Monday, 11 March 2013

C4: Digital literacies and work placements: A framework for evaluation


Maria Papefthimiou, Nadja Guggi and Racel Glover
University of Reading, UK

Digitally Ready (a JISC funded project at the University of Reading) has conducted research into digital literacies for student employability, focusing on the University of Reading's extra- and in-curricular work placement schemes. The project has engaged with staff, students, and external employers and in this paper we will be presenting the findings and the evaluation framework we developed:

Findings:
oHow Work Related Placement Learning (WRPL) opportunities (in and extra-curricular) help our students develop their digital literacies
oThe nature, breadth and depth of students' skills, levels of confidence in applying skills for employability, and ability to reflect on and articulate skills gained
oHow well students' skills match employers' expectations
oWhat staff can do to support students' skills development and articulation

A framework for Digital Literacies in work placements.
In order to evaluate the development of students' digital literacies through work placements, we adapted Rhona Sharpe's and Helen Beetham's 'Developing Effective E-Learning: The Development Pyramid' (2008) framework, as follows:

oOur research has shown that work placements can provide opportunities for students to experience and explore digital technologies (access); to develop technical proficiency in using digital technologies (skills); and, crucially, to apply these skills in a professional, 'real world' context (practices).

oThe value of work placements lies in making the link between students' learning and applying those skills in a professional environment. Making this link in the student's mind by encouraging them to reflect on their digital experiences and articulate what they have learnt from them, can help students develop their digital literacies and employability.

This presentation will enable participants to reflect on the digital opportunities on offer to students within their own institutions, whether embedded in the curriculum or extra - curricula, and take away ideas for maximising student engagement with WRPL opportunities.


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