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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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2 Skills development

In Week 1 you thought about the major role technology plays in contemporary society and why it is important to ‘be digital’. You were introduced to some of the digital skills that are important in everyday life, and that you may already be using. You applied a few of these skills to some typical real-life scenarios such as booking a holiday (Activity 3) or finding a recipe (Activity 5). You were also made aware of the BBC WebWise Digital skills resources [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , which can help you to fill in any gaps in everyday computer skills, for example, how to set up an email account, fill in online forms or pay for things online.

The aim of Week 2 was to introduce you to the Open University’s Framework for digital skills. This focuses on the kind of digital skills you need for study. You can learn online through free short courses such as this one, by researching a topic yourself, or by doing formal study at a university or college. In all cases, your digital skills will be of benefit when doing research and academic writing. They will also help you to get organised and manage your time well, for example, by keeping track of sources you have found. Being able to communicate and present yourself well online means you will find it easier to connect with other learners and work together. This is applicable to any kind of university study and particularly important in a distance learning environment.

Many of these skills are also relevant to the workplace. You had the opportunity to reflect on how far you use and feel confident with the skills in the framework. In order to help you develop skills in those areas where you feel less confident, you were encouraged to pick three activities from the Open University’s Being digital collection and add them to your Digital plan. The Being digital resources are freely available and you can return there at any time to learn new skills.

Now you will review the activities you identified, to see what difference they have made in practice.

Activity 1 Your digital skills: progress so far

Timing: 15 minutes for this activity, plus 30 minutes if working through the activities from Being digital

If you have not yet had the opportunity to work through the activities you identified in Week 2, do so now. Think about how what you have learned will help you in specific situations in your life. Make a note in your Digital plan.

If you have already done the activities, how have they changed the way you do things?

In the next few sections you will have the opportunity to reflect in more detail on key areas covered by this course. You will also find out more about how these skills are relevant to online learning.