Jump start your digital literacies and open practices with LEaD

Photo of an open sign

Have you ever wondered if students really are digital experts? Or considered how you can use educational resources available online? If so, read on!

In October 2023 the elective module EDM122: Digital Literacies and Open Practice will start for the sixth time. This module is taught by me, Dr Jane Secker, Senior Lecturer in Educational Development, and Dr Julie Voce, Head of Digital Education & Senior Lecturer. I launched the module in 2018 in response to the growing interest in digital technologies and their impact on our teaching and research practices. This module is available free for all staff at City, who can take it as a standalone module or as a contribution towards their PGDip or Masters in Academic Practice, and to non-City staff as a standalone module for a fee (currently £630), with discounts available to University of London staff.

EDM122 is a popular module and has consistently received excellent feedback as it provides an opportunity to explore two interconnected issues – digital literacy and open educational practices. Briefly, for those less familiar with the terms, I’ll start with digital literacy (or literacies) which are the knowledge, skills and behaviours we all need to function in an increasingly digital world. In the module we explore what these mean for staff who are teaching and undertaking research also we examine the myth that students have highly developed digital skills. We examine the functional and critical digital literacies we need to be able to use specific tools and technologies, as well as critically assess them and understand inherent biases and limitations. With everyone talking about Generative AI, these skills are even more important for both our professional and personal lives.

Meanwhile, open educational practices include the way we share (or limit) access to our teaching materials and research outputs. One of the key topics is open access, but we also explore the benefits of creating or re-using open educational resources which are teaching materials with an explicit licence that allows re-use and re-purposing. For this reason, understanding more about Creative Commons licences and copyright is a central part of the module and the module equips staff with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about how they want to share their resources and research outputs. One recent member of staff who completed the module suggested that watching Paywall the Movie which is an openly available film about open access and the academic publishing industry, should be essential viewing for all staff in higher education. The film was made a few years ago, but they said it really changed their views about where they should publish their research and the excessive profits associated with academic publishing.

Photo of Michelle Mehta
Michelle Mehta, Lecturer in Optometry

Meanwhile another staff member who completed the module in February 2023, Michelle Mehta, Lecturer in Optometry, describes what taking the module meant for her:

‘This module taught me so much that felt relevant to my practice and built my confidence in ways which I had never imagined.  The support and encouragement from the tutors is amazing and I can’t thank them enough.’

During the module, students get to play an interactive game, The Publishing Trap which helps explore open access and scholarly communication through the lives of four fictional characters. Many students say this game really illuminates the issues for them at different stages of their academic career. The game was developed by me and Chris Morrison and is  openly licensed, which has enabled it to be adapted and used around the world.

There are two course assignments, firstly to make a short video on an aspect of digital literacy or open practice and secondly to write a reflective essay on your choice of topic (either open practice or digital literacy) which is shared that openly on our course blog or your own open platform. It was this particular assignment that encouraged Michelle to start writing and since taking the module she’s had a couple of pieces published in optometry publications.  I do encourage you to have a look at the range of excellent reflective pieces we now have available from staff across City who completed the module this year. The module proves to be particularly popular with those in nurse education and in the School of Health and Psychological Sciences.

We are open for enrolment on the module starting in October 2023, but if you have any questions then do drop me a line and I encourage you to check out the rest of the modules available as part of the MA in Academic Practice as well as the one off workshops that we are running in LEaD.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *