Digital by Design by Discipline

Cloud created by:

Maryja Strickland
27 October 2017

Where: Library Seminar Rooms 1-2

When: 10:00-12:30, Thursday 16 November 2017

‘Digital by design’ is one of the principles underpinning the development of a new Teaching Framework that is taking shape as part of the Students First Transformation Programme. This session aims to go beyond discussion of the broad principle itself, and into some of the detail, as speakers from diverse academic areas explore the pedagogical implications of ‘digital by design’ in their own disciplines.

  • 10:00 - 10:25   

The Digital Educator within the disciplines: a Professional Development perspective: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Lecturer, LTI-Academic

One of the OU’s newest priority areas is around ‘Digital by design’. Within the Academic Professional Development (APD) team, this has resulted in us putting together a new programme of training courses called ‘Digital educator Career Development (DCD)’. This short talk will introduce the three core themes of the programme and highlight the opportunities for different faculties to become involved and help shape its future. The talk will also build upon the recent work carried out by JISC into digital skills capabilities, and explore how JISC have started to approach disciplinary differences from a digital perspective.

  •  10:25 - 10:50  

Out of the library, onto the screen? Lynda Prescott, Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching Innovation), FASS

In disciplines for which, conventionally, a defining learning environment has been ‘the library’, the development of digital resources has enormously expanded the range of opportunities for distance learners. The OU’s own online library has opened up vast possibilities for independent study, and OU students can have direct access to the digitised collections and online learning resources of key institutions such as the British Library. Students in the Arts and Social Sciences undoubtedly benefit from studying in a technologically-rich environment, but we also need to take a long view of the complex inter-relationship between established and emergent media, especially while our understanding of the way we read digital texts is still in its infancy.

10:50 - 11:15  

Shaping our online environments for languages: Christine Pleines, Head of German, School of Languages and Applied Linguistics, WELS

Digital content and online interactive activities play a major role in all languages modules, and being able to shape the digital environments we work with is an important pedagogical concern. This presentation will refer to ongoing discussions in module teams as well as student feedback from module evaluations and developmental testing. Relevant aspects include:

  • using the website as the "hub" in our modules
  • providing opportunities for interaction in writing and speaking
  • integrating work with text and audio-visual content
  • providing meaningful feedback
  • including student-generated content
  • learning from the module and from the world beyond

11:00- 11:15    Coffee break

11:30 - 11:55

Teaching science digitally: benefits and risks: Diane Butler, Deputy Director of eSTEeM, STEM

With the advent of S112 Concepts and Practice in Science this autumn the entire Level 1 curriculum offering from the former Science faculty (now embedded within STEM) is now delivered entirely digitally. At levels 2 and 3 the majority of science modules are now online/onscreen with only a small number of legacy modules delivered by a combination of print and online assets. Over this period many (frequently painful) lessons have been learnt concerning the challenges ‘digital by design’ poses for module production and maintenance. As a group of academics we now have a fuller understanding of the demands of writing for digital delivery. However this is not yet matched by an understanding of how to manage the expectations of our students and how to support them to be effective online/onscreen learners.

This short talk will examine some of the benefits of digital delivery in the science curriculum, some of the risks and also focus on how our students have received this innovation

11:55 - 12:30

Digital STEM thermometer: Brendan Quinn, Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, STEM

This talk will mainly consider how we use digital content in Maths and Stats modules, particularly at Level 1, from the perspective of a module team member, and in terms of student feedback.  Currently all our Level 1 modules use printed units, supplemented by digital content such as screencasts, online quizzes, and mathematical or statistical software and all were written prior to the introduction of the “digital by design” term.  It will also briefly reflect on my recent experience as an OU student on an online Statistics module, on two Science modules, and as a member of a Level 2 Computing module team starting to think about a rewrite, where integration of materials has emerged as an important issue with the current version.

As always you are welcome to attend for all or part of the session. We try to stick to timings to enable you to do that. Please note that this event will be recorded.

If you are planning to attend in person, please email we can make sure we order enough refreshments. Please also contact us if you’ve got any questions.

Details of previous events, slides, etc., can be found on our Cloudworks page, and recordings of many recent events are also available via Stadium.

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