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Launch of the digital skills framework

Posted on 2 January 2020

Watch Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery explain why the University of York has adopted a Staff Digital Skills Framework.

Read the full transcript of what Charlie has to say about the Staff Digital Skills Framework

How are digital technologies fundamental to the everyday running of the University?

Digital technologies are absolutely fundamental to the way that the University works, everything now rests on data and the way that we harness data to understand the University’s functions.

Obviously in areas like finance, but also how we deliver our catering to our staff and students. That rests on the data technologies of ordering and processing and delivering. We can’t do anything without data.

Why are digital skills important in teaching?

Digital skills have become really fundamentally important in teaching. If you think of using PowerPoint, that’s a digital platform, which has become absolutely pervasive in what we do, but now we are moving much further than that through our virtual learning environments.

But also increasingly into teaching at a distance, teaching our on campus students at distance, providing materials online with which they can interact outside the classroom, but also, in this university delivering distance education courses to people who may never ever set foot in the University.

That will become, in future, a much more significant part of what this and other universities do, and we can’t do that without being conversant with the platforms which enable us to communicate our educational offering in that way.

What do students expect from us as an innovative digital institution?

I think students expect us, as a university, to innovate in the use of digital technologies and that’s because they are digital natives, they live online, they have grown up online with digital platforms. 

That’s a major form of communication for them, it’s become a standard way for them to pay for stuff. It’s just normal, and we can’t expect to be an institution which serves our students and supports them in what they do at university without being conversant in all of the technologies which they are familiar with.

Why are digital skills important in research?

Digital skills have become so important across the board in research and that’s all of the subjects in which we have expertise, ranging from the vast amount of data used in places like CERN which our physicists access, through to our archaeologists increasingly using sensor technologies to help deliver their research activity, through the social sciences.

I’m a political scientist. We’ve become really data-intensive as we imagine how we can capture the ways in which citizens interact with public policy or the political system through data. If we can’t manipulate that data, we can’t understand the platforms which help us to do it, then we’re hampered in research. We need to be right up to date with those data technologies.