The Exeter Cascade Project:Academic Practice in a Digital Age Dale Potter 06 July 2012
The context Exeter a research-intensive university High-achieving staff and students many of whom prefer traditional research and study approaches BUT an appetite for change if led by scholarship: New campus developments including Forum building with innovative teaching spaces New programmes and interdisciplinary research centres with digital elements History of successful initiatives led by students as change agents
Generic aim to design and implement a range of innovative strategies and curriculum activitieswhich ensure that researchers, students and staff develop their digital capabilities in the context of their own disciplines
Activities Baselining the situation as is, and priorities for change Developing people working with 15 postgraduate researchers to develop their digital expertise and local influence Developing the curriculum working across taught programmes to embed authentic, research- rich activities that enhance digital capability Developing know-how building online resources and activities, working in partnership with Colleges and professional services
Critical values Digital scholarship Knowledge practices that support learning, teaching and research, focusing on how knowledge is generated, grown, shared, critiqued and communicated in the discipline Collaboration Activities designed by staff and PGRs, following consultation about the needs of students and scholars in the context of different disciplines; partnerships with professional services Students as change agents Postgraduate students are key agents of change in this area, as early-career researchers, digital natives, and emerging teachers.
SCAP findings and the Exeter Cascade project5. DL development is framed in the context of the disciplines6. Opportunities exist to broaden the conversations around DL, to include research7. Opportunities exist to strengthen discussions of student development of DL, possibly through better collaboration with students These findings tie in closely with our activities and critical values!
5. DL development is framed in the context of disciplines (We found): Some digital academic practices are subject- specific at the level of topic or research area, e.g. data capture, analysis and visualisation Others are generic e.g. collaboration, communication, note-taking, referencing, time and task management, publication, networking (We are): Developing digital literacy through research- like activities embedded in taught modules Supporting postgraduate interns to undertake relevant development work in their own departments Producing College reports and recommendations to ensure local ownership even where issues are common
6. Broaden the conversations around DL to include research (We found) Digital scholarship opens more doors that digital literacy at a research-intensive university Postgraduate researchers can be effective change agents as both early career researchers and emerging teachers (We are) working with researcher developers and ADs (research) as well as PGRs directly Orientating events around scholarly discussion and showcasing rather than skills development Bringing researchers and teachers together to share ideas
7. (Explore) DL development in collaboration with studentsWe found: PGRs can be brilliant digital pioneers with the right support and recognitionOur postgraduate students are: developing resources, setting up peer networks, pioneering methods of data collection and visualisation, communicating research in novel ways, developing their skills together, blogging, conducting original research into digital attitudes, asking difficult questions, criticising, contributing to new strategies, putting on events, writing reports, forging new partnerships between colleges and academic services...
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