Throughout the course of the year our Digital Literacies and linked pages will be periodically updated with new information and activities, so make sure you bookmark them and check back regularly!


What are Digital Literacies?

Digital literacies is a term that covers a range of things represented in the boxes below. In short, they are ‘those capabilities essential for living, learning and working in a digital society…’ (JISC, 2013) See the sections below to find out more about digital literacies, test yourself on how digitally literate you are and find links to how you can develop these areas.

 JISC 7 Elements Model

Visit the JISC website to read more about the 7 Elements model of digital literacies shown above. The 7 elements are: Information literacy; Media literacy; Communication & collaboration; Career & identity management; ICT literacy; Learning skills and Digital scholarship. (Reproduced with permission from JISC.)

Why are they important to me?

When you start university you will probably find things quite different to what you have been used to at school, college or work-place. During your studies you will be expected to develop and demonstrate a range of skills and capabilities or behaviours (often referred to as graduate attributes) which will allow you to work effectively and securely online at university, and will also prepare you for a digital society before and after graduation. This applies to all areas of study and is regardless of discipline.

Some of these skills and attributes are detailed below but these are by no means exhaustive lists.

After you have looked at the lists try out the short survey (developed by the Open University) in the section, How can I find out how digitally literate I am ? to assess how confident you are in your own abilities. The survey follows up with activities which can help you develop areas you might feel less confident about.

What skills and attributes do I already have, or might need to develop?

The type of skills and attributes you will need for your studies are:

IT Imagination & creativity
Literacy skills Abilities to work collaboratively
Numeracy skills Intellectual curiosity
Information searching, retrieving and synthesising skills Ethical behaviour and values
Oral communication skills Commitment to social justice
Independent learning skills Understanding of diversity
Organisational skills Global & environmental responsibility
Time management skills Professionalism
Investigative skills  
Critical evaluation skills  

Although these are all pretty self-explanatory you may still have to think about how proficient you are in these areas and whether you need to adapt or improve them to suit academia. The skills and attributes can all be transferred; within your discipline, to employment, to a professional environment and to your personal life.

  • To assess or develop your abilites: see the sections below, How can I find out how digitally literate I am? and How can I develop my digital literacies?

How will I use them?

Collectively these skills and attributes form part of what is referred to as digital literacies and you will already have been developing them through employment, school or college, workplace and personal life.

Throughout your studies you will sometimes work in groups or at other times on your own but often you will be encouraged to find out things for yourself. You will need to draw on these digital literacies to do this and many other things, including: finding, assessing and presenting information; avoiding plagiarism; creating essays or reports; completing online assessments; communicating with peers and staff; using our VLE, My Dundee, be confident using the University's IT systems and also interacting in appropriate ways through Twitter, Facebook or other social media. There may also be particular software associated with your discipline that you will need to learn about.