Building a digital environment to support the development of your students’ capabilities.

Kirsty Blount attended the ‘Connect More’ conference in Bristol supported by Jisc to review how to implement digital capabilities into the syllabus and workplace.

Kirsty said I often think ‘my students are of the digital generation and are more capable than myself at using technology’. However at the conference statistics were analysed which confirmed students are good at using what they know and  like, for example Facebook/Twitter and other social media sites. But left to their own devices to navigate around a new virtual learning enviroment (VLE) and to make use of digital stories or other means of technology can be quite daunting for a student.

Jisc released some statistics such as: 40-50% of learners didn’t know or weren’t sure what digital skills their course required; fewer than 50% have been told what digital skills they need to improve.

The accounting and finance team are on a learning journey to develop a better understanding of how the digital environment can support our students’ capabilities. With a drive towards encouraging independent learning so our students can gain valuable, deeper learning within their contact time.

The university strongly believes technology can help to support our students, whilst we currently use Moodle to share resources, videos, presentations to name a few. Jisc’s digital tracker 2017 asked students about digital technologies including the VLE:

Most students find these systems convenient; they like the independence and flexibility to fit learning into their lives, 80% HE and 61% FE rely on the VLE for coursework. At level 4 and 5 we have modules such as professional skills which helps embed digital skills into the syllabus and how these digital skills can be transferred into the workplace, for example; our Excel exam where students are given a fantastic opportunity to gain advanced excel skills which are very attractive in the workplace.

The accounting and finance team are also incorporating elements of flipped learning to encourage students to become efficient independent learners. Ever wondered what flipped learning is?  click here. The flipped learning model is different to the traditional method where by the teacher is at the centre of all the knowledge. Flipped learning encourages learner-centred approaches so the time in the classroom is used to explore topics and deepen their understanding. The use of digital capabilities and access to a digital environment in the classroom can help support the students with these activities.

Finally the team believe students appear to engage with technology as a support mechanism which allows them the freedom and flexibility of learning by being more actively involved.

We will keep you updated with the new changes and feedback from the students!



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