Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Issues for research on Literacy in the Digital University

Participants at the first two LiDU seminars were asked to think about the kinds of research questions and agendas that might inform future research into literacy in the digital university. Some of them noted their ideas on feedback forms that we gave out for the purpose. This is a short summary of issues that have been flagged so far:

1. Focus at institutional and workplace level:

How can an awareness of digital literacies, particularly issues of power, subversion etc., engage with much narrower, technicist, university agendas?

How do universities respond, in terms of assessment frameworks, regulations etc., to new text types and literacy practices?

Research into ‘authentic’ workplace practices, i.e: looking at literacies in real workplace compared to courses preparing for those workplaces.

2. Focus on academics & practitioners in higher and further education:

What kinds of digital environment do practitioners create and use? How do particular toolsets influence or reflect work practices, attitudes and beliefs?

Should digital literacies be the aim of professional development courses (e.g. PG certs) for new academic staff?

What is it to be a digital scholar? What makes a ‘successful’ ‘academic’ blog, for example? Will a blog ever have the same status as a paper in a reviewed journal?

3. Focus on learners and learning:

Production, assessment and practices in collaborative learning – how to consider e-discussions, collaborative writing projects (wikis), in educational contexts, or certification of what is learned/produced by whom?

Exploring notion of audience with literacy and technology. E.g: the public multiple audiences for students’ work implied by an ‘exhibition’ as opposed to essay or logbook.

Understanding the balance between context-specific & cross-context literacy development.

Assessment frameworks for digital assignments in HE, notions of the ‘essay’, and what counts as ‘criticality’ in digital writing?

‘Ownership’ of the goals of learning and assessment criteria.

Visuality and the assessment of multimodal texts.

4. General research issues:

Socio-technical practices – what are they, how are they learned, what group, and group-use-of-technology practices need to be learned for collaborative, participatory practices?

Further deconstructing the ‘digital native’.

The agenda for the 3rd seminar (at the Open University on October 14th & 15th), which is focusing on methodologies for research on literacy in the digital university, will be informed by our discussion of these issues over the next six months.

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