a policy that facilitates the engagement with open educational practice and the production, and dissemination of Open Educational Resources (further details of such a recommendation are detailed in Atkinson, Bailey, Flint and Mallinder).

Wider community:

  • Measures need to be taken to promote and publicise the OERs produced in the module to increase uptake and re-use of open educational resources by a wider audience and maximise the benefits of working in this way.
  • A clear framework for students to engage with technology to enable them to appreciate the relevance of it to their learning needs to be established.

HEA/JISC:

  • Digital literacies should be connected to a disciplinary approach to ensure that they are embedded within the curriculum, to be an agent for change and to ensure their adoption and application is appropriate. Linking digital literacies to disciplinary contexts will also allow learners to apply these to their specific interests and professional practices.
  • Open educational practice offers a ‘student-centred’ approach to learning that can extend and support more flexible, relevant and responsive digital pedagogies.
  • Cross-disciplinary group work to foster cross-fertilisation of ideas and approaches should be encouraged.
  • Further work into the development and application of Xerte, as a student content authoring tool is required to assist institutions in assessing the appropriateness, viability and scalability of the tool.

Implications for the future

What are the implications of your work for other professionals in the field, for users, or for the community?

  • The introduction or use of technology into teaching and learning in itself does not change pedagogic practice. There is a need for students and staff to engage meaningfully to re-evaluate their own digital literacies.

What new development work could be undertaken to build on your work or carry it further?

  • A full evaluation of Xerte online toolkits to provide an institutional content authoring tool for the creation, management and sharing of OERs needs to be conducted.
  • The use of virtual classroom and webinar technologies needs to be deployed more broadly as a standard means of delivering learning within the institution.

Provide information on the sustainability of your project outputs. How are things going to work now the funding is over?

  • The University will continue to sustain and host the projects online resources including the projects’ blog.
  • The MJM22 module will continue to be offered as an optional module (subject to sufficient student numbers) on the MA Creative Media course and on all MA courses within the Faculty. All ADM staff will be encouraged to enrol on the module through the Staff Development Review Process.

References

Atkinson, S., Bailey, A., Flint, D. and Mallinder, S. ARTS-OER Brighton Project Report, University of Brighton, June 2012. [online]

http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/69599/ARTS-OER-Brighton-Final-Report.pdf


JISC. 2013, open Educational Resources infokit. [online] are Open Educational Resources https://openeducationalresources.pbworks.com/w/page/24836860/What%20are%20Open%20Educational%20Resources


Weller, M. 2011. The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. [e-book] Bloomsbury Academic. http://www.bloomsburyacademic.com/view/DigitalScholar_9781849666275/book-ba-9781849666275.xml


Appendices (optional)

Appendix 1: File:Appendix 1 MJM22 module descriptor.pdf

Appendix 2: File:Appendix 2 MJM22 module handbook.pdf