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Supporting Digital Skills and Literacy

Our Future calls for both students and staff to develop and embrace digital capabilities. Here you can learn more about how the Flexible Learning Programme is supporting student and staff digital development.

Jane Mooney is the Workstream Lead for Digital Skills and Literacy – one of the six workstreams within the Flexible Learning Programme. If you have any queries or would like to chat about supporting student and staff digital development, please do get in touch with her.

Theme aims

  • For students to be supported and encouraged to develop the digital capabilities necessary for their University studies and in preparation for the workplace beyond. Students will be empowered to take ownership of the capabilities they develop through curricular and extracurricular activities, and will be able to showcase them to potential employers.
  • For staff to be supported and encouraged to develop, maintain and enhance the digital capabilities relevant to their roles. Support and development opportunities will be clearly signposted and available from induction – enabling and enhancing development, and cultivating confidence.
  • For digital capabilities to be integrated and promoted across the University through our culture and practices. Expectations around digital capabilities will be transparent, and shared pre-induction (in course materials/marketing for students and job adverts for staff), at inductions and throughout their studies or role. A shared language around digital capabilities will raise awareness and foster understanding, and effective practice will be shared, recognised and celebrated.

What will we achieve?

Through a university-wide approach, we will work collaboratively within and across our Faculties and Directorates, to enable, promote and embed digital confidence and development. This work will be underpinned by clear communication and use of a shared language, we are using Jisc’s Building Digital Capability Frameworks as the basis for further contextualisation, to ensure relevance. We will also promote digital wellbeing, accessibility and digital inclusion, and the sharing of effective practice.

This is how embedded support at every step of the student or staff journey could look:‌

My web page

Where are we now?

Student-facing support

  • In 2021, the Flexible Learning Programme implemented the Jisc Discovery Tool at the University, providing all students and staff with the opportunity to self-assess their digital practice – plus access personalised reports and resources to support further development. In collaboration with the Library, a dedicated My Learning Essentials ‘Develop your digital capabilities’ resource was created. This hosts the Discovery Tool for students, and includes prompts to reflect on their report, plus a template to create an action plan.
  • The University Transition resource introduces digital skills, encourages consideration of digital wellbeing and signposts use of the Jisc Discovery tool on arrival.
  • University Welcome and Induction materials include an online resource, where a group of students introduce the Discovery tool and its benefits.
  • Researcher Development colleagues have created an online resource, promoting the Discovery Tool to postgraduate researchers.
  • The Library’s Student Team and our Flexible Learning Student Partners created content to share with their peers:
  • Working with Manchester Access Programme colleagues we are offering support for MAP participants to understand and develop their digital skills. For 2022/23 this included an optional workshop co-facilitated with MAP Student Ambassadors and the opportunity for all MAP participants to use the Jisc Discovery tool. 

Staff-facing support

  • In collaboration with Learning and Organisational Development, a dedicated online ‘Develop your digital skills’ resource was created to share the Discovery Tool with staff.
  • The ‘Supporting Student Digital Capabilities’ online resource was created with the Institute for Teaching and Learning – supporting colleagues involved in curriculum design and delivery to embed and enhance digital capabilities within the curriculum.
  • Digital capabilities and other University priorities have been included within programme development forms being piloted during 2023 within the Faculties of Biology, Medicine and Health (Programme Amendment and Internal Reviewer forms) and Humanities (UG and PGT Programme and Unit Specification forms).
  • In collaboration with the University Microsoft 365 Champions Network (launched by ITS in 2022), Learning and Organisational Development and the Flexible Learning Digital Skills and Literacy workstream, new workshops delivered by the Champions that cover how to get the most out of a range of Microsoft 365 products are now available to all staff.  These are listed on the link below (see Upcoming workshops) and are available to book via the University Training catalogue (search MCRO).
  • We are continuing to promote the sharing of effective practice through workshops and case studies. If you have a case study or would like to share your practice at a future event, please do get in touch.

  Previous workshops

  Upcoming workshops

Supporting Digital Capabilities Group


Established in November 2021, this collaborative subgroup’s role is to inform strategy and identify and implement approaches and deliverables to support student, staff and institutional digital capabilities.  Its membership includes representation from the Students’ Union; The Careers Service; Digital Learning; The Institute for Teaching and Learning; The Library; Learning & Organisational Development & Researcher development.  You can read our full Terms of Reference here.   


Sharing Practice

June 2023

Jisc Joint Building Digital Capability / Digital Experience Insights community of practice – digital transformation: perspectives on implementing change

‘Enabling Flexible Learning at The University of Manchester: Developing our digital learning environment and digital capability’ breakout session facilitated by Caroline Bowsher, Academic theme lead for the Digital Learning Environment and Jane Mooney


January 2023-present

Membership of Manchester City Council Digital Inclusion Steering Group. 


November 2022

Jisc Student Experience Experts Group 50th meeting

‘Supporting staff with reimagining learning, teaching and assessment’ - Flexible Learning Programme represented in Panel session. 


May 2021

Jisc Joint Building Digital Capability / Digital Experience Insights community of practice

‘Digital wellbeing’ Breakout session facilitated by Jane Mooney, Ben Bone, Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator (Student Experience) and Sarah Shepherd, Senior Lecturer and Academic lead for Clinical Communication for the Medical Programme.