Enhancing Digital Literacy Skills

Dr Rhian Morgan - Enhancing Pathway students' digital literacy skills through integrated assessment design across core subjects.

In this JCU snapshot, we consider a subject that brings real authenticity to the development and utility of Pathway students’ digital literacy skills through the integration of assessment with an academic skills subject that is also core to the program.

A benefit of assessment integration across subjects is that capabilities can be applied and assessed in more than one subject and context. Feedback can consequently have greater influence and impact.

The interaction between assessment tasks in both subjects provide students with an engaging experience of the roles, potential and impact of technologies in academic learning, research, communication and in independent learning for successful university studies.

Valid; Fair; Authentic; Continuous; Transparent; Varied methods

Subject CS1022 Learning in a Digital Environment
Study Mode Internal and External
Campus Townsville, Cairns and Singapore
Coordinator Dr Rhian Morgan
Course Diploma of Higher Education and Certificate of Higher Education

The subject is designed to equip students to learn effectively in a digital environment.

It is intended to equip students with digital literacy skills that will assist them to select and use appropriate tools and technologies for learning, research and communication purposes.

It is also intended to introduce students to library information, literacy skills, and the functions of the LearnJCU platform. Providing them with a safe digital environment to apply their new skills and practices.

Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to:

  • Search, find, and evaluate the appropriateness of information/sources for specific academic purposes through appropriate use of tools and technologies.

  • Use online information and technologies effectively and ethically and within relevant University guidelines.

  • Use technologies to manage personal and professional development and evaluate future study/career pathways.

  • Communicate, adapt and present information in a range of academic contexts and for peer audiences using a range of information and communication technologies

Task 1 (15%) – Digital literacy modules

  • Students need to complete the 3 digital literacy modules (5% each) via LearnJCU.

  • The modules contain a range of content to read or watch and a quiz.

  • The quizzes do not have a set time duration and are automatically graded.

Task 2 (10%) – (Re)Search Plan

  • This task takes students through the initial stages of developing a search strategy to locate scholarly sources for assessment tasks in both CS1022 (this subject) and CU1022 (Developing Academic Skills).

  • Set up as a LearnJCU quiz with multi-choice and short answer options to help students unpack their assignment question and write out search strings.

  • Library staff run an information literacy course in week 2 and were involved in the development of the subject.

Task 3 (40%) – Digi-explanation

  • This task builds on the digital literacy modules, the research strategy connected to task two and an annotated bibliography in CU1022 (Developing Academic Skills).

  • It requires students to create a video (narrated PowerPoint or Screencast) that provides a concise summary of their response to the CU1022 (Developing Academic Skills) discussion paper topic (e.g., Identify a social, political, economic, or ethical dilemma within your discipline. Research, analyse, and discuss the societal or environmental impacts of this dilemma.)

Task 4 (35%) – ePortfolio

  • This task requires students to set up an initial ePortfolio in PebblePad.

  • This helps them draw together their achievements in their diploma and research their understanding of the skills and understanding of skills and qualifications required in their future field of work.

  • They must include sections on 1) about me, 2) skills and qualifications, 3) their intended field of work, 4) career objectives or future studies, 5) references.

  • Detailed guidance is provided on what should be included in each section.

To ensure students achieved the learning outcomes to a sufficient breadth and depth

  • Students needed a real research topic to apply their information literacy, productivity and communication technologies.

  • The subject content needs to be relevant to students from a multitude of disciplines.

  • Students need to spend time researching their topic at the expense of learning to use the range of digital tools to help them succeed as independent, successful learners.

To meet the challenges noted above, the coordinator integrated the assessment for this unit with the other core subject (CU1022: Developing Academic Skills).

This strategy not only brought meaning, a deeper and more authentic learning experience in each subject but also allowed for more time to spend on a range of digital tools and their application.

Additionally, each subject now concentrates on their core learning outcomes whilst providing opportunities for students to apply their learning across subjects in a highly complementary and meaningful ways.

The interaction between assessment tasks in both subjects provides students with an engaging experience that prepares them to be independent, successful learners for their future university studies. The diagram below provides an overview of how the assessment from the two subjects work together.

Learning in a Digital Environment

Developing Academic Skills

Task 1:
Digital literacy modules + library data base training.

Task 1:
Preparatory work on the foundational academic skills and their application (modules and quizzes).

Task 2:
(Re)Search Plan to develop a search strategy to locate scholarly sources.

Task 2:
Student choose a research topic, demonstrate use scholarly databases to locate 5 academic journal articles, and provide a brief annotation bibliography of each article, create a discussion paper from 4 of the articles chosen.

Task 3:
Digi-explanation that provides a concise summary of their response to the CU1022 (Developing Academic Skills) discussion paper topic.

Task 4: ePortfolio
5 required pages + a work sample from 1st semester of uni, research into future careers, a study plan.

Task 3:
Identify a wicked problem in their discipline, write a discussion paper on the implications of technology/AI in their discipline drawing on ways expressed or explored through scholarly literature and research, construct a written reflection using your experiences over the semester.

Recently, the team developed an integrated curriculum alignment framework that allows teachers to map learning outcomes, assessment tasks, learning episodes, feedback cycles, support structures, and resilience strategies across the semester and across subjects. They are in the process of refining the tool and preparing for publication. Examples of current prototypes are provided in the screenshots below.

Click to enlarge

Integrated curriculum alignment framework tool - 1

Integrated curriculum alignment framework tool - 2

Examples: Integrated curriculum alignment framework tool for assessment feedback

  • H5P (modules with quizzes)

  • Library databases
  • MS Word, Excel

  • LearnJCU

  • PowerPoint

  • Screencast

  • PowToon

  • Prezie

  • PebblePad

  • Hypothesis (for peer review)

  • Don't use technology just for the sake of using technology – if it doesn't serve a purpose don't use it.

  • Start from your subject learning outcomes (Constructive Alignment).

  • Map learning episodes across semester and student lifecycle (e.g. we have now mapped in scholarly resilience strategies to help students cope with the ups and downs of academic learning – like time management strategies).

  • Look for opportunities for knowledge transfer across subjects. Think about how skills can be applied across more than one disciplinary domain.

  • Is the intent on teaching students how to learn to use a tool (practical skills) or on conceptual understanding – so more focused on cognitive learning?

  • Provide sufficient instruction for students to engage with assessment and the technologies (but be careful of information overload or removing any sense of autonomy).

  • Integrate JCU support services into curriculum or draw on their expertise during course delivery (e.g. librarians and career advisors in class teaching workshops – particularly around assessment).

  • Provide opportunities for flexibility in assessment (e.g. ability to use different kinds of presentation platforms).

Assessment Community of Practice (CoP)

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