Dr Anne-Marie Bartlett

Liverpool School of Art and Design

Tackling Digital Exclusion: Lessons Learned from the Experiences of University Students during the Covid-19 Pandemic

How you include and use your research to shape, develop, share, discuss, interrogate, and experiment within your subject: By raising student and staff awareness of digital exclusion and digital poverty, it was hoped this research would be used to support the inclusion of future student cohorts at Liverpool School of Art and Design (LSAD) and beyond, particularly in the University’s emergence from the pandemic. It is worth noting that this research captured the experience of students and staff from a range of creative practice-based subjects. There was consensus amongst participating students and staff that the teaching of practical or practice-based skills did not translate well in the online environment. This research finding prompted the need for more creative and innovative methods for digital teaching and learning in the context of creative practice. Thus, enabling digital inclusion, tackling digital poverty, and exploring more innovative approaches to the teaching of practice-based skills through an active blended learning approach are key issues I am keen to interrogate further on my return to teaching at LJMU.

Any specific strategies you use to maximise the teaching and learning impact of your research: The research design was student-led throughout. With my support, two short online surveys, designed and conducted by student interns, were used to capture student and staff experiences of digital education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Student interns collated and drew on this data to design and facilitate staff and student training and development focused on digital inclusion at the LJMU Teaching and Learning Conference, 2021. This student-focused and student-led dissemination activity was used to help raise awareness, and develop understanding of, student experiences of digital poverty and digital exclusion at LJMU.

How your students engage with and respond to your research and the teaching: A student internship team was recruited from LSAD to a.) design and develop online surveys reflecting on student and staff experiences of digital education, and b.) to design and facilitate student and staff training and development resources on the topic of digital inclusion. Student participants were approached and recruited via email through the Director of LSAD. They were asked to respond to their experience of online teaching and learning through a short anonymous online survey. Students from across LJMU were also invited to engage with, and provide feedback on, the research and teaching, as attendees at the LJMU Teaching and Learning Conference, 2021. In line with the new LJMU Vision and Values, with students at the heart, I would be interested in exploring ways in which to support and enable greater representation of students from across faculty at such events in the future.