New Mexico State University will introduce a new course this fall focused entirely on digital literacy for students interested in learning the fundamentals of using electronic devices for personal and academic needs.
The eight-week course, “Digital Literacy: Navigating the Digital Learning Environment,” is the latest addition to a group of personal skills classes offered through NMSU’s First Year Initiative and comes amid an ongoing transition to online learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now, it’s more important than ever for students to understand how to be an effective online learner,” said Patrick Turner, director of the First Year Initiative. “This course will help students understand what digital literacy entails, develop the ability to safely navigate various on- and off-campus digital resources, and use technology to support their social and academic success.”
The one-credit course – listed under the UNIV 110-designated courses in the NMSU Course Catalog – is open to all students enrolled at the Las Cruces campus, regardless of their major or classification. It does not require any prerequisites and has capacity for 30 students, Turner said.
Turner developed the course over the past year in collaboration with several departments, including Academic Technology, Career Services, Instructional Innovation and Quality, and the NMSU Library, as well as faculty from Doña Ana Community College and two of his graduate students, he said.
The UNIV 110 courses, including the digital literacy class, aim to improve specific skills for use in academic, professional and personal settings, such as time management, digital identity and critical thinking.
“In today’s digital world, nearly every career requires digital communication at some point, so equipping students with the skills to effectively and responsibly find, evaluate, communicate and share online content is key to their futures,” Turner said. “Students who develop digital literacy skills understand the basics of internet safety such as creating strong passwords, understanding and using privacy settings, and knowing what to share or not on social media.”
Robbie Grant, manager of Academic Technology, will teach the class in an entirely online format, Turner said. Students will conduct online exercises using various digital applications, including the Google Suite, Canvas and Adobe Creative Cloud, and participate in interactive activities to get them immersed in technology and NMSU’s cultural life.
The course also will include components on online bullying and civic engagement. For the latter, Turner said, students will explore technology’s role in influencing current civic movements such as Black Lives Matter and the women’s rights movement, among others.
Turner said he eventually wants to offer the class to students across the entire NMSU system and add more interactive components such as gamification. For more information about the class and other UNIV 110 courses, visit https://provost.nmsu.edu/mini-semester-and-univ-courses/.