Student partners reflect on digital literacy project

Peter and Rheaa are UQ undergraduate students. As student partners in a Digital Literacy project, they have worked with us to co-develop new resources to enhance the digital literacy capabilities of UQ students.

In this post, they reflect on the experience of co-developing digital literacy modules with library staff and participating in a Student-Staff Partnership to enhance student learning.

Peter and Rheaa, student partners in our 2018 Digital Literacy project. Peter is a fourth year Engineering and Information Technology student. Rheaa is in her second year studying Psychological Science.

Peter's experience

Understanding digital literacy

The term ‘digital literacy’ has been somewhat obscure to me during my four years at UQ. It wasn’t until I began the student partnership project with members of the Library's Digital Literacy Taskforce that its importance became clear. 

I like to think of digital literacy as one’s ability to use digital tools to complete a task. For example, you can use a pen and paper to draw a picture. If you are digitally literate, you could complete the same task using the software on your computer. This is important when the task becomes a digital activity, like report writing or video editing.

As an Engineering and IT undergraduate, my studies demanded that I was digitally literate. I needed to be able to use complicated software, communicate effectively with peers and even write programs to automate day to day problems.

Our project work

Over the past few months, Rheaa and I have been working closely with UQ Library Staff in the Duhig Tower to co-develop new resources for both students and staff aimed at addressing digital literacy at UQ.

The project involved designing a suite of online modules about digital tools and skills on the UQ Library website. When complete, this initiative will provide students and staff with a means to get ahead digitally, so they can work in a digital environment like UQ more easily.

A typical day of work with the library staff included activities like stand-up meetings, content research, generating ideas and reviewing current work.

Rheaa and I were organised and ran a focus group aimed at brainstorming ideas for naming the suite of modules as a whole. We advertised the focus group on the UQ Library Facebook and Twitter pages and offered pizza to entice testers to come along. Although we did not get as many testers as we would have hoped, the focus group was a great success and we were able to obtain many options for naming the suite.

As Rheaa and I approach the end of our student partnership, we were also given the opportunity to speak on a panel at the UQ Teaching and Learning Week Seminar on the 1st of November. This will be a good chance for us to present our understanding of digital literacy and why it is important.

Rheaa's experience

Digital skills are crucial

Coming from an arts background, I always thought digital literacy was the skill that one needed for finding the right tools on various digital platforms. Who would have thought that was just the tip of the iceberg?

Being part this project team really opened my eyes to exactly what digital literacy is all about. It taught me how crucial it is to possess the necessary digital skills to get by in this digital age.

We were part of a great team

Being part of the Digital Literacy team in The University of Queensland Library has been an absolutely wonderful feeling. The team is comprised of a delightful group of people and working alongside them has made the experience more fun.

The team has always treated me as a fellow co-worker and not just a student. I had a say in the stand-up meetings and our ideas were always welcome.

Together with Peter, we were assigned with actual and meaningful tasks that were important to the development of the digital literacy modules. We were part of the team that developed the Social Media module and were also responsible for planning and running a focus group for the naming of the DL modules.

The challenges of being a student partner

One of the challenges I faced as a student partner was having to balance school and the library work. Even though the workload from the library was perfectly reasonable, it gets a little overwhelming with all the other university assignments.

Thankfully, the team were very understanding of my priorities as a student and always encouraged me to focus on my school and assignments.

On a separate occasion,  we were organizing the focus group and things didn't go as planned. We barely got half the number of students that we were hoping for.

As someone who needs things to go as planned, this was a little disappointing. But you learn to work with what you have and make the best out it. After all, it's quality over quantity, right? And hey, I got some free pizza out of it, so I can’t complain!

Overall I think that this has truly been an enriching and rewarding partnership.

About Student-Staff Partnerships 

Student-Staff Partnerships are a great way for students and staff to work together to improve the student experience. Partnerships help students to get involved, utilise skills learned in their course and gain valuable work experience.

View Student Partner Opportunities

Last updated:
26 July 2023