David Meechan on the PG Cert Digital Leadership

Last year, with the move to online learning, it seemed I needed to rethink what I was doing. I kind of had a natural interest in digital learning and I wanted to learn more about it. I’ve known about the course for quite a while and then last year, I saw a call for it. When I looked into it, I felt that it would not only reinforce what I was already doing, but enhance it.

The course has provided a space that I wouldn’t normally have to actually stop and reflect on my own practice. It’s allowed me to look a lot more into some of the theoretical knowledge and learn more around the theoretical models related to how we use technology. It’s provided a much more critical lens for me to think about what am I doing and how am I going to do it. It’s also opened doors to working with other people around technology. If I hadn’t undertaken this course I wouldn’t be working with these people because they’re not all from my subject area.

The first module is digital literacy. I chose to look at what digital literacy is and how it relates to academics in higher education. I used it to build on some prior work which looked at student experience of online work into looking at academics’ experiences of online learning. Again, the course provided a platform to look at the theoretical elements and then do some actual research around them. I carried out a survey that provided data which confirms what I was hoping that staff confidence in using digital tools had improved because they’d have to use them regardless of whether they wanted to or not. Some people said that they didn’t realise how much their confidence had improved until they actually did my survey. That was really affirmative research that showed me I was doing something right.

For the leadership module, I’m building on my findings from the first module that staff confidence had improved as they’ve been exposed to more digital tools and skills. I’d really like to look at how we can extend that beyond just the pandemic and create an environment and a space for staff to share and dip in and out of as and when needed.

I’ve had the chance to lead my own learning on this course and follow my own interests.

The input that we get and the introductions to new tools and new theories has been really useful. The modules have provided a space for me to stop and reflect on things that I wouldn’t normally reflect on, which has been valuable. It’s helped me embed more digital tools and digital practices in my own day to day practice. It’s also opened up new doors in terms of what to do after it. I’d like to pursue a PhD.

In terms of advice for anyone wishing to join the course, I would say that the programme offers regular opportunities to reflect on and discuss your own learning and ideas for research. The modules have proved to be invaluable in formulating my own ideas and my approach to assignments.

find out more about the course here.