Principal investigator: Zoetanya Sujon

The information age has brought with it a whole host of new capacities for knowledge, information and learning. Yet, the nature of these capacities and, indeed, the basic skill sets required to survive or to excel in our complex and mediated environments are up for debate. Digital literacy is a meta-literacy, meaning it is an umbrella category for many other kinds of literacies (e.g. critical thinking, skills-based aptitudes, attitudes and aspirations etc.) including creative capacities across knowledge and disciplines. Increasingly, digital literacies are understood as relational and as embedded within a broad range of practices and skills within and beyond educational institutions.

While digital literacies are increasingly important for higher education and for achieving success in today’s world, there are many debates regarding who has what digital literacies. For example, current research suggests that the concept of digital natives is grossly mistaken as many young people do not have the core critical thinking, skills-based aptitudes, or competencies required of them (e.g. Helsper et al 2015; Helsper and Eynon 2009; Das and Beckett 2009). In addition, there are growing demands on staff to develop digital skills and fluencies in order to support students and to thrive in their own world. , the question of where today’s students are in terms of digital literacies. This research has been developed in response to these major issues and aims to answer some of these questions around how digital literacies fit into higher education and with both staff and students.

As such, the research project presented here has two primary purposes. The first of which is in service to Regent’s University London and aims to map how staff and students understand digital literacies, including developing a snapshot of the skills and tools staff and students are most comfortable with this. The second aim of this research is to share findings with broader research communities working on digital literacies in higher education. Both of these purposes are intended to better engage students and staff about their digital experiences and expectations, and deepen digital skills and attitudes.

 

Select works:

Allinson, Mark. 2016. Regent’s Ethics Policy. Regent’s University London

Das, Ranjana; Beckett, Charlie, (Eds.). 2009. ‘Digital Natives: A Myth?’ A POLIS Paper report of the panel held at the London School of Economics and Political Science, on 24th November 2009, Polis and Ofcom

Helpser, Ellen; Van Deursen, Alexander JAM; Eynon, Rebecca. 2015. Tangible Outcomes of Internet Use. From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes. Project Report

Helsper, Ellen and Eynon, Rebecca (2009) Digital natives: where is the evidence? British educational research journal. pp. 1-18

Markham, Annette; Buchanan, Elizabeth. 2012. ‘Ethical Decision-Making and Internet Research Recommendations from the AoIR Ethics Working Committee (Version 2.0)’ Association of Internet Researchers