The Demand for Digital Literacy: “Even Really Smart People Get Duped”

Sponsored by Modern Language Association

Recorded on 01/13/2020
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 107

MLA Guide to Digital Literacy book cover

Oh, how the internet has changed…

Once, homely, Comic Sans-ridden websites occupied the top-search returns in Google and blurry, camcorder-recorded videos glued users to YouTube. Now, nearly everyone has the means to create professional-looking media or websites, thanks to the ubiquity and fairly affordable pricing of high quality products like smartphones and website builders.

In this episode, Ellen Carillo, associate professor at the University of Connecticut and author of the new book, the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy, discusses the misconception that proficiency in using digital media equates to skill in evaluating it, and how that misconception has prevented teachers from training their students to be digitally literate. While students today may know how to post a story on Instagram or tweet a .gif on Twitter, it doesn’t mean they are equipped with the skills necessary to find primary sources or determine biases in digital news stories. Carillo also thinks through what universities can do to incorporate digital literacy into every discipline, and what this delay in literacy has meant for students—and our democracy—as educators scramble to catch up.

About the guest:

Ellen Carillo
Associate Professor
University of Connecticut

Ellen C. Carillo is associate professor of English and writing coordinator at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of many articles and books, including, most recently, the MLA Guide to Digital Literacy (2019) as well as Teaching Readers in Post-truth America (2018), A Writer’s Guide to Mindful Reading (2017), and Securing a Place for Reading in Composition: The Importance of Teaching for Transfer (2015).

Listen to the rest of the series: