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Digital Literacies at Cardiff University

Project: Digidol

Institution: Cardiff University

Programme: Developing Digital Literacies


"Digidol project set out to establish an institution-wide, strategically-driven, systematic and sustainable approach for contextualising and embedding digital literacy into Cardiff University’s core activities"


This is an edited version of the project's institutional story (final report). Please refer to the original for details of all references and additional information.




The Digidol project set out to establish an institution-wide, strategically-driven, systematic and sustainable approach for contextualising and embedding digital literacy into Cardiff University’s core activities. This included consideration of the development of academic staff, undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, researchers and administrative and support staff. Such a broad remit required us to take a multi-pronged approach, focusing on both strategic and operational interventions.


At a strategic level, the project has had significant influence, with the result that digital literacy has become a fully integrated component of the University’s Digital and Social Media strategy and a new Digital and Information Literacy strategy has been approved within Information Services.  The project started at a point when the University had just approved an Education strategy that included a commitment to “Learning Literacies”, comprising information, digital, academic and professional literacies. This provided a positive springboard to push for the inclusion of digital literacies in other strategies and ensured that digital literacy was viewed as intrinsically linked to other literacies.


In operational terms, the project has influenced practice at a number of levels. The project’s broad remit meant that it was impossible to reach all the constituencies directly.  The University has 27 schools, each operating independently, and no central staff development programme.  We therefore focused attention on working through intermediaries wherever possible, to ensure both a wider reach and a sustainable process.  This has led to changes both in the practices of service staff and of the students and academics with whom they have been working.  In particular, focusing on raising the digital literacy of others, has highlighted the need for development of their own digital literacies.  


Finally,  the project has developed a number of useful artefacts and resources. These include a development of the Beetham-Sharpe framework, which maps information and digital literacy descriptors required for key generic tasks; an online Knowledge Hub, which provides access to a wide range of resources, tools, and examples, organised by practice; and a series of reusable workshops relating to digital literacy.



Headline achievements

See Digidol - Headline Achievements.

The headline achievements of the project fall into four categories:

  • Strategic influence
  • Development of an organisational model of enablement
  • Changes in practice
  • Tools to support digital literacy development


Key drivers 

See Digidol - Drivers

There were three main drivers for undertaking the project:

  • the national context promoting information and digital literacy in Wales
  • the institutional context in which information literacy was well established but there was a recognised lack of comparable consideration of digital literacy
  • implementing the new Education Strategy which identified the centrality of Learning Literacies. 


Organisational context

See Digidol - Context

The organisational context include:

  • University structure and restructure
  • Project location
  • Contextual influences eg. no central staff development programme, the importance of research and the educational context
  • Baselining digital literacy at Cardiff
  • Stakeholder groups


Project approach

See Digidol - Approach

The approach includes:

  • Overall philosophy
  • Digital enablement
  • Engagement incl. workshops and curriculum design
  • Contributions to other initiatives eg. research data management, mentoring network, VITAE digital literacy lens discussions, careers and employability
  • Strategic development
  • Communication
  • Project management
  • Approach to evidencing impact
  • Adapting to changing requirements 



See Digidol - Deliverables

The project has produced a number of deliverables, all of which are available for others to use.  These include:

  • Knowledge Hub
  • Learning Literacies Framework
  • Facilitation Toolkit
  • Organisational model
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Contributions to strategies
  • Contributions to web resources


Benefits and beneficiaries

See Digidol - Benefits.  These include: 

  • Benefits to students 
  • Benefits to staff: researchers, teachers and subject librarians
  • Organisational benefits
  • Benefits beyond the organisation
  • Indicators of sustainable impact


Other impacts

See Digidol - Impact.  These include:

  • The mainstreaming of digital literacy within the University
  • A shift in attitude to the importance of learning literacies as a skills set
  • Deeper engagement with digital literacy than expected from library staff


Sustaining and embedding

See Digidol - Sustainability.  Strategies include:

  • Putting in place a firm foundation for digital literacies to be embedded in staff and student development
  • Creation of a permanent post with responsibility for Digital Enablement 
  • Maintaining momentum and engaging with other staff groups  


Lessons learned and reflection

See Digidol - Lessons learned

The four key lessons are:

  • Digital literacies must be embedded in practice
  • Appropriate frameworks and processes are essential
  • Strategic initiatives provide leverage but need to be resourced
  • Ensure all the necessary stakeholders are actively engaged