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Embracing Digital Readiness in the Liberal Arts


Beth Bohstedt
Beth Bohstedt

Director of Learning & Research Services Beth Bohstedt co-authored an essay titled "Digital Agility: Embracing a Holistic Approach to Digital Literacy in the Liberal Arts" in which she asked and responded to a series of questions related to digital readiness. Specifically, she addressed how higher education institutions might leverage their power to “address the digital divide, potential deficiencies in functioning in an online world, and possible difficulties transitioning from academics to industry.”

“Having a tech or STEM-related degree does not ensure digital readiness,” Bohstedt wrote in the Jan. 8 article published in Educause Review. She examined various strategies with which liberal arts colleges can help students learn and develop in ways that will better prepare them for real-world scenarios, asking “what would it look like if education technology were embedded in the everyday practice of academic disciplines?”

In defining her topic, Bohstedt wrote, “Digital agility is not the ability to know the right way of doing things in mandated spaces and with mandated tools, but is rather the ability to engage, with various levels of comfort, in multiple landscapes and ways of working.” In offering varying strategies, she emphasized, “Digital pedagogy should not be taught in isolation from other classes and experiences—it should be part of a larger curricular narrative.”

A number of liberal arts colleges are collaboratively exploring how to address digital agility.  Hamilton is a member of this group, the Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation (LACOL), along with Amherst, Bryn Mawr, Carleton, Davidson, Haverford, Swarthmore, Vassar, Washington & Lee, and Williams. These institutions are focused on defining “what we mean by digital agility in the liberal arts to use that definition to guide our separate institutional initiatives around digital agility,” according to Bohstedt.

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