Implications of Updating Digital Literacy – A Case Study in an Optometric Curriculum

Jo Coldwell-Neilson, James A Armitage, Ryan J Wood-Bradley, Blair Kelly, Alex Gentle
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 16  •  2019  •  pp. 033-049
Aim/Purpose: The aim of this project was to explore a method to enable an updated under-standing of digital literacy to be implemented in curricula in an environment of an existing, but outdated, understanding of digital literacy.
Background: The changing healthcare environment increasingly emphasizes the importance of digital literacy skills; therefore academics in the optometry discipline at Deakin University sought to better understand where digital literacy skills were taught in their program, and whether delivery was implicit or explicit.

Methodology: This case study describes a systematic review of the optometric curriculum to first identify where and what digital literacy skills are currently being addressed in the curriculum, identify the gaps, and develop a strategy to address the gaps.

Contribution: The main outcome of this work is the development of a spiraling curriculum to support the development of digital literacy skills required in later units of the program and for clinical practice post-graduation.

Findings: Although the definition of digital literacy may be outdated, the digital literacy capabilities being addressed in the curriculum had grown as digital technology use by staff and students had expanded. This, together with the realization that students were not as digitally capable as expected, indicated that teaching digital literacy skills needed to be made overt throughout the curriculum.

Recommendations for Practitioners: The process developed through this case study provides a strong foundation for course teams, curriculum developers and educational designers to efficiently analyze digital literacy expectations in existing, accredited health-related curricula and improve the curricula by more overtly embedding digital literacy teaching into it.

Impact on Society: Graduates of the amended program of study are expected to be better prepared to undertake their future careers in a digitally enhanced and disrupted environment.

Future Research: The framework will be used to explore digital literacy teaching practices in other disciplines. A systematic evaluation will be undertaken to identify the benefits and short comings of using the framework. The elements that make up the new definition of digital literacy need to be better articulated to allow curriculum developers to be better informed as to how to interpret the framework in their context.
optometry, digital literacy, graduate learning outcomes, health professional education
124 total downloads
Share this

Back to Top ↑