Digital Champions HEA pilot: supporting Year 1 students with academic transition


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A pilot project entitled “Supporting transition with peer-assisted learning and digital stories” funded by the HEA, has been running this year at the University of Liverpool’s Management School. Two digital stories from the third-year Digital Champions are now available on writing assignments, which can be used as useful resources for first-year students.

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  • Digital Champions’ skills in information literacy and digital scholarship were developed as part of the EBL ULMS211 modules.For instance they were exposed to searching management databases, critically evaluating and storing information as well as analytical strategies aided by digital tools such as Wordle. They also were shown other digital tools such as mindmapping software to help organise their thinking.They also received training in referencing and RefWorks by the Library (digital scholarship and info literacy).Thus, underpinning their development was also the development of learning skills and ICT literacy.Champions had to develop their own video stories – giving them skills in media literacy. (Next year we hope to develop these skills a bit more so that they can also shoot, edit and produce their own digital stories.Communication and collaboration skills were developed when students were choosing Facebook to extend their reach beyond the drop-in sessions. (Next year we may do this in the VLE to allow each student, not each may be a Facebook user, to contact them.)Finally, it was important for Champions that their work is to be visibly recognised – for now agreed LinkedIn endorsements – but Badges are being explored. Potential links will be HEAR and MyLiverpool.
  • No single DL area is prominent in terms of need – but distributed.All needs are in the context of their study – assignment writing (referencing, evaluating information = Library will be happy! Justifies their work = info literacy)High need in terms of digital tools that can be utilised for their study (19 out of 37)[Taking part in digital networks and Current awareness of networks = quite high! Shows they are thinking of their time beyond graduation but in a purposeful, critical way]
  • Digital Champions HEA pilot: supporting Year 1 students with academic transition

    1. 1. HEA Digital Champions pilot Supporting transition with peer-learning and digital stories University of Liverpool
    2. 2. Project context Undergraduate students may be enthusiastic, competent users of digital tools but need guidance to use them in an academic context. Simon Snowden, Lecturer, Academic lead, University of Liverpool Clickable image:
    3. 3. Project context ULMS211 student journal entry
    4. 4. Project aims The project aims to support the transition of first-year students in their academic study and employ them with skills that would benefit them beyond graduation.
    5. 5. Objectives • Engage 5 digital champions (3rd year students) to offer peer-learning for first-year students on making their academic study easier. • Engage the Digital champions in creating videos in the form of digital stories. • Create edit and share the videos for wider use. • Investigate students’ perspectives on micro- certification as a way of recognising their skill development. • Evaluate the pilot and whether this peer-learning model is successful for wider adoption institutionally and beyond.
    6. 6. Recruited champions from an enquiry-based learning module (ULMS211)
    7. 7. The Digital Champions 2013/14 Bradley Griffin Adam Byrne Emily Evans Laura Cash Who makes good Digital Champions?
    8. 8. Intended outcomes • First-year students – To foster the development of digital learning skills in students in a disciplinary context. • Digital champions – To gain further confidence in their digital skills through peer-learning. – To be able to articulate the progress they have made in the area of digital literacies development.
    9. 9. What happened? • Training and support (e.g. RefWorks by Library) • Peer-learning drop-in sessions – In library – Friday afternoons! – With laptop • Digital story creation (video) • Later: Facebook group & handout created by students
    10. 10. Sample videos created by Digital Champions
    11. 11.
    12. 12. 1
    13. 13. 2
    14. 14. 3
    15. 15. 4
    16. 16. 5
    17. 17. Pilot evaluation • Focus group (Champions) & Survey (Year 1)
    18. 18. Outcomes
    19. 19. Benefits for the Digital Champions “When you have the responsibility to teach others, you change your ways of doing things. You review your bad [study] habits and develop good habits.” “Good for the CV” “Good feeling of being able to help students” Skills acquired: Digital study skills Problem-solving Teamworking and leadership skills
    20. 20. Benefits for first-years ”I could really relate to Digital Champions as they were my age and experienced the same thing as me.” Advice gained on digital skills - essay writing, using referencing software and general advice on being a Management School student: “[Digital Champions] made the research for my assignment easier” “reassuring”
    21. 21. Digital Literacies developed
    22. 22. Self-perception of need vs “It was extremely helpful even though I didn’t realise this at first. I visited them twice for general advice.” “Students are more familiar with the technology and don’t feel they need the support.”
    23. 23. What support would be useful?
    24. 24. What aspects of general advice would be most useful to you? (n=37) 13 9 15 21 3 0 5 10 15 20 25
    25. 25. What DL support would be useful? (n=37) 19 19 19 17 17 17 16 15 14 12 11 10 8 7 6 4 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
    26. 26. Areas in most needed: those relevant to their assignment writing All 7 areas of digital literacies in need
    27. 27. Student suggestions (Y1+Y3) • Keep doing the Digital Champions project! • Practicalities: –Timing: Not last thing on Fridays! –Venue: Outside lecture theatre. • Better introduction as to what Champions can offer. • Champion-led Y1 workshop - chance to get to know them • Online extension to reach Champions.
    28. 28. Considerations / Recommendations • Online access : – considerations e.g. Champions’ workload, response time, availability? – VLE vs Facebook? • Training – Extend training for Champions : e.g. media literacy (see gap/needs list). – ?Identify DL practices in Co/Extra/Curriculum?
    29. 29. Next year plans • Continuing with this approach in the Management School and • Looking for wider institutional adoption – Linking to existing peer-learning initiatives • Certification and links with HEAR
    30. 30. University of Liverpool Project team Tünde Varga-Atkins (co-lead), eLearning Unit Emma Thompson (co-lead) & Beryl Stanley, Library Simon Snowden (academic lead), Management School Dave Hocker (multimedia) Digital Champions 2013/14 Adam Byrne, Laura Cash, Bradley Griffin and Emily Evans Poster credit Lynne Crook (drawing) Amy Jackson (typography and digitisation) Blog: Contact :