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.