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Digital educationStudent engagement

Digital Competence and Confidence

1 April 2022

Written by Marianna Majzonova and Lise Fontaine about their project with Digital Education Placement Students

If there was ever any doubt about the importance of developing digital competencies and digital confidence in the learning environment, the Covid pandemic quite suddenly and urgently removed any such doubt!

Even before the move to remote learning in the spring semester of 2020, we knew that technical competence and confidence were important aspects of successful learning whether that involves using Learning Central, finding electronic resources, or writing and submitting coursework. Learning in an online context requires students to develop both the confidence to try new ways of learning and the competence to resource the digital tools needed to support their learning.

Our project wanted to lay the foundation for building a new peer-developed digital culture for students.

How we kicked off the project and what happened in the first couple of weeks

We hired three students for this job and they were amazing! With their diverse skills set and background in communication, design, and creativity, they created the resources they wished they had had to help them navigate online resources, like Learning Central (Cardiff’s virtual learning environment) and the Student Intranet.  An important aspect of the project involved reflective practice. So not only did the students gain skills in using Xerte and creating multimedia resources, they each wrote a technobiography, a narrative of their relationship with (digital) technology, and these technobiographies have been published online so that other students can learn from these various journeys through adopting digital practices in learning. They also analysed data from five in-house surveys to gather feedback about students’ experience with online learning and digital confidence in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy. Results and findings focused on student support and accessibility, online learning and assessment. Read about these results and recommendations and view the infographics on the collage, 2. Results and Recommendations.

Next steps, suggestions and recommendations

Given that the project ran during the summer period over only 6 weeks, the students accomplished a really impressive set of outcomes. They were able to co-ordinate specific aspects of the project by themselves, they contributed to discussions and engaged across the student and staff communities, they brought their personal and professional experiences to the project. It certainly feels like they gained a lot of valuable skills and have become confident team members, individually and collectively.

The technobiographies gave the students the tools to understand their own individual digital competences but they also captured the project’s collective journey in a reflective mindmap.

This was a real work experience gained within a real working environment which provided mutual benefits to the University, students and staff.

See the collage for a Student guide to writing a technobiograpy