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Digital Skills Awareness for Starting Higher Education

Learn about the digital skills you need to successfully transition into higher education in the UK.

734 enrolled on this course

Students with laptops

Digital Skills Awareness for Starting Higher Education

734 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Discover the essential digital skills to succeed in higher education

The widespread use of online learning in higher education has made it vital for students to feel comfortable, confident, and competent with key digital skills.

This three-week digital skills course will introduce you to important skills, systems, and core technologies for learning to help you succeed at university and higher education.

Explore the important technologies and skills for studying in higher education

You’ll get to grips with the skills that enable you to work with files, office applications, web browsers, and search engines in support of your learning.

You’ll also discover online learning environments and forums, online assignments and assessments, as well as video platforms for online lectures and conference calls.

In addition, you’ll find out how to navigate multiple accounts, keep yourself and your devices safe, share information online, and choose organisational and referencing tools.

Identify your own skills gap and recognise areas for improvement

Throughout this course, you’ll identify your levels of skill in specific areas and learn how to improve them.

You’ll also practice learning within a digital environment over each week, giving you the opportunity to prepare for when you actually start in higher education.

Learn from digital skills experts at the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange (BLE)

You’ll be guided throughout by experts from the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange (BLE), an organisation dedicated to sharing digital education expertise.

By learning with the BLE, you’ll be learning with a digital education association comprised of six prominent Higher Education Institutions in Bloomsbury, Central London: Birkbeck, LSHTM, RVC, SOAS, UCL, and the University of London.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds Starting university or any Higher Education programme is a big deal. I’m just worried about the transition. It’s going to be a really big change. You may think about living amongst strangers in a new environment with challenging expectations about what you will achieve. What you may not realise is how much your adjustment to this exciting new world will depend on your digital skills. I remember being handed my first assignment at university and not knowing where to begin. I never had to research academic articles before, and therefore I didn’t know how to start. All it takes is one mistake to not having something saved or deleted or not being able to have access to one of your assignments. Hi.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds I’m Sarah Sherman, the Director of the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange. Hi. I’m Nancy Weitz, the Lead Educator on the “DSASHE” course the Digital Skills Awareness course for Starting Higher Education This course outlines the key digital skills you will need for your studies. It won’t teach you those digital skills. It’s about avoiding surprises that make you think… “No one told me I needed to know that!” Get ready to use your computer a lot more at “uni”.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds Virtually everything will be online: Assignments, class materials, readings, you name it.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds Over three weeks, we’ll be learning about: online learning environments, where you’ll access your learning To be able to access my lectures and the media, and the PowerPoint presentations for the lectures. So my worry is that they’ll set me tasks on a platform that I’ve not seen before, and I won’t know how to use it. We are just more reliant on technology and having access to a computer and a video camera. and fundamental technologies that support your studies what are the best ways to make concise notes electronically? I don’t know whether there are any subject-specific or quite niche programmes that I need to use to help with my degree. Make sure to brush up on your I.T. skills.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds and issues around safety and wellbeing in digital environments You get assigned a lot of things, and it’s going to be overwhelming. Even if you’re a digital native, it’s important to make sure you’re up to speed on the specific skills you’ll need for the next stage of your education – and beyond. I think it would be very useful if I’d known more or less what it’s all about before coming to university, because otherwise it’s very overwhelming. So, join us on the DSASHE course. We look forward to seeing you.


  • Week 1

    Your Learning Environment

    • Expectations of HE

      We explore the idea of how being a student at a higher education institution is changing in the 21st century. What can you expect?

    • Accessing online learning

      Navigating systems and accessing learning can be the first obstacle to overcome. Here's some guidance.

    • Online Learning Environments

      All about the primary places to access learning: online learning environments, lecture recording and online conferencing.

    • Assignments & Assessments

      A guide to online submission of assignments and assessments, referencing, plagiarism and intellectual property.

    • Review

      A chance to check your learning and embed the learning objectives for the week.

  • Week 2

    Foundations of Digital Study

    • Welcome to week 2

      Welcome to week 2! This week is all about general technologies that support your learning and use of computers.

    • Digital study tools

      Apps and tools for taking notes and marking up what you read are extremely useful for developing your understanding during class, for revision afterwards and for working on assignments and projects.

    • Written communication

      In addition to video-conferencing, you will also be using written communications and software for your work and for interacting with your tutor and other students.

    • The Internet

      So much of our time is spent on the internet, it's worth looking at some fundamentals, such as the history of the internet, browsers and search engines.

    • Working with files

      Your work will consist of files of various kinds. In this activity, we explore technical aspects of files (including media), operating systems, saving and managing files.

    • Review

      A chance to check your learning and embed the learning objectives for the week.

  • Week 3

    Digital Safety and Wellbeing

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Welcome to Week 3! This week will be all about digital safety, wellbeing and staying productive.

    • Safety and Security

      We explore how to protect your devices and your data from malicious software and how to manage your digital footprint.

    • Social media in a learning context

      We explore how social media platforms can be used in education.

    • Digital Wellbeing

      Digital tools can help us be productive and stay connected with our social networks, but they can also have some negative effects. We focus on Digital Wellbeing.

    • Time management

      You can stay productive and avoid burn-out with the help of digital time management tools.

    • Review

      A chance to check your learning and embed the learning objectives for the week.

    • Course close

      Review of the course and a look back at what you have learned.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the digital skills you need to acquire or improve
  • Develop new digital skills
  • Explore digital tools and behaviours to optimise your study
  • Practice the skills before you are required to use them
  • Discuss course ideas and experiences with other learners
  • Apply your learning in tasks and exercises

Who is the course for?

This course is primarily designed for students who are in their final year of school and who are about to start in higher education.

It is also suited to students starting university later in life, those returning to study after a gap, or those coming from abroad to study within a UK-based higher education institution.

Who will you learn with?

Nancy is a Digital Learning Specialist with the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange and Architela.

Sarah is the Director of the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange

Samantha Ahern is a Faculty LT Lead (Bartlett) at University College London. She is an educationalist and technologist, with experiences in both the secondary and higher education sectors.

Who developed the course?

Bloomsbury Learning Exchange

The Bloomsbury Learning Exchange (BLE) is a digital education service, bringing together expertise to share good practice and enable collaboration on technology enhanced learning projects. We are a partnership comprising six Higher Education Institutions in Bloomsbury, central London: Birkbeck, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Royal Veterinary Collage, SOAS, UCL and The University of London.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$69/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 6 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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