OER14 homeApplication › Ms Erin Nephin

Open and shut: linking communities of practice for digital literacy at Leeds Metropolitan University

Monday 11:30-13:00 (3), Darwin Suite

Type: Short paper

Theme: Building and linking communities of open practice

#oer14 #abs35


Erin Nephin, Libraries & Learning Innovation, Leeds Metropolitan University, [email protected]
Nick Sheppard, Leeds Metropolitan University, [email protected]



As part of a review of the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum at Leeds Metropolitan University, digital literacy was formally adopted as a graduate attribute in 2011. Libraries and Learning Innovation (LLI) have since been working on ways to improve the digital literacy of staff and students through a variety of means including promotion of OERs. This paper deals with two of those projects: the creation of core content modules to support staff in finding high quality open resources for their teaching and learning; and the use of Xerte to create interactive resources which are supported by mobile devices. These projects were truly collaborative, with members of academic staff and library staff (including academic librarians, learning technologists and the repository developer) working together to create useful tools to support learning.


The development of these projects came via two different routes. The creation of the core content modules stemmed from senior management as a means by which to form a collection of useful resources that could be used as the basis of constructing a new course module. A team consisting of members of LLI, the Centre for Teaching and Learning and academic staff collaborated on the creation of two generic modules for the VLE. Feedback was then sought by relevant staff teaching on those courses and a hands-on “road show” took place to demonstrate and further feedback was sought and evaluated through the use of Google Forms.

The Xerte project came as a result of an audit by the Open Educational Resources Group (led by LLI) which indicated need for mobile-friendly tutorials. Led by the repository developer, an interactive tutorial focussing on information literacy was formed. Training was also conducted for members of the Academic Support Team in the use of Xerte and how it could support learning which was well received. With the addition of new software to create interactive subject guides, the project aims to create more interactive resources to support students’ digital literacy.


Overall response to the projects has been high, with the core content modules in particular being used by staff in their own teaching. Many of the resources have been included in several postgraduate modules and the module design as a whole has been adapted for use by those designing new courses. The project was particularly successful at forming strong links between the academics and the LLI staff involved and has resulted in further collaboration between them. The Xerte project is still in its infancy, but has formed collaborative links between different teams within LLI and increased colleagues’ confidence in developing their own digital literacy skills.


The results of the projects show that small projects can have a big effect on creating opportunities for people in different job roles to collaborate toward a common goal. In particular, the feedback for the core content modules has been so positive that a number of other staff have asked to be involved in Phase 2 of the project.

Recap recording

A recording of this presentation is available at https://campus.recap.ncl.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=3bc69c4d-a000-4b4f-85dc-6fc0935f9dc7 Leeds Metropolitan University 2014 Erin Nephrin and Nick Sheppard cc-by 4.0

A link to the presentation slides is also available http://kneefin.com/ftp2/xertetoolkits_2.1/play.php?template_id=5.

Further details

Keywords: collaboration, digital literacy, OERs, academics, learning, teaching, libraries, higher education, communities

Ms Erin Nephin, Library Academic Support Team Manager, Leeds Metropolitan University

Twitter abstract: Open and shut: how small collaborative projects have created big opportunities for #DigitalLiteracy @leedsmet