“We cannot teach you everything with LevUL Up – but we can give you a stepping-stone to improving your knowledge!”
What challenges were being addressed?
- Student digital skills and literacies development
- The lack of remote digital skills training for students
- The need to unify the digital skills and literacies support resources available to students
Who was involved?
The EDTL Team at UL, based within the Centre for Transformative Learning (CTL) at UL, consisted of Project Lead, David Moloney, and student interns, Alice Hynes, Jasmine Ryan and Katie Martin. They worked with staff and students from the Glucksman Library, the Centre for Transformative Learning (CTL), the Information Technology Division (ITD) and the Educational Assistive Technology Centre (EATC) to develop the LevUL Up digital skills development programmed for UL students.
Why choose to address the challenge this way?
- The Glucksman Library already had a series of student digital skills workshops in place
- The results of the Irish National Digital Experience survey at UL indicated demand for more digital learning workshops and greater institutional emphasis on digital skills and literacies development
- To combine UL’s digital skills supports
How was the goal accomplished?
In February 2020, the Glucksman Library hosted a series of seven digital skills workshops as part of a redeveloped “Take1Step” initiative. “Take1Step” (#t1step) was originally a regional collaboration between the Shannon Consortium (SC) partners, University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and Limerick Institute of Technology, funded by the National Forum under the Teaching Enhancement Fund 2015. The redeveloped Take1Step digital skills workshops in February 2020 were taught in-person on campus and offered on a drop-in basis. They were attended by 107 students.
The following month, the emergency pivot to remote online learning brought students’ digital skills and literacy levels to the fore. In addition to their existing workshops, the Library invited the Centre for Transformative Learning (CTL) to contribute further workshops, extending and enhancing the offering.
The collaborative spirit induced by Covid 19 meant the subsequent Spring 2021 Take1Step series of digital skills workshops, coordinated and managed by the Library, was co-developed across a number of UL divisions – the Library, Centre for Transformative Learning (CTL), and Information Technology Division (ITD. It consisted of 13 live online workshops, which were repeated 3 times each, during a 3-week timeframe.
The workshops were delivered by both staff and students. They were recorded and made available to the campus community for viewing afterwards. The series attracted a combined total of ~2,600 registrations, primarily UL students. The UL EDTL Project lead, David Moloney, and UL EDTL Student Intern, Alice Hynes, developed and facilitated 5 of the workshops in this Spring 2021 series.
|1 in every 20 registrations|
Following the success of the Spring 2021 series, the UL EDTL Project Lead, David Maloney, was invited to take over its coordination and management, on behalf of the CTL. The new core team – David and the UL EDTL interns, Alice Hynes and Jasmine Ryan – were tasked with enhancing and running the Autumn 2021 offering.
The main issues facing them and their vision for UL’s students were:
- Moving the digital skills series from the Library’s LibGuides system to the CTL website
- Moving workshop booking and registration from the Library’s LibCal system to another institutionally supported booking and registration system
- Rebranding the initiative to speak to UL students specifically
- Expanding the range of workshops offered to address more of the digital skills, literacies, and tools that students had requested in their feedback form responses
- Expanding the offering to provide a Digital Skills Awareness Course
- Referencing and mapping the initiative to the Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp)
- Reconciling the INDEx survey findings for UL
The name LevUL Up was chosen because it communicated the message and purpose of the initiative, which was to enhance, or level up, UL students’ digital skillsets, learning experiences and future employability. Then, the programme for Autumn 2021 was devised and divided into two parts:
- A joinable Digital Skills Awareness Course on the institutional Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Sulis
- A calendar of 19 live online workshops on a range of digital skills and literacies.
LevUL Up: Digital Skills Awareness Course
The Digital Skills Awareness Course developed for LevUL Up was adapted from the Bloomsbury Learning Exchanges’ (BLE) Digital Skills Awareness Course. It was treated as a guide for students to understand what technical skills were expected of them, as well as a source of information to help with the transition into academic life.
Once the BLE granted permission to use the course format, the UL EDTL Team set out to define what digital literacy meant to UL students, with the help of the library and ITD.
Then, the course was divided into 4 units, consisting of 27 topics:
|Unit 1: General Technologies (10 topics)|
|Unit 2: Learning Technologies (7 topics)|
|Unit 3: Access, Sharing & Safety (5 topics)|
|Unit 4: Getting Organised (5 topics)|
“The name LevUL Up was chosen because it communicated the message and purpose of the initiative”
The process of contextualising the BLE course took several weeks. The emphasis on the student experience drove the UL EDTL Team’s commitment to detail, especially when they recognised the opportunity to unify some of the digital skills and literacies support available for UL students. The student intern involvement guaranteed the language was accessible and the information was practical and tactical–no stone was left unturned.
The UL EDTL Team even created a digital badge for the students who achieved 100% on all four end-of-unit quizzes, hoping it would encourage students to complete the course. It was also a way for students to illustrate their proficiency – to say they are digitally capable.
So, how did the Digital Skills Awareness Course do?
Digital Skills Awareness Course
Awarded Digital badges
|Spring ‘22||564||15 (+6)|
LevUL Up: Live Online Workshops
Having already developed and presented live online workshops as part of the Spring 2021 series, the UL EDTL Team were able to use the knowledge gained to develop an expanded digital skills programme for LevUL Up. The collaboration between UL divisions continued to provide perspective from every corner of campus. It promised students a comprehensive and evolving set of workshops and webinars, which were recorded and published online afterwards.
Each of the workshops ran for 30 minutes – an hour at most – as the EDTL Team did not want to bombard their audience with information. Instead, they wanted to reach the UL student population by offering them useful and relatable resources that not only saved them time but helped them navigate the academic world and the possibilities ahead of them.
The workshops were interactive and conducted on Microsoft Teams. They were presented by knowledgeable instructors, who were based in the associated divisions – the CTL, the Library, and ITD. The student interns also presented some of the webinars, offering their perspective – the lessons they learnt and the benefits of their digital awareness – and further developing their own digital capabilities.
The registration process was simple and accessible, just like the recordings that were published afterwards. The feedback forms were just as easy to complete. And although the number returned was not exceedingly high, the impact was indispensable.
The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp) was used to align the programme’s content with European standards, allowing students to become familiar with the terminology and to identify areas and competencies in the framework that they would like to develop. It also gave students confidence in the work they were doing because the practical information and skills they were gaining at an institutional level was recognisable at a National and European level.
So how did the workshops go?
Take1Step Spring ’21
LevUL Up Autumn ’21
LevUL Up Spring ’22
And what were the workshops called?
The Workshop Titles
|1 – Notetaking in a digital world||12 – Digital Wellbeing|
|2 – 7 Simple Steps To Stay Safe Online||13 – Technology For Time Management|
|3 – Images For Your UL Assignments, Where To Find Them And How To Use Them||14 – Make Microsoft Teams Work For You|
|4 – How To Spot Fake News||15 – Introduction To Student IT Services|
|5 – Making Great Posters Using Free Software||16 – Working With Online Dictionaries And Thesauruses|
|6 – Microsoft Word For Assignments||17 – Understanding How Microsoft Word Can Proof Your Paper|
|7 – Using Ponopto To Create A Video In Sulis||18 – Netiquette And Communicating Online|
|8 – Using EndNote For Your Referencing||19 – Digital Literacies And Wellbeing|
|9 – Excel Essentials||20 – Being Engaged And Establishing Your Social Presence Online|
|10 – How To Record An Interview And Edit An Audio File Using Audacity||21 – Working Together Online|
|11 – Designing Digital Presentations|
Reaching The Students: Social Media
The use of social media was essential to the success of the digital skills awareness course and calendar of live online workshops, as the Instagram and Twitter accounts proved to be key communicative tools. The UL EDTL Team were able to interact with students they might not have reached before, while also informing them and their followers of the upcoming workshops and the resources available on the LevUL Up website.
Here are the numbers reached on Instagram:
|Over 4092 accounts were reached|
|Over 12,366 impressions|
|~150 LevUL Up graphics were created|
|Over 604 profile visits & 117 website taps|
|Over 310 content interactions|
The importance of building an online presence was recognised by the UL EDTL Student Intern, Jasmine Ryan, who posted colourful and informative content on a daily/every other day basis. The role of social media content creator also allowed Ryan to improve her own digital literacy and skills, as she had to use Apps and Software that she had never used before, therefore deepening her understanding of what students need to learn.