In the second of a new series of blogs, Education Consultant Walter Patterson tells us about the early findings of CDN’s research into digital capability.

Even as colleges are running flat out to ensure the best outcomes for students finishing their courses, eyes are already on the next academic year and the likelihood that some restrictions will still be in place. Colleges recognise that new students need support and guidance to prepare them for rapid assimilation with digital learning systems, looking at pre-induction online content that can be freely accessed, followed by carefully tailored digital readiness at induction. Similar arrangements are in place for new staff, with colleges consolidating gains made in digital learning tools and systems introduced over the past year.

These are some of the findings from interviews carried out on behalf of CDN as part of the research into digital capability in Scotland’s colleges. Institutions increasingly recognise the relevance of training to meet the digital competencies in the Professional Standards for Lecturing Staff, but some have made better progress than others in providing staff with a profiling tool to self-assess levels of competence and confidence.

Most colleges signpost staff to internal resources and external content from providers such as Microsoft and LinkedIn Learning. A few offer staff the opportunity for more formal recognition of their professional development through certification. Dumfries and Galloway College has recently become a registered provider for the OCN NI Level 3 Certificate in Digital Skills for Educators; City of Glasgow College offer the PDA Teaching Practice in Scotland’s Colleges, and the MEd in Digital Pedagogy programme at Lews Castle College UHI has two modules that staff can use for formal certification and postgraduate credit points. As the project continues, a more complete picture of what CPD opportunities exist will emerge.

The next round of interviews will complete the evidence gathering phase of this project. I will be supported in the analysis of these findings and the documentary evidence by a CDN researcher. Further phases of this work will include conversations with colleges elsewhere in the UK where best practice has been identified, followed by focus group discussions of conclusions and recommendations. Watch this space!

Read Walter’s first blog here

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