Governments around the globe are recognizing the economic ramifications of a digitally literate citizenry and implementing systemic strategies to advance digital literacy. Awareness of the growing importance of digital literacy in today’s workplace coexists paradoxically with apparent foot-dragging on the part of many universities in assessment and amplification of these important competencies. This paper makes a case for digital literacy, presents models of the complex construct, and presents the results of a digital literacy assessment administered to students enrolled in a senior seminar course at a regional university in the United States. Reflection on the study results evoked our mantra that exposure does not equal understanding with regard to students’ daily interaction with digital technologies. A strong case is made for comprehensive strategies that reach back to the youngest students and ensure that college graduates enter the modern workforce armed with critical technology competencies that have been termed the fourth literacy.
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology