What is the NTU Digital Framework?

What is the NTU Digital Framework?

Digital Framework

When NTU worked with the Changing the Learning Landscape programme we focused on eliciting how we could move forward with ensuring Digital Literacy was a core competence for both staff and students.  We came away with four key areas to focus on:

  • There is a substantial amount of digital practice activity already happening at NTU. We need to celebrate our success more.
  • There is an opportunity to make digital literacy skills and competencies clearer for both staff and students focused at the course level.
  • We should ensure that the support for digital practice available for staff and students is appropriate and ensure that it is clearly communicated across the institution.
  • We should aim to foster a culture of innovative digital practice and reward and celebrate individual achievements

So, what’s been happening since then?

We’ve continued to focus on these areas of activity over the last couple of years and have certainly been celebrating successes in the interim period since the CLL project came to a close.

We also analysed the support for digital literacy we have around NTU.  It was a really useful exercise not only because it presented a clearer picture of existing support but because it also prompted some deeper thinking around the digital skills, capabilities and competencies that NTU believes are important for everyone to develop.

Why do I need to develop my digital skills and capabilities?

Across the HE sector and beyond there is an increasing emphasis on the importance of addressing individual’s digital skills and competencies. Go-ON UK’s recently published Digital Exclusion Heatmap illustrates how far we need to go, with 23% of UK adults still not possessing basic digital skills or having access to relevant digital technologies. From a higher education perspective the House of Lords report, Make or Break: the UK’s Digital Future states: “At the higher education level, there is an urgent need for industry input, so that graduates are learning job-relevant digital skills“.

Further afield the Irish National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education state in their Roadmap for Enhancement in a Digital World  that “teachers will be full enabled to use digital technologies/resources where appropriate.” More importantly though, we know through the work conducted by the Jisc Digital Student project, that the digital capabilities of teaching staff can have ‘the strongest positive impact on students’ experience of using digital technologies for study‘.

So what is the Digital Framework?

The NTU Digital Framework draws on many other frameworks and, in particular, the Llida Framework of Frameworks  alongside Jisc’s seven elements of digital literacy to draw together a comprehensive set of digital practices that everyone at NTU engages in to some degree. In developing this Framework for a NTU context we’ve also considered how we support you when you might be at different stages of development. It utilises the practitioner levels set out in our Digital Practice Framework. It’s a broad, generic framework and deliberately does not try to capture individual subject digital practices that are clearly special to a particular discipline. To summarise:

The Framework consists of seven elements describing different areas of digital practice, split into four levels of practitioner development, Enquiring Practitioner, Up-Skilling Practitioner, Experienced Practitioner and Creative Practitioner. The seven areas of practice of the framework are:

  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Learning to Learn/Becoming Self Supporting
  • Learning Technologies
  • Information Literacy
  • ICT Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Digital Identity

How can the Framework help me?

The framework can be used at a variety of levels not just for individual personal development. For example, we’ve been piloting the Framework with colleagues in the School of Art & Design, working with course teams in the first instance, to see how useful it could be at articulating student digital competencies. The course teams have used the framework as the basis for articulating the digital competencies and added or amended the framework to reflect the individual course digital specialisms and practices.

The workshops highlighted some interesting discussions regarding perceptions of what ‘digital’ is within the curriculum and how those identified student digital competencies are supported throughout the course. Most importantly, it has helped tease out some of the intricacies of the specialisms that are required at a course level by providing a common vocabulary around which to base discussions.

On an individual level, the framework can help you identify your own digital capabilities. We’ve also contributed to Jisc’s Building Digital Capability  project. Jisc are developing a Discovery tool which could be useful in helping you understand your individual strengths and weakness. The follow-up links between Jisc resources and our own support resources will really help tailor the support we can provide you.

How can I find out more?

The full Digital Framework is currently available in the NOW Technology Central learning room and it’s worth looking at in more detail to understand how the framework is set-out. We’re also talking more broadly around NTU about the framework and how it can help Schools and Professional Services with current priorities and future work.

More information will be made available as work to support the framework is developed. However, if you would like to know more about how the NTU Digital Framework can help you at an individual or team level, contact cpldenquiries@ntu.ac.uk.

About the author

Digital Practice Manager for the Digital Practice Team in Organisational Development. She has over 15 years experience in supporting and managing eLearning and digital practice teams. She is a UCISA Exec Member and a member of the UCISA Digital Capabilities Group.

4 comments on “What is the NTU Digital Framework?

  • Thanks for such a succinct overview of where we are at now.

    I think that the Make or Break report confuses training and learning with its ask for industry to advise on ‘learning job-relevant digital skills’.

    What industry, what skills.

    Bateson’s levels of learning need to be addressed here, learning to learn, how to apply skills across different hardware & software platforms is the important thing here … Is there a danger of just becoming an Adobe or Microsoft academy ?

    As an example, there are some great open source graphics packages that do stuff similar to Photoshop, it’s about understanding the generic process, not the specific ‘click here’.

    If I understand the concept of a pivot table I can use that knowledge, if I just know to click here …

    In summary “give a man a fish …”


    • Elaine Swift

      Elaine Swift

      Hi Pete,
      Thanks for your comments and feedback. I completely agree that we need to be careful about digital capabilities being much broader than industry, job relevant skills. It’s definitely about equipping our community (both staff and students) with the confidence and competence to engage fully in the online, digital world.
      Having said, even though the report focuses on industry skills, it’s good to see that developing digital capabilities is being recognised at a national level and flagged up as an issue.

  • Hi Elaine, this was really useful for my PGCAP assignment (due in soon…) and for understanding why there has been the need for change. I never thought I’d end up working my way through a 1000+ page House of Lords report, but that’s where you led me!

    • Elaine Swift

      Elaine Swift

      Thanks for the feedback James. I’m glad the information has been useful with your assignment. The government’s digital strategy has been an interesting read in this regard as well and I’m watching with interest to how the digital apprenticeships develop.

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