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Digital Literacy: Essential To Learning

Ms Linda Forbes

Victoria University Melbourne

Background: In 2017, Victoria University teaching staff, learning designers and Scholarly Information Services librarians collaborated to implement a major redesign of learning for all first-year courses. This redesign used the block model of learning where students study one four-week unit at a time. Our design discussions included a focus on the skills and attributes which students would develop as they went through their first year of university study and encompassed the key attribute of digital literacy. Furthermore the block model design facilitated a new set of additional learning opportunities for students. These ‘Learning Essentials’ (comparable to micro-credentials) are designed to take place in the library’s Learning Hub and aim to complement unit and course outcomes. Goals and methods: As part of this changed model of learning the library team seized the opportunity to create a new suite of Digital Literacy workshops for first year students. The JISC model of Digital Literacies informed our planning and each workshop posed the question “Digital Literacy - what does it mean to you?” We wanted students to be able to access and evaluate information from a range of digital sources and platforms and to be able to communicate effectively and collegially in a digital environment. Significantly, students would also need the ability to thrive and work ethically in digital environments, and to build the skills and knowledge to manage their own digital footprint.

Findings – outcomes: In workshops such as ‘Digital Literacy for Building Science’ students shared digital artefacts and investigated the reliability of building science sources. Business students explored ethical and responsible use of social media and its implications for business. We found that common digital literacy themes such as managing your digital footprint could be illuminated through discipline specific content, and that there are multiple ways to address these ideas through students identifying and discussing different elements of digital literacy. Discussion: This presentation will discuss the impact of how new ways of designing learning can facilitate opportunities for student s, teachers and library staff.