Digital Literacy

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The following guide represents important aspects of how you can support accessible, inclusive and equitable digital environments in your classes (online, blended, or face-to-face formats). The following list is meant to be helpful and suggestive, not all suggestions may be applicable in your departments.

What is digital literacy?

“Digital literacy and access are a basic right in the twenty-first century; without them it is increasingly difficult to participate civically and economically.” – UNESCO’s (2021) Digital Literacy skills framework, (p. 34)

 Digital literacy is best described as having an interest in using different technologies and communication tools and knowing how to use them properly. It also involves being able to find, organize and understand information on the internet as well as create and communicate with others online. It also means being able to use digital tools and information in a skillful and precise manner, in different situations such as school, work and daily life.

What can you do as a TA to enhance students’ digital literacy?

Be accessible and equitable

Make sure that everyone has the same opportunities and feels safe when using digital spaces by:

  • Ensuring students have the digital skills needed to successfully complete their coursework, directing them to appropriate supports when needed (such as the Digital Scholarship Commons at UVic libraries)
  • Providing alternative ways for students to submit their assignments and course participation if they do not have access to technologies or are not comfortable using certain technologies
  • Connecting students with technology supports and resources supported on campus
  • Providing students with clear instructions on how to use new technologies, including information about data storage if data are stored on servers outside of Canada
  • Following accessibility protocols when developing and distributing classroom materials
  • Using technology to enhance digital learning opportunities (e.g., visuals, idea clouds, dry erase boards, polls) to convey complex concepts
  • Allowing opportunities for creative expression within digital learning spaces and assignments
  • Contacting Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation to ensure that courses meet accessibility and inclusion standards

Promote critical thinking and supporting overall learning goals

Encourage critical thinking skills when selecting trustworthy sources by:

  • Demonstrating to students the digital tools that are used in the course as a tutorial or workshop at the beginning of your classes
  • Using digital information and tools to expand knowledge and provide multiple perspectives in student’s coursework
  • Connecting with your subject librarian to provide a lesson about information literacy in your tutorial, office hours or other class time
  • Supporting effective research methods by teaching how to cite digital resources – refer students to on-campus resources for support (e.g., Centre for Academic Communication).
  • Modeling digital scholarship by sharing digital research strategies, tools, and methods

Create a collaborative environment

Support your students using online tools for communication and collaboration to make valuable contributions in the class by:

  • Recognizing that cultural values & lived experiences may lead to different ways of participating in online spaces4
  • Creating instructional activities that teach students how to work together in digital spaces
  • Model appropriate communication strategies
  • Develop a group agreement about respectful communication in online spaces

This document was developed by a Teaching Assistant Consultant (TAC) Assistant in consultation with the LTSI TA Coordinator and updated during the TACs’ seminars 2022-2023.

  1. Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. (2020). Digital Literacy Skills Framework.
  2. BC Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Digital Literacy Framework. British Columbia Government.
  3. Feerrar, J., & Hammer, K. (2019). Digital Literacy Framework Toolkit: Fall 2019. Virginia Tech.
  4. Jisc. (2019). Digital Capabilities Framework.
  5. Maryland Department of Labour. (2019). Digital Literacy Framework for Adult Learners.
  6. McMahon, R., Whiteduck, T., Chasle, A., Chief, S., Polson, L., & Rodgers, H. (2016). Indigenizing digital literacies: Community informatics research with the Algonquin First Nations of Timiskaming and Long Point. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 2(1), 267-285.
  7. Riel, J., Christian, S., & Hinson, B. (2012). Charting digital literacy: A framework for information technology and digital skills education in the community college. Available at SSRN:
  8. Sator, A., & Williams, H. (2020). Removing barriers to online learning through a teaching and learning lens. BCcampus.
  9. UNESCO. (2021). Reimagining our futures together – A new social contract for education. Report from the International Commission on the Futures of Education. Paris: UNESCO.

About this post

This post was last updated:

June 13, 2023

We acknowledge and respect the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees and Esquimalt) Peoples on whose territory the university stands, and the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

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