Digital Capabilities Survey

Sharing ideas and information across and between institutions will result in positive outcomes for institutions and individuals.

Earlier this year the UK’s House of Lords Committee published a report (Make or break: the UK’s digital future) highlighting the potential economic and social value of a digitally skilled population and an effective technology infrastructure.

Now, the UCISA User Skills Group has published the findings of a research study conducted in over 60 of the UK’s higher education (HE) institutions.   The research set out to explore how the HE sector is working to enhance the digital capability of staff and students.

Key findings

The research asked which institutional departments are involved in helping students and staff develop their digital capabilities.

The top four services, in order of popularity were:

  • Library
  • IT services
  • Academic skills
  • E-learning units

Only five institutions stated that their library had no involvement in developing students' digital capabilities. The most popular methods used were email/online/telephone chats and drop in clinics/appointments.

Key recommendations

  • A standard definition of digital capabilities should be developed to facilitate benchmarking
  • Institutions should adopt 'whole-institutional approach' to embed digital capabilities into all strategies
  • Top level sponsorship should be sought to drive the embedding of digital skills throughout the organisation
  • Institutions should create 'digital curricula' that are relevant to staff and students and that encourage digital study, work and citizenship
  • The impact of digital programmes can be maximised through the sharing of resources and working in partnership
  • Bring your own device and a flexible digital environment – collaboration required to develop coherent policy guidelines
  • Further development and dissemination of tools, guidelines and practices that support fully accessible open educational and research resources
  • Institutions should encourage co-creation of digital resources and experiences

The full research can be downloaded here.