Enabling high-quality, scalable and consistent design: supporting library staff through a library design system

By Sarah Fennelly, Digital Designer, Deakin University Library

Our problem

Deakin University Library’s Digital Experience (DX) team is charged with delivering high-quality, consistent and scalable digital solutions across a range of library platforms and channels. However, we found ourselves with multiple challenges in delivering good on this:

  • There wasn’t a library-specific design reference for our developers, designers and digital content managers to help them manage consistency of look, feel and functionality across our digital library ecosystem, and to maintain accessibility, brand and design standards.
  • We often ‘reinvented the wheel’ when it came to digital design; library staff presented with differing design requests and needs, and the DX team often ended up creating bespoke designs to accommodate this.
  • At other times, librarians created their own design elements with little or no input from the DX team, and with limited understanding of design best practice, accessibility and brand requirements.

Our Solution

Our solution was to create the Library Design System (LDS), a website that provides the source of truth for library-specific design elements used across our digital ecosystem. The LDS references and extends upon existing university-wide design guidelines and tool kits to provide targeted and more library-focussed design direction.

The LDS is divided into two main areas:

  • Referencing guide for the library’s professional designers, developers and content managers to use across web interfaces and systems.
  • Design assets and templates created to specifically help librarians and library staff without professional design expertise.

Referencing guide

The sections used predominantly by the professional design, developers and content managers are:

  • Components: These are a selection of interface elements that can be reused across the library’s digital ecosystem. These elements include buttons, colour, forms, grids, headers and footers, logos, navigation, tables and typography.
  • Interface inventory: A table that identifies library systems, platforms, products and applications with a student and/or researcher interface.

Design assets and templates

The sections used to help librarians and library staff without professional design expertise are:

Deakin Library page showing example of characters and graphics that can be used. character posing in different postions, with both professional and student attire and with different versions of character.
  • Characters: A suit of characters developed to represent our Deakin cohort.Graphics: Multiple sets of library and faculty specific graphics.
  • Graphics: Multiple sets of library and faculty specific graphics.
screenshot of various graphics available to be used from the learning design team.
  • Iconography: Currently 189 icons in branded accessible colours in both SVG and PNG formats.
  • Templates: D2L banners, photographs and the advanced search graphic.   
  • Print: Deakin printer details.
example of scenes with 4 steps.
Step 1 adding background
step 2 add second layer image (information desk)
step 3 add third layer image (bookshelf)
step 4 add fourth layer image (couch)
  • Scenes: A series of PNG graphics that staff can use to build their own images or scenes, by layering the graphics in provided H5P, PowerPoint or Adobe Illustrator templates.
  • Video and audio: Deakin branded top and tail videos, videos created by the DX team, in conjunction with the library Learning and Teaching team and the library communications manager.

The future

The LDS is not a ‘set and forget’ resource; it will continue to adapt as a design resource to support all library staff. We will continue to maintain, update and grow the LDS to reflect changing university and library brand needs and changes in the library’s complex digital ecosystem.

Good design is imperative in our complex digital ecosystem. Design that reduces cognitive load through visual and functional consistency, allows our students to focus on learning and understanding the course content we deliver.

By Sarah Fennelly, Digital Designer, Deakin University Library, s.mccormick@deakin.edu.au

Five ways to advocate and promote OERs within your own institution.

By Frank Ponte AALIA (CP) Academic/Research, Manager, Library Services (Teaching), RMIT University Library, frank.ponte@rmit.edu.au 

There are many ways to engage with open educational resources (OERs).  Start your journey with these five easy steps.

1. Understand the language of OER: 

Open: Free to share adapt or modify.  
Free: Free to access but not necessarily allowed to share adapt or modify. 
Fair use: An American phrase that permits limited use of material for educational purposes in the United States. In Australia, we are bound by several educational licenses set out within the Copyright Act 1968. 
Public Domain: Works that are publicly available because intellectual property rights have expired or been forfeited. 
All Rights Reserved: Copyright holder reserves, or holds for their own use, all the rights provided by copyright law.  

2. Badge:
Badge your content with a CC license and host it on a shareable platform.  By doing so we: 

  • contribute to the Creative Commons worldwide repository. 
  • increase our professional connections and reach through attribution. 
  • build a large collection of locally created and customisable content. 
  • have access to a broader selection of adaptable materials  
  • streamline our workflows. 

Speak to your Digital Dexterity champion at your institution to discuss hosting your
       creative commons licensed content on a shareable platform.  

3. Share: 
Librarians have an entrenched ethos of sharing. Become experts at curating OER content and sharing your original and remixed resources.  
textbookscoursescourse materialsInteractive simulationspublic domain booksaudiobooksmodulesopen access booksvideospodcastslearning objectsprimary resources  
 
Use Metafinders to help uncover materials quickly.  
Here are some shareable materials from RMIT University Library.  
 

4. Collaborate, Customise & Co-Create: 
Here are some examples: 
 
Customise – Remix an OER by adding your original content with adapted content for your audience. Example: Social Science Research: Principles, Methods and Practices (Revised edition) is an Australian University remixed textbook that has modified the original work to include editing and formatting changes and the inclusion of content in Chapter 16 to describe the Australian context. 
 
Make OERs culturally specific: Localise content to an Australian audience. It can be as simple as using Australian names and places or using local case studies.  
Example: A Charles Darwin University academic teaching Cultural Capability has added four case study chapters written by students. 

Co-create content with your students. Robin De Rosa, a Plymouth State University Professor built an open anthology with her students that is now free to access. 

5. Celebrate Your Success by 
Sharing a new OER resource with the world. 
Mapping student financial savings
Demonstrating impact

RMIT University Library host the Open Textbook Initiative and is interested in highlighting student textbook affordability by building a student savings bank when academic staff adopt an OER textbook in their teaching. This initiative is open to all Universities to participate. Tell us if you are using and OER Textbook in your teaching practice by filling in this form.  

If you’re interested in reading more on OER, have a look at this recently published article by Frank Ponte, Anne Lennox and Jennifer Hurly.

The Evolution of the Open Textbook Initiative. https://doi.org/10.1080/24750158.2021.1883819

Not another 23 Things!

By Dr Karen Miller, Coordinator, Learning Success, Curtin University

There’s no doubt that 2020 was a rollercoaster year, as we zoomed up and down steep, pandemic-shaped learning curves, one after the other.  For myself and my colleagues at Curtin University Library, implementing a new student program added to the wild ride.

’23 Things’ is Curtin Library’s online digital dexterity program that was essentially created by students, for students. It is an open, shareable resource that can be easily re-used and adapted. In this post, I’ll tell you a bit about it, and how it came about. 

What is 23 Things?

 I’m sure many of you are familiar with the 23 Things model for online learning. The first 23 Things was created in 2006 as a professional development activity for library staff. Regular blog posts introduced participants to a different digital technology each week, and invited them to try it out and to share their thoughts. Since then, hundreds of 23 Things programs have been developed and adapted to suit a variety of audiences and contexts.

Curtin’s version of 23 Things 

After consultations and environmental scans to ascertain the best approach to help our students develop digital competency, Curtin Library decided to adopt the 23 Things model. We initially intended to simply re-use and adapt the excellent (and open) version from Edinburgh University

However, when some HEPPP funding became available, the project became incorporated into the Library’s ‘students as partners’ program. We employed a diverse group of students to create new content including interactive activities, videos and infographics. Bringing student voices to the forefront and fostering a peer to peer learning approach brought unique perspectives to the program and helped make the content relatable and accessible as our student partners shared their knowledge and experience.  

We then collaborated with the Library Makerspace to build engagement with participants. Our student partners developed and delivered face-to-face workshops with hands-on activities to complement the 23 Things topics, and during the pandemic lockdown worked hard to translate them into the virtual realm (not an easy task). We also encouraged participants to share in the Curtin Makers Facebook Group with our weekly Creative Challenges.   

As if that wasn’t enough, we decided to experiment with “transmedia storytelling”, a communication method which involves developing a story using multiple digital platforms. We felt this would be a good way to bolster conceptual learning and illustrate how digital skills could be applied in a workplace context. Using the fictional characters and narrative developed in Curtin Library’s online referencing game Certitude, we used weekly blogs, comics and tweets to weave the ‘things’ into a story, replete with office dramas such as copyright violations, accounts being hacked and computer meltdowns. 

Reflections and next steps   

While we had a lot of fun creating the content and engaging with participants, the 23 Things program (2020 version) wasn’t perfect. With the many different elements involved, we didn’t achieve the ideal of a seamless, integrated learning experience.  However, our approach was intentionally experimental, testing different ideas to see how they landed. We gathered a lot of data and feedback that we are now using to improve the program for its second iteration in 2021.

This year, 23 Things is part of Curtin Extra, the University’s extra-curricular credentials program, while also remaining open to anyone in the community who would like to participate.  We’re interested in finding out how best to keep participants actively engaged and how best to assess and demonstrate learning and impact. 

23 Things can be re-used and adapted

Our 23 Things program has been licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-SA).  Each module or ‘thing’ has been created as a single H5P file, and thus is very easy to download, re-use and modify.  The resource is available from the Digital Dexterity Educators Group on OER Commons, and I hope to add some supporting resources in the near future, including a document that maps each module to the CAUL Digital Dexterity framework.  If anyone would like to find out more or have a chat about the program, please feel free to contact me at karen.miller@curtin.edu.au or on Twitter @infoliterati .    

Day 5 of Championing the Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival – Gaming together to digitally connect

By Sarah Howard, Associate Director, Library, Queensland University of Technology, Kat Cain, Manager Digital Literacy Programs, Deakin University Library and Nica Tsakmakis, Senior Librarian, Library Academic and Research Services, Australian Catholic University

Friday often brings with it work fatigue and dimming of enthusiasm. We have been staring at our computer screens for countless hours all week. Sure we need to, but we also have to balance that with digital wellbeing. Luckily the final day of the CAUL Digital Dexterity virtual festival landed and boy did it revive us! 

via GIPHY

What’s more – it clearly responded to the Digital Identity and Wellness area within our CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework.  

The session kickstarted with a fun presentation by Deakin Library’s Jane Miller. Jane shared real practice examples of games or other activities that have facilitated Library team building and group development. Fantastically, Jane’s tips and tricks had broad applicability despite the diversity of participant contexts. It’s amazing how a children’s game when used with adults builds negotiation, cooperation, imagination and having fun.

The opportunity to explore together online games Deakin Library has used was invaluable. These included Mentimeter, online jigsaw puzzles, and 9truths. Jane even demonstrated how to host a trivia game without the use of a program. At the end of the session participants shared their own favourite games through mentimeter poll. The collated list of games will be published soon, but it was clear that board game arena was a favourite.

Throughout the day we discovered so many benefits of workplace gaming. What stood out was the growing need for virtual socialising in our post-Covid work world. Games and activities help strengthen all types of teams, including the high performing teams who have those online awkward silences.

If you missed the session watch the recording below. Do take some time out of your day and take a peek at what was shared. You won’t regret it!


DigiDex – Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework – Day 5, Friday 12 February 2021

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Day 4 of Championing the Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival – Using collaboration to understand engagement with OERs

by Susan Vickery, Associate University Librarian, Macquarie University

Day 4 of the CAUL Digital Dexterity Virtual Festival explored the concept of Open Education Resources in Higher Education with Sarah Lambert sharing some of the findings from the research related to Australia Open textbooks as Social Justice, a study funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE).

Whilst the affordability benefits and accessibility options are easily identified as incentives for the use of Open Education Resources, Sarah’s presentation explored the opportunity of OER practice to incorporate diverse perspectives and collaboratively create/curate more inclusive range of learning resources. Sarah also reported that the research identified that some Australian academics may be more ready than we realise with frustration over dated content and limited access conditions associated with commercially produced texts. OER offers a solution to deliver current content that can easily be updated to grow with the knowledge of that field.

So how do we translate that understanding back to our own institutions where some of us may already be worried about the feasibility of convincing our administration that whilst using OER makes perfect sense, are they equally supportive of our academics also “giving it away” for free?

The second part of the Day 4 Digital Dexterity program gave us the opportunity to workshop this together. In teams we explored what we could do in reality to help bring our teaching and learning partners along in the understanding of the wider benefits of collaborating in the practice of Open Education. Led enthusiastically by Kristy Newton (Digital Literacies Coordinator, University of Wollongong) the groups employed a design thinking methodology (on speed) to step through the first few phases: Empathise – Define – Ideate – Prototype – Test.  

persona: Melanie Chang (Undergraduate Student)
●	Summary of Studies:
Melanie worked really hard during her VCE to get a high ATAR in order to study dentistry. Melanie has a family history in dentistry, her father and uncle are both practicing dentists. Before the COVID-19 lockdown, Melanie was only able to buy a couple of her textbooks (in print), as the cost of her textbooks range from $200-$500.

During the lockdown Melanie returned home to Melbourne, this meant her study relied on her teachers making sure all necessary resources were available online.  Chapters from textbooks were uploaded to the LMS by teachers for students to access. Certain textbooks were not able to be provided online as this breached copyright, this led to students sharing PDF copies of chapters through email. All the PDF scans were in black and white, which made it difficult for students to identify symptoms relating to gum disease, infected teeth, etc. Melanie raised this issue with her teacher and the PDFs were uploaded again in colour, this resulted in a delay in vital information required for Melanie's studies.

Melanie’s demanding course schedule means she has no spare time for causal work, thus her parents are supporting her financially. Melanie finds it difficult to ask her parents to buy textbooks on top of paying her rent. Melanie feels it is especially hard to justify the purchase of textbooks that are only going to be used for one semester and as the curriculum is changing next year, there is no option to sell the textbooks to next year’s dentistry students.

●	Icon Info:
○	Lives in Bendigo on campus in a single room with shared amenities with 11 other students
○	Basic Digital Skills, can navigate social media really well and use basic Microsoft software.
○	Collaborative Learner – Able and willing to try new things with friends.
○	Spends most of their time studying
○	Likes catching up with friends outside of class, running, yoga, reading books on her Kindle.

●	Key Factors(Quotes):
○	“I missed the initial library sessions about how to search to find materials, but have picked up some skills using the pre-recorded content and additional resources added to the help guides. It took me awhile to get the basics and I am sure I am still missing heaps of online resources, but you don’t know what you are missing out on I suppose”.
○	“It is really hard not having all your resources in folders waiting for you to use like we did in high school, it is so time consuming searching through databases and library search for good quality items we can use.”

With the help of personas, each team collaborated to brainstorm and identify the needs of academic and students and then define how OERs might meet those needs. At the end of the two hour session we had collectively developed a range of practical ideas and strategies including potential assessment tasks that facilitated students to co-create lists of OERs to complement assigned readings.  

The beauty of this exercise was a enthusiastic high-energy demonstration that through collaboration – surely one of the lynch pins of Open Education – the groups were able to collectively understand and unpack the pain points and related clients’ needs, and creatively identify possible solutions that might influence engagement and uptake of OERs.    


DigiDex – Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework – Day 4, Thursday 11 February 2021

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Day 3 of Championing the Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival – The good, the bad and the ugly of digital identity and data

by Marianne Sato, Project Officer, Data, Digital Learning and Publishing, University of Queensland

Day 3 of the Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival was all about Digital Identity and Data Literacy. We saw the good and the bad of digital identity and data.

The bad

Is your online activity a digital tattoo that you may come to regret and won’t be able to remove?

Terra Starbird (Digital Literacy Trainer) from Australian National University told us that “every single thing you do online is a digital tattoo.”  This includes work emails, private emails, social media, searches and purchases. We were horrified to see just how much Google knows about our lives – our relatives, friends, locations we visited, illnesses we looked up and our “celebrity crushes.”

A person with a tattoo spelt as “NO RAGRETS” across their chest.

Big data is a threat! 

Tools and apps can scrape all your online data and the data on your smartphone. Terra told us that corporations will pay to have employees’ online activity analysed to get an insight into behaviour, personality and intelligence. It can be “career ending.”

Raise awareness

Terra asked, “As librarians, should we be about helping people stem that flow of information?” Should we share tips and tools to check online activity, clean up where possible, protect private information and search anonymously? If we raise awareness of the data risks, and the ways to combat it, we can help our clients to make the most of their digital identities. 

The good

Social media has the potential to provide amazing personal and work opportunities.

Kim Tairi, Kaitoha Puka (University Librarian) from Auckland University of Technology showed us the importance of social media for librarians to communicate, build relationships, develop professional circles and “lift up the profession.” 

But it is not without risk!

Kim has chosen to be her authentic self rather than adopt a “brand” that shows an edited version. Kim explained that sometimes it has led to tears. Kim’s tips on making the most of social media include:

  • Plan – think about your goals and values
  • Stop and think
  • Be true to yourself and it will evolve over time.

Kim’s recommendations of Twitter accounts to follow that lift up the profession:

  • @janecowell8
  • @clauersen

Good use of data

Even though our data can be used in a way that threatens our privacy, there are also amazing, ethical uses of data. Data can be used to tell a story, visualise information and gain insights.

Masami Yamaguchi (Librarian), Brett Parker (Senior Programmer and Software Support Officer), and Amanda Miotto (Senior eResearch Analyst) from Griffith University introduced us to data storytelling. They teach researchers to “frame their ideas for their audience” using techniques and tools to create visualisations from their data and a narrative that leads to “memorable research.”

Charles Barnett (Library Business Partner, Design and Social Context) from RMIT University Library presented on the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Project to explore a visual representation of searching activities of the RMIT Community. It was a great example of engaging their community and filling digital capability gaps.

Clayton Bolitho (Research Outputs Data Advisor) from La Trobe University demonstrated Tableau Public, a tool to “help people see and understand data.” At LaTrobe it is used to analyse resource usage, open access publications and to help researchers measure their research’s attention, value and engagement. Clayton recommends trying Tableau to get a better understanding of data.

Bruce White (Open Access and Copyright Advisor) from Massey University explained the value in having coding skills to pull in data to provide rich insights. Bruce learned Python “through a literal accident” and became involved in the Council of New Zealand University Librarians Open Access Environmental Scan in early 2019, to write an extensive program to pull in data from predominantly open sources that gave the universities rich insights into their performance. Bruce recommends to “start simple and invest time to learn the basics.” Check out Bruce’s book – Spreadsheets for Librarians : Getting Results with Excel and Google Sheets. 

The ugly?

All the sessions were about taking positive actions so there wasn’t actually any “ugly.” But special mention could go to:

•    Big data being used in unethical ways

•    Nemeses looking at your social media. Kim’s hot tip: You are being watched!


DigiDex – Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework – Day 3, Wednesday 3 February 2021

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Day 2 of Championing the Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival – Champion’s Report back from Wellbeing in educational contexts

By Kassie Dmitrieff, Academic Engagement Librarian UNSW Library and Digital Dexterity Champion, k.dmitrieff@unsw.edu.au 

Session 1Wellbeing, Disrupted

The first session for the day was an engaging workshop held by Adrian Stagg, Susan Carter, and Cecily Andersen of University of Southern Queensland (USQ). 

To start here are my key takeaways from this session:

  • The interactivity of this session was amazing, it’s really worth getting to know your options for engaging your audience with the shift to online presentations.  
  • There is value in committing time to wellbeing in the workplace as a manager rather than expecting your employees to take it upon themselves.
  • Behaviours need to be modelled by managers who encourage and foster healthy habits in their employees and trust them to know what works best.

Open Educational Resources in Australia

Now a little bit more about how I got to these takeaways. The presenters for this session are the team behind the textbook ‘Wellbeing in Educational Contexts’ which I consider a hallmark in what an Open Educational Resource (OER) can look like. I have found the Australian tertiary education arena to be reticent to engage with OERs. This is not to say that libraries aren’t all over OERs for example I have even had the experience of making a LibGuide to already existing resources to guide our academics some years ago. I just look around and don’t see uptake in these resources in Australian universities. The Digital Dexterity Champions aim to create and share resources in an open way so I am so sure you will hear more and more from us on this topic in the months to come. 

Wellbeing During COVID-19 and Beyond

 a screenshot of one of the Mentimeter questions from session one that features a picture of a field of wildflowers and underneath that the question ‘What is well-being?’ followed by a free-form text box for participants to enter their responses. These were then discussed by presenters and used to frame the next part of the presentation

The session itself covered not only reflections on OERs and the creation of the textbook, but the research that the group has carried out about how wellbeing has been constructed up to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were multiple opportunities for attendees to participate along with the presenters, including Mentimeter questions and breakout room discussions. 

The discussion I wanted to share was from the first breakout room where we were asked:  What does wellbeing in the workplace actually look and feel like – and how do we measure it? One of the people in my breakout room shared that: “after the experiences of COVID19 – what was evident was that WFH [work from home] contributed hugely to staff wellbeing”. The measurement being that staff took less sick days, and there was a huge increase in work output. This mirrors my experience, and I would like to challenge library managers to aim for true flexibility in their ongoing arrangements with staff in ‘COVID-normal’.

Session 2 – Reframing OER practice

Session 2 was a focused session from Adrian Stagg on what has worked and hasn’t worked about the grants structure for OER content creation and utilisation at USQ. The session included more interactive elements that allowed us as the audience to provide feedback to Adrian about what we thought about the process – including what doesn’t work about grants, followed by a deep dive into case studies of OER creation and the community backbone required for successful, ongoing, meaningful adoption and engagement of OERs. 

My key takeaway from this session was more simple: How to use your position in the library to encourage OER adoption in tertiary education? Start small and get some wins, know who to share the wins with to make them want more!

Asking the Right Questions 

I’m going to be selfish in this part of the post to talk about the question that I asked Adrian during the Q&A. I asked:

“Would you have any advice on how to present OERs to the rest of your institution? The library can only control so much with regards to learning resources – it would make my job so much easier if the chancellery mandated OER use! or encouraged it at all really”.

And Adrian responded that the budget crunch we are all under due to the pandemic is a perfect opportunity to highlight the limitations of subscribed online resources, especially examples where your institution had to buy multiple user access to textbooks at short notice. It helps to have these extraordinary examples to draw from to underscore the problems we have faced in the traditional publishing system. It’s not that OERs are all about the money – but this is often the bridge to understanding that administrators need. 

Looking Ahead 

The day made a huge impact on me, I will certainly be revisiting both OERs and workplace wellbeing as the year unfolds and we see if the positive changes we were able to make during 2020 are able to be carried into 2021. 


DigiDex – Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework – Day 2, Tuesday 2 February 2021

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Day 1 of Championing the Digital Dexterity Framework Virtual Festival – Setting the scene: the Digital Dexterity Framework, Champions group, and Community of Practice

by Fiona Salisbury, Executive Director and University Librarian, La Trobe University, Australia

What does Digital Dexterity mean for us?

Digital dexterity describes the ability to adapt and change, to create, and to work with digital technologies as the world around us changes.  The ways that people experience knowledge are changing, and university libraries need to continue to change and innovate in this domain.  We need to empower our people and organisations with the ability and desire to exploit existing and emerging technologies for better business, social, economic, educational and research outcomes.

The Digital Dexterity Program

CAUL’s Digital Dexterity Program was established in 2018, following discussion the previous year about the need for a shared understanding of the relevance and role of libraries in building digital capability in higher education institutions.  The Digital Dexterity Program achieved two key outcomes:

  • a national position on digital dexterity, and
  • a sustainable model for building capability amongst member staff

These outcomes addressed the program objectives to:

  • promote awareness of digital dexterity, and
  • ensure graduates have opportunities to develop digital capability.

As a result of this program, CAUL launched the Digital Dexterity Framework in February 2019. At the same time the Digital Dexterity Community of Practice (CoP) was also launched to support  promotion of the Framework and capability building for library staff.

Digital Dexterity Champions

We needed the Digital Dexterity CoP to be a sustainable model for bringing library staff together to share and build their digital capability and support advocacy for digital dexterity.  Accordingly, University Librarians in Australia and New Zealand had the opportunity to each nominate at least one staff member as their Digital Dexterity Champions. 

Being nominated by a University Librarian gave each champion the recognition and support of their institutions to take a leadership role in promoting and advocating for digital dexterity.  The champions were provided with a position statement to guide the achievement of their objectives, together with an advocacy toolkit.

This group has been a dream come true for CAUL. The presentations on Day 1 of the Digital Dexterity Virtual Festival showed that the champions have embraced their role in governance, resource sharing and engagement working groups to support and energise the Digital Dexterity CoP while leading by example.

Digital Dexterity Community of Practice

The Community of Practice (CoP) approach has proven successful in increasing buy-in and representation from a ‘grass-roots’ level, building capability and opportunities for development in an organic, informal way that can also give each member evidence of their learning.

The Digital Dexterity CoP is supported by the Digital Dexterity Champions group, and the Champions are supported individually by their institution and collectively by an industry partnership between CAUL and CAVAL (for guidance and administrative support).

The Champions and members of the CoP are generous, energetic individuals who are passionate about digital dexterity and empowering others.  I’ve been proud to support the great work of the DigiDex Champions and their Community of Practice, and I know they will continue to be an empowering force in this space.

In the comments section below, please let us know whether you have used or adapted the Digital Dexterity Framework at your institution.


DigiDex – Championing the CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework – Day 1, Monday 1 February 2021

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Can OERs address Teaching and Learning challenges in Higher Education?

By Frank Ponte AALIA (CP) Academic/Research, Manager, Library Services (Teaching), RMIT University Library, frank.ponte@rmit.edu.au 


Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning and research materials that are published under creative common licenses. These licenses specify how materials can be used.  OERs can include textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and software.

Driven by a reduction in international student arrivals, the sharp pivot to emergency online learning and a prolonged period of reduced revenue, universities are now pondering a new normal and envisaging a hybrid learning future. OERs have intersected and underscored many of the teaching and learning challenges faced by higher education institutions and advocates are now considering the efficacy of OERs to address these challenges.

Some of the Teaching and Learning concerns that OERs can address are outlined below:   

  • Student Affordability - Every student begins the semester with the same learning materials and has free digital access. Check these platforms and begin your search.  
  • Ongoing access and accessibility – Free access to learning resources in perpetuity. Access to resources in multiple formats. (select download this book to uncover the formats available.) 
  • Equity - Studies have found that using OER resources in coursework can increase grades for all students, but more so for low socio-economic students and ethnically diverse students.  
  • Retention - Studies suggest that students using OER textbooks were more likely to complete their course than those using commercial texts. 
  • Deeper Learning using Open Educational Practices – Studies suggest that OERs provide academic staff with the flexibility to customize the curriculum altering the student learning experience to achieve deeper engagement.  
  • Cultural diversity: OER’s can be used to reflect the diverse student voice. They can include gender neutral language, reflect the diverse names of students who make-up the classroom and include first nations representation and recognition.

Higher education has been challenged by many social justice issues in 2020, accelerated and reinforced by COVID.  The concepts above are some of the emerging issues that are being examined in higher education. Studies are now suggesting that OERs have a larger part to play in stemming the social justice disparities to create an even playing field for all students. Libraries are at the forefront of this fight demonstrated by this open letter in the United Kingdom signed by over 3000 Librarians, academics, and students to investigate the academic Ebook market and its practices. 

In the next post I will explore the ways to promote and advocate for OER use at your home institution.

Welcome!

Welcome, everyone, to the new Digital Dexterity blog! 

This is actually only my second-ever time writing for a blog, so please bear with me.  Part of Digital Dexterity is trying new things – maybe only one new thing.  But you’ll find that the more things you try (see our forthcoming ’23 Things’ post), the more confident you will be! 

What’s Digital Dexterity? 

In February 2019, the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) launched their Digital Dexterity framework.  The framework consists of six elements  

  • digital identity and wellbeing 
  • information, media and data literacies 
  • collaboration, communication and participation 
  • digital creation, problem solving and innovation 
  • Information Communications Technology (ICT) proficiency and productivity 
  • digital learning and development 

More than just Digital Literacy, Digital Dexterity is about developing the skills that are necessary to thrive at all levels in our increasingly digital world. 

Graphic of the Digital Dexterity Framework, including all six elements

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Who are we? 

Sponsored by CAUL and supported by the team at CAVAL, the Digital Dexterity Community of Practice (DigiDex CoP) are a group of enthusiastic, multi-disciplined library professionals from across the tertiary sector with a mission – to build our own capabilities around Digital Dexterity and to share our knowledge with our fellow library professionals and our user communities. 

Why a blog? 

We take a hands-on ‘learning by doing’ approach to Digital Dexterity. Tech is changing all the time, and being able to respond dextrously and leverage all the tools available to us requires us to have a growth mindset, to be adaptable and work collaboratively across our professional communities.   

We want the blog to be like a digital version of the Digital Dexterity Community of Practice, where we can share our ideas, experiences and expertise.  It’s about reflecting the wide variety of activities and knowledge that library professionals demonstrate on a daily basis, and sharing new skills and tools in a practical way so we (and our users!) can benefit.  And, like all our initiatives, it’s about giving members of the Community of Practice the opportunity to work collaboratively, form new professional connections and learn new skills.  

Over the next year we will be posting approximately every month.  Upcoming posts include Open Education Resources (OER) from RMIT Library, Curtin University Library’s ’23 Things’ campaign, a series of Libguide how-tos, and ‘What the heck? Wednesday’ where we explore the weird and wonderful world of digital library tools.  Look out for guest posts from the GLAM sector and other areas of the industry too. 

Want to get involved?  

Great! We come from CAUL and the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL) member libraries across New Zealand and Australia. Champions are currently nominated by their organisation and usually receive a time allowance for our obligations to the Community of Practice. 

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Community of Practice, get in touch with your local Champion to discuss, or if you’re not sure who they are, drop us a line at DigitalDexterity@caval.edu.au to learn more. 

What’s next? 

Watch out for our upcoming ALIA satellite events on February 1, 2, 3, 11 and 12 2021, and keep reading! 

Authors: Ruth Cameron, University of Newcastle, and Emily Pyers, Federation University