Digital Skills Festival 2021: looking back
Last month saw the first Digital Skills Festival, organised by the Digital Skills and Training team, of which we hope there will be many more. Together, we facilitated four sessions on different topics across the area of learning design. The first session, ‘How to… design a course online using ABC’, sparked a lot of discussion around how the pandemic has changed the way we teach. Participants were really engaged with how ABC can help them in course design and move to a hybrid model. There was a great interest in the demonstration of the tools and techniques used, leading to them wanting to use ABC as a course design method. More information can be found on the ABC webpages. An informal session on ‘How to… use personae to improve design of student and staff experience’ provided an opportunity to talk with colleagues from across the University about why and how personae are used in designing user experiences. Participants were invited to think about how they might use personae in their own design projects and begin the process of creating a persona to use in that context. It was a joy to meet colleagues from the School of Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, and Residence Life team and hear their thoughts on the potential benefits and pitfalls of using personae in the design process. More about this topic can be found on the personae webpages. Working with academic colleagues in ‘How to… write intended learning outcomes’ gave us the opportunity to talk about course design, how the different parts of a course connect, and how we can word intended learning outcomes which students can comprehend, and that agree with elements of a course, such as assessment, and with the other courses in the programme. More information about this, including a self-paced learning resource, can be found in the intended learning outcomes webpages. Finally, ‘How to… facilitate highly interactive sessions’ proved a lively event with plenty of discussion on the factors that support interaction online. There was a lot of discussion about how we need the technology to function well, but we can’t rely on it, so we have plans, and back-ups, to deal with its challenges. During the session we started working collectively on a document compiling practical advice on facilitating highly interactive sessions, based on our experiences so far. We look forward to sharing this soon; in the meantime, more details about one example of our workshops can be found on the ELDeR webpages.
– Alan, Ed, Jon, Rachael, Robyn, & Tracey.