Digital Literacy. Young people in a line busy on different devices.

Graduate digital literacy

The ability to use information as well as communication technologies in order to find, evaluate, communicate, and create information.

American Library Association’s digital-literacy task force

What is literacy?

The word literacy is usually a word associated with skills such as reading and writing. However, adding the term digital to it changes things up quite a bit. While reading and writing are still at the heart of digital literacy, the term deals with a lot more.

What is graduate digital literacy?

The term digital literacy is misleading. Instead, digital literacies are the term that should be adopted as digital literacies better describes the many areas of what reading and writing are in the 21st century. Digital literacies involve many opportunities to use digital tools, texts as well as multimodal representations for creation, design, play and problem-solving.

Companies know that it isn’t practical to have a single measure for assessing digital literacy of workers at different levels. However, most companies have adopted the approach of creating a general measure in order to assess basic competencies. It isn’t possible for a company to look deeply into each candidate’s skill set without a significant time investment. For now, a general approach is the way companies have opted for. A general approach serves as a gate to separate young graduates who qualify and those who don’t.

Graduate digital literacy

Graduate Digital Literacy. Graduate at graduation.

Why graduate digital literacy is so important

Technology has changed the ways we communicate and receive information in more ways than one. Digital literacy is quite a broad term. In fact, many experts choose to shy away from the term simply because of how broad the term is.

Graduate digital literacy requires technical skills in addition to cognitive skills.

Hiller Spires, a professor of technology and literacy at North Carolina State University, interestingly described digital literacy as falling into three buckets. The first bucket is

  • Searching for and consuming digital content.
  • Creating digital content.
  • Communicating or sharing this digital content.

Graduate digital literacy

How to assess graduate digital literacy

Some people would argue that consuming digital content is the same as reading printed media. The only thing that people need to know on an e-reader is how to power the device on and flip the pages back and forth. Even though an e-reader is digital, it isn’t very different from a printed book. This kind of digital reading has been described by Donald Leu, an education professor at the University of Connecticut, like offline reading.

Leu has compared the aforementioned type of reading to online reading. He has said that reading text through the internet requires a lot of extra skills. Reading the text online ensures that the experience is different for everyone as there are videos, audio clips, hyperlinks, and so on to take into account.

Sharing and communicating digital content

As already mentioned, digital writing is created to be shared. The tools that people use to create such material have made it easy to do so. In a 2012 paper that North Carolina State’s Spires and Melissa Bartlett wrote, they said that the tools of Web 2.0 are participatory, collaborative, social, simple to use and are great at fostering online communities.

For this reason, digital writing can be a force for good. However, it can also be a dangerous tool. Deciding what to share online can have serious ramifications on a graduate’s privacy, reputation, and even safety. This is why learning about the right internet behaviour is an important part of digital literacy.

Graduate Digital Literacy. Business owner on tablet.

Graduate digital literacy

Creating literacy content

The term digital literacy encompasses content creation too. Digital formats such as email, blogs, tweets, and so on all fall under content creation. Digital authorship has been described by Renee Hobbs, a professor of communication studies at the University of Rhode Island, as social power. Hobbs has said that digital content creation is a process which is both collaborative and creative. The process is wrought with risk-taking and experimentation. She has said that print-writing involves more risk because digital writing is created so that it can be shared.

Graduate digital literacy

As we move into an ever-increasing digital world, digital literacy will become more critical. Companies are still looking into how they can adapt to this new skillset.

Graduate digital literacy

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