Digital literacies in higher education - Nazlin Bhimani & Barbara Sakarya.
IOE JISC project methodology from Lesle
Digital Literacies as a Post-graduate Attribute
was a JISC-funded project at the Institute of
Education (IOE) from 2011 to 2013 managed by
Dr. Lesley Gourlay and Professor Martin Oliver.
Aims of the Project
1. To understand the needs of three main groups
of students at the Institute of Education (IOE):
2. To investigate institutional readiness for
sustainable change around digital literacies in
3. To implement three initiatives, addressing
different areas of need:
Developing support for distance students' in
Exploring students' use of the library and
developing online support.
Exploring staff digital literacies and
developing support materials.
1. To gain in-depth understanding of IOE students’
digital literacies using ethnographic methods.
2. To evaluate the current provision and
opportunities for IOE students.
3. To review IOE institutional readiness for change
around digital literacies.
4. To implement three pilots developing digital
literacies across different contexts.
5. To explore the needs of IOE staff tasked with
developing student digital literacies.
6. To develop exemplar organisational strategies
focused on digital literacies as a graduate
7. To maintain dialogue with partners e.g. SEDA,
ALT and SCONUL and to ensure dissemination to
Baseline work, year 1
Focus groups (PGCE, taught Masters, distance
Masters, PhD students)
Longitudinal, multimodal journaling (12 students, 9-12
months, 3-4 interviews, images, video and text)
Intervention work, year 2
Synchronous tutorials (Academic Writing Centre)
Interactive guides (Newsam Library)
Staff digital literacies (Learning Technologies)
The focus groups facilitated students discussing the
challenges of pursuing different courses at different
levels in contrasting modes.
The multimodal journal task was designed to provide
opportunities to gain insights into students’ engagement
with technologies over time, based on their day-to-day
Volunteers were given handheld iPod Touch devices to
document their experiences and practices.
Three to four interviews were held with each participant
throughout the data collection period, with interviews
being structured thematically around the images, videos
and notes created by the students, or focusing on
presentations created by them.
Final interviews focused on students’ engagements with
particular texts, and how technologies and devices had
been deployed in the various processes of searching,
reading, note-taking and writing.
Key Messages from the Digital Literacies Project
Digital literacy ...
must be understood holistically, considering practices and identities; one method does not fit all.
and digital processes are as varied, diverse and complex as the contexts within which students
changes over time; people learn and forget and technologies develop and adapt to settings.
is constantly evolving as resilient students develop individual strategies to manage a vast array of
resources, technologies and information.
should not be understood solely in terms of skills; digital literacy needs to take into account who is
doing what, where and how.
Actions for the Newsam Library
The Library will ...
develop IOE LibGuides, LibAnswers and LibChat to support and scaffold
implement a Discovery layer on the library website.
continue to provide mandatory MPhil/PhD & BA training as well as timely
and focused support for MAs and other students.
collaborate to create easily accessible physical and digital resources and
Resilience, Diversity & Complex Contexts
are resilient in the face of change and quickly
reject digital processes that are not reliable.
have diverse experiences, different levels of
competencies and learn in different ways.
conduct digital processes across multiple contexts
with different devices.
use multiple spaces and enlist complex
connections and devices to store and share digital
Time, Space & Mobility
engage with the digital in four key physical spaces:
institution & library, home, transport and public
want digital resources to be easily accessible,
open, mobile-friendly and readable on all devices.
want flexible physical and digital access to
want access to digital information to be time-
efficient suited to their needs.
Support Systems & Digital Library
want digital literacy support to be targeted,
contextualised and cost efficient.
want the digital library to be open and easily
accessible on a range of devices.
want simplification of regulations and
standardisation of e-infrastructures.
want library tutorials/workshops to be suited to
students’ timetables and needs.
More at: Digital Literacies as a Post-graduate Attribute -- JISC Design Studio and Digital Literacies in Higher Education -- IOE LibGuide