Digital Innovation Partnership

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Digital Innovation Partnership

What is the Digital Innovation Partnership?

The Digital Innovation Partnership (DIP) envisions students working in partnership with staff to enhance and encourage the use of digital technology in learning and teaching within the curriculum. Staff and students jointly identify areas within their learning and teaching environment where the use of digital technology could make a positive contribution and work together to design, implement and evaluate a digital practice within learning and teaching.

The DIP is designed to foster digital literacies amongst staff and students within the context of the learning and teaching. It will do this by helping both staff and students to develop their digital literacies through the meaningful development of pedagogic projects.

How does it work?

The scheme proposes a three way partnership between a student who has confidence and experience in a range of digital tools and approaches (Digital Associate), and a member of teaching staff who wishes to try out a digital practice in their teaching, but would like support and guidance (Digital Innovator). The student Digital Associate will bring confidence around using digital tools, and a valuable student perspective on digital learning and teaching. Lastly, Digital Advocates are members of teaching staff who are confident early adopters of digital approaches and can offer insightful advice on the practicality of implementing an idea. The partnerships will be further supported by Leicester Learning Institute and IT Services through a schedule of light-touch events across the year.


The overall aim of DIP is to increase support the development of digital literacies within learning and teaching. The project will promote an academic literacies approach to the critical and considered use of digital technology. Projects will be led by pedagogy, and will be contextualised and embedded within a discipline (Lea and Jones, 2011). We will particularly encourage digital practices that not only replicate or supplement existing approaches, but transform them - where use of digital enables lecturers and students to teach and learn in new ways  (Kirkwood and Price, 2013).

The objectives of DIP are to:

  • Establish a supportive and sustainable model of staff and student development of digital literacies in relation to teaching and learning.
  • Involve students as active partners with staff in the design, development and/or delivery of teaching resources, activities and approaches, by drawing on their experience, perspectives and motivation.
  • Share and recognize good practice and innovation in digital approaches to teaching and learning, in a way that is meaningful and beneficial to staff and students.
What are the benefits?

For students: students will receive accreditation for their involvement in this scheme through recognition on their Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) and through a Digital Associate open badge (digital credential). Students can also reflect on the digital and employability skills they have developed from the experience as part of their Leicester Award. Lastly, students will receive an incentive of £220 for their involvement - in the form of either a bursary, wage or tablet device (details to be confirmed). Outstanding student contributions will be put forward for the Student Awards.

For staff: teaching staff involved in this scheme can use this as evidence of their development of digital teaching practices (Digital Innovators) or leadership and mentoring practices (Digital Advocate) as part of their Personal Development Discussion and application for Higher Education Academy fellowship or senior fellowship. Outstanding contributions are put forward for the Discovering Excellence awards.

For both students and staff: the DIP will encourage the sharing of good practice through presentation at the University's Learning and Teaching Conference, and more widely, at external conferences such as Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) or the Change Agents Network for which funding to help cover registration and travel costs are available. DIP will also encourage the publication of evaluations on these projects be seeking prior ethical approval, and encouraging submissions to the University of Leicester's Journal of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, or external journals.

What happens next?

If you are interested in being involved in this exciting new opportunity, then please complete the application form by 12 noon on Monday 15th October. For more information, please contact


Kirkwood, A., & Price, L. (2013). Missing: evidence of a scholarly approach to teaching and learning with technology in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(3), 327-337. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2013.773419

Lea, M., & Jones, S. (2011). Digital literacies in higher education: exploring textual and technological practice. Studies in Higher Education, 36(4), 377-393. doi: 10.1080/03075071003664021


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