Developing Successful Online Digital Media Courses

Jason Williams & Mark Warnes – Anglia Ruskin University

Short Paper

This paper presents the findings of the evaluations of two online courses designed to enhance academics’ digital literacy, and the impact these courses had.

10 Days of Twitter (10Dot) (Webster, 2015) gently introduces university staff to the use of Twitter for academic purposes in bitesize chunks.

The ARU version of 10DoT, #ARU10DoT (Webster & Warnes, 2017), has run successfully, biannually, since 2014, drawing around 35 participants each time. Content is presented via a WordPress blog with scheduled posts containing daily tasks. Participants subscribe to the blog using their email account, and participate in daily Twitter-based tasks. Delivered in ten minute blocks over ten (working) days, #ARU10DoT supports staff as they create and use their Twitter account. In the most recent iteration, successful completion of all ten tasks meant that participants qualified for a Digital Badge.

5 Days of Digital Literacy (#5DoDL) (George & Williams, 2016) is based on the 10DoT format, the course is designed to support ARU’s Digital Literacy Framework (DLF) (Kerrigan & Evangelinos, 2015), which was introduced in 2015. Based largely on the EU Digital Competence (DIGCOMP) framework definitions (Ferrari, 2013), the DLF defines levels of competency (i.e. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced) for a number of components of five key elements of digital literacy.

#5DoDL addresses each of these five key areas in five minute segments on each day of the first full working week of the month, for five months. In addition to a few ARU-specific items, topics included software (i.e. Blogging, Feedly, LinkedIn,, Reddit, Skype), and Top Tips (i.e. mobile phone security, battery consumption, Working in the digital age, and Maintaining your digital identity).

A total of 390 people signed up to the blog (although others may be ‘lurking’). The blog posts were viewed 19,954 times generating 3,621 comments (plus 2,975 tweets). 813 Digital Badges were issued which have been viewed and/or shared 4,761 times.

Many valuable lessons were learned while running 5DoDL. The relatively large numbers of attendees amplified the smallest of design problems, and the shortcomings of the platforms that were used to deliver the course. The value of carefully construction when delivering instructions to a large number of people online became paramount. We learned that the nature of digital literacy across the university was surprisingly varied even after working with staff in this area for nearly 2 decades.  People enjoyed the format, which remained light in touch and tone, but required evidence of understanding at every stage. Many attendees were very keen to receive their digital badges, beyond what was expected.

Both courses have attracted high levels of satisfaction, and most participants report changes to their practice as a direct consequence of them.


Ferrari, A., 2013. DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28.06.17].

Kerrigan, M. and Evangelinos, G., (2015). Digital Literacy Framework (V. 6). Anglia Ruskin University. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28.06.17].

Webster, H., (2013), #10DoT Ten Days of Twitter, [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28.06.17].

Webster, H. and Warnes, M., (2017). #ARU10DoT Ten Days of Twitter, [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28.06.17].


mini mooc, digital literacy, digital media, digital badges, social media

Relation to the theme

building staff and student digital capability and confidence


Williams, J., (2016). 5 Days of Digital Literacy, [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28.06.17].