The UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF 2011), developed by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), provides a recognition and accreditation service that enables staff who are providing teaching and/or learning support to be recognised as Associate Fellows, Fellows, Senior Fellows or Principal Fellows of the Academy by benchmarking their role against the UKPSF framework. As well as accreditation, the framework can be used to plan and guide CPD in the area of teaching and learning or it can help senior management or HE tutors to design and structure development programmes.
The framework has two components – descriptors and dimensions of practice:
- Descriptors: statements that outline the key characteristics of a person’s performance and role in HE
- Dimensions’ of Practice: statements that outline a) Five Areas of activity undertaken by teachers and supporters of learning within HE; b) Six aspects of Core knowledge that are needed to carry out those activities at the appropriate level; and c) Four Professional values that someone performing these activities should embrace and exemplify
Relevance to digital literacy: (The statements below are taken from the HEA guidance 2011)
|Dimensions of practice||Statements|
|Core knowledge||K4 The use and value of appropriate learning technologies: Evidence needs to demonstrate how and why specific technologies, of all types and ages are used appropriately to support learning.Evidence will address what the learning and teaching needs are and why particular technology is used to address them.Evidence is likely to be linked to other areas of Core Knowledge, for example; how and why technology is used within a specific discipline, professional or vocational areas; for specific groups of learners; in specific learning contexts or environments.|
|Areas of Activity||A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidanceThe definition of ‘learning environments’ has been widely contested and is open to diverse interpretation. Individual practitioners work beyond the local physical environment of the classroom, the laboratory, studio or work place or the distance learning or electronic learning environment.|
|Professional values||V1 Respect individual learners and diverse learning communitiesThe term ‘diverse learning communities’ might include campus based groups of students, electronic communicates, work based communities, or be defined on the basis of ethnicity, faith, social class, age etc. The practitioner needs to be able to demonstrate that they value and can work effectively with and within these diverse communities.|
The JISC Briefing Paper on Digital Literacy (JISC, 2012) reviews previous work in supporting teachers in DL and makes recommendations for enhancing the DL of teachers. It defines DL as ‘those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society’. Defining a particular set of capabilities as a ‘literacy’ means that:
- they are a pre-requisite or foundation for other capabilities;
- they are critical to an individual’s life chances;
- they are essential to the making and sharing of culturally significant meanings;
As a result, there is or should be a society-wide entitlement to these capabilities at some level. These capabilities include ICT, information, and media skills and digital scholarship where digital literacy is seen not as a loose collection of separate skills but rather their integration in specific educational contexts. Hence it is not seen as a one size fits all skills set, but a nuanced and varied set of capabilities (JISC, 2012, Leitch 2006).