Enhancing first year university students’ digital skills with the Digital Skill Development (DSD) framework.
Abstract: Academics in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia, were concerned that some students showed lower than expected levels of digital skills, which impacted their academic performance. In this study, a digital skill intervention for first year students was used to pilot the Digital Skill Development (DSD) framework. The DSD framework was developed by the Monash University library in conjunction with academics, and based on the Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching (MELT) frameworks. Student feedback indicated that the majority of students felt their digital skills had improved. Those who did not tended towards to the extremes of the framework autonomy continuum: either meeting university assumptions as confident, unbounded users of technology, or having very low self-efficacy and requiring explicit, highly structured help. The pedagogy underpinning the DSD framework proved practical and suitable, providing faculty and library staff with a common language and a tool to respond to student needs. Successfully embedding the DSD workshop in a content unit signals the significance of using a pedagogical tool to guide educators in helping students to make a direct connection between their digital skills and the assessment task.