Bridging the digital gap: Supporting the development of lecturer’s digital literacy capabilities. An exploratory case study
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Ni Bhraonain, Dimphne
MSc Information and Library Management
Dublin Business School
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The importance of the digital literacy capabilities of educators has emerged as a key concept in Higher Education in recent years. Lecturers are at forefront of harnessing the potential of new technologies in education, and as such are under increasing pressure to develop their digital capabilities to meet the demand of these new learning spaces. National policy recognises the challenges that they face, and there are many calls for the enhancement of educator’s digital literacy skills to develop their teaching practice and professional identity. In response to a need for an Irish digital literacy model, the National Digital Skills Framework was developed and mapped closely to the National Professional Development Framework. This dissertation explores the suitability of the National Digital Skills Framework as a tool to support the implementation of a digital literacy programme of support for lecturers in an independent private, third level institution. Findings from a mixed-methods survey support the theory that there is scope for a boutique version of the framework to be mapped to the strategic, continuing professional development objectives of the college. In order to maximise its relevancy as a conceptual model, examples of situated digital practices were mapped to the six pillars of the framework to engender a deeper understanding of the relevance of digital literacy skills to participants. While this case study revealed similar barriers to engagement with digital enhancement programmes as are found in the wider literature, there were positive indications that lecturing staff were willing to develop their digital skillsets. It also concludes that for any digital literary capacity building programme to be successful, there must be collaboration across all relevant departments, top-down institutional support and strong evidence of a sense of ownership for participants.