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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

An inclusive and collaborative scheme for development

The Digital Partners scheme comes out of our drive towards increasing the digital capabilities of our staff and students. Developed and managed by Hannah Watts, one of our two learning technologists, the scheme pairs up staff who need some help – whether for reasons of time or ability – to create resources for their SOL page, with students who are able to provide that help.

The key feature is that this is intended to be a collaborative relationship. The two partners work together to create the resources, and both can learn from each other as a result. 

The students and graduate interns get to experience freelance working, with valuable opportunities to work on live briefs, develop new skills and experience a different way of working that they otherwise might not have had the confidence to do. 

In return, staff get supported in enriching their SOL pages and becoming confident in other technology enhanced learning (TEL) related activities. Having a collaborative partner means staff have more time to focus on pedagogy while students develop digital literacies skills as a result of working on educational activities. 

This is good for the individuals involved, and it’s good for Solent too, joining other institutions like the universities of Southampton, Nottingham and Wolverhampton in running successful similar pilot schemes.

But there’s a bigger picture too. Jisc identified six elements involved in building digital capabilities: information, data and media literacies; ICT proficiency; digital creation, problem solving and innovation; digital communication, collaboration and participation; digital learning and development; and digital identity and wellbeing. Staff will find it difficult to support students in achieving those aims if they themselves lack confidence in any of them. The Digital Partners scheme is about recognising that as an institution and providing an inclusive and collaborative experience for development, and creating a more flexible digital environment for everyone.