Digital Literacy

The term digital literacy is used widely but inconsistently. It is often used to mean confidence and skills using digital tools, but the term is also used to mean the evaluation and/or creation of digital media, or even new approaches to data analysis.

The Faculty of Arts endorses the Macquarie University Library model which draws on the Jisc Digital Capabilities framework (Jisc, 2015) and the CAUL Digital Dexterity framework (CAUL, n.d.), both of which envisage digital literacy as multi-faceted, consisting of:

  • ICT proficiency
  • Information, data and media literacies
  • Digital creation, problem solving and innovation
  • Digital communication, collaboration and participation
  • Digital learning and development
  • Digital Identity and Wellbeing.

As shown below, the CAUL model presents these six elements as equal and interdependent. In contrast, the Jisc model proposes that ICT proficiency is foundational and instrumental in realising the following four elements. Together, these five elements may lead to or be informed by an individual's Digital Identity and Wellbeing.


Figure 1: CAUL Digital Dexterity Framework, Source: CAUL, n.d.


Figure 2: Jisc Digital Capability framework, Source: Jisc, 2015

The Jisc and CAUL frameworks also suggest that digital literacy may draw on many orders of thinking across Bloom's taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001); it may involve applying technologies to tasks and problems, analysing information presented digitally, creating new works (whether digital or physical) as well as evaluating and synthesizing (critical approaches to digital objects and their social significance, as well as to the procedural rhetoric (Bogost, 2007) of the tools themselves).

Coldwell-Nielsen (2018) notes that many students are seriously underprepared for the digital demands of their studies. It is therefore important to build digital literacy into the curriculum (McKillen, 2015), although the exact focus may vary depending on discipline (Gillen & Barton, 2010; Jisc, n.d.; PriDE, n.d.). Significantly, staff digital literacy impacts the quality of both curriculum design and teaching practices (Beetham, Newman & Knight, 2019).

In addition to your faculty learning designers, contact Macquarie University Library and the Learning Skills Unit about developing students’ abilities to find, use, create and disseminate information using appropriate technologies and formats.