Session abstracts


Wednesday 27th April


What’s the difference between education and training?
Melissa Highton, Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services, University of Edinburgh

How can we raise the status and professionalism of IT trainers in education? How can we best position digital capability needs? What kind of business cases are successful and how can we show the impact, value and return on the investment? In this session Melissa will share insights into her experience of successful (and unsuccessful) initiatives and suggest ways forward for ensuring that digital capabilities considerations are underpinned by a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.


Ripples or waves? Supporting digital skills locally, nationally and globally
Sarah Sherman, Director, Bloomsbury Learning Exchange and Nancy Weitz, Digital Learning Specialist, Bloomsbury Learning Exchange

The Bloomsbury Learning Exchange has developed online digital skills awareness courses for staff and students, which are freely available to the whole education sector. We recently launched a Future Learn MOOC, aimed at students about to start university, to explore the digital skills they will need for successful study. During this presentation, we will describe how we came to design these courses, the research that led us there, what the courses contain and how institutions can use them in their own context. Finally, we will discuss the challenges of embedding such courses, achieving learner engagement and how to demonstrate impact.


Pushing Digital Skills up the Agenda
Mary Hill, Digital Technology Services, Sheffield Hallam University

You'd be hard-pushed to find anyone working in HE who doesn't believe that digital skills are important. But it is not easy to change an institution's culture to value improving the digital skills of its staff enough that it can trump other funding-hungry initiatives and statutory requirements.

It’s a long-term investment that needs buy-in from line-managers, relevancy for staff, acceptance that a one-size-fits-all won't work, and an acceptance that it won't be successful for everyone. In the absence of it being led from the top, what can be done to push it up the agenda.


YOGA BREAK - (15 minutes)

Join in to take a break, relax your mind and move your body with some easy yoga movements. We will be standing so no need for a mat, just wear comfortable clothing and ideally pop off your shoes. Total beginners very welcome.

Rebecca Wilson is a trained Yoga Teacher (YTT 500 hours). Any questions before or after the session just get in touch


Influencing organisational culture and individual mindsets on the path to digital capability
Lucy Bamwo, Digital Capabilities Training Manager and Samantha Clarkson, Digital Capabilities Training Manager, University of Hertfordshire

An exploration of the University of Hertfordshire’s digital skills development over the last three years and our progression to becoming a truly digitally capable organisation. We will reflect on our organisational approach and progression, present the range of evidence gathered relating to staff and student digital capabilities (pre and post 2020), and how this has informed decision making, resource allocation, and helps us to understand the evolution of staff and students’ digital experience. We will discuss the progress we have made towards those goals in 2021/22, and challenges and opportunities we identify as influencers on our next steps.


Thursday 28th April


Successful People Adoption Strategies for Digital Change
David Bishton, Head of Business Change & Service Improvement, Warwick University

Digital change seems to always have such a powerful business case that we are surprised when this comes up against resistance and that people are often keen to water down its effectiveness. This session aims to uncover and workshop the people behind digital change and discuss the critical people based success factors we need led by someone leading a Change Management function within HE.


Experiences of working with students to promote digital skilks
Lauren Regan, Digital Literacies Coordinator, City, University London, Kenza Khan, Student Digital Assistant, Julie Voce, Head of Digital Education, Carolyne Lunga, Student Digital Assistant, Sumayyah Islam, Student Digital Assistant, City, University London

City, University of London's Digital Literacies group made the decision to invest in their student's digital literacy after recognising the skills gap highlighted by the pandemic and the results of the Jisc digital experience insights survey findings. In November 2020, City started an initiative to employ Student Digital Assistants to support the development of digital skills. Hear from City’s current Student Digital Assistants who will share their experience of working on the Student Digital Support Community they have helped to develop and run, the impact it has had on students at City and their plans going forward.


The Staffordshire University Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Coaching (SUMEC) Programme
Francesca Brown-Cornwall, Institute of Education Lecturer, and Matt Coombe-Boxall, Online Learning Technologist, Staffordshire University

The Staffordshire University Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Coaching (SUMEC)Programme is a ground-up staff development initiative to coach colleagues as they develop their teaching practice and digital capabilities using Microsoft technologies. The theoretical underpinning of the programme is the Gilly Salmon’s (2013) 5 Stage Model and the implementation has been influenced by Race (2020) Seven Factors of Successful Learning inHE. First launched as a pilot in January 2021, the programme has been successful in supporting colleagues in applying for and achieving official Microsoft accreditation, but also adding value to this process as reported by the pilot’s evaluation. Benefits of engaging with the programme included (but weren’t limited to) fulfilling bespoke career and pedagogic goals, growth in confidence, competence and empowerment. Findings relating to the coaching and implementation of the programme acknowledged the non-hierarchical, positive, warm and well-designed structure that contributed to the programmes success. The pilot was not without limitations, namely, time and workload. This presentation offers an overview of the SUMEC programme, findings from the pilot, how our University has now invested in the upscale of and research from SUMEC, and recommendations for the future.


How do we encourage our students to acquire the skills required on top of their degree, to meet employers Digital Skills needs”?
Dawn Fozard , TEL Analyst and Lee O’Donnell, TEL Analyst, Northumbria University and Joint Project Leads for the Student Digital Induction.

Building the digital capabilities of staff and students at Northumbria University. The student and professional of today is expected to be digitally fluent and capable. Digital skills are more important now than ever. Developing these skills in students and university staff represents an ongoing challenge to educational institutions all over the world. Northumbria University has made significant efforts in the last 12 months to implement a strategy that will build the digital capabilities of students and staff. This presentation discusses the challenges, successes, and areas for improvement that have resulted from these efforts.