Edinburgh University Piloting “Digital Ambassador” award for students

I am delighted to see that my University of Edinburgh colleagues in Learning, Teaching and Web Services, working in collaboration with the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development, are piloting a new “Edinburgh Award (Digital Ambassadors“, to encourage and recognise the digital best practices of students at the University.

The Edinburgh Award, which recognises student excellence in activities beyond the core curriculum, is part of a University-wide employability initiative. The Awards were piloted back in 2011/12 and are now a mainstream concept at the University, with students able to gain awards for their contribution across a wide variety of activities, from volunteering and student societies through to peer support and mentoring. The new Digital Ambassadors award being piloted this winter will specifically be addressing excellence in digital literacy and practice through evidence of hands on contribution and activities – across areas such as social media, coding, etc., participation in personal development sessions and short form reflective writing on their experience.

I am really excited to see how this pilot goes since the Award builds upon, and works with, Managing Your Digital Footprint (now mainstream across the University). It also addresses a real growing need for broader graduate skills around digital literacy, and the need to evidence those skills properly. As someone who has been involved in recruiting staff I know that it can be complex assessing what a candidate has taken from, e.g. running their own blog: for some people it may be a matter of developing content strategy, monitoring progress towards appropriate goals, developing their writing style, etc., but for others it may be a very basic understanding of how to edit and share a post. The Digital Ambassador Edinburgh Award requires students to present a portfolio evidencing “the student’s contribution to online and technology excellence” which has taken place during the Award process which will, I think, prove to be an invaluable asset to the students themselves when it comes to presenting their skills and experience to employers.

You can find out much more about the award, the work involved, and how contribution is assessed over on the Your Digital Edge: Edinburgh Award page. Current University of Edinburgh students at all levels, whether online distance learners or campus-based for their courses, are invited to register their interest by 3rd November 2015.

The Edinburgh Award is part of the “Your Digital Edge” offering to students: an online hub and community supporting opportunities for, and participation in, digital literacy activities and for academic outcomes, employability and lifelong learning. Lots more on this initiative on the Your Digital Edge website, or you can follow @DigitalEduni on Twitter or Facebook.



RSE Spreading the Benefits of Digital Participation Inquiry

As we enter the last phase of the evidence gathering  process I wanted to draw your attention to the Royal Society of Edinburgh Spreading the Benefits of Digital Participation Inquiry that I am part of.

The Inquiry is looking into use, non-use and under-utilisation of the internet in Scotland. In particular we want to know why people do not use the internet and how usage of the internet can be maximised in beneficial ways. This also means that we are really interested in factors around this such as digital literacy, understanding barriers to participation, motivations, etc.

Although I have already mentioned the Inquiry to lots of you individually I thought this would be a good time to blog about the Inquiry as we have several specialist sector and interest-specific sessions lined up including an Education Round Table next week (22nd August) that I would encourage you to sign up and participate in.

You can view details on all of our forthcoming sessions here.

For those unable to attend in person – or outside of these sectors/interest areas – you still have a few more weeks to submit a response to the Inquiry. At this stage I think we are particularly keen to hear from those in SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), those with examples of successfully bringing new groups online or broadening use of the internet (hello all Social Media surgeons for instance!), and in speaking to those who are not online and who are willing to share their reasons and motivations for not using the internet.

You can respond online or you can submit your response by email or post – more information can be found on the RSE’s page for the Inquiry.

Participants at the Royal Society of Edinburgh Digital Participation Inquiry event in Hawick earlier in 2013.

Participants at the Royal Society of Edinburgh Digital Participation Inquiry event in Hawick earlier in 2013.