This project aims to develop a cohort of enthusiastic and knowledgeable student ‘digital champions’ at NUI Galway to promote digital skills and literacies, helping fellow students (and staff) build up confidence in using technologies for learning.
Complementing the national All Aboard! (http://www.allaboardhe.org/) campaign on ‘flourishing in the digital age’, and building on experience from Edinburgh University’s ‘Digital Footprint’ and the LSE’s ‘Digital Ambassador’ projects, these champions will help the wider university community get the most out of technology. The champions will run awareness campaigns, carry out surveys, facilitate training, and write a blog reviewing technologies and providing handy tips for better use. Links will also be created with national and international initiatives (including European Digital Safety Day, National Technology Enhanced Learning Week, etc.) and other student networks (JISC/NUS Change Agents), contributing to a better understanding of levels of digital awareness.
Becoming a Digital Champion is a great way of developing your own knowledge and skills. You don’t need to be an IT expert – just interested and excited about being part of the project team! You’ll participate in information sessions, surveys, poster campaigns and workshops and also get a chance to influence the wider project. Our Learning Technology expert team will work with you and help you build up your own skills. Everyone involved will also get the chance to earn Digital Badges which are a great way of demonstrating your achievements and becoming more and more recognised by employers and other organisations. One of our main areas of focus this semester will be on Digital Identity & Wellbeing, and we’ll be working in collaboration with staff and students in other institutions in Ireland and beyond. Much of what we’ll be looking at builds on earlier successful projects at the University of Edinburgh and at the London School of Economics and student partners in UCD will be working in parallel with us.
Project Team & Links
After having received funding from EXPLORE we set about organising and planning our campaign. Our first and most important target was to recruit a group of students to become “Digital Champions”. We decided to target students and get our message out and about on campus as soon as semester 2 started at the Volunteering Fair. We got 30+ sign ups at the Fair.
Following on from the Fair we sent a message out to those who signed up giving more information about the Digital Champion project and we then invited them to our launch via email flyer. We also contacted ALIVE and set up a Volunteering Page where students interested from this perspective could sign up. We set up our Social Media presence with Facebook, Twitter and a Blog and these have been gaining momentum.
The launch took place in The View and here we got some more sign ups and good feedback. This allowed us to chat more to those interested in becoming Champions, get feedback and give people a flavour of what we’re about for Semester 2. We’re now organising our first seminar and workshop as well as setting up our website.