Enhancing students’ digital competencies within the Employability module of the University of Europe’s skills-based curricula
The onset of the coronavirus has catalyzed an acceleration in the adoption of digital teaching practices that have been trending in Higher Education for over a decade. The most obvious of these has been the abrupt switch to online training. Given the speed at which this transition from in-person instruction has taken place, many instructors' natural first inclination has been to maintain teaching styles as similar as possible to those employed in person, including the traditional lecture format. However, a growing body of research is confirming what instructors across the educational spectrum are observing: namely, that student behaviour, the psychological effect of the medium, participation levels, attention span and learning outcomes online can vary widely from those demonstrated in traditional classroom settings. It is becoming increasingly clear that conditions such as "Zoom fatigue" are very real, and that, if teaching is to be effective, different methodologies based on digital learning experiences should be added to educators' repertoires that take the particular challenges and new opportunities of the online environment into consideration. This paper will examine how some of these new online-based methodologies and digital tools are being developed and introduced at the University of Europe within the undergraduate students' Employability module to enhance the student online experience as well as learning outcomes. The module spans three semesters; here the authors will focus on implementations within the first semester, Employability I: English and the second semester, Employability II: Soft Skills to nurture relevant skills and to ensure that learning environments remain fit-for-purpose for the digital age.