The aim of the DEBUT staff development programme is to increase the digital literacy of participants enabling them to better exploit digital tools in their practice.
The programme uses a contextualised, personalised approach to staff development to enhance the overall digital literacy of the individual and not their technical skills on a particular system.
DEBUT started life in June 2007 as a Higher Education Academy funded project. The success of that initial pilot and interest in the approach from within the sector has led to a cohort of the programme running each year since this time. Over 130 staff have now participated.
DEBUT runs as an annual programme starting in June each year. Staff from across the institution are invited to apply to join an annual cohort of around thirty. The group are offered a wide range of tools and asked to each choose to learn around six during the DEBUT year based on their needs and their context. The tools are supported by workshops on each tool. The workshops are now organised around set DEBUT days throughout the year, enabling participants to attend a number of sessions over a whole day or one or two sessions on each. The DEBUT days are scheduled at times during the year that past participants have evaluated as the most convenient to their work.
Ongoing evaluation remains a key part of DEBUT, allowing the approach to evolve and grow. All participants are asked to rate themselves at the start and end of their DEBUT year against a digital literacy ranking developed from the work of Alan Martin and colleagues on the DigEUlit project. Participants are also asked to comment on the tools they learn, the staff development provided and their overall DEBUT journey.
Evaluation of cohorts 1 through 4 has shown participants experiencing a marked increase in their digitial literacy skills as a result of DEBUT, especially those with lower IT skills and confidence at the start of the programme. Many participants have noted, what for us is the reason we conceived DEBUT, that their increased confidence is not just apparent with the tools they learnt within the programme, but is evident in their development and use of technology enhanced learning generally.
If you would like to learn more about DEBUT, take a look at the chapter in the HEA Transforming Higher Education through Technology Enhanced Learning (http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/learningandtech/Transforming.pdf) book by Su Westerman and Wayne Barry.
If you would like to talk to someone about undertaking DEBUT please contact Glenis Lambert (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Wayne Barry (email@example.com) in the LTEU