Digital Strategy 2017-2021

In ‘Thinking Ahead 2016-21’, the University has set an ambitious target to be a ‘thought leader for 21st Century higher education’ where ‘we will utilise digital technology to create new learning platforms and environments so that we bring together people from across the world enabling the sharing and dissemination of knowledge’. Combined with the rapidly changing external environment and increased levels of scrutiny for teaching and learning and graduate outcomes proposed in the Teaching Excellence Framework, the University is entering a period of digital transformations which will require academic, student and professional service support to succeed.


Digital Vision

The Digital Strategy (2017-21) is informed through consultations with staff and students during 2016/17 focussed on enhancing the University’s engagement with digital tools and approaches. The resultant strategy reflects our intention to ‘experiment, innovate and explore new ways of working’ to deliver an enhanced and immersive digital experience working across the entire community to deliver for:

Students:
Enhanced digital confidence—savvy, inventive and resilient—to create, collaborate and communicate.

Staff:
The right technologies, working reliably and being used effectively to enhance the authentic learning experience.

Everyone:
A digital network that connects people to support learning and enhance the creation and sharing of new knowledge.

Spaces:
That are integrated, coherent and support effective practice and collaboration, comprehensively blurring the boundaries between physical and virtual.

For the University, the use of digital tools to support the student experience can not only enhance the student learning (when used purposefully) but also offers enhanced efficiencies in administration and support for student employability through exposure to a range of tools and approaches that offer transferable skills beyond the taught curriculum.


Digital Education Transformation Programme:

The Digital Education Transformation Programme will be delivered through targeted phases of activity, reflecting the unpredictable and fast-changing pace of the external digital environment. The first phase will run for two years (till August 2019) and will support key objectives within five areas of activity:

Strand A: Digital Leadership and Governance
Strand B: Digital Capabilities
Strand C: Digitally Enhanced Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Strand D: Digitally Enhanced Environments
Strand E: Digitally Communities

Digital Leadership and Governance

Improving the processes and policies guiding digital education to embed impactful change across the University.

“Teaching practice must respond to our digital and 24/7 age, preparing students for a diverse and demanding future.” (Thinking Ahead 2016-21)

Objectives:

A1:
Programme’s aims and outcomes are communicated transparently and efficiently, ensuring all stakeholders are informed.

A2:
University policies and guidelines encourage staff experimentation in digital education and are underpinned by effective evaluation and feedback mechanisms to ensure lessons learned (positive and negative) are shared.

A3:
We have clear guidelines for staff on digital practice–created with input from all stakeholder groups–and provide sufficient support to help staff meet objectives outlined within them.

A4:
We have a facilitated and co-ordinated network of Directors of Education and Digital Leads championing digital education within their schools.

Digital Capabilities

Ensuring every member of the University community has the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a digital world.

“We will grow and enhance the wide student experience to ensure our graduates have developed their talents and skills to become well rounded citizens” (Thinking Ahead 2016-21)

Objectives:

❱ B1:
Students are able to access digital learning resources in alternative formats to meet the individual needs.

❱ B2:
Staff and students have access to hands-on and Just-In-Time online support that reflects authentic academic practice, inspires community contributions, and enables staff and students to develop their own digital skills.

❱ B3:
University students engage responsibly with social media within in both their studies and professional lives (understanding the risks and benefits associated with each).

❱ B4:
Staff and students participate in digitally enabled activities that supports cross-disciplinary learning and collaboration.

❱ B5:
Staff understand when and how to use digital tools to enable them to effectively blend learning experiences for both face-2-face and online learning.

Digitally Enhanced Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Embedding authentic digital teaching practices that genuinely enhances and extends learning opportunities for all of our students.

“We will support experimentation in our approach to teaching, to curriculum design and to wider student engagement… We will expect people to be brave, to try new things and continually strive for improvement and growth” (Thinking Ahead 2016-21)

Objectives:

❱ C1:
Taught programmes deliver an engaging and coherent digital experience for teaching and learning.

❱ C2:
We trial and adapt new approaches to digital education to deliver effective blended learning experiences.

❱ C3:
Students support the co-creation of digital assets within their own studies and across the University.

❱ C4:
The digital learning experience encourages students to create, collaborate and communicate digitally–aligned to employability.

❱ C5:
The digital tools provided help to streamline workflows and teaching processes.

Digitally Enhanced Environments

Enhancing our physical and virtual learning environments to provide an experience that delivers deeper learning opportunities.

“Creating leading-edge teaching environments…whether real or virtual” (Thinking Ahead 2016-21)

Objectives:

D1:
Digital learning tools meet our teaching needs and are reliable and resilient.

D2:
Students feel enabled to ‘learn wherever they are’ within a flexible digital environment.

D3:
Staff have access to experimental spaces (for hands-on practice/skunkworks activities/maker spaces) for staff to explore new technologies and inform future strategies.

D4:
Staff can access teaching spaces (face-2-face and online) that are user centred and enhance the digital teaching and learning experience.

D5:
Staff and students have a central ‘gateway’ to access digital tools and are able to move easily between digital devices and environments when using them to support their teaching and learning.

D6:
The University delivers engaging learning spaces underpinned by the ubiquitous use of core tools and context sensitive application of digital opportunities from a varied palette of options.

Digital Communities

Sharing our knowledge to ensure everyone can benefit from the expertise being developed across the University.

“…we will create a flexible and Open University that encourages and supports collaborative working across boundaries and disciplines … We will draw on and use the wealth of material and knowledge available digitally to enhance our teaching practice” (Thinking Ahead 2016-21)

Objectives:

E1:
There is a Digital Hub for sharing, disseminating and collaborating on digitally related topics.

E2:
The digital footprint of the University is captured and shared to benefit the entire University community, avoiding silos of activity.

E3:
Communities of Practice engage staff and inspire effective digital practice.

E4:
Digital collaboration (outside and across the University) is enabled to the benefit of staff and students at Lincoln.

E5:
The University enables the wider student digital experience with incentivised contributions on community focussed platform.