The digital mastery of UniSA College students was on display at a recent Australasian Conference in Adelaide.
The students were among the first intakes of the innovative course ‘Digital Literacy: Screen, Web and New Media’, which aims to develop digital literacy skills for the workplaces of the future.
Their work from the course – which included podcasts, apps, games and infographics – was showcased at the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) conference last month, with support from the Teaching Innovation Unit.
Course Coordinator Jenny Stokes says the digital literacy course helps students develop skills to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
Stokes says her course has encouraged students to critically analyse and understand the digital space and become a participant through creating a new product.
“It’s about being part of this space rather than just being an observer,” she says.
The specific challenge given to the students was to devise a new and original product, pitch that project and then create the product while adhering to real world provisions such as copyright.
Students could choose projects that were meaningful for them, which increased their engagement with the task.
Stokes says results were a range of interesting and diverse projects including apps, games and infographics.
Students at the conference praised the course saying it helped them to uncover their own strengths, develop analytical and problem solving skills, and even open up potential new career pathways.
Alexandra Sudlow-Haylett created a podcast which put a new twist on an interview with a vampire. It tells the story of two women – a journalist and a vampire who is posing as a drug addict in a rehab centre. The podcast explores the themes of female friendship and sacrifice.
Alexandra says the digital literacy course allowed her to play to her strengths in creativity and also learn critical skills such as problem solving.
She hopes to move onto a double degree in creative writing and professional writing, and work towards script writing and editing. The course certainly helped shape these goals.
“Getting to write a script for the first time was great and having to pitch my project was daunting, but being able to do that gave me a lot of confidence. This is definitely what I want to do,” Alexandra says.
“It’s a really special course to be involved in.”
Fellow student James Gleeson-McCoy dissected the film Zootopia and reviewed the techniques and tricks used by animators to tell the story.
James says he “pulled it apart at the seams” and analysed the very detailed environments to pinpoint visual cues and methods of demonstrating the passage of time, journeys and how characters had changed. These techniques include the use of lighting, movement of characters, changing backgrounds and colours.
He enjoyed the digital literacy course as it helped him to develop skills in critical analysis of the digital space and the freedom to choose his own response to a project.
“I’m hoping to go onto a digital media degree and possibly onto cinema, maybe animation or even teaching at some point,” James says.
Another student Lachlan Pridham chose a project close to his own heart.
Lachlan is a member of local rap group Ill Division and his project was to design a website for the group – featuring the band’s music videos, pictures and a large music playlist.
The project allowed Lachlan to perfect a variety of web design techniques, which he will now use to continually update the site.
“I feel that the site can only get better and better,” he says.
“Through this project I found that I could incorporate my own passion and get my friends involved as well.”
The course has ignited a spark in Lachlan for digital learning. While planning to undertake a health-related degree, he is also now excited about the potential to extend his production skills in media and digital environments.
“It opened my eyes to this – it’s what I love doing,” Lachlan says.
For fellow student James Gleeson-McCoy, being invited to exhibit at the conference was a great opportunity.
“It means a lot to me – this is something I’m passionate about and I get to share it with people,” he says.
UniSA College programs provide alternative pathways for students who do not initially have the qualifications to gain entry into a bachelor degree. College students develop academic literacies and prerequisite knowledge for undergraduate study through Foundation Studies and Diploma programs.
Stokes says the bonuses of her course are two-fold – students not only gain skills in digital literacy, but they also have a ‘positive experience of learning’, which will inspire them to move confidently into future university studies.