Category Archives: digital literacy

Horizon Report 2014 is out. Is the UofL keeping up with the trends?

If you are not familiar with the Horizon Report, it is a report on new trends, challenges and technologies in education. The New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE work together to output this report every year. They follow trending strategies, technologies, and even challenges in the education sector. Not only is the report a wealth of information, but these two groups provide a forecast about which trends or technologies will be upon us and how far away they are from appearing in our educational institutions.

You can download the report in it’s entirety here.
http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-higher-ed

Below is a brief over view of the trends that were identified in the report. These trends are often looked at as future trends, but often times they are considered future trends because we are seeing the changes occur in our educational environments already. It is important to keep that in mind as we read these trends and evaluate our own institution. Identified with each key trend below are examples of what the great teaching community here at the University of Lethbridge is already doing to address some of these trends.

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Are Closed Book Exams Still Relevant?

An interesting post to the ProfHacker section of The Chronicle of Higher Education asked it’s audience and interesting question recently.

Knowledge is changing. In the world of print knowledge, internalized knowledge of facts once signaled expertise. But in the age of smartphones, Google and Wikipedia, this knowledge is now at our fingertips. How important, then, is it for our students to have this knowledge memorized?

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Open Resources Pose Challenge to Higher Education

Every year the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative produce the Horizon report. This report is the result of much literature review and research. The goal of this report is often to focus on major trends in education, often revolving around technology.

Download the full report here:
http://www.nmc.org/publications/2013-horizon-report-higher-ed

One of the key trends or challenges that the horizon report identified in their report this year dealt with openness.  The Key Trends section of the report has an area that focuses on concepts such as open resources, transparency, and easy access to data, but also on the evaluation of open resources. One statement made in this section that really stood out was that “authoritative sources lose their importance.” How do we determine if a source is relevant? Does this same criteria apply to open resources? Also open resources do not always take on the traditional academic form of a journal article; how do students evaluate these resources? What about other resources such as video or podcasts?

Instructors expect well supported and cited data from our students, but as relevant resources and media types change form, should instructors also change their expectations of their students? We need to be sure that we are providing our students with the appropriate skills to recognize a good source, and help them set criteria that information needs to be filtered through to decipher its relevance and validity. Building digital literacy skill development into courses is a way that students can develop these skills. One way this can be accomplished is to provide assignments in which a justification of sources is part of the assignment, if not all of the assignment.  Defending decisions with supporting resources will likely be a big part of the work life these students will be exposed to after graduation. Being able to justify a decision will not only help them make better decisions, but will also help their coworkers and stakeholders understand why a decision was made.

Consider involving the library in your class activities. The wonderful staff at the University of Lethbridge Library have a variety of  resources and ideas that could help your students develop the digital literacy skills they need. There is also a sections on the library website that may help in evaluating content found on the web.

Web Research Basics
http://libguides.uleth.ca/content.php?pid=290447&sid=2394876&preview=b4914af28ffecc0d0825d799f59299ab

Get More out of Google
http://libguides.uleth.ca/content.php?pid=290447&sid=2599038&preview=b4914af28ffecc0d0825d799f59299ab

Evaluating Websites
http://libguides.uleth.ca/content.php?pid=314580&sid=2576367

If you are struggling with how to build digital literacy skill development into the activities of your course, give the Teaching Centre a call. Our staff will be glad to help in any way they can.