Digital Literacies

New media scholars have developed a number of digital literacy models to help conceptualize the ways in which we accumulate and deploy digital skills. In Digital Literacy and the “Digital Society,” Allan Martin explains that the term and concept of digital literacy was popularized by Paul Gilster in 1997. Drawing on Gilster’s work Allan defines digital literacy in the following way:

“Digital Literacy is the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize digital resources, construct new knowledge, create media expressions, and communication with others, in the context of specific life situations, in order to enable constructive social action; and to reflect upon this process” (166-167).

In their most recent strategic brief, the New Media Consortium explains how content creation is becoming an important part of higher education instruction. Their model includes universal, creative, and cross-discipline digital literacies.

For our digital literacies grant, CTLE adapted a digital literacy model from the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the University of Southern California. This model outlines both foundational and supplemental literacies as core literacies.

literacy model-1

Faculty Assignments:

For more on our Digital Studio and what faculty have done to improve students’ digital literacies, head to our Digital Studio site. To implement digital assignments and the Digital Studio into your courses, email us at

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.