There is no single unitary referent for 'literacy'. Literacy is not the name for a finite technoloigy, set of skills, or any other 'thing'. We should recognise, rather, that there are many specific literacies, each comprising an identifiable set of socially constructed practices... (Lankshear, 1987).

Digital literacy, media literacy, information literacy, employability skills, academic literacy, IT-literacy, emotional literacy, social literacy, e-literacy...the literacies required of students of the 21st century, and the staff who facilitate their courses, are much wider and more complex than ever before.

There have been many studies focused on digital literacy, in particular, in recent years. The LLiDA (Learning Literacies for a Digital Age) project completed an easily digestible literature review of existing studies which is well worth a scan. It also developed a useful Framework of frameworkswhich outlines broad literacy areas and their component competences, capabilities and literacies, as well as the practices (general and digital) of effective learners. However one of the best sites we've found is JISC's design studio and their set of resources to support their Digital Literacy workshops.


Learning from others' experiences...

talk.jpgIn April 2011, FLI interviewed 9 of our Teaching Fellows who have been exploring blended and flexible learning in their courses/subjects. The interviews looked at what the fellows had been working on, and what they had learned in relation to BFL and in particular, to each of the five perspective areas. The videos of these interviews are currently being edited, and will be available from this site very soon. We are also currently writing up a series of case studies that highlight the approaches others have taken to blended and flexible learning. These will be added here, as soon as they are available.
In the meantime, these sites also have numerous case studies and examples of how literacies are being supported in higher education today:

Learning literacies for the digital age (LLiDA) includes a wide range of best practice examples from the UK.

For further examples, check the 'case studies' and 'examples' tags in FLI's bookmarks on Delicious.


Some questions for course teams to consider


question.jpgWhat literacies are important in your course's professional area?

What means do you currently have of assessing your students’ needs in terms of these literacies? Are these sufficient?
  • Conduct regular surveys and questioning to determine ICT capabilities of staff and students, and infuse these into the design of subjects.

Do you have an integrated course strategy to support your students’ development of various literacies, such as information literacy, digital literacy, facilitation skills, moderation skills? If not, what might it look like?
  • Incorporate a series of learning opportunities to develop and extend multi-literacy capacity.
  • Scaffold the first year student learning experience, and subsequent experiences (see FYE guidelines).
  • To develop digital literacies, use in-class exercises, online tutorials, orientation sessions to help the learner be at ease with technology.

Do you have a support structure in place for staff to continually develop their multiliteracy skills? If not, what might it look like?
  • Provide resources to help academics choose media and tools to complement needs, purposes and learning outcomes.
  • Develop explicit strategies for facilitation and moderation in both online and offline environments.
  • Share the academic PD plan and opportunities related to multi-literacy development



Toolbox

tools.jpgJISC have developed an excellent set of resources to support their Digital Literacy Workshop series. Remember that there's a wide network of your peers who are more than willing to offer guidance and resources on the Yammer community.

We're collecting the best of what we find in our Delicious site, tagged to make it easier to find what you need. The most recent additions are included here: