Social Sciences
Making a Difference: Embedding digital literacy in the BA's core capstone unit, Grand Challenges
Glenda Ballantyne
Department of Social Sciences

This project is part of a longer-term aim to embed advanced digital literacy skills across the three years of the flagship BA core minor, Grand Challenges. Housed within a cross-disciplinary 3rd year unit, students will be asked to create real-world artefacts with the aim of ‘making a difference’ in relation to pressing social, cultural and technological challenges such as racism, digital disruption and climate change. For the first time, students will be asked to create artefacts with the Adobe suite to support and expand student's ability to create effective 'stories' in a variety of forms as well as providing students with a critical and valuable skillset which will enhance their employability.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Digital literacy and skills are key to success in post-university life, but Arts students typically get left out of the conversation around these attributes. To reach this cohort, the project sought to explore context-relevant avenues for embedding digital literacy and skills in the capstone unit Grand Challenges, undertaken by all Arts students. In particular, the project sought to explore the potential for the Adobe suite of apps to enhance the unit’s twin objectives of assisting students to ‘make a difference’ in relation to one of the pressing challenges facing humanity, and to stand out in the workplace of the 21st century.
With the unit’s authentic assessment taking the form of ‘real world’ artefacts such as Investigative or Policy Reports, Journalistic Feature Articles, Podcasts, Creative Writing Portfolios, Video Essays and Social Media Campaigns, the focus was on providing students with access to Adobe apps and training to allow them to produce professional quality outputs in a range of creative genres. To this end, workshops and resources to support students to use four relevant Adobe apps - Spark, Audition, Premiere Rush and Portfolio – were provided.
Beginning over halfway through the semester, the project was designed to test strategies for embedding digital literacies into a real world oriented unit and to gauge the Arts cohort’s receptiveness to the program in 2021. To this end, surveys of students and teaching staff, and reviews of students’ work and assessment rubrics were undertaken.​​​​​​​
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