Defining Digital Fluency

What is Digital Fluency?

Digital Fluency is the ability to discover, evaluate, and use information and technology effectively and ethically.

It involves the lifelong pursuit and development of knowledge, skills, attitudes, conceptual understandings, confidence, and persistence that evolves with training, experience, and experimentation with digital and information resources. It requires skillful and willing adaptation to new and emerging technologies and formats of information sharing. It also entails a critical examination and consideration of information and digital ethics and the ever-evolving nature of the digital world and our place in it.

The path to becoming a digitally fluent individual is an ever-evolving, iterative process that begins with assessing and developing one’s digital literacy and information literacy skills. Here at Ursinus, we define these terms as follows:

Digital Literacy

Digital literacy at Ursinus College ventures beyond mere technological training and basic skill development. It calls for a critical look at the development of digital platforms and technological advancements and the ethics surrounding inclusion, access, security, and privacy concerns. It necessitates an awareness of emerging technologies and shifting digital trends and a willingness to adapt one’s processes, follow best practices, and continue learning and developing skills over time.

A digitally literate person possesses the tools and confidence needed to craft a responsible digital presence, communicate effectively using digital tools, and navigate and troubleshoot issues that arise.

Information Literacy

Information literacy at Ursinus College is based on our belief that to remain viable in the modern world the traditional notion of a liberally educated person must be linked to changing information technology and contemporary information sources. Unlike other colleges, we do not define information literacy simply in terms of acquiring updated research skills for finding and utilizing facts. After all, the questions sparking inquiry can change as information is gathered and assessed.

Accordingly, we think of information literacy more as a “state of mind” or “way of being” centered on a set of intellectual dispositions that culminate in good judgment about thoughtfully marshaled information. An information literate person has a healthy skepticism and creative curiosity and engages in disciplined and analytical inquiry.

Our information literacy definition builds off a report that an Ursinus working group on information literacy wrote in 2014. Here is the full report.