The DIP-approach: student-staff partnerships as a vital tool for learning developers and educators to develop academic [and digital] literacies

Alexandra J F Patel, Mark Van Der Enden, Frances Deepwell, Bethany Cox, Patsy Clarke, Phil Marsten, Stephen Rooney


Student-staff partnerships can be used to support the development of contextualised digital learning and teaching practices. This can be done by shifting the focus from IT skills to addressing a priority in learning and teaching using a digital approach that is appropriate for that discipline. The development of a formal ‘Digital Innovation Partnership’ (DIP) scheme at the University of Leicester brings students’ digital confidence, perspectives and motivation to enhance learning and teaching. It also recognises the valuable contribution and expertise of student and staff participants. This draws on the academic literacies work of Lea and Street (1998; 2006) and digital literacies work of Sharpe and Beetham (2010) to appreciate that staff and students are developing social practices that are situated within a discipline and intertwined with social, cultural and political factors, power and identity.

The reasons for the success of the scheme are explored here, with recommendations for how the model can be applied more generally to educational design to support students’ academic literacies development.


student – staff partnership; digital literacies; academic literacies; learning communities

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ISSN: 1759-667X