21/22 academic year saw the first cohort of Student Digital Learning Champions working with the LCC Digital Learning team. This was an enriching experience for both us and the students. The legacy of their projects, we want to keep alive in the coming academic year.
Four Champions worked on 4 projects. Although the Digital Learning team worked closely to help them develop their project ideas, the ideas came from them. They were:
- Review of MyUAL app – Led by Jaycee Pang
- The digital learning experience of people of colour – Led by Tara Jackson
- Student Skill Share – Led by Zohran Khan
- Tool Kit for Designing Digital Spaces for Collaborative Learning – Led by Gemma Holdaway
This was a popular project and a topic that spurned a lengthy conversation with the focus group ran by Jaycee. It was an ambitious project that needed some realistic targets. Initially this was for one improvement to me made to the MyUAL app in order to improve the student experience. There was a lot of possibility; some quick fixes and some more complex. First Jaycee undertook a review of the application and compared it with other institutions across the world. Then went into more depth with a focus group and discussed usability and functionality of the app.
Jaycee worked closely with the web development team to share her review and feedback from the focus group. The outcome was more than we expected, her report would feed into a foundation of a new roadmap for a new app. Short term fixes to the current app have already come into affect and have made the user experience much smoother. They have included;
- Updated some styling of some pages
- Removed HTML code that was showing
- Fixed the Events tile
- Fixed the News tile
- Updated the Print Credits tile to go directly to the new portal
- Updated Jobs tile to show a portal for various platforms instead
- Fixed broken links on the Students’ Union tile
Experiences of students of colour at UAL in the context of digital learning
This project was created to capture the lived experiences of students of colour at UAL in the context of digital learning. This was done by combining existing pedagogical case studies about anti-racism in digital learning with focus group interviews conducted with students of colour at UAL by asking them how they have felt regarding whether online learning has been inclusive enough for them to have a positive experience of being a student of colour at UAL.
The aim of the project was to use the student reflections and evaluate the provision of online learning through an anti-racism lens to put forth substantial improvements which could make online learning more accessible and more inclusive for all students at UAL. It was also designed as a collaborative project in conjunction with the other 3 Champions, the Change Makers and students across UAL to continue conversations around inclusivity in online learning at UAL.
The evaluation of the project put forth the following recommendations:
- More Focus Groups Across All UAL Campuses.
- Bias Response Teams/ Class Representatives.
- Hiring more racial diversity in UAL Tutors.
- Use Columbia’s Guide to Inclusive Teaching and Learning Online as an initial framework to put forth an action plan to improve the inclusivity of online learning.
Tool Kit for Designing Digital Spaces for Collaborative Learning
The toolkit aims to help UAL (University of Arts London) educators design digital spaces and activities that fulfill student expectations and support collaborative learning. It recommends several ways UAL educators can incorporate new practices and tools into their teaching. All the toolkit’s recommendations are derived from a focus group of 12 Design School undergraduate and postgraduate students in multiple courses.
The key aim of this toolkit is to bridge the gap between students’ needs in collaborative digital learning environments and UAL educators, the ones designing those environments. From there, UAL educators can match their digital literacy skills with the needs of students through the insights of this toolkit and the formulated reflective questions that are to be done in collaboration with students.
Ultimately, our intended impact is to:
- Engage student voices in the planning and development of online learning activities and spaces.
- Help UAL educators explore new and relevant digital teaching practices.
- Enhance peer-to-peer collaboration in LCC’s Design School and others.
Student Skill Share
The focus for this project is students supporting students with learning new knowledge, skills, and artistic techniques. For example, if a student that is not on a drawing course is looking to improve their drawing skills, there can be a range of videos that share drawing techniques. Reminding students that practice makes perfect, and anybody can be great at something when they truly put their mind to it. It is All-inclusive across the University of the Arts London. (Years 1, 2, and 3, Pre-degree students, Undergraduate students, and Postgraduate students.)
This simple idea can be created by using Padlet as the collaborative platform. This could be a Padlet board for a School, Programme area or course. Staff would need to moderate the content but share the link on Moodle across the range of courses.
The aim of the skill share is to encourage active learning, creativity, and exploration. To have a positive impact on the students at UAL and create a community. To work together as a collective and expand each other’s knowledge and skills. This space also gives students the opportunity to find students with similar interests and opens doors to collaborating on projects across different courses at UAL.
Champions for 2022-23
We will be collaborating with four Student Digital Learning Champions again this year. Recruitment will take place later this term and the projects will be designed and delivered during Spring & Summer terms.