The Long Road SFC Digital Literacy Course

This course is for students at a transition stage between college and university/employment. It focuses on: digital identity, behaviour and practice and can be used as part of the UK 16- 19 study programme. Students can assess their own digital literacy throughout the course and use this self-awareness to set targets to improve their skills. The course puts a strong emphasis on employability and includes contributions from local employers about the digital literacy skills they look for in job applicants.

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The course has been designed for remote access by students as part of a programme of independent study, using a traditional approach of lessons and activities targeted at an average-level student. In order to avoid a series of read-only content pages with very little interaction required from the student, we have tried where possible to provide students with instant feedback when completing quizzes, for example, so that they can review their own understanding as they work through the topics. However, this has certain obvious limitations. If a post-16 organisation chose to download the course and use it with students already enrolled, the recommendation would be to customise the course by making some of the activities more personalised. This would only require a basic knowledge of Moodle in most instances, e.g. change an offline assignment to an online assignment where the teacher provides personal feedback and grading, customise the discussion forums so that groups of students can communicate with each other in a class or over a college network and which a teacher could moderate.

If the course is delivered as part of a blended learning programme, i.e. with teachers acting as facilitators, students can be encouraged to be independent learners but will also have some access to face-to-face support from a member of staff. This will enhance the student experience by providing more effective, personalised feedback and allow for a more differentiated approach by the teacher.

The graphics for the most part have been created in-house or have been adapted using Creative Commons. The graphics give the course a uniform visual appearance from the top level down right through to the topics and the badges. Other design issues the college Digital Literacy Group agreed on were:

  • A clear, visual header should appear at the top of each topic to illustrate the route the student should take;
  • Each topic should start with simple tasks (read/view only) and move on to harder tasks before a badge is awarded;
  • Verbs should be used to describe each activity, e.g. read, watch/view, do, think, contribute, discuss, share, post, create, answer, write, present, reflect, self-assess;
  • Progression to HE and employment should be highlighted whenever possible.

Each of the topics follows a similar format moving from an introductory Moodle lesson through to two further interactive, reflective tasks.

  • READ/WATCH the lesson
  • DO a task (varies depending on topic)
  • THINK/REFLECT on (varies depending on topic)

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The READ/WATCH Moodle lesson includes:

  • Content pages interspersed by simple questions to test whether students have read/watched;
  • Suggestions for activities offline;
  • Embedded videos and podcasts.

Activities so far include: 7 lessons; 3 discussion forums; 2 assignments; 2 quizzes; 3 questionnaires; 1 glossary; 5 external URL links and 2 read-only resources.

We used our own judgement to check for accessibility with the help of the software Wave which is now an add-on throughout the college for Google Chrome. We also explored the way the course functions and is displayed on a range of devices, e.g. laptops, smartphones and iPads.

We switched our role in Moodle to student whenever we were testing the activities and, at the same time, tried not to underestimate students’ prior knowledge and experience of the digital environment. Our plan in future is to develop the course further so that more self- and peer-assessment is included. This would provide students with the appropriate tools to raise their own self-awareness and set targets for improvement.

There are obvious areas of overlap between digital literacy skills and other areas of the 16 – 19 programmes of study, e.g. employability, higher education progression, core skills (literacy, numeracy and ICT skills) and with examined subjects. There is potential here to promote digital literacy from different angles, e.g. the sociology/psychology of social media, data handling and manipulation, marketing/advertising, political activism, digital creativity etc., to connect with the students’ curriculum interests and specialist areas.

The course will require constant up-dating as changes within the digital environment are happening rapidly on an almost day-to-day basis. We have embedded videos and included links to websites which we have judged to be reliable and authoritative sources rather than attempt to produce original material ourselves which could quickly become out-of-date. To keep up with changes, another suggestion might be to provide opportunities online for teachers and students to collaborate more together to exchange ideas and knowledge. If you manage to download and restore the file, we hope you’ll find the course a useful starting point to adapt and update for your own students to use.

It must be downloaded and restored on Moodle. The course format we have used is ‘grid’. A version of this course is available here: Digital Literacy course for Moodle

Also on the Jorum website for any educational organisation who can access this: http://find.jorum.ac.uk/resources/10949/19946.

Message from our IT Services Department: The Digital Literacy course has been designed to work on Moodle 2.8 and above.  This means that this course is not compatible with earlier versions of Moodle. 

 The developers of Moodle state on their website at https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Releases#Moodle_2.6 that General Bug fixes ended in November 2014 and security updates for Moodle 2.6 will end on 11th May 2015. This follows industry best practice of ensuring that systems are able to be patched and have security fixes applied.