City Research Online

The trouble with terminology: rehabilitating and rethinking ‘Digital Literacy'

Secker, J. (2017). The trouble with terminology: rehabilitating and rethinking ‘Digital Literacy'. In: Reedy, K. & Parker, J. (Eds.), Digital Literacy Unpacked. (pp. 3-16). London: Facet Publishing.


This chapter explores the terminology in the field of digital literacy, how it relates to other literacies (e.g. academic literacy, information literacy) used in education. It explores the opportunities and challenges the terminology presents to those working in a evolving and somewhat contested landscape of higher education. It argues that if approached sensitively and thoughtfully then digital literacy could be viewed as a ‘bridging term’ that could allow related professional support staff to work together collaboratively. The chapter provides a model for improving learning support across an institution by developing a shared framework and holistic approach. Too often support services compete with each other for students attention and are not properly integrated into the discipline in which a student studies. This can lead to duplication of effort and gaps in provision, but more importantly it suggests to students that such support is remedial and not a core part of their discipline. By working collaboratively to develop a framework and definition of the literacy support that students need and supporting academic staff to understand the vital role that they play, digital literacy can be an opportunity to refresh and refocus student learning in higher education.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Publisher statement: This is a preprint of a chapter accepted for publication by Facet Publishing. This extract has been taken from the author’s original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive version of this piece may be found in Digital Literacy Unpacked, Facet, London. 9781783301973 which can be purchased from The author agrees not to update the preprint or replace it with the published version of the chapter
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: Professional Services > Learning, Enhancement and Development
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