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Supporting discussions around digital capabilities with students

This staff-facing resource:

  • provides an introduction to digital capabilities
  • gives an overview of the student-facing information on MLE and specifically provides information about the Jisc Discovery tool
  • outlines how students can be supported to consider their development once they have their personalised digital capabilities reports

No specialist knowledge about digital capabilities is expected or required.

A student-facing resource introducing digital capabilities and supporting students with their development is available on My Learning Essentials (MLE). New and returning students will be directed to the MLE resource during University Welcome and Induction.


Introducing digital capabilities

In addition to demands from professions, employers and industries, The University’s vision for Our Future recognises the importance of students being supported to develop, harness and showcase their digital capabilities throughout their studies, preparing them for their future careers.

Digital capabilities are defined by Jisc as those required by individuals to “live, learn and work in a digital society.” These capabilities can be grouped under the 6 ‘elements’ illustrated in the diagram below.

Image showing the 6 elements of digital capabilities

Jisc Building Digital Capabilities: The six elements defined

What support is being offered through MLE?

The student-facing MLE resource:

  • provides an introduction to digital capabilities
  • enables students to evaluate their digital capabilities, encouraging them to complete the Jisc Discovery Tool
  • and signposts them to resources they may wish to explore to support their further development

What is the Discovery tool?

An overview

The Discovery tool is a supportive, online tool intended to raise awareness and create a shared language around digital capabilities. It takes individuals through a series of questions about their experience and confidence of using digital tools and approaches. On completion of a questionnaire, a personalised digital capabilities report is provided, suggesting ‘next steps’ and signposting to further relevant online resources. Completion of the tool allows the user to sign up to retrieve a digital badge that can be added to their CV / portfolio.

Further information about the student user experience

When students log in to the tool using their UoM username/password they will see two questionnaires in their dashboard. One questionnaire is more suited to new students at induction and can help identify where support needs might be. The second questionnaire provides a more in depth look at their capabilities and it is recommended that returning students are encouraged to complete this annually and reflect on their progress.

Institutional data

While the reports individuals receive through completion of the tool can only be viewed by them, an Institutional data dashboard is also provided. This collates anonymised data from completed questionnaires and benchmarks our University, again anonymously, with the sector.

Staff access to the Discovery tool

Staff can access to the tool via the 'Develop your digital skills' resources from Staff Learning & Organisational Development. You can access further information on embedding the Discovery tool and digital capabilities in the curriculum in this 'Supporting Student Digital Capabilities' resource. 

Supporting students to consider their development once they have their personalised reports

The digital capabilities report

Once students have completed a questionnaire on the Discovery tool, they will have their personalised digital capabilities report. The following steps are then suggested to them:

  • Read the report, identify and reflect on areas they would like to further develop
  • Create a plan
  • Revisit their plan

Within the ‘Create a plan’ section, it is suggested they may find it helpful to discuss how to do this with their Academic Advisor. The role of the Academic Advisor is to facilitate reflective conversations that support students to create meaningful action plans and signpost them to further resources.

Supporting reflection and creating action plans

Resources explaining how students can adopt the reflective cycle and how to create action plans are included in the MLE student resource. Students are encouraged to consider how they will fulfil their plans, as well as when they will revisit them.

Signposting to further resources

As well as the resources included within the personalised reports that students receive in the tool, further resources to support each of the elements of digital capabilities are included within the MLE resource. These signpost to resources from across the University (MLE, IT Services, Student Support, IGO, Careers Service), as well as free courses students can explore on external sites.


Signposting students to other areas within the Academic Advising toolkit

Academic and Pastoral support

Some students requiring support with time management, email or workload may have additional academic and/or pastoral support needs.

Digital wellbeing is one of the six ‘elements’ of digital capabilities. An online resource to scaffold digital wellbeing discussions with students is available for Academic Advisors with a student-facing version also available through My Learning Essentials. Links to both of these online resources have been added to the wellbeing section of the Academic Advising toolkit.


Supporting student and staff digital capabilities is one of the aims of the Flexible Learning Programme and this resource has been produced as part of this work.