Digital Capabilities

Digital Capabilities

Digital capabilities are critical to our students’ academic success and the career success of our graduates.

Their future work will require them to find, assess and create increasingly complex multimedia digital resources, necessitating the integration of technical competence and critical thinking skills.

The Digital Capabilities @ Adelaide project has developed a flexible framework comprising six elements to support the development of our students’ digital capabilities.

The project was jointly funded by the University Library and the Pro Vice Chancellor (Student Learning) with Beacon eLearning funding.

What are digital capabilities?

This project uses the concept of digital literacies developed by the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC):

Those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society.JISC


  • Isn't being digitally capable just knowing how to use technology?

    Using technology proficiently is certainly part of being digital capable. However, on top of being able to use technology (ICT proficiency) a digitally capable person will also be capable in the other five areas of the digital literacies framework. These areas are:

    • Information, Media & Data Literacy. 
    • Digital Creation, Problem Solving & Innovation.
    • Collaboration, Communication & Participation.
    • Digital Learning & Development.
    • Digital identity & Wellbeing.
  • Why are they important?

    Our students often have digital skills which they use for social reasons, but have not been exposed to ways to use them effectively in an academic environment. There is a gap which needs to be acknowledged and which the University needs to address through better integration of digital capabilities into programs and courses.

    Digital Literacy: 90% of future jobs will involve digital literacy; 35% of 15 year olds are not digitally literate

    The above graphic is taken from the Foundation for Young Australians (2016) Enterprise skills and careers education in schools: why Australia needs a national strategy.

  • The six digital capabilities

    The Adelaide Digital Capabilities Framework comprises a student profile and a staff profile. It has been adapted from work by the Jisc (UK). The Framework is indicative, and can be contextualised for different uses and revised periodically. It is not dependent on a particular set of software programs. It is a flexible tool highlighting key areas of capability.

    Digital capabilities University of Adelaide
  • For Staff: What does the Framework mean for you?

    The staff profile of the framework offers a point of reference for academic and professional staff, who have roles as educators and in supporting learning and teaching, to guide their own professional learning and development.

    It can be used:

    •  By staff to review their professional development needs
    •  In the design of Induction and Continuing Professional Development programs, and in the development of professional learning resources and activities
    • To map digital expertise across different staff roles in learning, teaching, and learning and research support, identifying gaps and where digital expertise adds value.

    Developing digitally capable graduates

    • Developing capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society
    • Developing and sharing quality information, resources and guidance on building digital capabilities
  • For Students: Digital capabilities at the core of your courses

    Digital Capabilities @ Adelaide will guide the development of students' digital capabilities through University courses. The student profile can be used by program leaders and course coordinators to map digital capabilities against course outcomes and graduate attributes. This will take time but we are committed to ensuring that students will have the digital skills and capabilities that are needed in the workforce.

    Reference group and student involvement

    A Reference Group was run in March 2017 and was made up of a mix of staff and students from all areas of the University. The Reference Group helped guide the direction of the Framework in the early development stages.

    The involvement of students and alumni is critical in understanding how we can develop strategies to support the development of students’ digital skills

    Comments and feedback

    We will continue to offer opportunities for you to learn about digital capabilities and have your say.

    We are interested in finding out:

    • what you know about digital capabilities
    • what digital skills you already have
    • what digital skills you think you need
    • what digital skills you think your teachers need
    • how you will be affected by the Framework
    • We will continue to offer opportunities for you to learn about digital capabilities and have your say.
  • LinkedIn Learning

    The University of Adelaide is partnering with LinkedIn Learning to provide students and staff with free access to a wide range of current online learning resources to support in-demand professional and personal skills development. Find out more about getting started here. 

    Download our LinkedIn Learning Digital Framework to see recommended courses mapped to each competency. 

    LinkedIn Learning Digital Framework

Developing digital capabilities at university

Frequently asked questions

  • What are some examples of these capabilities?

    There are numerous examples of digital capabilities, here are just a couple from each of the six areas:

    ICT proficiency

    • learning to use software
    • personalising IT to suit your needs
    • transferring skills and knowledge of current technologies to new technologies

    Digital creation, innovation and scholarship

    • ensuring security of your research data
    • creating podcasts or wikis
    • being able to code (e.g. developing an app)

    Communication, collaboration and participation

    • respecting others when communicating online
    • participating in digital teams
    • developing digital networks
    • behaving ethically in a digital environment

    Digital learning and self-development

    • using digital learning resources (e.g. Canvas)
    • using EndNote or other reference management software
    • making sure you can keep motivated to learn while in a digital environment

    Information, data and media literacies

    • evaluating online material
    • understanding digital copyright
    • knowing where to find information online
    • interpret data, run reports and complete data analysis

    Digital identity and wellbeing

    • developing a positive digital identity
    • staying safe online
    • managing digital stress
    • keeping a balance between real world and digital interactions
  • How did the project align with the Strategy for Learning Teaching and Assessment (SLTA)?

    The SLTA establishes the goal of piloting program-level structured embedding of digital literacies development in all faculties by Q3 2017 (SLTA 1.8). This project will lead the work associated with the achievement of that goal, and will also contribute strongly to the enhanced interaction between the Library and the Student Learning portfolio as envisaged by The Library of the Future project.

    The Digital Capabilities Framework will align with other strands within the Strategy for Teaching, Learning and Assessment 2016-18 Implementation Plan. Specifically:

    • Improved program-level coherence with integration of the UoA graduate attributes curriculum
    • An integrated approach to students’ career-readiness development across all programs, connecting curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities
    • A clearly defined ‘attributes curriculum’ with priority given to embedding of career-readiness, global citizenship, intercultural awareness, and digital literacy development

    The Digital Capabilities Framework Project will also support the achievement of the Beacon Operational Plan goal to Review Graduate Attributes Statement to maintain currency by Quarter 3 in 2017, by gathering evidence to support the decision whether to include ‘Digital Capabilities’ as a Graduate Attribute.

  • Other digital literacies frameworks

    • LaTrobe University- Are currently in the final stages of developing a Digital Literacy Framework. For more information about the Framework and the process read the blog.
    • Deakin University - Has a useful website for digital literacy with short, informative videos.
    • University of Queensland - Has recently released an Information & Digital Literacy Strategic Framework for 2016-2020.
    • JISC (UK) - A world leader in digital literacy framework development, this website is a great place to start when trying to understand digital literacies.

Send us your feedback

We welcome feedback and input from staff and students at any point in the process, so please fill in the form below and send us your views.

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