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Kristen Turner, Ph.D., on Digital Literacy in Higher Education


College professors have been struggling to meet the needs of a new generation of students, digital natives immersed in social media who are increasingly likely to get their news from Facebook and Twitter. Educators are still learning how to best support students’ learning in a digital age.

“At the present time, we do not yet have a good sense of ‘what works’ to address faculty needs regarding the use of digital media texts, tools and technologies for teaching and learning activities, career advancement, and scholarly research communication, collaboration and publishing,” said Renee Hobbs, University of Rhode Island communications professor.

Associate professor of English education, the director of the CLAIR Ph.D. program, founder and director of the Digital Literacies Collaborative, and digital literacies expert Kristen Turner, Ph.D., recently joined colleagues at the invite-only Winter Symposium on Digital Literacy in Higher Education. The event focused on digital literacy in writing and rhetoric, media and communication, design and the arts, the humanities and social sciences, and teacher education.

“Faculty from all disciplines in all types of colleges and universities are concerned about the development of digital literacy.  By talking, thinking, and writing with a variety of other professors and librarians, I realized we have much more to do in transforming higher education,” Turner said.

Participants covered topics such as:

  • The Digital Literacy Competencies of Faculty, Undergraduate and Graduate Students. Teachers and learners need knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help them fully benefit from the variety of digital texts, tools, and technologies available for learning and teaching. What are the fundamental digital literacy competencies that we expect every college faculty and every student to possess?
  • Teaching and Learning With and About Digital Media. Digital media and technology enable new ways of learning. Many educators are experimenting with social media tools that make it possible to create seminar-like experiences through video conferencing. What are some emerging “best practices” for the educational use of social media in higher education?
  • The Digital Identity of the College Professor. Some faculty are highly visible online and their scholarly and professional work can be easily accessed using a simple Google search. Others are less visible online. How do faculty navigate the increasingly blurred boundaries between personal and professional identities online?
  • Scholarly Networking and Digital Literacy. Faculty, scholars, and researchers are connecting, communicating, collaborating, and learning with one another through a variety of social media platforms. Building a personal learning network is increasingly shaping how we present ourselves and extend our scholarship. What does it mean to be a networked learner and how do faculty model this in their courses and research activities?

Browse #digiURI for insights from the symposium.



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