Developing digital skills is a priority for the University due to the many benefits they can bring to students, teaching, research and the University itself.
Why do we need to develop digital skills at the University?
Developing the digital skills of our staff and students is at the forefront of University strategy, and underpins many of the University’s activities including the organisation’s drive towards a digital culture through its Digital Transformation and Service Excellence programmes.
It is important at both individual and organisational levels – to increase efficiencies and competitive advantage of the organisation, to provide high quality teaching for our students using up to date technologies, to maximise use of digital research tools and methods and to enable our staff and students to function effectively in a digital world.
Benefits of developing digital skills for all
Students come to the University with increasingly high expectations of the ways in which technology should be used in teaching and to facilitate their education. Their world is digital – they expect interaction with the University to be digital, teaching and learning to be digital, and seamless 24-hour access to digital resources and technology.
To live up to students’ expectations, we aim to provide the highest quality digital learning and teaching environment that makes best use of new and emerging technologies. This requires teaching staff with well-developed digital skills who are capable and comfortable using technology to support innovative teaching and assessment. Distance learning at scale develops at pace, and on campus our learning and teaching spaces have recently been enhanced and the lecture recording service rolled out. These and other developments demonstrate the ongoing requirement for staff at the University to continuously update their digital skills – for online, blended and on-campus teaching.
In research, digital data management and visualisation skills are key, funding invariably now has a digital requirement, and the role of technology in undertaking research will continue to develop.
For our students, we must provide opportunities to develop digital skills for their time at University and beyond, whether as part of curricular teaching or through independent learning beyond their main programme of study. Digital study skills may include efficient literature searching, data management, communication and collaboration skills, and being able to learn and reflect using digital tools. Beyond graduation, we aim to equip students for whatever path they choose to follow, enabling them to achieve the highest personal and professional standards they can, and to meet the growing demand from employers for graduates to have skills fit for the 21st century workplace.
The organisational benefits of developing digital skills centre predominantly on the improvement and evolution of our processes, efficiency, quality and good practice. The digitally capable organisation has competitive advantage and can thrive in the face of increasing competition from growing higher education sectors worldwide. By putting digital at the heart of everything we do, and developing the skills of our staff and students to enable this, we can ensure the University prospers in an increasingly connected and competitive world.