D4 Curriculum Design Workshops: a Model for Developing Digital Literacy in Practice

Elizabeth Bennett, Sue Folley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Finding effective strategies to engage academic staff in developing their digital literacies is a challenge familiar to the higher education sector. The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) examined uptake of digital practices in the UK further and higher education sectors and found teacher time to be a significant part of this challenge (Laurillard and Deepwell, 2014). Similarly, the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Asso - ciation (UCISA) identified that staff development is the most commonly cited issue for institutions when considering develop ment of digital capability (overtaking technical infrastructure and legal and policy issues) (Walker et al., 2016, 3). Many academic staff might be described as ‘hard to reach’ to participate in training and other staff development courses (Newland and Byles, 2014, 322). In the Rogers’ (2003) model for the diffusion of an innovation in organisations, this group has been termed the late adopters, and members are characterised as being cautious about their use of technology, more sceptical about the benefits of technology than the early adopters, and unlikely to adopt a particular technology until it is used by the majority (Kahn and Pred, 2001). Despite a plethora of staff development activities, online learning opportunities and other academic development initiatives, finding ways to encourage and motivate lecturers to make better use of technology remains a difficult challenge to address.

We have found that there are dangers in focusing on the lack of digital competency of academic staff as this problematises the skills and practices of the academic staff and is experienced as blaming them for being deficient. In response they often act defensively, attacking the need for these skills, or seeking to locate the teaching of digital skills in other parts of the students’ experience (their study at school, the support from the library). We wanted to approach the issue in a different way, to use the curriculum as a way to motivate and engage academics.

This chapter describes the approach that we designed and have been running for the last few years at the University of Huddersfield, a D4 (Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver) Curriculum Development Model. The model is based on working within course teams to examine digital literacy from the perspective of students’ skills and practices and how they are developed within the taught curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigtal Literacy Unpacked
EditorsKathrine Reedy, Jo Parker
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherFacet Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781783301997
ISBN (Print)9781783301973
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

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