Digital Agility: Embracing a Holistic Approach to Digital Literacy in the Liberal Arts
A 2016 Pew Research Center study indicates that the digital divide in the United States is not solely about access to technology; it also is about the ability to use technology to get what we need.1 What does digital readiness mean; applying cumulative knowledge to real-world situations. Having a tech or STEM-related degree does not ensure digital readiness.
How Can We Encourage Digital Agility in the Liberal Arts?
Digital pedagogy often creates opportunities for instructors to create non-disposable assignments—assignments that are not designed to be thrown away but rather have a purpose past being required.3
“We need to marry the best of our academic work with the best of edtech. In other words, what would it look like if education technology were embedded in the everyday practice of academic disciplines?”4
Project-based learning fits well within the curricular flexibility of the liberal arts. In project-based work, students apply what they are learning in the context of an engaging experience.
Building off frameworks that are already in place, like the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy,
External-facing work offers students real situations where, if we imagine what digital agility looks like, they have to adjust to possible new digital environments and approaches.
Reflection provides a way for meaning-making to happen across individual assignments, projects, and classes. Without the chance to assemble assignments into a larger narrative, each experience lives in its own void.
How Can Institutions Build Systems-Level Support?
Liberal arts colleges in particular are interested in the ways they prepare graduates to be agile and critical in a digital world—as seen in the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Rubrics.
he Bryn Mawr Digital Competencies Framework5 was followed by more formal conversations and the formation of a working group (including Carleton College,
more on digital fluency in this IMS blog