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Cascade out and about – an update on project wanderings

It’s been a busy few weeks for the project. First we submitted our baseline report to the JISC, which has now been synthesised into a sector summary report, forthcoming soon. Some of the key findings of the Exeter audit process are echoed nationally, while some are relatively unique. For example, the preference for public, third party, cloud and open source applications among researchers was echoed by the Vitae survey. The emergence of mobile and social technologies was also matched by other findings. All the surveys I have seen confirmed that technology adoption is overhwhelmingly self-directed and peer-supported. But projects differ in the groups of staff/students they are working with, and our focus on PGRs has given us some particular insights into how research practice is changing.

We have had a joint proposal accepted for the HEA conference, put together a proposal for the International Blended Learning Conference, and begun drafting a symposium proposal for the annual Association for Learning Technology conference in the autumn. In all of these we are working with other projects in our programme cluster. There is the possibility of a paper to Improving Student Learning as well.

Last week Dale and I travelled to Bristol to meet a group of projects, professional bodies, and one institution from outside the programme, to discuss the disciplinary aspects of digital literacy. This is an area of work we will be taking forward both through digital literacy profiles of the different subjects in which our PGR interns are situated, and through subject-specific case studies. We know that research practice is highly dependent on the subject and even the topic of research, so the skills researchers need are not well developed by generic programmes or techniques. This is something we will explore further at College level.

Finally I’ve been invited to speak on a Guardian panel, Developing Digital Literacy in Higher Education. This will be live on Friday 2nd March – if you are reading this post at a later date you will find a recording and summary online.

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