Taking action and being active in the digital world involves understanding and effectively using a variety of online resources.
To help the campus community and beyond be better equipped to do this, the Virginia Tech University Libraries, with partners from across campus, launched a framework to enhance digital literacy as part of emerging, collaborative digital literacy initiatives.
The goal is to empower learners to navigate the complex digital world as both consumers and creators, enabling them to achieve their personal, academic, and professional goals.
“This means helping learners to develop digital skills so that they can effectively manage their digital lives, such as monitor their online image, find credible data and information resources online, and use the latest online tools to create something new,” said Julia Feerrar, head of Digital Literacy Initiatives.
The University Libraries and its campus partners have been building a shared vision and language for what digital literacy means.
“Definitions for digital literacy can vary widely, ranging on a focus on baseline technology or computer skills, critical thinking and creativity in media consumption and production, and critical engagement in societal issues communicated through the digital world. With this framework, we’re emphasizing those critical, creative, and social pieces of digital literacy,” said Feerrar.
The framework includes promoting the ability to discover, use, and share digital data, information, media and invention technologies among the Virginia Tech community of learners. These capabilities empower learners to participate as digital citizens who are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
The framework was developed with input and feedback from across the Virginia Tech community, beginning with a University Libraries’ task force and culminating in faculty and graduate student feedback sessions during the Digital Literacy Symposium held in November 2017.
The framework also draws on several existing models, including Jisc’s Digital Capability Framework, the Association of College & Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, and Doug Belshaw’s 8 Essential Elements of Digital Literacies.
“Looking forward, this framework serves to guide the development of digital literacy initiatives, including learning opportunities and resources. We welcome opportunities to collaborate within and beyond the Virginia Tech community,” said Feerrar.