Digital Champions: back to the classics to think forward

We presented our Digital Champions, peer-assisted learning project at this year’s HEA Social Sciences 2014 conference. The theme was Education for the Futures.

HEA Digital Champions project

HEA Digital Champions project: Y3 Champions passing on tips and tricks to Y1 students

I loved designing our Digital Champions poster as the process was a testament to the power of collaborative working. From drawing to design skills we called on colleagues’ expertise and talent. Choosing Prometheus, the god that stole fire (knowledge) for the humans, seemed an apt metaphor for the work of Digital Champions. Prometheus was also a trickster figure – we saw parallels between our Champions passing on the tricks and tips of the trade, being third-year students, to those in the first year.

Presenting our Poster at the HEA Social Sciences 2014 Conference

Presenting our Poster at the HEA Social Sciences 2014 Conference: Tünde Varga-Atkins, eLearning Unit and Beryl Stanley, Library, University of Liverpool

A summary of our project is also documented on slideshare.net – we are currently putting together our project report for the HEA.

We have also had a mini-celebration with the Digital Champions – saying an emotional goodbye to them (I am not in the UK for the graduation ceremony 🙁 ), the original project team also reunited with Emma Thompson popping in from Manchester for a catch-up.

The Digital Champions (Laura, Emily and Bradley - bottom) and the project team (Tunde, Emma and Simon). Missign: Beryl (taking the photo) and Adam (Champion)

The Digital Champions (Laura, Emily and Bradley – bottom) and the project team (Tunde, Emma and Simon). Missing: Beryl (taking the photo), Dave (getting the video ready) and Adam (Champion)

Project report to follow shortly. It has been a pleasure to work with the Champions – we are very proud of them to have done so well as Champions and as students in their third year –  and I really look forward to working with the next Champions next year!

Tünde Varga-Atkins, eLearning unit, University of Liverpool

Digital Champions HEA pilot: supporting Year 1 students with academic transition

A pilot project entitled “Supporting transition with peer-assisted learning and digital stories” funded by the HEA, has been running this year at the University of Liverpool’s Management School. Two digital stories from the third-year Digital Champions are now available on writing assignments, which can be used as useful resources for first-year students.

Digital Champions

Digital Champions

Story 1. Digital Champions: From one book to fifty citations:  Tips on effective assignment writing
Story 2. Digital Champions: Breaking the 2:1 (or 2:2) barrier for writing assignments (Parts 1-5):

A bit more about the Digital Champions project and its progress

The project, based on a peer-assisted learning model, aims to support the transition of first-year students in their academic study and employ them with skills that would benefit them beyond graduation. So far we have engaged 4 third-year students, Emily, Laura, Adam and Bradley,  to run  drop-ins for first-year students on making their academic study easier. The above digital stories were created by the students that summarise their tips for first years in academic writing.

What next: we will evaluate the pilot for wider adoption and also investigate students’ perspectives on micro-certification, such as OpenBadges, as a way of recognising their skill development. We aim to present this project with a poster at the HEA Social Sciences Conference 2014, which this year is on the theme of ‘Teaching Forward: The future of social sciences’. We have also been discussing links with other institutional peer-assisted learning initiatives, and naturally, certification of Digital Champions may link to developments around HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report). Similar peer-assisted learning projects with a digital angle have run successfully at other universities, e.g. see the ePioneers programme at Oxford Brookes.

For more information: contact Tünde Varga-Atkins at University of Liverpool.

Tünde

Digital Champions: Laura Cash, Emily Evans, Adam Byrne, Bradley Griffin
Project team:

  • eLearning Unit: Tünde Varga-Atkins (co-lead)
  • Academic lead: Simon Snowden, ULMS (academic lead)
  • Library: Emma Thompson (co-lead), Beryl Stanley
  • Multimedia: Dave Hocker