Are creative media students really digitally literate? SAE UK Dean blogs his thoughts

03 Aug 2018

SAE UK’s Dean, Saad Qureshi, has recently blogged his thoughts on creative media students’ digital literacy. At a time when technology is increasingly absorbing various roles previously held by people, it has become paramount that the next generation is able to understand and utilise technology at an advanced level. Sharing his comments on the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) blog ahead of the ALT conference in September, Saad reflects on the current position of creative media institutions, like SAE, in developing students’ technological abilities.

“Whilst my view is that machines will not replace the human interface, graduates are increasingly going to be required to work in an automated and remote environment,” Saad explains.

Creative media students, Saad argues, are on the whole more digitally literate than others due to the fact that technology plays such an important role in their skills training. For example, SAE’s students have access to state-of-the-art software and facilities such as professional filming equipment, Mac labs, mixing desks, advanced game engines and VR equipment.


Commenting on his experience working at SAE, Saad said:

“Apart from being fascinated with the student-led and facilitated learning taking place because of the immersive nature of a practice-based curriculum, I found excellent examples of students learning to use technology; whether this be through deconstructing videos to explore the realms of diegetic music in movies or the use of post-production software.”

Comparing the abilities of SAE students with other people, Saad explains that they are ‘advanced’ users of technology. As a general rule, creative media students have a greater connection with technology in their day-to-day lives, whereas ‘basic’ users tend to just use the mainstream services such as social media networks.

With this in mind, Saad considers the role of creative media institutions very important. In the blog, he suggests that in order to enhance the digital literacy of students, institutions should adopt a more integrated curriculum whereby technology use is interwoven into the learning process right from the beginning.

“Institutions should take the opportunity to build in TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) at the time of curriculum (re)design.”

Continuing on this line, Saad discusses SAE’s ongoing large-scale effort to embed digital literacy into its curriculum. This ‘revalidation’, as he describes it, involves four regions including the UK and equates to over 20 SAE campuses. Noting that ‘there are challenges of embedding digital literacy in a single curriculum delivered in so many jurisdictions’, Saad feels that SAE executing this on a global scale means a wider pool of expertise and thus a better outcome overall.

Saad also acknowledges another emerging trend: that graduates are increasingly required to have a multitude of skills in addition to ones specific to their subject. “An exciting example of this which also indicates the merging of technical activities, is where post-production between film and audio seems to integrating. Graduates will be required to have skills in both,” he says.

Education in the digital age must adapt and accommodate as a result of an ever-increasing demand for tech-savvy employees. As Saad acknowledges, creative media institutions have a vital part to play in equipping graduates with the skills required to have a meaningful impact in their chosen professions.

To read the full blog article, click here.