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Digital Fluency – Bath Spa University

A transformative learning journey with Bath Spa University enables digital fluency

Students use and experience relevant and appropriate technologies, including through blended learning, and have opportunities to evaluate and develop their digital capabilities.

Key topics:


How far do you agree with the following comments?

  • My students use and experience relevant and appropriate digital technologies (including the Adobe Creative Cloud suite at Bath Spa University).
  • My students understand the digital competencies they need and are encouraged to continually develop them.
  • My teaching and learning activities effectively uses the Virtual Learning Environment (e.g. Ultra at Bath Spa University) to provide a coherent and consistent blended learning experience for our students.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and blended learning

All students and programmes at Bath Spa University are supported through our Virtual Learning Environment, Ultra. This facilitates curricula based on blended learning.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): Ultra

Bath Spa University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is Ultra. Every programme and module run at BSU is set up with a programme/module page (respectively) on Ultra. It is required that all content and resources for the module (e.g. course materials, activities, assessment information, assessment feedback, resource list, etc), as well as the module's assessments, are made available on the respective Ultra page. The layout should also follow a standard template, and the content should be accessible.

Further guidance is available through these links:

The Teaching Expertise Development team's Digital Learning Developers provide training to staff regarding Ultra (requires BSU login)

Blended learning

Blended learning mixes face-to-face learning with online resources. All Bath Spa University students should normally experience this through the combination of face-to-face contact sessions and resources on Ultra. Blended learning may overlap with flipped learning (see the Creativity section under Active Learning).

Some resources are:

Help at Bath Spa

The Teaching Expertise Development team's Digital Learning Developers provide support and training to staff regarding the VLE (Ultra).

Generative AI

The potential opportunities and pitfalls of Generative AI (GenAI) currently has a high profile due to extremely rapid advances in the technology. There is a general feeling of positivity around the potential of GenAI to support learning, and the opportunity to be innovative with more authentic assessments.

However, GenAI does not necessarily always produce factually accurate responses and cannot critically evaluate in a way a Higher Education student would expected to in their assessments. Students need to be aware of these limitations and, of course, that simply copying from a GenAI source without acknowledgement is both plagiarism and not helpful for their own learning and development.

BSU policy position

Our Assessment and Feedback policy includes the following statements regarding GenAI:

  • Bath Spa University acknowledges the opportunities and benefits afforded by generative AI and supports staff and students in its effective and appropriate use.
  • Students should be made aware that using information created with generative AI and passing it off as their own work is plagiarism. This is not acceptable in any academic or professional work as outlined in our academic misconduct policy.
  • Modules leaders should provide guidance for students on how they might use generative AI to inform or support their assessments, including if they may not use it and how this should be acknowledged and referenced in the student’s formal submission. An Assessment Brief Template (requires BSU login) is available which suggests appropriate wording for alternative scenarios.
Guidance for students

Bath Spa's Academic Skills (ASk) team provide guidance on how to use GenAI as a student, as well as a series of videos on this topic (the introductory video is embedded above). Support includes online resources and synchronous workshops. Specific guidance is given on how much use of GenAI is a reasonable, and how to cite its use.

This guidance document for staff and students (requires BSU login) sets out the benefits and pitfalls of using GenAI and suggests an approach for acknowledging and referencing its use, when appropriate.

Use of AI detection tools

At present, Bath Spa University will not be using digital tools to detect the use of generative AI (such as Turnitin’s AI detector) as they have not proved to be suitably reliable. If an assignment looks suspicious, AI detection tools are currently unable to provide the proof or evidence to back this up; they present a significant number of false positives and negatives.

This stance will be reviewed on a regular basis. It is important to note that as GenAI rapidly becomes more sophisticated it also becomes harder to detect. Considering the design of assessment will be more important than trying to retrospectively identify the use of generative AI.

Colleagues are advised against using non-supported third party AI checking tools, as these have not been tested for accuracy and could potentially lead to wrong accusations. We recommend that, as usual, academics should be aware of written material that is beyond the known capabilities of the students or uses language or writing styles inconsistent with the student's previous work as an area of concern. Essentially this remains an academic judgement. For further queries, contact Learning Innovation and Skills.

The University will maintain an active watching brief on technological and sectoral developments in generative AI and other topics in digital education through its Digital Fluency Advisory Group, in order to ensure that we remain up-to-date in our response and support for staff and students. 

What happens to my data?

When using GenAI tools, you should be wary of how the inputted information is used by the tool. This is especially noteworthy with copyrighted, sensitive or personal data - what happens to this data when you submit it? This is especially risky, for instance, if you submit a large block of text and ask a GenAI tool to summarise it. Some GenAI tools retain this information and may use it for the future training of AI tools or for other purposes. It is worth checking the terms and conditions for information on this.

For BSU staff and students, it is safest to use a BSU device to access a GenAI tool which is part of our digital ecosystem; for instance Microsoft Copilot or Adobe Firefly. If you are using another GenAI tool, it may be possible to opt out of sharing your data (e.g. in ChatGPT, see "chat history and training" under "settings").

Help at Bath Spa

The Teaching Expertise Development team provide support to staff regarding Generative AI.

Academic Skills (ASk) provide support to students regarding Generative AI.

Further resources

Bath Spa University resources:

Training courses and workshops:

Sector resources:

Resources from other Universities or organisations:

Digital fluency

Bath Spa University is dedicated to enhancing the digital fluency of its community.  This is defined as "the ability to effectively and confidently use digital technologies to communicate, collaborate, create, and navigate information in various mediums". It includes several multidisciplinary core competencies:

  • Information security
  • Data governance, management and analysis
  • Digital storytelling
  • Productivity

Further information is available on the Digital Fluency Sharepoint (requires BSU login).

Building digital capabilities

Bath Spa works with Jisc to understand and enhance our staff and student digital capabilities. Our activities include:

  • An annual Digital Experience Survey: Sent to all staff and students to help us understand more about their experience of digital technology at Bath Spa.
  • Jisc Discovery Tool (see below).
Jisc Discovery Tool

The Jisc Discovery Tool is available to all Bath Spa students and staff. It helps staff and students to reflect on their digital capabilities. The tool identifies strengths and areas for development, signposting to useful activities.

Specific software packages

Bath Spa University provides staff and students with access to a variety of software to support their learning and teaching.

Adobe Creative Campus

Bath Spa University is an Adobe Creative Campus, with all staff and students having access to the entire Adobe Creative Suite. 

The Teaching Expertise Development team's Digital Learning Developers offer a bookable workshop on Creating a Poster in Adobe Express (requires BSU login) to help get you started.

Some resources are:

Microsoft 365

Bath Spa University has an institutional subscription to Microsoft 365 for all staff and students.

Some resources are:

Collaborative learning tools

Lucid Chart and Spark: Bath Spa staff and students have full access to the Lucid Suite. Lucid Chart allows users to create flowcharts and diagrams; Lucid Spark is a digital whiteboard/canvas which facilitates collaboration. Lucid offer support resources; the Training Labs offer self-paced courses and earn badges as you learn; the Community Pages offer searchable FAQs and support. 

LinkedIn Learning

All Bath Spa students and staff have free access to LinkedIn Learning, which provides a searchable database of thousands of professionally produced video-based courses to help students. This is considered in depth in the Connectivity section under Employability.

Help at Bath Spa

The Teaching Expertise Development team's Digital Learning Developers provide support and training to staff regarding digital tools used for learning and teaching purposes.

IT Services provide back-end support for all digital tools, and for software beyond learning and teaching purposes.

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