The Digital Dexterity Community of Practice was recently approached by the Australian Library and Information Association’s New Generation Advisory Committee (ALIA NGAC) to participate in their August Twitter chat #AusLibChat which will focus on digital dexterity. This opportunity to shine a light on all things digital dexterity and connect with library professionals in the Twitterverse was an opportunity we could not refuse! We hope you can join us on Tuesday 3 August 2021, 9-10pm AEST!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.