Academic Digital Event

DEBUT #iblc10


Canterbury Christ Church: DEBUT

1 technologist available per 5 Faculties.

Every new piece of software, staff needed training – wanted a new system where staff were CONFIDENT to experiment with new types of software.

Allan Martin, DigEULit Project

What is digital literacy? Not about the technology, about the culture – socially situated (what do you NEED? Different for different people).

Ask staff to evaluate themselves:






Initial year – HEA funded, only academic staff. Offer 20-25 digital tools – participants are asked to choose 6 to learn which are appropriate to them! Their needs, their context.

Dealing with ‘unknown unknowns’. 2 launch events at beginning of the year, each participant must come to one. Explain what debut is, participants meet the developers (Each 5 minutes to ‘sell’ their tool).

Staff Development workshops are offered, depending on popularity of the tool, offer number of times on PRE-SET programme days. Build opportunity to share what they do with other participants & colleagues. Ongoing attendance to DEBUT (now taking in year 4). Initial HEA funding, crucial – blended learning researcher works in the system to evaluate (use evaluation from participants (& tools?)).

Internal marketing & senior staff buy in are crucial – now Heads of School build it into appraisals, etc. Offer programme of tools over the year – some nothing to do with the university, find gets people engaged. Essentially offer consultancy on what is needed, then the IT Trainers offer the training. (Other feedback, most using for T&L, but if linked to appraisal gets the staff into it.)

Participants have close working relationships with their learning technologists & carry on working with them after specific project. Range of approaches favoured, most efficient with group workshop. Participants wanted training grouped together as ‘debut days’ for all workshops, rather than individual workshops – at preferable times of year (start/end of term) & WHOLE days – more intense but more time efficient!

Did people see their digital literacy rise as a part of their input… Marked increase in digital literacy levels, very significant progress, but also more CONFIDENT in any digital tools…. Many have immediately integrated the use of their chosen tools into their practice.

Evaluate the tools – overall experience of DEBUT, but also the SPECIFIC tools… and then re-rank their perception of their digital literacy. Average score in 15.9, out 19.3 (out of 25). Later scores = lower entry levels – and they showed even more marked improvement – much better for them rather than tech whizzes!

Key success factors – awareness raising events at the outset of the programme, contextualised staff development… (can use it even if so no applicability, just have a go with it). Opportunity to range digital tools, explore intensely in short time frame. The support provided – get more support that others… are ‘debutantes’.

Main issue – TIME to spend (difficult to just spend time ‘playing’); mixed ability groups (more proficient = intimidating & time-hogging); relationships built on expertise and trust!

Have more understanding, more confident, can see how can add value and integrate, and see how their skills have developed.

Continue to run, evaluation changes with each cohort – now starting to assess IMPACT.

Now a recognition that digital literacy is really important, but the focus is on students, whereas if the staff are confident, then they are able to enable the students!

Su Westerman


  • Tried to manage expectations more now, and say it’s better for whizz-kids, if you’re good, come and work 1-2-1 on a consultancy basis.
  • Workshops of around 8-10 participants. The day, book out 3 rooms, mix of workshops. In sessions primarily using the tools, whereas rest of work is consultancy. Most work is not standard staff development…
  • Now conducting research on impact to close the loop.
  • Have around 2000 staff, doing about 30 a year.
  • Assimilated into the work of the central unit.
  • What about if staff let you know of new software? Will then evaluate it – e.g. currently Prezi
  • These courses are very much about digital literacy – core training provided by IT.